The failed impeachment proceedings initiated by the Radical Republicans against President Andrew Johnson in 1868 are likened to a dead horse: exuding a great stench with no hope for revival.
Several figures involved in the impeachment proceedings surround the rotting carcass of a horse wrapped in a blanket "impeachment," holding their noses from the smell. The men are (from left to right) John A. Logan, George S. Boutwell, Thomas Williams, Benjamin F. Butler, Thaddeus Stevens, and John A. Bingham. Boutwell pulls the tail of the horse, saying, "I fear we are getting mired, but I certainly smell corruption." Wilson wonders, "Can it be possible that our hobby is decaying already." Butler replies, pointing to a plant with the head of journalist Thurlow Weed, "No its this confounded old Weed called Thurlow that makes the bad smell." Radical Republican leader Thaddeus Stevens observes, "If we could get another charge into him, he might pull through yet." Bingham says, "Alas! Seven had proved a fatal number to him." The acquittal of the President was made possible by the votes of seven Republican senators.
At right stands Johnson with a ram "30,000." "It's no use Gentlemen," he says, "your old nag is dead and you can't ride it any more' my Woolley friend finished him."