McClellan letter to Ordnance Dept 23 Dec 1856

When Capt George McClellan first sent his prototype saddles (plural) to the Ordnance Dept in Washington, he also sent two letters announcing their impending arrival and his thoughts on the equipment.  Where these letters ended up is unknown, but McClellan did retain copy letters in his correspondence, which eventually ended up in the collection of his papers at the Library of Congress.[1]  I don’t believe that these letters have been published in full before, although a couple of snippets were used in his cover letter included with his famous ‘Report to the Secretary of War’.   


Phila Dec 23 1856

Capt Wm Maynadier[2] 
Ordnance Corps

My dear Captain,

I send by express today two boxes containing each a set of saddles & horse equipments, directed to Col Craig, also an official letter to the Colonel in relation to them. As I there state, they were made, under my direction by Messrs Lacey & Phillips, the well known saddlers of this city; to speak moderately, this firm are at least as good saddlers as any in the world, use the best possible material, & the best workmanship, they have also a reputation to support which is a more guarantee for the nature of this work they perform. These gentlemen have bestowed a great deal of time & labor upon these saddles, & are entitled to all the credit of carrying out in an ingenious & workmanlike manner the general ideas that I have from time to time given them; had my own crude notions been carried out by almost any other people the result would have been far different, & much less satisfactory.

If the model submitted is approved I would urgently recommend that the sets for trial be made by this firms, partly as a sensible compensation for the time they have taken, but principally because I am certain that the work will be better done, & of a better material than is likely to be obtained from other sources – they have now the models & forms for all the parts, & can therefore readily supply whatever my be needed.

I could not feel at all satisfied to have the equipment tried except when made in the best manner – which is usually the most economical.

I have suggested to Mr Phillips the propriety of his going to Washington, that you may confer with him more satifactorly [sic] as to any changes that may be deemed necessary, as to prices, quantity of work & e.

I will [ ] him a letter to you

I am re very respectfully
your abt svt
Geo B McClellan
Capt 1st Cavalry


Sources/Notes:
[1]  Library of Congress, George Brinton McClellan Papers: Correspondence II, 1823-1898; 1856, Sept. 28-1857, Feb. 14, Image 30
[2]  Capt. William Murray Maynadier, Ordnance Dept, who was one of Chief of Ordnance Craig’s ‘right hand men’ in managing ordnance affairs.

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