General Grant is flanked by two lower pedestals, each adorned by a male lion resting atop the spear-pointed staff of a guide-on, the battle flag of an army that is now lying on the ground under the paw of the lion. Army of the Confederacy, perhaps?
The horses' hooves bespeak the chaos of intelligent, magnificent animals, themselves caught up in the fog of war and obediently doing the bidding of their human masters engaged in frightening explosions of cannon, unspeakable bloodshed.
I'm reminded of one recent artist's statement on an exhibit of work based on the imperial conflicts of World War I. The artist's research found that something close to 20 million horses died in World War I. Horses, just horses...
On the opposite flank of General Grant are more charging horses, this time the cavalry instead of the artillery. The squad leader with raised sword that has lost its blade leads the others in the yell of the charge: straight into enemy rifle and cannon fire, swords and fixed bayonets.
About to be crushed beneath it all is one cavalyrman whose horse has either stumbled or been shot. His eyes are open. Both are about to be trampled, possibly causing another horse to stumble and break a leg.
They shoot horses, don't they?
It's ironic. The sunshine was so bright that I didn't even see the face of the fallen rider and his horse until I returned home and reviewed my photos.
I hope the students noticed. I hope he shows up in some of their photos. But at least they were there and had a chance to see.