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Here's a little pile of stuff that I picked up a few months ago.. It belonged to Captain Matt Beaton, HQ 343rd Infantry regiment's XO, (86th Inf Div)
It all had been stored in a trunk since WW1 and came out of an estate sale during the 1960's. Much of the gear was still bright tan and had little to no use..The grouping consisted of almost an entire issue of a trooper's Cavalry gear... I wasn't aware that such an issue would have been made to an Officer in an Infantry regiment. To say I was happy to have found it is an understatement
In the pic are: M-1904 Saddle & saddlebags, Unused M-1904 Halter/headstall by R.I.A. & dated 1915 ! Complete M-1909 bridal dated 1917.
I will do some individual shots later in the week.. Enjoy !
As late as at least the beginning of WWI officers of all branches were required to purchase riding gear as even infantry officers were expected to be able to ride in the execution of their duties. Indeed, somewhere on the forum there's an interesting old thread regarding horses in infantry units.
Partially for that reason, we occasionally run into French saddles that were purchased by US officers, often wartime officers (i.e., men serving only during WWI).
Having said that, I have to think that the ability to ride became of relatively low importance for war time officers due to the shear size, if nothing else, of the WWI Army.
Usually officers didn't buy McClellan saddles, however, so that would make this odd. Are we certain that this is tack acquired during the war, or could it perhaps be an exceptionally nice and complete set purchased post war? I would feel that the completeness of the set does suggest wartime acquisition.
Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
When I first got wind of this group I originally wondered if might have been someone's "collection" from eons ago but after getting it I'd really have to say the grouping has been together since the owner came home in 1919..
Many of the leather items are unit marked to HQ 343rd Inf and the group included unit paperwork. It was packed in a large trunk with shipping labels and contained Captain Beaton's 343rd Inf unit rosters, notebooks orders and shipping receipts sending it from France to his home in the U.S.
Some of the items in the lot were:
M-1904 saddle, M-1904 Halter, M-1909 Bridle, lead rope w/clip & link strap, Picket line & strap, picket pin w/case, 3 sets of spurs, feedbag, brush & curry comb, Saddlebags, small white canvas bucket. leather mapcase containing note books & lots of info on the 343rd Inf. Quite a bit more such as mess gear, haversacks etc.
All in all a great lot and the unused Bridal & halter are exceptional
Congratulations with acquiring, Kration! It's great find and headstall is magnificient. Was there any martingale or breastplate also? Waiting for other photos.
Congrat's In this day and age finding Cavalry equipment in that good of condition is rare. I was taken by my Dad to a farm sale and happen to bid on a trunk that was in a corner of stuff and got the trunk for $5.00. I took it home and after popping the lock. I found a bunch of papers , uniforms from WWI area and a M1911 .45 Cal Auto. This was one issued in 1916. My ex took off with it all in 1976. Lost it all. That was a real great find though.
Here are some pics of the items from the last posting...
Halter... Rock Island Arsenal, Dated 1915 (T.C.C) with steel fittings. Lead rope snap link is blackened steel.
M-1909 Bridal.. MFG by "Clinton" 1918, Blackened hardware & Rosettes. Everything is soft, Nice buff tan and hasn't been on a Horse. Both reins intact.
Last edited by kration on Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Here's some of the small items in the grouping..
HQ 343rd Infantry markings, stamped on much of the leather gear.
Last edited by kration on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
M-1904 Saddle (The top one is from Captain Beatons grouping)
Overall this is a great group and I'm more than happy to be the current caretaker, I never expected to find an unused Halter or M-1909 Bridal.... It shows that stuff is still out there waiting to be found.
Hope everyone has enjoyed the pics.
Really a great find overall. Stuff is just waiting to be found...tucked away somewhere in an attic or an old garage.
I can't find much information about the 343rd Infantry in WWI. They were part of the 86th Infantry Division in WWII but I can't find out for sure if that was the case in WWI. According to their website http://www.86blackhawkdiv.org/PG03.HTM , the division served as a training unit in WWI and eventually was stripped of personnel as replacements for other units. The division was stood down in 1919 and not reactivated until 1942. With that information, I have a theory about the equipment.
Many of the men commissioned as officers for WWI were not professional soldiers and did not intend to stay on after the war. I have read that "temporary" officers were sometimes issued equipment by the unit rather than having to purchase it privately. When the war ended, the Army was faced with standing down dozens of divisions and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and in many cases, nobody really knew what to do with all the equipment of the suddenly-disbanded unit. There are photographs of literally mountains of equipment left behind when the soldiers were mustered out. There are also records of soldiers coming home from WWI with all kinds of equipment -- up to and including firearms -- apparently with the blessing of their superiors. It is not unlikely that Captain Beaton drew tack from unit supply and when the unit stood down, his commander said, "Nobody wants all that junk. If you want it, just take it home with you." That would explain why an officer came home with a complete set of enlisted horse equipment.
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