Identified Original Civil War M1859 McClellan Enlisted Man’s Saddle
Identified Original Civil War M1859 McClellan Enlisted Man’s Saddle – This M1859 McClellan is an excellent example of the mainstay saddle used by Federal enlisted cavalrymen during the Civil War. This example is the early war issue saddle as evidenced by the so-called “un-spaded” D-ring that appears on both sides of the saddle at the juncture of the two quarter straps and the cincha. The rawhide seat and stitching covering the wooden saddle tree are in superior condition, as are the bridle leather elements of the saddle; one of the quarter straps is broken, but we are in the process of getting that repaired. All footed staples are present, as is the saddlebag stud and both original stirrup straps and hooded stirrups. The sweat leathers, attached to the stirrup straps, appear to be well made reproductions. Through the various slotted blanket strap ovals are several blanket straps, although they appear to be old, they are most likely post-Civil War, from the Indian War era. Attached to the saddle is an original, Civil War crupper and link strap. On the underside of the cincha which is still attached to the D-ring and broken quarter strap appeared some distinct but indecipherable inked lettering and a number. We took this strap to the Richmond Conservation Studio, a very fine art conservation service – they utilized a high quality, 35 mm, infrared camera to reveal the lettering and number on the cincha – “G Wilson GW 26” – with some research, we found that this cavalryman was George H. Wilson of the 26th New York Cavalry. We have listed here Wilson’s record. This saddle is in excellent condition – it is exceedingly rare to find an identified enlisted man’s saddle.