Rare Id’d Civil War U.S. Light Artillery Saddle Valise


Rare Id’d Civil War U.S. Light Artillery Saddle Valise – This fine saddle valise is almost identical to the rarely found, U.S. issued, Civil War artillery, saddle valise. These valises were attached to the Grimsley, artillery valise saddle, which was mounted on the so-called “off-horse” in a six-horse, light artillery gun battery. The valise provided a storage compartment for the mounted, light artilleryman’s gunner’s tools. Very few of these valises survive today. Actual artillery valises are always “D-shaped”, with carrying handles at each end; they have a heavy cover flap, beneath which is an interior flap, closed via multiple, footed iron staples, affixed to the body of the valise, which slipped through slots in this inner flap. Artillery valises have a pillow ticking lining on the inside of the valise cover flap, with an opening in this ticking, in the center, for storage. The interior of the artillery valise was also lined, some with pillow ticking, others with some kind of printed fabric. There were straps and japanned, roller buckles to keep the outer valise flap closed.

This valise matches the above-described characteristics inherent in U.S. Issue, Civil War Light Artillery saddle valises. The interior fabric lining the body of the valise, is a fine, blue-colored, printed cotton, in excellent condition. The pillow ticking lining the inner cover flap is also in fine condition. The only significant difference between this valise and an issue valise is that this valise has some well-executed, impressed decorative elements on the outer cover, end caps and inner body and flap. Attached to one end cap of the valise is a high quality, heavy brass, raised rectangular escutcheon, on which is engraved: “E. Bingham, Auburn, NY”. All straps, roller buckles, as well as both end handles, are in place and remain in strong condition. The valise measures as follows: Length – 21.25”; Width – 9”; Depth – 6.75”.

The ID engraved on the escutcheon represents Private Ernest K. Bingham, who, at age 18, enlisted at Rochester, NY (about 60 miles from Aurora), on September 26, 1864, in the 20th New York Light Artillery. He was subsequently mustered out of the service on July 31, 1865. The 20th NY Light Artillery saw little service, perhaps explaining the fine condition of this rare valise.

 Ernest K. Bingham

Residence was not listed; 18 years old.

Enlisted on 9/26/1864 at Rochester, NY as a Private.

On 9/26/1864 he mustered into NY 20th Light Artillery

He was Mustered Out on 7/31/1865 at New York, NY

From the Roster of the 20th NY Light Artillery:

BINGHAM, ERNEST K.—Age, 18 years. Enlisted, September 26, 1864, at Rochester; mustered in as private, September 26, 1864, to serve one year; mustered out with battery, July 31, 1865, at New York city.

 20th NY Light Artillery Battery

( 3-years )

Organized: New York City, NY on 12/1/62Mustered Out: 7/31/65 at New York City, NYOfficers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 0

Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 0

Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 0

Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 6

(Source: Fox, Regimental Losses)


New York


(Three Years)

June 3, 1862, Franklin W. Willard received authority to recruit a battalion of light artillery.  November 16, 1862, the several companies of this battalion, serving at Fort Columbus, New York harbor, and being in process of organization, were consolidated into two,and designated the 20th and 28th Batteries, Light Artillery, and the battalion, never really organized, discontinued.




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