The following was first published in the Journal of the United State Cavalry Association, October 1915. The author, Capt. Edward Davis, had since accomplished in his duties as secretary for the Cavalry Equipment Board that had developed the equipment set, commonly referred to as the M1912 Cavalry Equipments. Given his previous interest in the history of the McClellan saddle, this extended follow-up article four years later clearly illustrated his interest in developing a comprehensive history of US cavalry gear.
CAVALRY EQUIPMENT-PAST AND PRESENT.
CAPTAIN EDWARD DAVIS, THIRTEENTH CAVALRY.
Human nature seems to fortify he confidence of each successive generation by giving it a marked degree of self sufficiency. This innate feeling of superiority is wisely tempered by the trait of curiosity as to the deeds of the past. Where this curiosity leads a people to add the lessons of the past to their natural self-confidence, we find a nation characterized by thoroughness. Without that addition the product is
merely a spirited superficiality.
The American Cavalry, as an institution, can claim no vastly extended experiences, as compared with European Cavalry, but it can claim a series of intensified activities, productive of valuable lessons, peculiarly applicable to our national necessities in so far as they can now be foreseen. Our predecessors in the mounted service were actuated by a desire to improve conditions and they made many experiments with a view to progress. The documents pertaining to their efforts regarding equipment include interesting letters, drawings and specifications. Some of the ideas thus proposed developed into service equipment; others, through lack of practicability, or because of insufficiency of current scientific attainments, or perhaps on account of commercial or other personal hostile influences were destined to remain undeveloped or to await a more favorable period. Ideas incapable of application at one time, became sufficient at a later date, perhaps through a new discovery as to metals, or by reason of the progress of mechanical appliances, such as tools, dies and machinery.
The history herewith presented, in the form of extracts from old papers and reproductions of old drawings, will interest those who value the experiences of their predecessors and will be pleasing to all who confess the pardonable curiosity of the antiquarian.
THE GRIMSLEY EQUIPMENT
Prior to 1840 the available record is silent as to the officially recognized type of equipment, but about that time the “Grimsley” product was authorized. Colonel S. W. Kearney is reliably mentioned as the originator of some of its best features, but it was improved upon and actually manufactured by Mr. Thornton Grimsley, of St. Louis, Mo. In those days, in fact until recently, it was customary to give to a saddle the name of its inventor or manufacturer. In 1847 a board of officers recommended formally the adoption of the Grimsley equipment. The members of the board were Brig. Gen. S. W. Kearney, Q. M. General Thomas Swords, Major P. St. George Cooke, 2d Dragoons, Bvt. Lieut. Col. C. A. May, 2d Dragoons, and Captain H. L. Turner, 1st Dragoons.
The Board of 1847 described the Grimsley saddle as follows:
“Combining strength, durability, peculiar fitness to the horses back and convenience for military fixtures, this pattern, more than any other yet furnished for Dragoon service, gives an erect posture and easy seat to the rider, at the same time that little or no injury is done to the horses’ back on the longest marches. Some of the members of the board have had the fairest opportunity of testing the merits of this saddle, having used it on marches of more than 2,000 miles in extent In outward appearance this saddle resembles more the French Hussar saddle, than any other with which the board is familiar: the forks of the high pommel and cantle are, in every case; and under all circumstances of reduced flesh, raised above the withers and back bone of the horse. Quilted seat, sewed down, and leather skirts to protect the blanket (on which the trooper rides on service), and the pantaloons of the rider, from the sweat of the horse. Also small underskirts to protect the sides of the horse from girth buckles.
Stirrups: Brass, and of same pattern as those furnished the First Dragoons in 1834.”
The bridle is thus mentioned: “Of the form and pattern submitted by Lieut. Col. May with an “S” bit, having a strengthening cross bar connecting the lower extremities of the branches, etc.” The halter was “the same pattern as that furnished the First Dragoons in 1839, and since.*
[*The specifications indicate almost no change in the design of this article until 1912. The blanket was of dark blue wool, the girth and surcingle of indigo blue, worsted webbing. A dark blue cloth valise was attached to the cantle, each end of the valise having “a brass plate, with beaded edge,” and with the “letter of the company one inch long raised thereon.”]
The Grimsley pattern persisted somewhat unmolested for ten or fifteen years, a period marked by long marches across the plains from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains and from our northern boundary to Old Mexico. It made friends and created opponents. An alteration in the pommel and cantle arches, making each less erect, brought forth the following comment in 1855:
“Whilst the original model, by the uprightness of the cantle and pommel, confine the soldier to a fixed and more perfect position, the saddles recently received, by the unnecessary sloping of the cantle and pommel, admit a freedom and play in the seat which not only fatigues the rider, but allows him to throw his whole weight at times upon the very slope of the cantle, etc.”
Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, Second Cavalry, in 1856 viewed unfavorably certain adverse criticism of the Grimsley saddle, stating:
“I have to observe with regard to the remark in the report that ‘with the Grimsley saddle a large proportion of the horses’ backs were made sore,’ the sore backs might rather have been produced by the ignorance of the soldiers of the proper method of adjustment, than from any fault of the saddle. The men had but little experience before the march in riding, and the greater portion of the horses were not much
accustomed to the saddle and were untrained.”
Captain Earl Van Dorn, Second Cavalry, in 1857, wrote from Camp Colorado, Texas: “In every scout or march * in which the Grimsley saddle was used, I never failed to have sore backed horses (withers generally) in proportion to the distance I have marched over, or the kind of weather I had to encounter.”
Colonel E. V. Sumner, First Cavalry, remarked in 1858: “I agree with ‘Major Sedgwick in this report but I am convinced from long experience, and close observation, that the Grimsley saddle and bridle (old pattern) are the best and most durable, neatest and cheapest equipment that we can get for the Cavalry. With sufficient care, this saddle will rarely injure a horse’s back, and, without care all saddles will injure them. I have used one of these saddles since 1844, and I consider it by far the best saddle I have ever had. The exceptions that are made to to the McClellan equipments by those recommending them, are sufficient to condemn them.”*
Captain Thomas J. Wood, First Cavalry, wrote from Lecompton, Kansas Ty., in 1856, as follows: “From an experience of a number of years, during which I used the Grimsley saddle, and had the fullest opportunity to observe its use by the enlisted men, I unhesitatingly state that it has not a single requisite that a cavalry saddle should possess. It is too low and narrow in the gullet – consequently it almost invariably wounds horses on the withers and loins. The bars separate and spread out, and the consequence is, that much
of the weight on the horse presses immediately on his spine. So defective is the shape of this saddle that a few days hard work with it almost invariably causes serious injury to the backs of three-fourths of the horses in a mounted company. It is double as heavy as there is any necessity for its being.
Captain Thomas Claiborne, Regiment of Mounted Rifles, wrote from Camp Crawford, New Mexico, in 1856: “The Grimsley saddles made in 1848 and used by the Rifle Regiment in the march to Oregon, were of most excellent character, as far as material and workmanship were concerned. In 1852–53, while on two trips to the Rocky Mountains, I had also good opportunity to judge Grimsley saddle. The saddles were bad and numerous horses were rendered worthless by them. However, I must say, that after full experience I believe the Grimsley saddle to be the best I have ever used.”
THE HOPE OR TEXAS SADDLE.
This saddle was used experimentally during the period 1855–58. While a drawing is not available, its features appear in some of the following extracts.
Captain George Stoneman, Second Cavalry, stated at Camp Cooper, Texas, in 1857: “Hope’s, as compared with Grimsley’s fits the horse much better forward, but aft not so well, and the withers are relieved from much liability to injury, a very great desideratum. The cantle, that worse than useless protuberance, particularl for short legged men, is dispensed with, instead of the quilted, padded, semi-soft, hot, pile engendering heat, we get a smooth, hard, open, cool locality for that part of the trooper which suffers most, particularly with tyros in equestrianism, and the dragoon when he is at the end of his first enlistment is little more The bars appear very well shaped, and better in front than in rear. To use a nautical expression, with the present bearing and the usual cargo aboard, the craft is loaded too much by the stern. Whoever invented Hope’s saddle hit very nearly the California vaquero saddle, and wherein he
differed from it he has failed.”
Colonel A. S. Johnston, Second Cavalry, made the following remarks regarding the Hope saddle, at San Antonio, in 1856: “The tree conforms generally to the horses’ back, and readily adapts itself to his different conditions. It’s equipments are simple consisting of two pouches, wooden stirrups and stirrup
leathers, the Mexican girth, etc. The saddle with these equipments weighs fifteen pounds and costs $23.00.”
Lieut. Col. J. E. Johnston, First Cavalry, in camp at Lecompton, Kansas Ty., in 1856, remarked: “All the officers in the field in Kansas, who have been able to obtain it (Hope’s saddle) use it, except that they have the California tree instead of Hope’s. I think it is better for our service than either of those now furnished by the Government.”
Captain Earl Van Dorn, Second Cavalry, at about this time remarked as follows regarding his use of the Hope saddle: “I marched one hundred and thirty miles at a trot in two days, and a few hours, in an incessant fall of rain in which everything was saturated with water. Not one horse was injured
by the saddle.” Also, “I marched, in little more than a month nearly 700 hundred miles over an exceedingly rough and mountainous country and although I lost thirteen horses by exhaustion, from want of sufficient grass and good water, not one was injured in anyway by the saddle.” However, Captain
Van Dorn objected to the finish of the saddle, saying: “I see no reason for following the uncultivated conceit of the Mexicans and attaching a parcel of dangling leathers and strings that can be of little use.
The leather hangings to the stirrup are superfluous and ugly. The soldiers’ boot and thick stockings should be protection enough for his foot. As far as my taste is concerned, I don’t like the finish of the saddle at all.”
Captain Van Dorn suggested a saddle conforming in design to the tree of the Hope saddle but with the cantle not quite so high, and “the pommel should be a massive brass eagle head, with beak open to hold reins, and a fall of horses’ hair from a ring around the neck the stirrup should be a deep one and made of brass.”
THE JONES SADDLE.
Lieutenant Wm. E. Jones, of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen had been impressed with the defects of equipment while on a march “from the frontiers of Missouri to Oregon, in 1849.” The horses started in good condition, using the Grimsley saddle but “before we reached our destination, scarcely a company could mount one man in ten.” “Frequently were seen horses lying and groaning for hours in agony from injuries unconsciously inflicted ‘by the Grimsley saddle.’
The Jones saddle, patented in 1855, was one of the first American efforts to secure lateral adjustability of side bars. From the drawing it will be seen that the cantle and pommel arches were each composed of two metal pieces, the joint secured by a rivet. The motion of the portions of each arch was controlled by a rod and the side bars could be moved closer together or further apart at either end, or both, and the distance between them fixed at will. The side bars were fastened to the ends of the arches by hinges, thus permitting various degrees of slope. The attempt was an ambitious one but the mechanical resources
of the day were insufficient to the necessities of the device. However, the saddle did very well and received much praise.
In 1856 practically all the company commanders of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, united in praising the results obtained by the use of the Jones saddle during a march from San Antonio, Texas, to Camp Crawford, New Mexico, a distance of nearly 800 miles.
Some of these officers referred to the Grimsley saddle as being inferior, other praised it, although claiming some superiority for the Jones saddle.
Captain Wm. Steele, Second Dragoons, at Ft. Laramie, in September, 1855, remarked: “After the experience of the past summer, I am of the opinion that the principle of the saddle patented by Lieutenant Jones is a good one and worthy of adoption in the service. Since the 11th of June, I have marched 1,300 miles using the two saddles furnished to my company. One of them was stolen by a deserter after about 1,000 miles travel.”
Captain Alfred Pleasanton, Second Dragoons, at Fort Pierre, in 1855, reported that two of Jones saddles “used in the company during the past summer are now unserviceable. The Grimsley saddle which have undergone the same wear are still in good serviceable condition.”
Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War and his successor in that office, John B. Floyd, expressed interest in Jones’ saddle and 300 of them were authorized for experimental use in 1857.
THE CAMPBELL SADDLE.
Although the specifications of this saddle are not obtainable it is known that the inventor, Daniel Campbell, sought to obtain adjustability, and possibly other advantages, by using springs in the tree. During 1855–6–7, the First and Second Cavalry used this saddle, several hundred having been issued
Writing from Lecompton, Kansas, Ty. in 1855, Captain W. D. De Saussure, First Cavalry, remarked: “The Campbell equipments were issued to “F” Company, First Cavalry, five months ago and have been used ever since, in the field, continuously. I much prefer this saddle to the Grimsley saddle now in use in the mounted service. It is much lighter and certainly less liable to injure the withers and backs of horses.
The ‘Moss Rug’ (saddle pad) is a failure, being too hard and soon destroyed.
Major George H. Thomas, Second Cavalry, at Fort Mason, Texas, in 1857, expressed the opinion that “the Campbell saddle tree is the best which has ever been tried in our mounted service. It is strong, light, and, with its proportions, can be easily fitted to any horses’ back so as not injure it. Other officers spoke similarly with regard to this saddle, while still others complained that “the springs of the pommel
and cantle” had given away and that numerous horses backs had been injured. “K” Company, First Cavalry, used this saddle on a continuous march of about 1,000 miles. The “Moss Rugs” (saddle pads) which were also used about this time did not give satisfaction; the blanket was preferred.
THE MCCLELLAN SADDLE.
During the period when the Grimsley, Hope, Jones and Campbell saddles were in use, Captain George B. McClellan, First Cavalry, returned from Europe where, as one of a commission of officers, he had observed the operations in the Crimea, and had also made an extensive study of the armies of Europe. He submitted the model of a new saddle and suggested changes in other articles of equipment. In a letter referring to these models Captain McClellan stated under date of December 25, 1856: “I cannot pretend to say that this equipment is by any means perfect, but I feel safe in saying that it is an important step in the right direction; that it is not a copy of any European model and that it is superior to any equipment in Europe. At the time of its proposal and since, the origin of the McClellan saddle has been vaguely characterized as “Crimean,” “Russian,” “European,” etc. However, although Captain McClellan’s letter above quoted states that his saddle ‘‘is not a copy of any European saddle,” an examination of other statements made by him and a comparison of manufacturing specifications has led to the conclusion that the McClellan saddle tree was suggested by the saddle invented about that time by Captain Cogent, then
director of the saddle factory at Saumur.
A Board of Officers convened in 1857, examined the equipment proposed by Captain McClellan and, after making certain alterations, recommended an issue to the service for experimental purposes. Among the alterations the following were noted: “The saddle tree not to be covered over the seat with leather;” the “leather foot guards on the stirrup shall be dispensed with;” “the sweat leathers to be dispensed with.”
The McClellan equipment received favorable comment, although a number of experienced officers opposed it. Practically all the officers of the Second Dragoons stationed at Camp Floyd, W. T., in 1859, expressed a desire to have that regiment equipped with the McClellan pattern. A defect in the method of attaching the bits was generally mentioned.
Captain G. H. Stewart, First Cavalry, who favored this equipment, remarked that he had used it on a march from “Fort Leavenworth to Utah and back, a distance of over 2,000 miles.” He said further: “The saddle should be covered with rawhide instead of leather. A light crupper is indispensable especially in a very hilly or mountainous country. The saddle bags, or valises, furnished, were constructed, and also attached to the saddle, in such a manner as to injure the horses’ back, and could not be used.”
Another Board of officers was convened in 1859 to examine into the subject of Horse Equipment.” Among the members of this Board were Colonel P. St. George Cooke, Second Dragoons, Lieut. Col. Robert E. Lee, Second Cavalry, and Lieut. Col. J. E. Johnston, First Cavalry. They considered the various articles then in the service and finally recommended equipment based principally upon the McClellan models, modified by the Board. A hair girth was first decided on; then the Board changed to webbing. Saddle bags were accepted, as were also the “wooden stirrups with leather shields.”
The bridle was to be of black leather and the saddle to be russet leather throughout,” but the Secretary of War would not adopt the recommendation as to russet leather.
Disapproval of the Board’s decision was expressed by its President, Colonel Philip S. George Cooke, who dissented from the main conclusion of his colleagues, and called attention to the merits of the Grimsley equipment. He remarked: “It is impossible that men should agree; any new Board would change any established equipage: but it is confidently believed that that now established unites the largest suffrage in its favor.”
However, the McClellan equipment was adopted and served satisfactorily for many years. Modifications were made from time to time and it is thought that the shape of the under surface of the side bars may have departed from that of the original model. In the course of years such a change might naturally have come about. Some of our experienced cavalry officers believed it probable. General Mordecai in relating his acquaintance with the subject from an Ordnance Officer’s viewpoint once said: “When I took command of the Leavenworth Arsenal in 1870, saddle trees were being covered there and I had to throw out many ill shaped trees. In 1874, on the Cavalry Equipment Board, I went over, at Watervliet Arsenal, a large number of trees, to select a few that might, in the opinion of the Cavalry Officers, answer for models, and from them the drawings in the report of that Board were made.”
THE WHITMAN SADDLE.
After twenty years service the McClellan saddle was discarded and the Whitman saddle substituted, in the recommendation of the Equipment Board of 1879. They remarked: the Board, while remembering that the McClellan tree has been of great service, is satisfied that a change is now necessary. This conclusion is due in a measure to the experience of the Board, but chiefly to the opinions of a great number of officers who are riding saddles of various kinds. The Board has endeavored to find a suitable saddle combining the merits of the various trees now in use. This, it is believed, has been done in the selection of the Whitman tree.
The Chief of Ordnance opposed the recommendation of the Board, calling attention to the fact that “42,000 new McClellan saddles were on hand, left from war supplies. General Sherman, commanding the Army, recommended the adoption of the Whitman saddle for general use, after “the present stock of McClellans’ is reduced below 20,000.” The Secretary of War directed that the Whitman saddle “in future
manufacture be adopted as the model.” Later, the Whitman saddle was issued to some of the cavalry regiments, but it did not firmly establish itself to the exclusion of the McClellan, which continued as the regulation type.
THE WINT SADDLE.
During the early ’80’s, Captain T. J. Wint, Fourth Cavalry, designed a saddle which he believed would be less injurious to the horses back than the McClellan. Long experience as a cavalryman and peculiar aptitude for solving the practical problems of the mounted service combined to give Captain Wint’s opinion great weight. He sought to gain lateral adjustability of side bars, by designing the cantle and pommel arches so that they were, in effect, connecting arms, so curved
as to form the true arc of a circle, and made so that the metal arms would slide upon each other, thus causing the angles of the side bars to correspond with those of the horses’ back, without materially opening or closing the space between the upper edges of the side bars.
Captain Wint did not care to urge the adoption of his saddle and it had no service test save by several officers. Of these, one now retired and another still on the active list, have praised the saddle after many years use. While the device undoubtedly was a step in the right direction, a service test upon a large scale probably would have proved that the bolts and nuts designed to clamp the arms of the arches together would have worn out too rapidly. As yet, we have found no metal which will stand up under such wear.
MODEL 1912 EQUIPMENT.
Dissatisfaction with the McClellan type continued to assert itself and finally the authorities decided that a complete change of the equipment was probably desirable. A board of officers was convened for this purpose in 1910. They made an exhaustive study of the subject, assisted by reports and recommendations offered by all officers of the mounted service who were sufficiently interested in the subject, about 400 in all. They sought principally a service saddle which would reduce the sore back evil to a minimum; a method of carrying the rifle which would contribute to the same end and properly serve its main purpose; an assemblage of other equipment into a pack which would be light, tight and noiseless, and also comprehensive as to its components. The equipment recommended by that Board is believed to be the nearest possible attainment to the ends sought; that is to say, the principles adopted are correct and no mechanical absurdities or impossibilities are included in the devices produced. That there are defects in
some of the articles is necessarily true, because a Boards’ work has the limitations of the laboratory phase, even though special marches are made in preliminary tests. Actual use in the service, involving considerable quantities, is the only real test of any equipment. During the past half-year, or more, several squadrons have used the new equipment in daily service, three of these squadrons, at least being stationed on the Mexican Border where we find our nearest approach to campaign conditions. The result of the experience of these border squadrons has been an opinion from them favorable to the new equipment, with reasonable exceptions as to minor defects. The curing of these defects will be attained in due course.
BOARD OF 1915.
In keeping with precedents of equipment history a Board will now proceed with a revision of the new type of equipment. The function of the new committee is logically that of corresponding Boards, similarly appointed in the past, that is to say, the function of correction and revision not rejection and re-creation, because of the latter method there is no end and man desireth some peace and permanence here below.
It is merely speaking in the light of facts when one states that the Board of 1912 made by far the most exhaustive study of this subject ever made in this country. Their report contains the facts ascertained; an array of data that, fortunately, he who runs may not read; he will have to stop and actually get thoroughly acquainted with it. The Board of Revision equipped with all the data heretofore accumulated, and thus spared the necessity of going over ground already scrutinized, is entitled to another essential advantage, or rather, a business right. They should be authorized to visit troops actually in the field, using the new equipment. Seeing, in this matter, is believing. Passing through the equipment of such a troop, one observes with accuracy the bearing of all straps, buckles and metal parts, discovering an excess of wear here, the insufficiency of an adjustment there, an unnecessary weight of metal or faulty cross-section in another part, all developed by that king of critics, actual use. Remedies are apparent in some cases and already improvised in others. In short, the close scrutiny of the working equipment, in quantities, and with great attention to detail, is an absolute essential for which no other kind of information can possibly be substituted.
General Cooke, said, as we have read, on this very subject: “It is impossible that men should agree; any new Board would change any established equipage.” Of course there is a great deal of truth in that remark and it applies to many army matters other than equipment. It is also true that the service is developing now a self-protective spirit of enlightened conservatism which urges all concerned that there
be made only such changes as are absolutely necessary.
With the above spirit of conservatism in mind and fully recognizing the seriousness and correctness of this opposition to needless change, I would point out, in the light of certain special experience, a few alterations which ought to be made in the new equipment and which can be made at no great expense.
THE SERVICE SADDLE.
Opinions, checked as to source values, and based on troop records, indicate that this saddle will save horses, which means in service, more troopers present and more rifles on the line in each organization. The horse side of this saddle is almost identical with that of the British Model 1910, including the adjustable feature, and we know that more favorable cavalry news has thus far come out of the British Zone in Flanders and France than from any other European source, especially as to horses’ backs. The men who have ridden the saddle for hundreds of miles seem content with the comfort of the seat. It would improve the saddle, however, to make the seat larger, with a more extended “lowest part.” Some would lower the pommel and cantle arches, but I deem this very hazardous. As now designed we have a sure clearance for the kind of horses we are certain to get in time of war. I prefer the cantle as originally recommended by the Board of 1912 without the protuberance which grew later. In short, give the seat more length and such change of curve as may seem desirable, but do not change the side bars or the height of the arches. The trooper is not “too far above his work” in this saddle, although some have concluded that he is. His height above the horse as compared with other covered-seat saddles, is best determined by act al measurement. Furthermore, other considerations cannot be made to depend entirely upon this particular factor.
The sharp tread stirrups should be replaced by a similar steel stirrup with a flat tread. The marching trooper in time of war will gain more comfort from the flat tread than he will from some of the refinements of equitation. The stirrup loops need not be as heavy as they are; reduce the cross section. The loops, if moved forward a trifle, will be more practical as to comfort, although less correct in theory. A further reduction in the thickness of the stirrup straps is not necessary; well cared for, they are sufficiently pliable and very serviceable. If the girth straps are shortened and the girths lengthened we will get an easier adjustment and help the lazy man, thus helping everyone else.
THE OFFICER’S SADDLE.
This has had a limited test and is a very good saddle. Some hasty criticism has been hurled at it. My remarks as to the service saddle here apply. However, the question of the officers’ saddle is, with us as in other armies, capable of separate treatment. Our special case is this: Our new spirit of interest in riding comes from the Mounted Service School, a worthy, deserving and successful institution. The school has used for years only the Saumur type of saddle, recognized as an excellent saddle for use on officer’s mounts. Officers have gone to the school quite indifferent as to its methods and have, with few exceptions, come away with a spirit of enthusiasm and solid faith. They naturally believe in the saddle which is a part of the system by which they were rejuvenated or reconstructed. It would be entirely consistent to recognize this type of saddle as our “officer’s saddle,” and that procedure would really be in the nature of avoiding a change for many officers– a consummation devoutly to be wished.”
It seems definitely proved that no saddle pad exists fit to supplant the blanket. We should, however, endeavor to secure a blanket of the superior texture, as to ventilation, possessed by the English, French and German Cavalry. Their blankets have a coarser “feel” and appearance than ours, but are just as well or better woven.
THE RIFLE CARRIER.
The rifle, in the new equipment, hangs in exactly the right place. The principle is absolutely correct. The inconvenience and strain of its carriage are divided in proper proportion between the man and the horse with no real disadvantage to either and with due allowance for the fighting moment. No one who has studied the American closely will attempt to hang the rifle entirely on the troopers back. To put the rifle as now manufactured, under the trooper’s leg would be to render useless most of the splendid general progress made in equitation. Besides, the rifle, hanging as in the McClellan equipment, exerts a violent pull in a direction at right angles to the median line of the saddle, at every step of the horse, flopping and jerking, and causing pommel sores. There will doubtless be improvements in the mechanical details of the 1912 carrier, but its principle ought not be disturbed.
There are other modifications of minor importance which need not be mentioned here. The Board of Revision will finally remedy most, but probably not all defects. Complete settlement of the new equipment will require a few more years. It has always been so, in cases of large improvements, and it always will be so. The work of those especially attending to these matters, from time to time, may be accepted as earnest and diligent but the results will not come speedily.