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Small US Cavalry collection from Italy

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Hello gentlemen,

wish to post here a small collection of late 1880's pieces from US Cavalry clothing and equipments (leaving aside some original firearms I do own also).


* Riding Gauntlets should be the 1884 Pattern (as long I went in searching about this subject, they could more possibly the 1886 Pattern). Perhaps, the first officially issued such article by the US Govt.? Apparently, chemicals used in processing the leather were harmful to the silk threads wich were sewing together the parts, and the gloves went useless after not much time. Changed later to a different material.

I do have two pairs, original, slightly different in color and lenght of wristlets (will post more photos tomorrow).


* Blue blouse should be the 1890 Pattern, in its 1st subvariant ( actually issued starting in late that year, and more possibly appeared on the scene in decent numbers well into the 1891). I so think because of the shape and width of inside "facings", too much different from those of 1884 Pattern blouse.


Conditions are great indeed, Corporal's chevrons are correctly sewn with ends taken under sleeves' seams. Just a couple small moth holes, and one gilted cuff button missing from the three of right cuff (all three present on left side cuff). Both larger buttons on blouse's front and the smaller ones lined on the cuffs, should be the so-called 1883 Pattern?


Will post more of this, and of my cartridge belts of various patterns (the one pictured here is the Cavalry mod. 1885 integrally woven - "Mills" pattern).



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Thanks for sharing. Very nice items. What an amazing period in US Army history.





Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less."

GEN Robert E. Lee


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Thanks to all of you fellows collectors,

actually a rather small collection I tried to put together by using funds from only overtime work, thus a very lenghty process and not exactly as I expected at the beginning. But now I'm fond of it.


will post with more details, plus the series of cartridge belts - just, some unexpected issues trying for the best artificial lighting.


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Hello again,

here a great specimen of a customized "Prairie Belt", early to mid-'70s, field-modified by some company saddler? One of the most fascinating items in my opinion, typical of the necessity-driven ingenuity of troops wich had to deal with cumbersome pouches and boxes for carrying ammos.
At that moment, yet no similar accoutrements had been delivered straight from the higher levels - the so-called "Pattern 1876 Prairie Belt", the first one officially issued by Government, started to be manufactured about December 1876 and most possibly didn't see actual field use until late springtime 1877.


This one is a common sword belt with added loops for the 50-70 Govt. cartridges, plus two rows of 6 loops each for .45 Colt rounds at each end. Still in very good conditions with some stitchings detached, but leather itself is sound and flexible.

Brass plate (actually, much more bronze than a true brass) in a great piece in itself.



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Six smaller loops for .45 Colt cartridges at belt's each end.

This specimen can carry 27 rounds for the 50-70 Springfield carbine (or Infantry rifle) and 12 rounds for the .45 Colt sidearm.




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This, the "Pattern 1876 Prairie Belt" made in the Watervliet Arsenal.


Actually here, an Infantry specimen wich could be pretty well called the "1879 Subvariant" of this historic cartridge belt. A leather body wholly covered by a sturdy canvas "skin" to wich, 52 or 54 loops are sewn (for 45-70 Govt. cartridges). Here for display, I put in the loops the (currently-made, of course) correct rounds for Infantry use - a mix of cartridges having both the 405 grs. and the heavier 500 grs. bullets.



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A plain copper (or brass?) buckle was designed so that once closed, the excess of leather "tongue" at opposite end could slip under (rather than over) left side's cartridge loops.


(continues..) Thanks for watching - Franco.



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Thanks George,


I'll post some more cartridge belts - I also do have one McKeever Ammo Box but, do not know for certain whether it's for Infantry or Cavalry (perhaps Infantry in that unmodified form).


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Hi Franco


Thanks for posting more photos, you have a nice collection.


I have to be honest in saying that I have concerns about your leather "prairie" belt. It would appear that it has not been made from a sabre belt. Both ends of the belt would have had to been altered in which case shortening the belt too much.

I have now seen four of these belts and examined two in person and I would add that the look and feel of the leather itself is not consistent with arsenal leather dating from the 1870's. My other concern is the style of leather sliding loop used, all the belts I have seen used the same style sliding loop, not stitched or skived but simply riveted but using a white metal rivet not the more common brass rivets being used in the IW period. Of course the belts could have had the loops added later?

A belt identical to yours (but had a brass hook added on the belt tip) sold in a well known cavalry auction a few years ago reaching quite a considerable sum.


I do not wish to put doubt on your belt and do not take pleasure in doing so, to be completely open I have one as well that came in a lot of mixed belts, it is in a much poorer state than yours, mine when purchased had a plate and hasp for the Palmer Brace system. I am curious about these belts, were they an old film prop (they seem too good), or a militia item or even perhaps a police item with US plates added? They all certainly have some age. I do not know and would like to know the answer. I have always wondered about the odd way the belt is adjusted with the small brass/copper stud sewn into the belt, I do not recall seeing that on any other kind of belt?


I have owned my belt for over fifteen years and every now and then I go back to it to see if my thoughts have changed, I have also discussed it with other collectors during that time. Of course I would love to see or hear evidence telling me otherwise.




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