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Horses at Fort Monmouth

Airplane hangars, garages for trucks and tanks, and stables for horses are all in the property book inventory for Fort Monmouth from the 1940s.  That’s right – horse stables!

Building 17 Stables, Property Book

Like the Building #17 above, Fort Monmouth also had grain, hay, and oat storage for the animals, too.

feeding horses camp little silver Aug 1917

The Quartermaster Corps took care of the horses.  This included feeding, grooming, watering, and training.  But the Quartermaster was not alone in caring for and rearing Army horses; the Department of Agriculture even got involved in marshaling Americans to help raise horses for Uncle Sam!  A New York Times article from December 1911 discusses breeding farms and details of the program.

Horse Racing, Monmouth Park. ca. 1870s. Photo courtesy National Park Service

Horses were a part of Fort Monmouth’s legacy decades before it was a military installation.  It was the site of the original Monmouth Park racetrack, and when Camp Alfred Vail was established in 1917, the old ticket booth from the track still stood.

Horseplay

While the above image of people engaging in “horseplay” is amusing, horses in the Army were serious business.  Modern technology has moved beyond horsepower in the the literal sense for moving troops and supplies, but horses provided vital services to the Army from before ancient Roman times!

Man with horse

The first war that was not 100 percent reliant upon humans and/or animals was the American Civil War.  This was the first war ever – anywhere in the world, not just the United States – to use non-animal-driven transportation.  Trains transported people and supplies for the first time during this conflict.  But horses were still a necessity until well after the First World War.

Soldier on horse

Horses are a big part of Army history.  And they still are, just in a different capacity.  Horses are now part of veteran rehabilitation in Fort Myer, Virginia.

Posted in From the Archives.

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