Artifacts & Details, Material Culture

1851 US Regulation Blanket 

In the Summer 1984 edition of Military Collector & Historian magazine, there was a wonderful article by Frederick C. Gaede about the US blankets that were in the “Danish Exchange” collection at the War Museum (Krigsmuseet), in Copenhagen, Denmark. The background information on the exchange itself is as important as the article subject itself. I’ll paraphrase his excellent research, much of it accomplished via conversations with the lead curator at the Krigsmuseet.

The exchange originated with Washington Arsenal commander, Major Alfred Mordecai, in the spring of 1852. He had a request for a weapons exchange with the Danish government. Some two years later, they responded favorably, with an additional request for an exchange of military equipment and uniforms. For whatever reasons, the collection of material was delayed for a number of years, until the first orders were sent in February of 1858 to begin the collection of material. All of the equipment was collected, delivered to the Danish envoy, and received in Copenhagen in July, 1858.

In this collection are two examples of the 1851 regulation Army blanket, nominally a ‘infantry’ and a ‘cavalry’ blanket.  The only apparent difference between the two specimens in Denmark is one is approximately 6″ shorter than the other, and neither are marked as to their intended purpose.  Contract specifications of the time are equally ambiguous, with ‘blankets’ being requested, and dimensions being variable at 7 feet by 5 or 5½ feet, weight of 5 lbs each.

The photo is courtesy the Krigsmuseet (formerly Tøjhusmuseet, Copenhagen, Denmark).

The United States Cavalry Saddle, McClellan Pattern, Model 1857, in Tøjhusmuseet, Copenhagen, Dr. James S. Hutchins, Saertryk af Vaabenhistoriske Aarboger, XVI (1970), 146-162

The “Danish Exchange” US Army Blanket,  Frederick C. Gaede, Military Collector & Historian, Summer 1984, Vol. XXXVI No. 2.

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