When it comes to legendary horses, it is difficult not to start the series with Marengo. The famous War Mount of
Napoleon, whom French painter & politician Jacques Louis David made immortal by his painting named “Napoleon Crossing Alps” created between 1801 and 1805. His particular work shows a strongly idealized view of the real crossing that Napoleon and his army made across the Alps through the Great St. Bernard Pass in May 1800.
Marengo was an Arabian horse who made his way from Egypt to France in 1799 as a 6 year old. Out of the 52 horses that Napoleon had in his personal stable, Marengo was his favorite and was named after the Battle of Marengo. The battle which was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy where he carried him safely.
Marengo had a long stint as Napoleons favorite horse. He was wounded eight times in his career, and carried the Emperor in the Battle of Austerlitz, Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Battle of Wagram, and Battle of Waterloo. He also was frequently used in the 80-mile gallops from Valladolid to Burgos, which he used to complete in five hours. His time with Napoleon got over when he was captured in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo by William Henry Francis Petre, 11th Baron Petre.
Colonel Angerstein of the Grenadier Guards bought Marengo from Petre and he stayed with him till he died at the old age of 38. Even today his skeleton can be seen at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London. One of his hooves was given to the officers of the Brigade of Guards by John Julius Angerstein as a snuff box and one hoof was mounted as a silver inkwell and retained by the family. Presently it is on loan to the Household Cavalry Museum.