Model 1859 Civil War Headstall, Reins, Link Strap and Model 1863 Bit
Model 1859 Civil War Headstall, Reins, Link Strap and Model 1863 Bit – This hard to find, original, M1859 headstall and reins, is an essential element in any collection of Civil War, enlisted man’s cavalry equipment. The headstall, constructed of blackened bridle leather, retains its original reins, which is an extreme rarity. These reins are the variety specifically designed for cavalry use, with the two ends of the reins sewn together (artillery reins were joined by a brass-faced horseshoe buckle). At some point, the reins, originally sewn to the bit rings, were cleanly cut, a narrow, straight cut, to remove the reins from a bit – no leather was lost, so the rein loops still easily fit over the bit rings and could readily be repaired, if so desired; regardless, the rig still displays well. This headstall appears to be the mid-war, iteration or the 1863 version or 5-buckle headstall; the 1859 type was a 3-buckle headstall. The buckles retain traces of their original black, japanning. There is a couple of minor seam separations, and the tip of one of the bit straps has been cut off, but does not impact the attachment to the bit proper. Overall, this headstall exhibits wartime use, but remains strong, supple and in overall great condition. The bit is a typical, mid-war, M1863 cavalry bit, with its original US bit bosses. This is the less commonly seen, low port bit. Finally, attached to one of the bit rings, is a Civil War period link strap, in fine condition, with the snap exhibiting most of its original black japanning. We rarely see these headstalls, and we never see the correct, period, cavalry reins.