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Major Doctor Tarbell's Civil War Officer’s Saddle

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Here is a Civil War officer’s saddle that belonged to Major Doctor (his name is Doctor) Tarbell who was born in Groton, Tompkins County, New York on May 16, 1838. He enlisted at Groton as a private in Company A of the 32nd Regiment, New York State Volunteers on May 1, 1861. He was promoted to Commissary Sergeant Co. A, on July 1, 1861. Tarbell was commissioned 1st Lieutenant in June of 1862, and then to Captain in November of the same year. The 32nd New York State Volunteers were in all of the campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac including First Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, White Oak Swamp, Fredericksburg, the Mud March and Chancellorsville. Captain Tarbell was captured by Confederate cavalry near Winchester, Virginia, in September, 1864. He was first sent first to Libby Prison at Richmond, Virginia, then to Salisbury Prison in Rowan County, North Carolina. He was finally sent to Danville, Virginia, where tobacco warehouses had been converted into prisons. Tarbell remained at Danville prison until he was 'paroled' in April, 1865. At the end of the war, he was promoted to the rank of Major of Volunteers by Brevet for his "efficient and meritorious services." Tarbell continued to serve as a commissary in the Army of the Potomac until his discharge on July 27, 1865. Major Tarbell died in Ithaca, New York on September 19, 1895.

There was an exhibition at the New York State Museum featuring a Civil War love story, I Shall Think of You Often: The Civil War Story of Doctor and Mary Tarbell.

The exhibit focused on the life and marriage of Doctor and Mary Tarbell of Tompkins County, New York, during the Civil War. The Tarbell Papers contain the correspondence of Doctor Tarbell of Groton, NY. It covers a period from his war time service in the Union Army to his post war career. The Civil War letters form a remarkably dense series that highlights the intimate relationship of Tarbell and his fiancee. This collection is very unusual in that both sides of the correspondence are present. The exhibition includes objects from the Tompkin’s County History Center’s collections and the New York State Library. The highlight of the exhibition is Mary Tarbell’s wedding dress. Nineteenth-century wedding dresses were often practical garments that were typically used for many social occasions. The exhibit also features the Tarbells’ personal items including a Civil War pewter mess kit, letters, diaries, memorabilia, and photographs.

The saddle is missing its padded leather cover.









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Beautiful group. Nice that it all stayed together. I would like to get to the museum some time. A lot of the relics from my home town Oneonta N.Y. were taken from the Armory an moved to the museum. They included a sea coast mortar , uniforms and weapons. Thanks for posting. Mike

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I am no CW saddle expert, but a lot of officers purchased enlisted men's saddles that were made of raw hide as this example is. Perhaps?


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