Physically brave to the point of recklessness, this leader has courage beyond any doubt. But sometimes, this hero, revered by many, makes poor decisions, largely because of the belief that the best solution to any problem is a direct, frontal attack.
Yes, I'm taking about Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. But I'm also referring to Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood.
The Elements of Harmony were absent from America during the terrible years of 1861 to 1865. But there were plenty of heroes, clods, fools and geniuses among the general officers of both armies. You can find similar people--er, ponies-- on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic today. Let's link together ponies and their military counterparts during the American Civil War.
Like Twilight Sparkle, U.S. Maj. Gen. Henry Jackson Hunt did not seek fame, but he also did not avoid great responsibility. He was an intellectual who bent his logical mind to solving complex problems. I suspect that if Twilight Sparkle had been in command of Federal artillery at Gettysburg, she would have devastated Pickett's Charge as well as Hunt did.
Pinkie Pie is an outside of the box thinker noted for her bold and original solutions. The one-man band that she made during "Swarm of the Century" confused her friends, but terminated the parasprite menace. Confederate Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart had a similar disposition, well-demonstrated during his terror-inducing circumnavigation of the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign.
But it is fair to say that neither are consistently team players. It is easy to imagine Pinkie Pie repeating Stuart's terrible blunder early in the Gettysburg Campaign.
Some ponies think that Granny Smith is too old to be useful, if not outright senile. But as shown during the episode "Family Appreciation Day", Granny Smith is wise and knowledgeable--something that Applebloom's classmates learn to appreciate. She proves that her eccentric approach to processing zap apples is, in fact, a marvel of careful planning based on a thorough understanding of the challenge.
At the outset of the war, Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott was the senior general in the United States Army. He was 74 and had led troops from the War of 1812 onward. Some critics thought that his proposed encirclement and division of the South, lampooned as the Anaconda Plan, was foolish. But time proved that Scott, not his critics, understood the task of subduing the South.
Rarity loves to be the center of attention. Nothing delights her more than fame and publicity--especially for her photogenic good looks and keen fashion sense.
The young Union Maj. Gen. George Armstrong Custer similarly pursued headlines and won fame to match his battlefield victories. Custer's rakishly handsome appearance, including long hair scented with cinnamon oil and carefully chosen custom uniforms were the height of military fashion and contributed to his renown.
Spitfire is the Captain of The Wonderbolts, the air cavalry of Equestria. She is professional, brave and all-soldier. Sometimes, though, she is hard to get along with.
She's a lot like U.S. Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan. The Union cavalry general was highly effective in the field (e.g. Battle of Sayler's Creek). He proved his own resolve beyond all doubt at the Third Battle of Winchester. But Sheridan could be cantankerous and was noted for his contempt for Southerners and gracelessness to them after Lee's surrender.
Trixie is a great believer in her own destiny. Unmatched power and fame will follow her--if only lesser ponies would have the sense to step aside. She has talent, mind you. Her magical abilities are strong. But they aren't remotely as powerful as she thinks they are.
The arrogant U.S. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan believed that he was the greatest general of the war. He would possess not only great military accomplishments, but even the Presidency. McClellan did possess practical military skills, especially in logistics, and won occasional victories in the field. But what he saw as his potential would never be fulfilled.
Whenever there is a crisis in Ponyville, Big McIntosh never lets it affect his demeanor. He faces any problem, such as the apparent cider market takeover in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", with a calm "eeeyup" and puts his considerable strength to work at solving it.
The model of unflappability during the Civil War can be found in US Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Historian Shelby Foote described this quality:
He had what they call "four o'clock in the morning courage." You could wake him up at four o'clock in the morning and tell him they had just turned his right flank and he would be as cool as a cucumber. Grant, after that first night in the Wilderness, went to his tent, broke down, and cried very hard. Some of the staff members said they'd never seen a man so unstrung. Well, he didn't cry until the battle was over, and he wasn't crying when it began again the next day. It just shows you the tension that he lived with without letting it affect him.
Would you select alternate generals or ponies? If so, which ones?
(Pony images: Hasbro Studio)