11 November 2023

A tribute (perhaps) - revised

At Camp Cody, New Mexico six hundred fifty soldiers stood in formation to honor the eight million horses who died in the First World War.  

The sentence above is the standard description of the photo, found in various places on the internet.  A tip of my blogging cap to reader Bicycle Rider, who tracked down the source material and the true story.
AFP Fact Check conducted a reverse image search for the photo, which brought up this blog post that identified the photographer as Almeron Newman. A search for his name led to the photo on the Library of Congress website, which says it was taken in 1919 in Deming, New Mexico.

The photo’s caption says: “650 officers and enlisted men of Auxiliary Remount Depot No. 326, Camp Cody, N.M., in a symbolic head pose of ‘The Devil’ saddle horse ridden by Maj. Frank G. Brewer, remount commander.”

It makes no mention of the photo being a tribute to horses killed during World War I, which ended in 1918. It is unclear if the officer or his horse served in the conflict.

“We know of no evidence of the formation being a tribute,” the Library of Congress told AFP via email.
But... it still could be a tribute to horses killed in the war.  Alternatively, 650 soldiers were coerced by their commanding officer to form the shape of the head of his horse.  Those men would be dead by now, but one of their children may know the motivation behind this rather interesting photo.

Image via Nag on the Lake.


  1. Seems odd for 1915. The war would have started the previous summer (1914) and the USA was still two years from entering WWI.

    Anyway, more about the horses in that war:

    Horses in WWI (Wikipedia)


    Minneapolis has a tribute to horses of war:

    "On Lake of the Isles Parkway, a fountain donated in 1891 by Frank H. Peavey was originally intended as a place to water horses. After World War I, however, the fountain was rededicated in memory of the horses in the 151st Field Artillery of the Minnesota National Guard that were killed in battle. Equestrian carvings decorate the fountain."


    1. Date deleted from my text, for the reasons you mention. Tx.

      FWIW, I grew up in Mpls (Edina, Excelsior) and sometimes visited friends who lived on Lake of the Isles, but never noticed or remembered that fountain. Interesting.


  2. Here is the uncropped picture with the captions included: (picture is credited to Almeron Newman)


    I found this regarding the claim that this picture was in honor of horses of WW I. this source indicates the picture is in honor of a specific horse, known as "The Devil."


    The Library of Congress perma-link to the picture:


  3. The Peavey Fountain:


  4. I assumed that this photo was by the same photographers that had created a number of similar images - Mole & Thomas. 21,000 soldiers posed as Woodrow Wilson; 25,000 as the Liberty Bell.

    1. Interesting (thank you for that link). But here's the Library of Congress information on the photo -


    2. I agree, it's a genre of photo from that era. The amount of skilled planning and coordination that these photos take make it seem unlikely to me that they'd be undertaken by a random assortment of people and purely for feel-good purposes

  5. Just an FYI, there is nothing at the Nag on the Lake link

    1. She apparently added a video and altered the post title, thus changing the link. Here's the new address:


      Tx for the heads-up.


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