Cavalry Equipment

Basic cavalry equipment was the sword belt with two slings on the left side from which the cavalryman's sabre was suspended and a pistol holster and cap

Shots showing cavalrymen mounted for campaign are comparatively rare but here we see what a cavalryman would have looked like in the field. Note the blanket tied up behind his saddle, the manageable way the cavalryman's sabre is hooked to his belt and the yellow stripe denoting his branch of service, running down his trouser seam. David Scheinmann.

pouch worn on the left side. Up until the mid-1850s the sabre had been suspended on a shoulder strap fitted with two sabre slings to support the weight of the heavy dragoon sabre. But when the light cavalry sabre was introduced and support pads were added to the back of cavalry jackets, there was no need for the shoulder strap which had proved to be unpopular. In August 1859 James Ewell Brown Stuart, then a lieutenant in the 1st cavalry before he found fame as a Confederate cavalry commander, had invented a brass device for attaching the sabre to the waistbelt and took a patent out on his invention, but only a few of the attachments ever saw service.

Ammunition for the cavalryman's pistol was kept in a pouch behind his holster. Belt holsters were a comparatively new innovation, single shot pistols had been carried in saddle holsters, but in 1851 the Colt firearms company began manufacturing leather belts with holsters and in 1855 the War Department began

Civil War Cavalry Leather Carbin Box
This well appointed cavalry private, carries a distinctive looking sword with a particularly long pommel. It doesn't seem to be regulation and might be a personal purchase. David Scheinmann.

ordering them for the cavalry. The most common way to wear a holster on the belt was on the right side with the butt of the holster pointing to the front.

The cavalryman's carbine was suspended from a sling worn over the left shoulder. Carbine slings were made out of black leather and were 56 inches long by 21/, inches wide. Slings were adjusted with a brass

Cavalryman Carbine Sling
A Cavalry sergeant and private pose for the camera and show the disparity of dress you could expect to see in any cavalry regiment. The figure on the left wears a slouch hat while the figure on the right favours a forage cap. These two men look as if they are brothers or cousins. David Scheinmann.

buckle and a hook on the sling snapped into a ring on the carbine buckle. Cavalrymen wore their carbine slings mounted or dismounted. Carbine ammunition was usually carried in a box on the carbine belt. Cavalrymen either slung their canteens over their shoulders or looped them around the saddle. Haversacks were carried the same way and contained the same items as an infantryman's haversack. Other equipment carried by cavalrymen would include saddle bags, a length of rope and the horse's feed bag. Strapped over the pommel at the front of the saddle the horse soldier carried his rolled overcoat or talma. On the cantle behind the rider was a rolled blanket and tarpaulin.

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    How is a civil war holster and sword scabbard worn?
    8 years ago

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