US Pattern of 1859 Horse Equipments For The Cavalry Service

1863 costs for Pattern of 1859 Horse Equipments

The following is gathered from the 1861 US Ordnance Manual, and describes completely the regulation ‘Pattern of 1859’ cavalry horse equipments.

A complete set of horse equipments for cavalry troops consists of 1 bridle, 1 watering-bridle, 1 halter, 1 saddle, 1 pair of saddle-bags, 1 saddle-blanket, 1 surcingle, 1 pair of spurs, 1 curry-comb, 1 horse-brush, 1 picket-pin, and 1 lariat; (1 link and 1 nose-bag, when specially required.)



Inspection of Harness and Horse Equipments
Cavalry Equipment Measurements

All the leather is black bridle-leather, not less than 0.1 inch thick, and the buckles are malleable iron flat bar-buckles, blued.


It is composed of 1 headstall, 1 bit, 1 pair of reins.

HEADSTALL.–1 crown-piece, the ends split, forming 1 cheek-strap and 1 throat-lash billet on one side, and on the other 1 cheek-strap and 1 throatlash, with 1 buckle No. 11 A; 2 chapes, and 2 buckles No. 10 A, sewed to the ends of cheek-pieces to attach the bit; 1 brow-band: the ends, doubled and sewed, form 2 loops on each end, through which the cheek-straps, throatlash, and throat-lash billet pass.

Bit, (shear steel, blued.)–2 branches, S.shaped, pierced at top with an eye for the cheek-strap billet, and with a small hole near the eye for the curb-chain, terminated at the bottom by 2 buttons, into which are welded 2 rings No. 5 for the reins. The lower curve of the branch is tangent to the line through the axis of the mouth-piece and the centre of the eye. 1 mouth-piece, curved in the middle: its ends pass through the branches, and are riveted to them; 1 cross-bar, riveted to the branches near the lower ends; 2 bosses, (cast brass,) bearing the number and letter of the regiment and the letter of the company, riveted to the branches with 4 rivets; 1 curbchain hook, steel wire No. 10, fastened to the near branch; 1 curb-chain, steel wire No. 11, curb-chain links 0.7 inch wide, with 1 loose ring in the middle, fastened to the of branch by an S-hook, cold-shut; 1 curb-strap, (leather,) fastened to the curb-chain by 2 standing-loops.
1 curb-ring for bit No. 1 replaces the curb-chain and curb-strap. They are of 2 sizes: No. 1, interior diameter 4 inches; No. 2, 8.75 inches,-the number marked on the outside of the swell. Three-fourths of the bits of this kind to have the large ring, one-fourth the small ring.
There are four varieties of bits; they are all alike below the mouthpiece.

No.1. No.2. No.3. No.4.
Height of arch 2.25 2. 1.5 0.5
Opening of arch 0.8 1.1
Distance of eye from axis of mouth-piece… 1.5 2.25 2.25 2.25
Diameter of mouth-piece at shoulder 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.65
Distance from axis of mouth-piece to axis of cross-bar, 5 inches.
Distance from centre of button to the axis of cross-bar, 0.5 inch.
Length of mouth-piece in all bits, 4.5 inches; square tenon of mouthpiece, .85 inch.
At centre of arch, .325 inch vertical thickness, 0.45 inch horizontal. Thickness of branch at mouth-piece, 0.225 inch.

REINS.–2 reins, sewed together at one end,-the other ends sewed to the rings of the bit.


The watering-bridle is composed of 1 bit and 1 pair of reins.

BIT, (wrought iron, blued.)-2 mouth-piece sides, united in the middle by a loop-hinge: their ends are pierced with 2 holes to receive 2 rings No. 1 for the reins; 2 chains and toggles 8 links, each 1 inch x .55 inch, welded into the rein-rings.

REINS.–2 reins, sewed together at one end,-the other sewed to the rings of the bit.


2 cheek-pieces, sewed, one end to 2 square loops No. 2 A, and the other to
2 cheek-rings No: 1 A; 2 standing-loops for the toggles of the watering-bridle, sewed to the cheek-pieces near to the square loops; 1 crown-piece, sewed to the off cheek-ring; 1 buckle No. 7 A and chape, sewed to the near cheek-ring; 1 nose-band, the ends sewed to the square loops; 1 chin-strap, the ends sewed to the square loops, and passing loose through the hitching-strap ring; 1 throat-strap, folded on itself, making two thicknesses, and forming at top a loop for the throat-band to pass through, and embracing in the fold at the other end 1 bolt, which holds 1 hitching-strap ring; 1 throat-band passes loose through the loop in the throat-strap, and sewed to the cheekrings; 1 hitching-strap, 6 1/2 feet long; 1 buckle No. 6 A, and 1 standing-loop; 1 billet, sewed to the buckle end by the same seam which holds the buckle.


All the leather is black bridle or harness leather, and the buckles are malleable iron blued.
The SADDLE is composed of 1 tree, 2 saddle-skirts, 2 stirrups, 2 stirrup leathers, 1 girth and girth-strap, 1 surcingle, 1 crupper.

SADDLE-TREE.-WOOD, (beech.)-1 pommel, made of 2 pieces framed together at top and glued; 1 cantle, formed of 2 pieces, like the pommel; 2 side bars, (poplar,) each made of 3 pieces glued together: they are glued to the pommel and cantle, and fastened by 2 rivets No. 1, 2 burrs, and 4 nails,–the burrs let in on the under side; 1 strap-mortise in the pommel; 8 strap-mortises in the cantle.

There are three sizes of trees, varying in the length of the seat:
No. 1, 11 inches length of seat, 15 per cent.,
No. 2 11 1/2″ 50% to be marked on the  pommel-ornament.
No. 3 12 35%

IRON.–1 pommel-arc, .1 inch thick, with 3 small holes on top, fastened to the side bars by 4 rivets No. 1; 1 pommel-plate, .1 inch thick, semi-circular, fastened to the front of the pommel by 4 rivets No. 1; 1 cantle-arc, .1 inch thick, with 3 small holes on top, fastened to the side bars by 4 rivets No. 1; 1 cantle-plate .1 inch thick, fastened to the rear of the cantle by 4 rivets No. 1; 2 stirrup-loops, hinged in 2 iron strap., which are fastened to the side bars by 6 rivets No. 1.

The tree is painted with one coat of white lead. It is covered with raw hide, put on wet and sewed with thongs of the same, and held in place by stitches through the wood along the junction of the pommel and cantle with the side bars. The seams are made on the edges of the side bars, where they will not chafe the horse nor rider.

2 rings, held by staples driven into the front ends of side bars; 2 footstaples for coat-straps, fastened to the front of the pommel by 4 brass screws No. 6, inch; 2 crupper-rings, (japanned black,) fastened by staples driven into the rear ends of side bars; 2 foot-staples, fastened to the rear of cantle by 4 brass screws No. 6, inch; 1 guard-plate; 1 pommel-ornament, shieldshaped, (sheet brass,) fastened to the pommel, each by 8 brass screw-pins; 6 guard-plates, fastened to the cantle by 12 screw-pins; 2 foot-staples, fastened on the back strap by 4 brass screws No. 6, inch; 1 saddle-bag stud, fastened on the back strap to the cantle-arc by 2 copper rivets No. 4 C.

2 SADDLE-SKIRTS, (thick harness-leather,) fastened to the side bars by
38 brass screws No. 6, 3/4 inch; 2 stay-loops for the saddle-bag straps, sewed to the rear edge of the skirts.

2 STIRRUPs, (hickory or oak,) made of one piece bent, the ends separated by 1 transom and fastened by 2 iron rivets No. 2 B, 4 burrs each; 2 leather hoods, (thick harness-leather,) fastened to the stirrups by 12 copper rivets No. 4 and burrs,–distance of hood from rear of stirrup, 6 inches; 2 stirrup-straps-2 buckles No. 5 A; 2 sliding-loops–pass through the stirruploops and through a hole cut in the skirt; 2 stirrup-leathers, (thick harnessleather;) 2 standing-loops.

GIRTH.–2 girth-straps pass over the pommel and cantle-arcs, to which they are fastened by 4 copper rivets No. 4 C and 4 burrs: they are fastened to the side bars by 4 brass screws No. 6, inch: the ends are sewed into 2 D-rings No. 1 A; 2 girth-billets, sewed to the straight side of the D-rings;
1 girth, 4.5 inches, (blue woollen webbing;) 1 chape, 1 buckle No. 2 A, 1 standing-loop and 1 safe on the off end, and 1 chape, 1 buckle No. 4 A, 1 D-ring No. 1 A, 1 standing-loop, and 1 safe on the near end; 1 standing-loop on the middle.

6 COAT-STRAPS, 6 buckles No. 11 A, 6 stops: they pass through the mortises in the pommel and cantle and the foot-staples.

CARBINE-THIMBLE.–1 strap; 1 buckle No. 10 A sewed to the socket: the thimble is buckled to the D-ring on the off side of the saddle.

SURCINGLE, 3.25 inches, (blue woollen webbing. )-1 chape, 1 buckle No. 4 A, and 1 standing-loop on one end, and 1 billet on the other; 1 billet-lining, sewed over the end of webbing to the billet; 2 standing-loops near the buckle end.

CRUPPER.–1 dock, made of a single piece and stuffed with hair, the ends sewed to the body of the crupper; 1 body, split at one end, has sewed to it 1 chape and 1 ring No. 8 A; 2 back-straps: each has 1 buckle No. 10 A and 2 sliding-loops: they pass through the rings of the side bars and the ring on the body of the crupper.


The saddle-bags are composed of 2 pouches and 1 seat, the ends of the seat sewed to the pouches. Each pouch has 1 back, sewed to the gusset and upper part of inner front with a welt; 1 gusset, sewed to the back and to 1 outer and 1 inner front with a welt; 1 flap, sewed to the top of the back and to the seat by 2 seams; 1 flap-billet, sewed to the point of the flap; 1 chape and 1 buckle No. 11 A, sewed to the outer front; 1 billet and 1 buckle No. 11 A, sewed to the chape. The seat is sewed to the pouch by the same seams which join the flap to the back of the pouch. It has 2 holes for the foot-staples, and 1 hole for the saddle-bag stud; 2 keystraps, sewed to the seat near its ends; 4 lacing-thongs for the pouches.


To be of pure wool, close woven, of stout yarns of an indigo-blue color, with an orange border 3 inches wide, 3 inches from the edge. The letters U. S., 6 inches high, of orange color, in the centre of the blanket. Dimensions, 75 inches long, 67 inches wide. Weight, 3.1875 lbs.; allowance in weight, 0.1875 lb.

SPURS, (brass.)-2 spurs; 2 rowels; 2 rivets; 2 spur-straps, 19 inches long;
2 roller-buckles No. 11 B; 2 standing-loops.
Length of heel-For No. 1, 3 1/2 inches; for No. 2, 3 1/4 inches, inside mea. Width of heel ” 1, 3 1/4 ” ” 2, 3 ” sure.
Length of shank to centre of rowel, 1 inch.
Diameter of rowel, 0.85 inch.
Weight of pair of spurs and straps .57 lb.

HORSE-BRUSH.–1 body, (maple;) Russia bristles; 1 cover, glued and fastened to the body by 8 screws No. 8; 1 hand-strap, (fair leather,) fastened to the sides of the body by 6 screws No. 5; 2 leather washers under the heads of screws.
Dimensions.–Body, 9.25 inches long, 4 inches wide, .5 inch thick; cover, 0.1 in. thick; bristles project .9 in.; hand-strap, 2 in. wide. Weight, .67 lb.

CURRYCOMB, (iron, japanned black. )-1 body, (sheet iron, 0.4,) the top and bottom edges turned at right angles, forming 2 rows of teeth; 8 double rows of teeth riveted to the body by 6 rivets; 1 cross-bar, riveted across the top by 2 rivets; 1 handle-shank, riveted to the body by 8 rivets; 1 handle, (wood,) turned and painted, passes over the shank, and is held by the riveted end of the shank; 1 ferrule, sheet iron.
Dimensions.–Length 4 inches, width 4.75 inches, thickness .75 inch; length of handle, 4 inches. Weight .75 lb.

PICKET-PIN, (iron, painted black.)-.The parts are, the body, the neck, the head, the swell, the point, 1 lariat-ring around the neck, S-shaped, the larger opening for the lariat.
Dimensions.–Length, 14 in.; diameter at swell, 4 in. from point, .75 in.; at neck, .5 in.; at head, 1 in. Lariat-ring, .2-in, wire, welded. Int. diameter, 1 inch. Weight of pin, 1.25 lbs.

LARIAT.-Best hemp 1 1/4-in. rope, 30 ft. long, of 4 strands, an eye, spliced in one end, the other end whipped with small twine. Weight, 2.88 lbs.

LINK.-1 strap, embracing in the fold at one end 1 spring-hook, and at the other 1 buckle No. 10 A and 1 billet. Weight, .2 lb.

NOSE-BAG, same as that described page 150. 
1 body, (strong linen or cotton duck) 1 bottom, (harness-leather,) 6 inches diameter, 4 inches deep, pressed in a mould, sewed to the body; 1 head-strap with 1 buckle No. 8 and 1 standing-loop, sewed to top of the bottom, and fastened by 2 copper rivets No. 1; sewed to the top of the body and to an inside leather washer by the same seam, and fastened by 1 copper rivet No.1; 1 head-strap billet, sewed to the top of the bottom, and fastened by 2 copper rivets No. 1; sewed to the top of the body and to an inside leather washer by the same seam, and fastened by 1 copper rivet No. 1. Width of bag at top, 15 inches; whole height, 15 inches. [ from page 150 ]

Inspection of Harness and Horse Equipments.
The inspection is made before the parts are assembled. For the convenience of the inspector, the different parts are arranged in separate piles.

MATERIALS.–The quality of the materials is first examined.

The leather should be firm, elastic and pliable, and should be smooth and shaved to a firm surface on the flesh-side. If it feel hard and horny to the hand, or, being bent, it cracks in the grain, or, when cut, it exhibits a hard and shining texture, it is an indication that the leather has not been tanned sufficiently, and it should be rejected. Leather which has been tanned with hemlock should not be received. The traces, the breast-strap and pole-strap, and straps generally, should be made of the strongest leather, and the saddle-skirts of the thickest leather.

The malleable iron parts should be tested by taking some pieces and bending them back and forth to see that they have the requisite toughness.

WORKMANSHIP…..The saddle-trees should be inspected before they are covered, that it may be seen that the proper kind and quality of wood has been used, that the framing of the parts is well done and secured, that the surface is smooth, the angles rounded, and that the irons are properly fastened.

No old or brash wood should be used.

Examine the edges of the different parts of leather, that they are well blacked and rubbed smooth; that the seams are at the proper distances from the edges, according to the width of the parts; that the splices and laps are of the proper length; that the stitching is neatly done with a uniform length of stitch; that the thread is well waxed, and the ends, whenever they occur, secured with a double knot.

Examine the collars, that they are stuffed compactly. Especial care is to be taken to see that no lumps or irregularities occur on the belly, or part which comes against the shoulders of the horse.
See that the billets pass freely through the loops, that the holes are punched at the proper distance from each other in the central line of the billet, and that they just admit the tongue of the buckle with ease and no more.

Observe the rollers of such buckles as have them, that they work freely, and are sufficiently stiff not to be flattened.

See that the seams of the raw hide covering the tree are well made and will not chafe the horse or rider; that the skirts are thinned down where they are fastened to the trees, the screw-heads are well sunk, and there is as little unevenness at this place as possible; that the stirrups are well riveted at top, and the wood is not split by the rivet.

Examine the bits, that they are made of the proper materials; that the mouth-pieces are forged solid; that they and the cross-bars are firmly fitted to the cheek-pieces; that the curb-rings work freely and are properly shouldered to keep them in place; that the watering-bits are free from cracks or flaws at the joint of the mouth-piece.

See that the blueing is, in all cases, of a uniform dark-blue color, free from any yellow tinge.
The general characteristics of all the work should be neatness and strength.

All the parts are finally measured and verified, to see that they conform in shape and dimensions to the established patterns.

Part Name Component Qty Width
Size Rings
Bridle Crown-piece 1 1.425 52 50.5 2 No. 10A    
  Brow-band 1 0.75 19.75 16.25 1 No. 11A    
  Bit-billets 2 0.75 10.5 9.5        
  Curb-chain safe 1 0.85 5.5 5.5        
  Curb-chain loops 2 0.625 3 0.75        
  Reins 2 0.75 64 60        
Watering-Bridle Reins   2 0.875 61 58        
Halter Cheek-pieces 2 1.25 13.5 8.5     2 loops
2 rings
No. 2A
No. 1A
  Cheek-piece loops 2 1 1.25 1.125        
  Crown-piece 1 1.125 27 24.5        
  Do. chape 1 1.125 8 2.75 1 No. 7A    
  Nose-band 1 1.25 18.5 13.5        
  Chin strap 1 1.25 19.25 14.25        
  Throat strap 1 1.25 14.625 6.125     1 ring
1 halter bolt
  Throat band 1 1 23 18        
  Hitching strap 1 1.25 84 81 1 No. 7A    
  Hitching strap billet 1 1.25 12 9        
Link Strap 1 0.75 16 11 1 No. 10A    
  Billet 1 0.75 10 8        
Saddle Skirts 2 15 16 16        
  Stay loops for saddlebags 2 0.625 3 2.875        
  Stirrup hoods 2 14 8.5 8.5        
  Stirrup straps 2 1.375 56 53 2 No. 5A    
  Stirrup leathers 2 13.5 9 9        
  do. loops 2 2 2.87 1.5        
  Stirrup strap loops 2 1.25 5.25 1.375        
  Girth straps – Front 1 1.25 44 39      2
  Girth straps – Rear 1 1.25 46.5 41.5      
  Girth billets – Near side 1 1.375 60 57        
  Girth billets – Off side 1 2 20 17.5        
  Coat straps 6 0.625 35 33        
  Coat strap stops 6 0.625 1 1         
Carbine Thimble 1 2.5 8.25 2.25 dia.        
  Strap 1 0.75 12 11 1 No. 10A    
Crupper Dock 1 3 16 12         
  Body 1 1.75 14.75          
  Chape 1 1.125 5.25 3.25 1 No. 3A    
  Back straps 2 0.75 30.75 28.75        
  Strap loops 2 0.75 2.5 1        
Girth Webbing 1 4.5 17 16.25        
  Chape – off side 1 2 6.75 4.75 1 No. 4A    
  Chape – near side 1 2 7 5 1 No. 2A 1 D-ring No. 1A
  Chape-loop – off side 1 1.25 3.5 2.5        
  Chape-loop – near side 1 1 3.5 1.5        
  Safe – off side 1 3 5.5 5.5        
  Safe – near side 1 3.375 7 7        
  Girth billet-loop 1 1 4.5 4.5        
Surcingle Webbing 1 3.5 55 54        
  Loops 2 0.75 3.5 3.5        
  Chape 1 2 6.5 4 1 No. 4A    
  Chape-loops 1 0.8 3 1.75        
  Billet 1 1.9 33 30        
  Billet-lining 1 2 4 4        
Saddlebags Seat 1 6.875 18.75 18        
  Key-straps 2 0.8 5 5        
  Pouch – Backs 2 9.25 9.4 9.2        
  Pouch – Gusset 2 3.5 23.5 23        
  Pouch – Outer front 2 9.25 7.5 7.3        
  Pouch – Inner front 2 9.25 9.4 9.2        
  Pouch – Flap 2 7.7 7.4 7        
  Pouch – Flap billets 2 0.625 5.5 4 2 No. 11A    
  Stay-strap chape 2 1.375 5.5 3 2 No. 11A    
  Stay-strap billets 2 0.625 11 10        
  Lacing-thongs – Long 2 0.25 16          
  Lacing-thongs – Short 2 0.25 12          

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