Saddles of the Trans-Mississippi (District of West Louisiana)

Except for the Red river campaign of early 1864, cavalry played an extremely minor role in the operations of this district. Largely garrisoned by artillery and infantry troops defending its many waterways the ordnance facilities here were taxed to the extreme to supply just the bare essentials for their needs. Still, ordnance facilities like those at the New Iberia Arsenal and Shreveport Arsenals and depots at Alexandria and Monroe are certain to have produced some.

Surviving correspondence and records are almost non-existent. The few that have survived show its shops manufactured only a small number of artillery horse equipment and harness needs including some saddles, bits, collars, hames and other harness needs. Saddle trees, tanned leather, good quality buckles and other iron forgings were very difficult to obtain throughout the war. Though occasionally some artillery equipments were captured or run over the river from Vicksburg or Grand Gulf, few horse equipments were available. In 1864, requests for saddle blankets, curry combs and brushes, likely for artillery, went unfilled but the requests were turned over to the Cotton Board for purchase. Furthermore, with the exception of some one hundred cavalry saddles, bridles, halters and saddle bags “received” from unknown origins at New Iberia in December 1862, no mention whatsoever, of cavalry equipments of any kind could be found.

SOURCE:  Letter books, correspondence and papers of Col. Joseph L. Brent, Chief of Ordnance, Louisiana Historical Collection, #55-L, Howard Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, Louisiana.

Tyler Texas, By William A Albaugh, III, 1953, reprint 1993 by Broadfood Publishing Co. Wilmington, N.C.