Major Contract Supplier to Montgomery Arsenal

MAY,  CHARLES P.                                                     8 Market St.,     Montgomery, Ala.
Another Antebellum and postwar saddlery. This firm produced large numbers of cavalry equipment by contract to the Montgomery Arsenal from May 1861 through April 1864 including: saddles (1,245 Jenifer and three “Spanish”); bridles (1,914 halter-Bridles); valises (2,765); halters (36); bits (33); nose bags (2,805); martingales (93); cruppers (81); pistol holsters (1,700); carbine slings and holders (64); sabre belts and cartridge boxes (322) and enameled haversacks. May remained in business after the war until about 1873.

Much of the horse equipment was sold to the Montgomery Arsenal as “sets” which included a Jenifer saddle (unknown configuration), bridle and valise with straps. The saddles included a webb girth but excluded cruppers which appear to have been a special order item. Bridles were the halter-bridle combination and included the bit. Like the crupper, halters appear to be a special order item possibly for officer’s sets only.

Contracts and subsequent invoice payments to Charles P. May were very numerous and steady
from October 1862 through July 1863. No saddles were delivered after May of 1863 except for the three “Spanish” saddles later that July. For some unknown reason, delivery of all leather goods cease as of July 19th. Thereafter, only the sporadic delivery of small numbers of metal products, i.e. buckles, bits, and curry combs, continued into the spring of 1864.

Pricing:      1861       1862          1863          1864          1865
Saddles     —              $25             —            —          —
Bridles    $3.30          $ 8             $10         $15         —
Valises     —         45-$7.50        $7.50         —         —
Nose Bags $1.25   $1.25-$2.50   $5             —        —
Sets:      $28.50         $35-$50     $55           — –            —

GUE, JOSEPH                                                          No. 13 Market St.  Montgomery, Ala.

Antebellum saddlery and one of the Western Confederacy’s largest suppliers of leather equipment, principally cavalry horse furniture, to the Montgomery Arsenal.
From October 1861 through February 1864, the Ordnance Bureau purchased a staggering $260,000 in equipment from Joseph Gue. These purchases included many “sets of cavalry equipments” and other individual saddles (including some Officers saddles), valises, bridles, link straps, saddle blankets, girths, bits, halter reins, stirrups, link straps, gun (carbine) slings, spurs, harnesses, infantry accoutrements (waist belts, cartridge and cap boxes), artillery belts and scabbards, knapsacks, canteen straps and other accoutrements.

All “sets” of saddles included a Jenifer saddle, bridle and valise (at $28.50-$50) and were purchased from early 1862 until May of 1863 when cavalry horse equipment purchases abruptly though temporarily cease. Beginning in January of 1864, the McClellan saddle with breast strap and crupper (for $65) was then provided. Officer’s saddles appear on the books in early 1862 as do a few “Spanish saddles”.

Total production:
Saddles:                    2,917
Valises:                     4,262
Bridles:                     4,664
Link straps:                  360
Saddle blankets:             80
Girths:                         144
Halter reins:                   78
Spurs:                       3,903 pairs
Gun (carbine) slings:  1,075  (Gun slings were $2 each or $4.75 with snaps. A few of these had brass buckles and tips.)

PRICES:     1861           1862             1863              1864
Sets:                        $28.50-$50         $50
Saddles:                                        $31-$32.50        $65 (McClellan)
Bridles:                                            $9-$10            $25
Valises:                                            $5-$7.50          none
Blankets:                        $2
Stirrups:                                           $1/pr.
Link Straps:                                     $1.25
Carbine Boot:                 $2
Officers Saddle:                                $90
Officers Bridle:                                 $22
Gun Slings:               $4.75/brass
$2 w/o brass