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MODEL 1870 DYER “E” POUCH – VERY RARE EARLY INDIAN WARS TRIAL SET COMPLETE WITH PROPER SLING AND CARBINE SNAP SWIVEL – EXCELLENT SET:   Tested during the 1870 Equipment Trials, this  Model 1870 Dyer “E” Pouch, complete with the proper sling, and unique carbine snap swivel, is the easily the rarest and most sought after of the early Indian War accoutrements, eluding many of the most ardent collectors.  One of the several patterns issued during the famous 1870 equipment trials, there were only 100 specimens of this pouch manufactured at the Watervliet Arsenal.  As these pouches were issued to the troops in the field for trial, and were issued to several different units during the course of the trials and evaluation, it is not surprising that few of these pouches - perhaps no more than a total of twenty specimens - survived the trials to be found in collections today.   

The forbearer of the series of Dyer pouches that would serve the army through the 1880’s, this pouch was designed by Chief of Ordnance Alexander Dyer.  The “E” designation was derived from the letters assigned by the Equipment Board to identify each sample of the various patterns of cartridge boxes and pouches submitted for testing.  Intended to serve several requirements of the mounted soldier, the main compartment of the pouch was large enough to carry 60 rounds of .50-70 or 70 rounds of Spencer ammunition.  The small pouch on the front of the main compartment was intended to carry the soldier’s pistol ammunition, as well as the maintenance tool for the weapons.  Finally, the pouch was mounted on a leather sling fitted with a carbine snap swivel to secure the soldier’s carbine as the earlier and wider carbine slings had been employed.  The pouch was also fitted with two belt loops that would allow the pouch to be worn on the soldier’s waist belt rather than the sling.   

This set has survived in very good condition in spite of definitive evidence that this particular pouch experienced service in the hands of the soldiers.  The pouch is complete with all the components, to include the two side “ears” on the main flap.  The gusset is intact and still supple.  Both the outer and inner flaps are complete with little if any wear evident around the holes that closed over the finial.  The outer flap is legibly stamped “US WATERVLIET ARSENAL”.  The leather surfaces are overall very good, with some minor crazing on the outer flap.  The surfaces of the inner flap and body are smooth and bright with no crazing.  Both belt loops and both brass sling loops on the reverse are present and show no signs of weakness or wear.  The sheepskin lining is still present on the interior of the back panel and while worn, some of the white wool is still present.  There is a well executed modification to the integral closing tab on the outer flap, likely the result of the bulk of a full load of ammunition making it difficult to keep the pouch closed.  The ingenious remedy is attached with well executed stitching and is a simple, yet effective solution.  An extra billet was sewn to the tip of the flap below the finial hole with a short second layer of leather to form a catch or stop.  A second lateral strap is sewn to the face of the pouch body just above the gusset that forms a loop.  To close the flap, the flap billet is fed through the lateral strap, and the leather stop on the billet prevents the billet from pulling through the loop unless manipulated by the soldier.  The quality of the stitching indicates that this modification was likely executed by an experience leather worker at one of the arsenals or depots, rather than by a private soldier.     

The sling is full form, measuring 1 5/8” wide, 74 ˝” long and is complete with both leather keepers, the two brass adjusting hooks and the brass frame adjusting buckle.  The leather surface of the sling is clear with no crazing or flaking and only minimal flexing in the expected areas where the sling folds through the brass loops.  The carbine snap swivel is unique to this set, as the interior dimension of the swivel and roller assembly is 1.75” wide versus the 2.5” of the Civil War Sling Swivel and the 1.5” of the Model 1885 Swivel.  These Model 1870 snap swivels are typically marked only with an assembly number “9” or “G” inside the snap and that character is present on this specimen.  The snap swivel is in very good condition with much of the original blue finish present.  

The rarity of this Dyer “E” Pouch and Sling set cannot be overstated and they are the type of collectable that normally passes quietly from one collection to another, never being offered on the open market.  This set is the preeminent Indian War accoutrement, and will be the perfect addition to display with one of the 1870 Trial carbines.  $7750

 

 
 
 
 

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