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MODEL 1859 CIVIL WAR McCLELLAN SADDLE CRUPPER RARE SPECIMEN MANUFACTURED AT ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, DATED 1909:  Long established as an integral piece of horse equipment, by the onset of the Civil War a Model 1859 Crupper was one of the basic components of every McClellan Saddle.   

This strap assembly attached to the rear equipment rings on the side bar extensions behind the cantle and the padded loop was fitted under the horse’s tail.  So attached, the Crupper prevented the saddle from riding forward on the horse’s shoulders particularly when the horse was being ridden down an incline.   

The number of cruppers produced during the Civil War years guaranteed the regular army a “lifetime” supply without any addition production in the post-War years.  As late as 1879, the Ordnance Department was still reporting significant amounts of surplus Civil War horse equipment in new, unissued condition which was fit for use and held in inventory – i.e. McClellan Saddles - 42,000; stirrups – 23,000; watering bridles – 19.000; spurs and straps – 92,000; canteens – 267,000.  No doubt there were similar numbers of cruppers in the same warehouses.   

With this surplus in mind, it is no surprise that the majority of cruppers which appear on the market today – in fact, every single one I have seen over the last 30 years - were manufactured during the Civil War years.  That is, until this specimen surfaced in an old comprehensive collection of US Military horse equipment.   

Made in the exact same pattern as the Model 1859 Cruppers produced during the Civil War, this specimen is stamped “R.I.A.” and dated “1909”, indicating it was manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1909.  This date of manufacture was long after the crupper had been deleted from the standard saddle issue sometime in the 1870’s.  There is no doubt that this is an original piece.  This crupper was made of russet leather, the correct color of leather for the period in which it was made, and the inspector’s initials adjacent to the arsenal stamp is correct for this period.  Obviously, someone at the arsenal or a unit in the field decided there was a need and perhaps by that time, the surplus Civil War cruppers had been sold into the civilian surplus market or were no longer serviceable.  Either way, that this crupper – and presumably an unknown quantity of others – was produced with a specific reason in mind will be yet another mystery which will remain buried in the history of the Ordnance Department.      

This specimen is complete with all straps, buckles and standing loops and appears to be unissued as it shows no sign of wear or use.  The leather surface of the tail loop is smooth.  The balance of the leather surfaces of the straps has some minor flexing, but no crazing or flaking.  All of the leather is intact, without any breaks or cracks, and the leather is supple.  The two buckles are not corroded and still retain much of their original blued finish.  

This is a particularly interesting example of the Model 1859 Crupper and it would a good addition to your cavalry equipment collection.  SOLD

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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