Artillery harness

Mike Serpa

Major
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
3a03665u.jpg

  • Title: Artillery harness
  • Date Created/Published: [between 1861 and 1865]
  • Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 20 x 13 cm.
  • Summary: Photograph of engraving showing two horses, one labeled "near wheel horse" and the other "off leader," fitted with an artillery harness.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-USZ61-1956 (b&w film copy neg.)
  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
I was never a farm boy, so this looks pretty complicated to me. But to farm boys of the era, this probably wasn't such a big deal. .....Until the horses got killed in their harness--in which case you'd struggle to transfer the harness to another horse or you'd bring up anything you had in the way of horses or mules and you'd improvise. Or...you'd abandon your big guns and try to make the best of the situation.
 

redbob

Major
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Location
Hoover, Alabama
Dead or wounded horses would be cut out of their harness and the remaining horses would be used to attempt to move the gun. Also, a long rope (a prolong) was carried on the trail of the gun to move it in an emergency by using men to drag it away. The artillery horses were trained for a certain spot on the team, they would go to those spots to be harnessed and with time and practice, the horses could be harnessed rather quickly.
 

Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Location
England
I know nothing about harnesses but in this photo I found, would this be the same harness as the one posted by Mike Serpa?
artillery-demo-8.jpg
 

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Mike Serpa

Major
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
I know nothing about harnesses but in this photo I found, would this be the same harness as the one posted by Mike Serpa?
artillery-demo-8.jpg
I have no idea. One of our horse people might have an answer.
 

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James B White

Captain
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
The drawing doesn't show the off wheel horse, but in the photo, the off wheel horse has a riding saddle too, though no rider obviously. The drawing of the off leader shows no riding saddle and I'd think the off wheel horse would be the same. I'm sure in real life harnesses may have been swapped around when an off harness needed repaired and there was only an extra near one to replace it, and that may be what happened in the photo too.

They also have McClellan saddles rather than the Conestoga type (I think) in the drawing, and the McClellans are covered with black leather rather than the rawhide left bare for cavalry ones. But otherwise it looks quite similar, and may be a match for a slightly different period type.
 

EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Location
Gettysburg, PA
My harness background is in agriculture but the picture and the diagram look the same to me, a side backer harness for wheel horses. Keeps backer straps off the belly. Interesting as @ WW1 they seemed to have switched to more of a driving harness with no collar and a D ring. Collars can have fitment issues between horses wonder if they went to the breast strap to eliminate the issue and make the harness more of a universal fit.
Arty%20of%201913%20Whip.jpg
 

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