President Ulysses S. Grant served 2 terms as President of the United States but also distinguished himself as a military leader under Abraham Lincoln. With Grant’s military background, it is not surprising that he was so passionate about horses. He had several horses over the course of his lifetime, including the famous Cincinnati. He also had two other horses that stood out, named Egypt and St. Louis, respectively.
According to Ulysses Grant’s son Frederick, Egypt was acquired by Grant in the winter of 1864: “About this time (January,1864) some people in Illinois found a horse in the southern part of that State, which they thought was remarkably beautiful. They purchased him and sent him as a present to my father. This horse was known as “Egypt” as he was raised, or at least came from southern Illinois, a district known in the State as Egypt, as the northern part was known as Canaan.”
Egypt was dark bay thoroughbred, standing about 16 hands (64 inches) high with 2 white fetlocks. He was 7 years old when acquired by Grant, who thought Egypt was too fine a horse to be ridden on the front lines, and Grant considered sending Egypt back home to be a carriage horse instead. However, Grant did use Egypt quite a bit on the front lines of battle when Cincinnati would not suit, and Egypt performed admirably. Quirkily, Egypt and Grant both disliked music in almost all forms.
Egypt, along with Cincinnati, were particular favorites of White House coachman Albert Hawkins, who would often feed the 2 horses sugar cubes directly from his lips. After Grant took office, Egypt often could be seen pulling the Presidential carriage.
The horse St. Louis is not mentioned as much as some of the others. He did pull the Presidential carriage alongside Cincinnati and Egypt many times, and is not remarked upon ever being in battle with the President. St. Louis was very like Egypt in coloring, having a dark bay coat, and stood at roughly the same height. He was purchased in St. Louis (likely the source of his name) for $1200.
It is not known what happened to the horses after the Presidency, when Ulysses Grant and his wife Julia elected to tour Europe for 2 years. However, the Grants owned a farm back in Missouri and it is likely the horses were sent there to await the Grants’ return.