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Welcome to Generals in Granite

The "Horse Code"


Have you ever been to a memorial featuring a statue of a soldier on a horse, and hear someone, a friend or a guide, tell you that you that the position of the horse's legs reveal clues as to the rider's history? If so, you are not alone. All over America there is a belief that an unwritten code exists, created by sculptors, indicating whether a rider lived, was wounded, or died by the number of feet it's horse has on the ground.

How the code works:

As the story goes, if the horse statue has all four feet on the platform, the soldier lived unscathed. If the horse has a hoof raised off of the platform, the soldier suffered a serious wound in battle. If the horse has two legs up, the soldier died in battle. That's all there is to it.

All 4 hooves down:
The soldier lived!
One hoof up:
The soldier was wounded.
Two hooves up:
The soldier died ...

Is it true?

In reality, no. Its an urban legend. There are many very contradictory examples out there to shatter this myth. However, it is said that there is one place in the world where the code holds true. That is the Gettysburg Battlefield. Some people believe Gettysburg to be the origin of the myth, others even believe that the code is real, but only applies to the Battlefield. Others think Gettysburg's uncanny conformity to the code is a mere cooincidence.

Generals in Granite

The purpose of this website is to put the code to the test on the Gettysburg Battlefield. All of the equestrian statues are here, each with pictures, some information about the rider's history, and their location in the Battlefield. As a synopsis, I attempt to give my opinion on how the well the code conforms to each statue, but I invite the reader to draw their own conclusions. Its up to you to decide on the legitimacy of the code. The links on left will take you to the 8 statues: