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1862 Grimsley Artillery Driver’s Saddle

1862 Grimsley Artillery Driver’s Saddle: In 1847, Thornton Grimsley, of St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a government contract for a saddle of a new pattern for the mounted forces. The Grimsley saddle was adopted for Dragoons, mounted riflemen and officers of all branches of service. The Grimsley was a vast improvement over the Ringgold saddle which gave poor service in the war with Mexico. Although following the Ringgold in appearance, the Grimsley tree was covered in rawhide, and the seat was stuffed with deer hair under the quilting. This was a big improvement over the suspended sling seat of the Ringgold and the European Hussar saddles. Grimsley saddles were used from 1847 until the 1859 McClellan was adopted. The Grimsley was used by officers of the Union and Confederate State forces throughout the Civil War.

In 1862, a smaller version of the Grimsley was adapted for US artillery service. The artillery driver’s Grimsley differed from the Dragoon saddle by only having a single skirt and the absence of coat strap mortises and straps. This saddle was used by the mounted artillery crew members who drove the horse team pulling the cannon, limber, and caissons. In the standard six-horse team, a driver was assigned to the lead pair, swing pair, and wheel pair of horses. Six horses were the preferred team for a field piece, with four being considered the minimum team. Horses were harnessed in pairs on either side of the limber pole. A driver rode on each left-hand (“near”) horse and held reins for both the horse he rode and the horse to his right (the “off horse”).

This example of a Civil War artillery driver’s saddle is in overall fine condition, evidencing some minor seam separations in the seat. The leather is in strong condition, and the original stirrup straps and heavy, cast brass dragoon stirrups are still in place. SOLD


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