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MODEL 1885 CARBINE BOOTS – VERY GOOD SPECIMENS:   These Model 1885 Carbine Boots were adopted as a result of the 1884 Cavalry Equipments Board, and placed into service prior to the publication of Ordnance Memoranda No. 29 in 1891 by which time the longer, brass throated Model 1887 Carbine Boot supplanted these shorter boots. 

As discussed in detail on pages 137-156 of Indian War Cartridge Pouches, Boxes, and Carbine Boots by R. Stephen Dorsey, the Model 1885 Carbine Boot was subjected to several modifications of the original pattern once the boots were issued to the troops in the field.  The modifications, executed to adjust the position the boot hung on the saddle, or to correct an error in the original assembly at the arsenal, are an interesting facet of the story of Indian War accoutrements and they are worthwhile addition to any collection. 

Each carbine boot is individually described below with accompanying photographs.


NO. 1  MODEL 1885 CARBINE BOOT – SECOND PATTERN – WITH INTERESTING ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL HISTORY:  A very interesting example on several different levels, this boot exhibits a well documented anomaly found only on early production specimens. 

As discussed in detail on pages 139, 148, and 150 in Dorsey’s Indian War Cartridge Pouches, Boxes and Carbine Boots, these early production Carbine Boots show evidence of having been assembled incorrectly at the Rock Island Arsenal.  Apparently, either through an incorrectly executed drawing, or a error on the part of the bench workers in viewing the drawing, a significant number of these early pattern boots were assembled in reverse at the arsenal and shipped out to the units in this configuration.

The empty rivet hole at the upper left hand corner of the face of this boot is evidence that  it was improperly assembled with the suspension strap riveted to the outside face as if it were designed to hang on the left side of the saddle, instead of as it was designed to hang on right hand side.  These incorrectly assembled boots apparently passed inspection and were issued to the cavalry companies on the frontier as some examples with the strap still in the incorrect position have been seen with unit applied inventory stamps, indicating the boot was accepted into the unit inventory and was stamped with the unit inventory number in preparation for being issued to a soldier without anyone questioning the design flaw.  As is the case with this boot, it is believed the majority of these incorrectly assembled boots were modified at the unit level by moving the suspension strap to back of the boot. 

In spite of obvious issue and use, this boot is in full form and has survived in very good  condition with a bright, shiny leather surface overall, with minimal crazing and isolated spots of flaking.  All of the straps are full length and the buckles are present.  The “ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL” stamp is fully legible as are the unit inventory stamps, as is the inspector’s stamp on the end of the upper suspension strap.  The rivet holding the upper strap to the body has lost the head and burr, and I suspect this may have been done intentionally during the period of use.  It has been noted that a number of these boots were modified in a variety of different ways to allow the straps to be buckled over the pommel of the saddles in order to carry the carbine across the soldier's lap when mounted.  This placed the carbine in a position for ready use, and also provided a more secure means of carrying it as opposed to hanging down the side of the horse.   

This Model 1885 Carbine Boot is a historical specimen as an example of one of the more interesting episodes of Rock Island Arsenal history.  (0218) $225


NO. 2  MODEL 1885 CARBINE BOOT – FIRST PATTERN w/ FIELD MODIFICATION - UNIT IDENTIFIED TO 7TH REGIMENT US CAVALRY, COMPANY A - EXCELLENT SPECIMEN:  That this carbine boot was issued to a cavalry company on the frontier is evidenced by the unit applied inventory stamps on the face of the boot, “A 7 6”, indicating this boot was the property of Company A of the famous 7Th US Cavalry Regiment, item No. 6.  

This boot features a typical early field modification directly addressed on page 149 of the above named reference.  The lower body strap has been moved up the body of the boot and riveted in place.  In this configuration, the two body straps virtually divide the length of the boot in thirds and evidently improved the security of the boot when attached to the saddle than was affected by the original placement of the straps.   

While showing evidence of having been issued, this boot is in full form and in excellent condition with a bright, smooth shiny leather surface overall.  The “ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL” stamp is fully legible as are the unit inventory stamps, and the inspector’s stamp on the end of the upper suspension strap.  The suspension strap is full length, as is the lower body strap.  The upper body strap has been shortened with carefully executed cuts that shaped the tip of the strap – the quality of work one expects to see from the company saddler and likely done during the period of use.  Shortening the straps of horse equipment was a common practice to reduce the amount of loose leather that could snag and cause problems for the horse and the soldier.  Both of the buckles are present with their original black japanned finish intact. 

This Model 1885 Carbine Boot is a historical specimen not only with the very desirable unit markings from the famous 7Th Cavalry Regiment, but also as an example of one of the well documented modifications executed by the soldiers serving on the frontier.  This is an excellent specimen that would be difficult to upgrade.  SOLD


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