Doug's brother, Dennis, lives in Coldwater, Michigan, and is a bit of a history buff...especially military history. He has often talked about one of the local heroes in Coldwater, a draft horse named Old Sam, a hero of the Civil War.
Old Sam was one of 200 horses who served in the American Civil War with the Loomis Battery from Coldwater. He was the only one of those 200 horses to come home to Coldwater in 1865, after the war ended.
Old Sam was already 12 years old when he was called into wartime service. A statement on Old Sam's memorial plaque in Loomis Park states that the horse was wounded several times and half-starved most of the time; yet he endured four years of battle fatigue, hunger, and pain, when the average survival rate for war horses was only three to five months.
The Loomis Battery took part in at least twelve major Civil War battles, including Perryville, Stone River, Hoover's Gap, and Chickamauga.
After living out his post-war life in leisure, Old Sam died on November 8, 1876. His old war comrades wanted to bury him in Coldwater's Oak Grove Cemetery, where other members of the Loomis Battery had been buried, but were told that burial of animals was not permitted there.
Determined that the old war horse should be buried with his comrades, those men of the Loomis Battery created a diversion at night and sneaked the body of Old Sam into the cemetery, where they buried him with full military honors, then covered the burial site with autumn leaves to hide it from discovery.
For years, Old Sam's presence in the Oak Grove Cemetery was denied or ignored. But now a tombstone marks the spot.
Surrounded by the graves of other members of the Loomis Battery
A memorial plaque in Loomis Park tells Old Sam's story.
Old Sam's caisson (a chest to hold ammunition), on display in Loomis Park
The back of the caisson, where you can see a trailer hitch
Old Sam's cannon, which would have been pulled behind the caisson
Some beautiful flowers, to end this post on a lighter note