Reference Items
Accoutrements
Model 1859 McClellan Saddle Bags

Click on an image to enlarge

These Model 1859 McClellan saddlebags were made by C.S. Storms of New York City and are strongly marked thus on the flap of the left bag. In 1862 Storms moved from St. Louis to New York City. He had a number of government contracts for a variety of leather accoutrements.

It is unusual to see a pair of bags in this minty condition as they continued to be used by the cavalry and state militias following the Civil War into the 1870s. Subsequently the M1872 brush and shoe pouches were made from disassembled M1859 saddlebags, further reducing their surviving numbers.

Experts believe that today, fewer bags exist in any condition than do specimens of the saddles for which they were intended. This set is complete including both closing straps, tie down straps, and buckles. The interior bags with leather closing thongs are supple and present.

Saddlebags had a wide variety of uses by cavalry troopers during the Civil War. Among them, it is speculated that their original purpose was to carry extra, pre-fitted horseshoes so that a cavalry expedition need not be delayed while awaiting the services of the regimental farrier.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-249

Model 1864 McClellan Enlistedman's Saddle

Click on an image to enlarge

C. (Condit) Prudden was a saddle tree maker during the Civil War located next door to R. (Rueben) Nece (master saddle maker). He was located at 1120 Noble Street in Philadelphia. He had a four-story building with the equipment powered by steam, and with thirty employees he had the capacity to turn out approximately 1,200 finished saddle trees per week. Prudden probably partnered with Nece in the turning out of finished saddles.

Presented here is one of his saddles, a Model 1864 McClellan enlistedman’s saddle. Prudden’s brass tag is affixed to the left front of the tree. This saddle has nearly all of its original rawhide covering and both full skirts. The quarterstraps are original and complete. The original stirrup straps are fitted with the original sweat leather and hooded stirrups. The brass seat plaque indicates a "12 inch seat”.

There are a number of subtle differences between the Pattern 1859 and Pattern 1864 McClellan saddles: (1) the angle of the face of the pommel on the 1864 is not as vertical as on the 1859; (2) the 1864 tree is assembled with rivets and screws as opposed to cut nails and washers; (3) the cantle plate was moved from the rear of the cantle in the 1859 to the front of the cantle in the 1864 (this change can be detected by a magnet); (4) the 1864 has a "spaded D-Ring” or "stopped D-Ring” on the lower girth straps; (5) the 1864 added the manufacturer’s name and address to a brass plate affixed to the top of the left front or rear sidebar. For further information of Civil War Saddles we recommend "American Military Saddle, 1776-1945” by R. Stephen Dorsey & Kenneth L. McPheeters.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-244

Massachusetts Officer's Belt Rig

Click on an image to enlarge
This minty officer's belt rig is accompanied by its original 1851 pattern Massachusetts belt plate. The black saddle leather belt is 1¾" wide and in fine condition with minor edge rubs resulting from use. The shoulder harness is in place; the leather tab inside the carry hook, often missing, is also present and is original to the belt. All hooks and keepers are brass displaying a mellow patina.

The cast brass belt plate is adorned by the Massachusetts state seal, which maintains its sharp edges and well defined relief. Both the plate and its clasp are original to the belt. The plate matches figure #92 in Plates & Buckles of the American Military by Kerksis.

State versions of these belt setups were worn by pre-war militia officers, and saw continued use through the civil war, having been privately purchased by officers who were loyal to their home states. The retention of the shoulder strap, as evidenced by period photographs, seems to indicate cavalry service by the officer who owned this saber belt.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-223

Cavalry Saber Belt Rig

Click on an image to enlarge
This belt rig is a regulation Union cavalryman’s buff leather saber belt with rectangular eagle buckle and applied silver wreath. The belt is complete with both saber hanger straps, and the shoulder support strap which is often absent. The buff leather is dyed black on the exterior per 1851 Army regulations, now toned to a russet brown.  The interior of the belt is not dyed.  It was likely unissued and bears a near mint belt plate and keeper, both bench marked "442". The plate has an integral tongue and one-piece nickel silver wreath applied to the face and shows no wear.  This style eagle motif was approved in December 1863 and these plates were made from 1864-1865.

All brass accessories are original including the carry hook, two brass D-ring suspension rings which are stitched and riveted to the belt exterior, and the large square suspension ring that supports the long saber strap, also stitched and riveted in place. A clear maker mark is visible on the inside, "Crossman/Maker/Newark N.J.” for Edwin A. Crossman & Company of Newark. Crossman was a New Jersey harness maker who had multiple contracts for accoutrements, including 5,000 saber belt rigs.

Buff leather accoutrements were phased out during the war years and were gradually replaced by bridle leather counterparts.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-183

Buff Leather Belt & Buckle

Click on an image to enlarge

Buff leather infantry belt with oval U.S. belt plate. The plate has arrow style hooks, and the brass belt keeper remains intact. This rig is in fine original condition with no wear to the leather. Both the buckle and keeper are original to the belt.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-167

Infantry nco-belt rig

Click on an image to enlarge

This is a complete belt rig for a Civil War Infantry non-commissioned officer including waist belt with eagle wreath buckle, US embossed cap box and a M-1860 Colt Army revolver holster, marked J Davy, Newark, NJ. Holster is in fine condition with no tears and only minor age flaking. Belt is buff leather showing wear near inside of keeper, original eagle wreath buckle in very good condition with matching bench marks "231” on reverse of buckle and keeper. The cap box in excellent condition with US on front flap. Both brass finials with nice patina and latch tabs present.


The contractor’s mark on the holster, J Davy, Newark, NJ, is for Joseph Davy & Company, a harness maker who was awarded numerous contracts for leather accoutrements during the Civil War. Rivet fastener with arched stitch indicates mid-war production.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-166

Additional Pages
1  2   3   4   5  [Next Page]