CIVIL WAR CAVALRY HOLSTER MODIFIED FOR SINGLE ACTION ARMY

$975.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 1142-54

This is a very good example of a regulation Civil War holster for a .44 caliber army revolver altered for reissue during the Indian Wars. The holster is in very good to excellent condition, solid, with tight seams and nice surface and color. The finish shows some small scuffs and minor scratches, mostly on the side carried next to the soldier’s body, but the only noticeable finish loss is on the latch tab from flexing. The toe-plug is in place. The latch tab is secured by stitching and rivet, an innovation dated by some to spring 1862. The holster is designed to fit a Colt or Remington, but in this case was brought back into service for use with a single-action army.

The postwar army both experimented with new weapons and equipment and with modifications of older Civil War era gear taking up space in government warehouses. Different patterns of cavalry holsters were tried into the 1870s: with swivel belt loops, open tops, partial flaps, designs to hold both Colts and Schofields, etc. One consistent development into the 1880s and 1890s was the increase in size of the belt loop from the initial narrow loop suitable only for the leather saber belt, to one able to fit the canvas loop belt, and eventually the Mills belts empty and then with cartridges, the single loop belts, and then the double-loops used with the Krag .30-40. Meadows identified five basic types of the 1881 holster on those considerations alone.

This holster uses one of the later tall belt loops fastened with six brass rivets. This is specified in 1896 instructions to company saddlers, but may have been in use earlier. Saddlers were instructed to remove the old loops, replace the three old rivets with new ones and use the additional three in place of stitching along the lower edge (unless ordered otherwise,) since resewing would require opening and resewing the edge seams as well.

This is a nice example of government innovation and parsimony, and merits a place in a post-Civil War cavalry collection. Interestingly, one of these made its way into Todd’s classic American Military Equipage amid line drawings of Civil War accoutrements. This is a very nice example that would look great in a postwar cavalry display. [sr] [ph:L}

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