Nashville Arsenal / Depot Pattern Calvary Saddle & Horse Equipments

In spite of the loss of many records in the Depot fire there is ample documentation surviving or available from contractor’s files which describe the horse equipment made under contract at Nashville during its brief existence. In a letter from Lt. Wright to Col. Gorgas on Jan. 31, 1862, Wright writes, “I get an excellent cavalry saddle with bridle, valise, crupper and breast strap complete on McClellan tree for $22.50.” …..”Saddles finished as required of Ordnance Manual”

A study of related letters and contracts describes this equipment as of the McClellan Pattern saddle with fenders, covered wood stirrups, crupper, breast strap, valise, halter-bridle and moss saddle blanket and no doubt very similar to those detailed in the Federal 1861 Ordnance Manual.

Additional notes on Nashville equipments: Bits were of unknown configuration but some brass plated bits appear in the records. The moss blanket appears to be the most common, if not the only, issue blanket. Saddle bags were of leather construction. Nose bags were provided with each set made of good duck material, leather bottom well sewn with saddle makers or cord thread. Some saddle holsters were issued. Canteen straps are described as of 7/8 inches wide and infantry shoulder belts (One and three quarters inches wide) of the same cotton webb material.

**   It is worthy of note that detailed descriptions for similarly contracted cavalry equipment were found for the Atlanta Arsenal after its removal from Nashville. These are found in the same “Contract Record Book” and written by the very same Ordnance officers as those from Nashville. This record and others indicates that both the Nashville and Atlanta Arsenals produced nearly identical horse equipment. The lone exceptions being the adaption of the McClellan saddle pattern (but no manufacture of the Texas saddle) and prevalence of saddle bags as opposed to valises.

A study of contracts and letters between commander Wright and various contractors reveals a set of cavalry Equipments consisted of a McClellan saddle, the tree to be covered with rawhide and furnished with slings (quarter straps), Crupper, Breast strap, Stirrup leathers with fenders, covered wood stirrups, girth (cotton linen or rolled cotton) and saddle bags. A halter-bridle, with at least six stitches sewn to the inch, and all laps to be twice as long as the strap is wide. The reins of enameled, stitched cotton webb containing at least 500 threads.  All details as otherwise described in the Confederate Ordnance Manual.