Non Commissioned Officers Horse Furniture

The most important piece of equipment was, of course, the saddle. This was

Confederate Cavalry Officer

RIGHT: Confederate Cavalry from an old print showing from left to right: cavalry genera/ with white plume in hat: cavalryman in almost regulation dress except for kepi. Trousers are dark blue which is unusual. Note method of carrying sabre hilt forward strapped under saddle holsters and girth strap. Also the carbine is on a strap over the back rather than on the usual sling and hook; cavalryman m slouch hat in place of kepi and again dark blue trousers; Infantryman is on extreme right.

LEFT: Union Cavalryman from an old print showing from left to right: a cavalryman in overcoat: cavalryman mounted in undress order with brass shoulder scale, carbine sling and cartridge box, elaborate shabraque ; cavalry officer showing rear view ; cavalry corporal m parade dress. The hat is held up at the left side and the carbine buckle is shown on the chest, both in contradiction to most sources.

Cavalry Saddlebags

CONFEDERATE AND UNION CAVALRYMEN

Left to right: Rebel trumpeter in civilian coat with a neckerchief at his throat; Confederate officer in greatcoat; Confederate officer in normal uniform jacket; Federal cavalry officer on foot with sabre in the 'hooked-up position'; probably Confederate cavalryman with U.S. style stirrup covers, and again is wearing a neckerchief; figure in foreground is a Rebel with a slung rifle, wooden canteen and a tin mug hanging from the saddle rear; another CS officer with what could be a fatigue coat.

Confederate Officer

U.S. CAVALRY: CORPORAL, VOLUNTEER REGIMENT

This Corporal wears the regulation uniform, but has trousers with elastic tapes passing under the instep to keep the trousers down, and the volunteer type collar trim. The position of the equipment on the horse is apparent. At the front, over the pommel, is the rolled greatcoat; at the rear the saddle bag is just visible under the blanket and tarpaulin, which has a tin mug on one strap. The orange stripe is clearly shown, as are also the webbing girth and surcingle.

U.S. CAVALRY: CORPORAL, VOLUNTEER REGIMENT

This Corporal wears the regulation uniform, but has trousers with elastic tapes passing under the instep to keep the trousers down, and the volunteer type collar trim. The position of the equipment on the horse is apparent. At the front, over the pommel, is the rolled greatcoat; at the rear the saddle bag is just visible under the blanket and tarpaulin, which has a tin mug on one strap. The orange stripe is clearly shown, as are also the webbing girth and surcingle.

the regulation McClellan saddle, designed by General George B. McClellan, which replaced the old Army Ringold type. It was of wood with an open slot down the centre over the horse's backbone with two side bars fitted flat against the horse, which were joined by a fairly high wishbone pommel at the front and a rounded cantle at the rear. The whole frame was covered with shrunken rawhide with sewn seams along the edges of the side bars. Unfortunately the rawhide tended to split and crack through exposure to the elements, which was rough on the rider! The saddle came in three sizes, 11-inch, 11i-inch, 12-inch seats, a plate riveted to the pommel giving the size.

CS CAVALRY: TROOPER

Wearing very near regulation uniform, this trooper carries however a double-barrelled shotgun on a webbing strap, and a straight 'Prussian' style imported heavy cavalry sabre. The holster is also probably one of a pair. On the horse is a canvas sack over the pommel under a greatcoat (possibly a captured Yankee one;), a plain blanket under a Confederate adaption of the M1842 Grimsiey saddle with high cantle and pommel, and at the rear a canteen and rolled blanket.

Fastened to the side bars by brass screws were two saddle skirts, heavy black leather aprons hanging to around midway down the sides of the horse on either side. Girth or quarter straps of heavy leather ran diagonally from cantle and pommel to the central girth strap rings. The girth passed from these rings under the horse's belly, and was of heavy blue webbing 4J inches wide. Over the saddle and horse went the surcingle as a kind of safety strap, again blue webbing, 3i inches wide and 60 inches long, with a tongue buckle and leather ends. The leather stirrup straps, attached to the side bars just behind the pommel, passed under and out through slits in the saddle skirts. Attached to them were triangular leather fenders or sweat leathers which protected the legs from the saddle skirts, and at the ends wooden leather hooded stirrups. The stirrup straps adjusted with a buckle to the correct military seat, which had the rider seated on his backside in the saddle, stirrups shortened so that the foot rested level with the stirrup. The stirrups had a 3-4-inch tread, made from one piece of bent wood separated at the top by a small wooden bar or transom around which the stirrup leathers looped. Stirrup hoods were heavy leather riveted to the wooden frame covering the whole front and sides and extending 2i inches in front of the tread to take the toe, and often stamped with 'US'.

At the front and rear of the two side bars were stapled four brass rings intended forcrupper, breastplate and martingdale, but more often used forsabre or canteen when the other non-essentials were discarded on campaign. The martingdale, sometimes combined with the breastplate, was intended to make the horse keep his head down. It attached by strap and ring to the bridle or reins and thence to the cinch, saddle or breast strap. The breast strap itself was a strap around the horse's neck, two ends fastening on the front rings on the saddle, the other end to the cinch under the horse. Occasionally a brass insignia was attached at the joint of the strap. The crupper served the same purpose at the rear, and consisted of a padded ring which the horse's tail passed through, with straps to the rings on the saddle. Breast straps were useful in heavy going by taking some strain off the girth, and were worn by some volunteer units.

Under the saddle the regulation blanket was folded as a pad. It was 67 inches by 75 inches, and was folded first along its length, then twice more the other way. The blanket was dark blue wool with an orange border stripe and 'US' in orange letters in the centre. Some grey blankets with yellow trim were used.

Strapped over the pommel with three long straps, through slits in the saddle, was the rolled overcoat or talma. On the cantle behind the rider went the blanket and tarpaulin, again rolled and held by straps. Over a stud on the back of the cantle went the leather flap joining the two saddle bags, leather bags 14 inches by 1 5 inches. In these went curry-comb and brush (which were also sometimes carried in smaller pommel bags at the front) with clothing, rations, extra ammunition, spare horseshoes and nails, and a 14-inch iron picket pin for grazing the horse. The iron curry-comb, 'Carpenter's No 333 Pattern', had a wooden handle and three double rows of teeth, whilst the leather-backed brush fitted flat in the palm with a strap which fitted over the hand. A 30-foot lariat was coiled and hung from a saddle ring or the halter. An empty nosebag for the horse was carried tucked over one end of the rolled blanket on the cantle. The cylindrical canvas bag had straps to go over the horse's nose and fasten round its neck.

The black leather halter of cheek pieces, noseband and large hitching strap ring for use in tieing the horse had no bit. A watering bridle with reins and simple snaffle bit could be attached to the halter. The black leather riding bridle, worn over the halter, consisted of cheek straps down the sides of the head to the bit rings at each corner of the mouth; a crownpiece passing over the head behind the ears; a browband going across the forehead above the eyes; throat latch billets or straps which went round the neck; and occasionally a noseband just above the bit, passing from cheek strap to cheek strap.

The Army Model 1860 blued steel bit was issued in four sizes. No 1 was called the Spanish bit, with a hump or port of inches and a curb ring, and was for horse-breaking; No 2, with a 2-inch hump and curb chain; No 3 with a 1 i-inch port; and No 4 with a i-inch port and curb chain. All bits were 4J inches between branches or cheeks, which were S-shaped, the reins

Charleston Light DragoonsBreaking Chains

A: Charleston Light Dragoon Helmet

The helmet itself is black with brass or gilt fittings, including the peak and chin strap decorations. The State emblem, a Palmetto tree, appears on the helmet, and the crescent plate at the front may well have been designed to repeat the crescent moon which appeared on the South Carolina flag. The horse-hair plume was white. B: Regulation Spur (U.S.) C: Modified Spur attaching to rings at the bottoms, held apart by a crossbar. The curb chain, or ring, went under the jaw to provide leverage for the bit in the horse's mouth, and in the Model 1863 bit fastened to hooks below the eyes of the side branches. On either side where the branches joined the mouthpiece were brass bosses, stamped 'US' or sometimes with the regimental number or company letter. 2J-inch brass 'US' or 'USA' rosettes were worn above and behind each eye to hold the browband and throatlatch in place.

The reins were 5 feet long with the ends sewn together, attached to the curb bit. When the troopers were in action dismounted, to enable the horse-holders to hold a number of horses, a 15-inch link strap buckled onto the left rein ring on the bit, with the strap of the other end hooked into the bit of the next horse. When not in use this hooked onto the throatlatch buckle. A picket line, a long rope to hitch the horse when in camp, was also carried.

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