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ORIGINAL ca. 1850 US ARMY CAVALRY BARRACK FURNISHINGS BLUE PRINTS – 2 FULL SIZED SHEETS – RACKS FOR ARMS, UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT:  This is an original 2 sheet set of US Army Blue Prints for the construction of the interior furnishings for Cavalry Barracks, and the arms, uniforms and equipment depicted in the schematics are all those which were in service in the US Army during the mid-to-late 1850’s.  Submitted to the 36th US Congress (in session from March of 1859 through March of 1861) probably as part of the annual budget request, this set of blue prints may very well be a unique surviving set, or at the very least may be the only set to exist outside the permanent Congressional record held in the National Archives.   

The two sheets, measuring 26” by 20” are titled “CAVALRY BARRACKS – FURNITURE FOR THE QUARTERS, PLATE 38” AND “CAVALRY BARRACKS – FURNITURE OF THE COMPANY QUARTERS”.  As can be seen in the photographs below, these sheets illustrate the racks and cupboards which held the soldiers’ arms, uniforms, hats and helmets, uniforms, boots and horse equipment, as well as several views of the arrangement of this equipment around and over the soldiers’ individual bunks.  While the original printing of these types of documents was sufficient to provide at least one facsimile to each member of the House of Representatives, the Senate, their staffs, as well as army personnel and possibly civilian contractors, once the subject matter was no longer of interest or was outdated, there was no reason to maintain them on file.  Disposed of as surplus paper or trash, the survival rate is obviously very low.   

All of the printing is clear and legible and with the exception of minor foxing due to age, the sheets are clean and free of stains.  In an attempt to provide adequate photographs of the various diagrams, different lighting was necessary and the variance in color and clarity seen in the photos is not present on the blue prints, rather they have the standard ivory document coloring that is consistent throughout.  Both sheets are complete, however due to being folded for some time in storage; both sheets have separations along a few of the creases.  There is no loss of the paper, all of the separations have clean edges and when framed, these separations would not show.   

Documents from the antebellum years of the US Army have never been common, and it is nothing shy of remarkable that these blue prints survived the passage of time not only intact, but as a matched pair.  Depicting the Cavalry Barracks of those early years, this unique and very rare set would be a centerpiece to display with arms and equipment of the period, whether it was in a museum or a private collection.  $325


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