Those Must Have Been Some Terrible Horses

mssEC_16_217 - you sent bad horses - red_mtn.jpg

Jno Horner N.Y.  Wash June 13 63
For Maj Van Vliet Quarter Master
New York Horses received here from
you are bad many too young
too old wind broken strained blind
spaimed(?) ring boned and halt among
them Do not pay for them
until you have seen the reports
and thoroughly investigated Should not the
Officer inspecting be tried by court
martial signed M C Meigs General

General Meigs is letting the quartermaster know just what he thinks of the latest batch of horses he received. Not being much of a horse person I was unfamiliar with the term “ring boned”, and I still up have no idea what “spaimed” might be, but I think the general gist is pretty clear: these horses are rubbish. Apparently they were so appallingly bad that Meigs wanted the officer in charge of sending them to be court-martialed! He must have been unfamiliar with case of General Jefferson Davis, who got away with murdering another general because the army was desperate for experienced officers.

Many thanks for Zooniverse user red_mtn for pointing out this message, and bonus thanks to anyone who can tell me what “spaimed” means!

Update: the word is most likely “spavined”, which is a bony swelling on the hock of a horse caused by inflammation. In my defense, the dot that should be over the i seems to have wandered a few letters to the left. Thanks to Craig and Ray for their help!

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2 responses to “Those Must Have Been Some Terrible Horses”

  1. Craig says :

    I think the word may be “SPAVINED”…per Merriam-Webster online: the definition of Spavin is……”swelling; especially: a bony enlargement of the hock of a horse associated with strain”. Here’s the URL…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. katecpeck says :

    No problem! Just wanted to let you know that we appreciate any and all feedback, and I understand the desire to omit previous posts 🙂


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