Selma Arsenal Pattern Saddle & Horse Equipment

As for horse equipment, it is believed the Selma Arsenal was a significant provider to the western armies though records are sketchy. While primarily known for its iron and general ordnance production it did contract with local manufacturers to supply many other equipment needs. The most prolific of these was the N. Smith Company of Selma which manufactured large numbers of all types of high quality cavalry and artillery horse equipment- nearly half a million dollars worth in just one year! See N. Smith Company.

Another large producer was the Tannehill Iron Works and Tannery which provided finished leather, stirrups, buckles and other iron products to the Selma Arsenal. Other manufacturers like Issac M. Woof and William C. Allen of Prattville contributed some equipment to the overall arsenal production as no doubt, others did too. Though lacking details, using information from the above contractors some conclusions about Selma’s saddlery can be drawn:

Saddles: Saddle equipment issued by the Selma Arsenal were generally of the Jenifer pattern until the summer of 1863 when they switched to the McClellan though apparently not nearly as well made as that described in the Ordnance Manual.

Until early 1864, the contractor-made cavalry saddles were leather with skirts, fenders, cruppers, iron saddle rings, either 1 1/4 or 1 _ inches in diameter and driven in with 1 _ inch iron staples. Quarter strap assemblies utilized either  1 _ or 1 3/4 inch diameter round iron rings. Each saddle was issued with covered wood stirrups, a webb girth, cruppers and approximately _  of the Jenifers saddles had valises issued with them. Evidence indicates the arsenal also provided some cloth covered saddles.

Officer’s saddles: Officer’s appear to be made with breast collars and some with surcingles while the cavalry “privates” models were not. They were also of a higher quality probably due to the grade of leather and stitching, adorned fenders and skirts, and different appearing bridles, halters, cruppers and stirrup leathers.

Bridle: The common private’s bridle was apparently the “halter-bridle” combination using 3/4 (or 7/8) and 5/8 inch iron buckles and an iron bit with a leather throat strap and cotton webb reins. Some would have had a link strap attached with them.

Halter: The halter was primarily an officers item and based upon the Ordnance Manual pattern (five-ring) using the prescribed iron bolt, which was rare elsewhere in the Confederacy. The horse brush was manufactured as described in the Ordnance Manual of 1863. The appearances of other equipment can only be speculated.