Abstract Summary of Augusta Arsenal Horse Equipment Issues

Through the summer and fall of 1861 the great Confederate Powder Works remained under construction until it was officially opened in the spring 1862. The Arsenal however, having been previously a U.S. facility utilized this important time to expand those facilities and to contract for and manufacture some equipments, ammunition, powder, fuses and other articles, though there was little of the large scale equipment production that would characterize its later successes until mid-1862.

Records indicate virtually no cavalry equipments of any kind were received, purchased, fabricated or issued during the fourth quarter 1861 and likely little if any, before this time.

SOURCE:  WDCCR Group 109, Entry 39, Ordnance Dept. Miscellaneous.

From July 1862, the first date of record, to the end of the year large amounts of Cavalry saddles bridles, halters, and saddle bags were issued or shipped from Augusta. The vast majority going to the Armies in the west with only rare shipments going to Richmond for issuing to the Army of Northern Virginia. Almost the whole of what was sent to Richmond was horse brushes, nearly 10,000 in all.
The Army of Tennessee received the most of the horse equipments shipped from Augusta by way of continuous shipments to Ordnance officers at Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville and other direct locations of the army. Charleston also received a considerable amount with Jackson Mississippi receiving some too.

1,225 “Sets” Cavalry Equipments (Saddle, bridle, halter, probably nose bag, horse brushes,                         1,287 Saddle bags                                                                           comb and blanket)
65 Moss Saddle Blankets
717 Saddles
671 Bridles
972 Halters
910 Nose bags
10,118 Horse Brushes
75 Curry Combs


With the exception of horse brushes and curry combs insurances of horse equipments appear to fall off dramatically in the first eight months of 1863. After August the numbers of sets of Cavalry equipments and large amounts of individual equipments issued somewhat pick up again. Significantly, large numbers of horse brushes and curry combs continue, throughout the period, to go to Richmond for issuance to the armies in Virginia. However, by far and away the Army of Tennessee continues to be the recipient of the vast majority of the Cavalry equipments from Augusta. These are shipped most often through the Ordnance establishments in Atlanta and Chattanooga or directly to Ordnance officers and units in the field.  A lesser amount are sent to Charleston and Macon as requisitioned by those Arsenals. An increasing number of equipments are being issued to Georgia troops, particularly Cobb’s Legion. Interestingly, the arsenal issued some pikes in September to Wheeler’s Dragoons, of Capt. W. E. Dearings’s home guards.
Most manufacturing was done at the arsenal but some was contracted to private manufacturers during the year. A small amount of leather and hardwares used in equipment manufacturing  were shipped to other Arsenals and private manufacturers. These are probably in trade for raw materials needed in Augusta, or in the case of the private manufacturers, the finished goods themselves.
Most of the entries in this record are for single sets of English Cavalry horse equipments either issued or sold to individual officers of Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, engineering, provost and Surgeons. The more notable of these was Major Gen. Howell Cobb, Brig. Gen. H. Gracie, Brig. Gen. Robertson, Col. W.P. Johnson of President Jefferson Davis’ staff and Col. Johnson of Gen. Bragg’s staff.
Imported  English artillery “Numnahs” or felt pads first appear in the record as of August 17, 1863.


93 Sets Cavalry Equipment
119 Sets NEW English Cavalry Equipments
51 Sets Second hand English Cavalry Equipments
83 Saddles
79 Saddlebags
84 Bridles
66 Halters
247 Numnahs
1 Bale Horse Blankets
140 Nose Bags
31,115 Horse Brushes
13,031 Curry Combs
431 Rolls Leather

As with earlier years insurances in 1864 are sporadic until the fall with the exception of two large lump sums of sets of Equipments issued in late spring. Large numbers of brushes and curry combs are shipped out in the winter and spring of 1864 with most of these going to the Army of Tennessee and to Demopolis, Alabama presumably for troops in Mississippi and Alabama. A smaller amount went to Charleston.
Once again most of the entries in this record are for single sets of Confederate-made or English Cavalry horse equipments issued or sold to individual Cavalry, Artillery, engineering, provost officers and Surgeons.

Late August marks the first entry of oil cloth saddles and saddle bags. Major Winnemore, the Augusta Quartermaster responsible for transporting all Ordnance supplies throughout the war, was issued one of them and even Brigadier General B.D. Fry was forced to accept this lesser excuse as replacement for his own personal horse equipments.

Late in the fall and early winter 1865 the majority of the horse equipments issued went to Wheelers Cavalry and local home guards and  Cavalry being assembled by General Young to confront Sherman’s march through Georgia.

708 Sets Cavalry Equipments
19 Sets NEW English Cavalry Equipments
12 Sets Second Hand English Cavalry Equipments
211 Leather Saddles
285 Oil Cloth Saddles
52 Leather Saddle Bags
23 Oil Cloth Saddle Bags
470 Bridles
40 Bits
167 Halters
138 Numnahs
225 Moss Saddle Bags
6 Horse Blankets
45 English saddle covers
1,970 Nose Bags
6,246 Horse Brushes
5,183 Curry Combs

The last few months of the war saw a surprising number of equipments shipped from Augusta in spite of the very brief period. Large numbers of equipments, particularly complete sets of equipments were issued to Generals commanding Cavalry and home guards assembled in Augusta to protect the Arsenal, and to Army of Tennessee Cavalry making its way through Georgia to the Carolina’s in an effort to obstruct Sherman’s march. However, most insurances are small numbers of individual equipments like bridles, halters, saddle blankets, etc. to the many fragmented units of Cavalry. Furthermore, some singular sides of leather are issued to individual units probably for equipment repairs.
In the final weeks the Arsenal’s growing isolation contributed to its increasingly confusing and chaotic situation. Discipline is failing. While record keeping continues they are not as thorough as they once were. Now, even the clerk’s handwriting is sloppy and inconsistent. Its obvious the Arsenal at this time was purging its remaining stores including horse equipments as a great many equipments were issued in a very short period of time.

Interestingly, one of the last insurances of horse equipments was sent to the Chief of the Ordnance Department.  After the fall of Richmond General Gorgas was making his way South. In surely one of his last orders to Augusta he ordered 121 sets of Cavalry equipments and 171 moss saddle blankets to Charlotte North Carolina. It is doubtful they made it there.

888 Sets Cavalry Equipments
51 Leather Saddles
190 Oil Cloth Saddles
5 Leather Saddle Bags
214 Bridles
86 Halters
28 Halter Bridles
600 Headstalls
6 Numnahs
901 Moss Saddles Blankets
932 Horse Brushes
1,148 Curry Combs