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U.S. 1859 Pattern Dragoon/Cavalry Saddle Blanket

Discussion in 'Civil War Uniforms & Relics' started by Legion Para, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Legion Para

    Legion Para 1st Lieutenant Forum Host Retired Moderator

    Jul 12, 2015

    First issued with the McClellan Saddle Model 1859 Equipment during the late era of the Dragoon/ Mounted Riflemen and Cavalry regiments. With the redesignated order issued by the Adjutant General’s Office of General Order # 55 dated August 10, 1861 which abolished the three separate Mounted Corps and consolidated them into one Corps designated as Cavalry. Previously to this time frame, the Dragoon branch of service uniform Corps facings were of an orange color, until gradually being replaced by the yellow color for Cavalry. The three inch wide, two horizontal and two vertical stripes woven into this blanket reflect that orange Dragoon Corps.

    The following is taken from the description of the McClellan horse equipment’s, officially termed the Pattern of 1859 as taken from the 1861 Ordnance Manual:


    To be of pure wool, close woven, of stout yarns of an indigo-blue color, with an orange borders 3 inches wide, 3 inches from the edge. The letters U.S., 6 inches high, of orange color, in the center of the blanket. Dimensions, 75 inches long, 67 inches wide. Weight, 3.1875; lbs.; allowance in weight, 0.1875 lbs.

    This example, (while being well used) is still intact. The center US markings are of the regulation 6” in height and are of orange yarn stitched in a serifed pattern. The horizontal and vertical orange stripes are 3” in width and measure 3”from the edges. The current length and width is 72”in length by 62” in width. Bare in mind the discrepancy of a few lost inches are due to fraying and shrinkage on both ends. While the body color had originally been a deep indigo blue, but it now exhibits a faded bluish-gray in appearance, this is the result of oxidation and many washings that this blanket underwent in its lifetime in service. The attrition rate on these blankets must have been tremendous, as they were carried folded and placed beneath the saddle and directly on the horse’s back itself.

    Only two 1859 Pattern saddle blankets are known to exist.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2017

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  3. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

    Aug 21, 2015
    Orange County, Virginia
    Great first hit. Good way to start the new year.
  4. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

    Aug 25, 2012
    Many European armies had a very elaborate system of different saddle blankets. But after the American Revolution the U.S> Army seemed to prefer rather plain ones. Well at least plain when compared with European armies.
  5. Package4

    Package4 First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

    Jul 28, 2015
    This particular blanket walked into the Baltimore Gun Show a few years back and quite a few dealers scoffed at it until one astute individual realized what it was. The orange has faded to a pink and this threw many off saying it was an old re-enactor blanket. I purchased an incredible Louisiana French style pack at that show from the same dealer who identified the blanket, since we were squabbling over the pack (found in Hanover, PA just after Gettysburg) I was at the table when said blanket appeared. I can't remember what the price was after the show, but it was high 5 figures, it is now on consignment at the Horse Soldier for $45K.

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