Fredericksburg, Saturday, May 16, 1863. Spartan Band diarist William H. Hill recorded:
“A horse, belonging to the Yankee army, swam the river this morning to our lines.”
Independent historian Jess N. McLean noted that Gen. Barksdale took the horse for his own and refused repeated Union requests to send it back.
John Beauchamp Jones, a civilian of the Confederate War Department in Richmond, had a different take. In the June 1, 1863 entry of his diary, he recorded:
“One of our pickets whistled a horse, drinking in the Rappahannock, and belonging to Hooker’s army, over to our side of the river. It was a very fine horse, and the Federal Gen. Patrick sent a flag demanding him, as he was not captured in battle.
“Our officer sent back word he would do so with pleasure, if the Yankees would send back the slaves and other property of the South not taken in battle. There it ended–but we shall probably soon have stirring news from that quarter.”
Jones’s writings were published in 1866 as A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary.