Horses Saddlery

Few Indians or Texans would volunteer as infantrymen, but would dismount and fight on foot when necessary. Irregular units such as Quantrill's and the Jayhawkers relied on the horse, and the Federal authorities also raised cavalry regiments. Mules and oxen were also needed to operate supply trains. Horses from Texas and the Territory were generally mustang or Spanish breeds; those from Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas were American saddle horses, "gaited saddlers" or "hunters," though work horses and mules were sometimes encountered. Southerners enlisted with their own horses, which were assigned a value and given a "CS" brand. The owner was paid 40 cents a day, and compensated should his horse be killed in action, when he was obliged to supply a new mount or be transferred to the infantry. Private Sparks recalled that his horse, a large black gelding, was worth SI00. After the battle of Chustenahlah he captured four Indian ponies, and horses remained valuable plunder for both sides throughout the war.

Federal units operated a similar system, but the men were not responsible for obtaining their own remounts.

Union saddlery

The US Army had used Ringgold, Grimsley and Campbell saddles, but in 1861 the regulation model was the M1859 McClellan. With a rawhide seat and black leather skirts and hoods over wooden stirrups, it had coat straps at pommel and cantle and carried a pair of saddlebags at the rear. A "thimble" was fitted to hold the muzzle of a slung carbine. Officers often bought Hope or Texas saddles, an adaptation of the Mexican stock saddle. These were plain working saddles with a pommel horn, a half-rigged seat with small skirts, plain bentwood stirrups, stirrup straps that might have attached sweat leathers, and a single girth.

Private Friedrich Holdmann, 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry; this regiment served in Missouri and Arkansas before being transferred to the Department of the Tennessee. It was supplied with regulation cavalry equipment, as was the 3rd Wisconsin, which remained in the Trans-Mississippi throughout the war. Holdman sits in what may be a McClellan saddle with hooded stirrups, saddlebags to the rear, and regulation blue horse blanket with a red stripe. He wears a black felt hat and a regulation cavalry uniform jacket. Both regiments were issued with M1840 and M1860 sabers. (Wisconsin State Historical Society, ID WHi 7891)

Mcclellan Saddle Bags PatternsGrimsley Saddle Tree

Not enough McClellans were available in 1861 and many men, like Pte Haas, supplied their own horses and equipment. When the 2nd Kansas applied for saddles they were told to acquire them locally, eventually using some California saddles without the mochila or leather cover. The government also purchased a version of the California known as the Ranger pattern, and many other civilian saddles would have seen service.

Mules were widely used as pack animals. The regulation Grimsley pack saddle had a rawhide-covered tree and leather breast and breech straps. Another popular style was the Mexican pack saddle of hay-stuffed leather, which covered most of the animal's back.

Confederate saddlery

Regulations called for the M1860 Jenifer saddle, but captured McClellans were more common. Apart from the Texas and Hope, other saddles used in the Territory were the Morgan Muley, a hornless saddle

US Army wagon with six-mule team; these were widely used -during Weer's Expedition the 10th Kansas Infantry and artillerymen sometimes traveled by wagon in order to keep up with the cavalry. In 1864 Confederate units in the Territory held 356 wagons and 31 ambulances, with 45 draft horses, 682 oxen and 1,477 mules. Much of this was captured Union stock; 130 wagons and 700 mules were taken at the Second Battle of Cabin Creek alone. (Author's collection)



Draught Horse Rigging

M1841 12-pounder mountain howitzer, designed to be carried disassembled on three pack horses or mules, or drawn on this "prairie carriage."

Few artillery pieces were available in the Territory, but those that were played a significant role. At Cowskin Prairie, in a surprise night attack during Weer's June 1862 expedition, Union artillery fire alone routed the Confederates from their camp; and at the Second Battle of Cabin Creek in September 1864, Watie's Confederate artillery gave him a great advantage over an opponent with none. Confederate guns were often manned by men seconded from other units to help their limited number of gunners. The Union 6th Kansas and 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry had attached howitzer sections, which gave good service; Lt Pond found his of particular value at Baxter Springs. They were ideal anti-personnel weapons, but easily outgunned by heavier pieces - as the Confederates discovered at Honey Springs. The most common pieces in Confederate service were this M1841 12-pdr howitzer and the M1841 6-pdr gun. These were also used by the Union; but US troops also had access to the heavier M1857 12-pdr Napoleon and the Parrott 10-pdr rilled cannon. (Author's collection) 55

with wooden or light iron stirrups; the Plantation or Buena Vista, another hornless saddle with large skirts and wooden box stirrups; and the California and Mexican. Indians would have used all of these, together with a variety of native patterns. These generally had a high, Spanish-style wooden frame with a rawhide seat and were often fitted with wooden stirrups.

Saddles were made in small workshops and government depots in the Trans-Mississippi despite the shortage of materials. By January 1864 the McClellan and the Texas were adopted as regulation.

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  • Celendine
    When were saddles with wooden stirrups made?
    8 years ago
  • adelaide
    Who made grimsley saddles?
    4 years ago
  • primrose
    What happened to the 700 indian ponies taken by the us army at the battle of powder creek?
    9 months ago

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