Lieutenant Isaiah Martin Bookman was with the men of Company G, 4th Texas Infantry at Sharpsburg in September 1862. Five months before, on 26 April, then at Yorktown, VA, First Sergeant Bookman had presented a fine horse to their old Colonel, John B. Hood, recently promoted to command of the Brigade. Here’s regimental Chaplain Davis’ narration of that story:

Named Jeff Davis, he was apparently Hood’s favorite horse through the war.

In his 1880 memoirs General Hood wrote of him …

The members of this heroic band [his old Brigade] were possessed of a streak of superstition, as in fact I believe all men to be; and it may here prove of interest to cite an instance thereof. I had a favorite roan horse, named by them “Jeff Davis;” whenever he was in condition I rode him in battle, and, remarkable as it may seem, he generally received the bullets and bore me unscathed. In this battle [at Chickamauga, GA] he was severely wounded on Saturday; the following day, I was forced to resort to a valuable mare in my possession, and late in the afternoon was shot from the saddle. At Gettysburg I had been unable to mount him on the field, in consequence of lameness; in this engagement I had also been shot from the saddle. Thus the belief among the men became nigh general that, when mounted on old Jeff, the bullets could not find me. This spirited and fear-less animal performed his duty throughout the war, and after which he received tender care from General [John Robertson] Jefferson [1804-1888] and family of Seguin, Texas, until death, when he was buried with appropriate honors.

Lieutenant Bookman, known as Bob for reasons lost, did not survive the war – he was killed in that same Saturday action where the General’s horse was hit, at Chickamauga on 19 September 1863.


The page clips above are from the Rev. Nicholas A. Davis’s The Campaign from Texas to Maryland (1863), online from the Hathi Trust.

John Bell Hood’s “military autobiography” is Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences in the United States and Confederate Armies (1880); it’s online from the Internet Archive.

I’ve not found a contemporary illustration of Hood on Jeff Davis. The picture here is part of the painting Give us Hood by Don Troiani (via Facebook, 2015), and portrays the General rejoining his command at Sharpsburg after being in arrest on the march, riding a roan, presumably Jeff Davis.

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