Monday, June 15, 2015

Saddles from Mordecai Drawings

Saddle and bridle from Mordecai Field Artillery drawings.  I am not sure if this is from the 1841 edition or the 1849 edition, or, for that matter, any other editions.




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

U.S Army Packers Can Pack Anything


Back in 1970 I witnessed a wedding where the bride and groom were carried from the chapel to the reception on a 155mm Howitzer, M114, commonly called the “155 Pig.”  I thought that was strange, but apparently, I wasn't done.


I received these photographs in an inquiry and thought them interesting.  I have no idea where this is or who this is.  My thanks to the inquirer for allowing me to post them.


The bride and groom appear to have complete confidence in the mules and drivers.


Oddly for this time, the bandsman with the Sousaphone is Black, while the rest of the band is White.  The elderly gentleman in the right foreground appears to be carrying some sort of civilian small arm, the purpose of which cannot accurately be determined.


Good photograph of Escort Wagons in column. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Artillery Whip

I have been asked the function of the hook on the American Civil War artillery whip, or 'stock,' and where it was stored on the saddle or harness when not in use.

I would welcome any comments.




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

POLO, Anyone?

On an Army post with several thousand horses and riders, it is natural for the sport of polo to be played.  Fort Sill teams won several international competitions over the years and brought home large bronze trophies to prove it.  The mechanization of the Field Artillery eventually eliminated the sport from play.

These are photographs I took today at the Polo Club at Fort Sill Polo Club.  Quality is not too good, but you will get the idea.  I did not get a photograph of the exterior of the building, but will add it when I get one.



Polo players at Fort Sill, circa 1890.



Enlargement of photograph above, note that the first and third individuals from the left are playing on western saddles.


Polo match in front of the Post Trader’s home.


Polo mallets on display at the Polo Club.


Odd light fixture with at thunderbird at the top and a horseshoe suspended.  There appear to be very old.  The building was built in the 1920’s, or there about, and I believe that the fixtures are contemporary to the building’s construction.


Mantle with trophies.



Fireplace and mantle with trophies.  Note the saddle to the right of the fireplace.


Saddle to the right of the fireplace.



Two of many photographs exhibited in the Polo Club.

New York Times Article: Fort Sill Wins Dull Polo Game


WASHINGTON, July 19 (1913). – The Fifth Artillery team from Fort Sill, Okla., to-day won a slow and rather uninteresting polo match from a Washington team of army officers by 4 ¼ to ¼ goals.  It was a consolation game following the elimination trials for the Narragansett Pier matches at which the mounted service school team from Fort Riley, Kan., won the right to represent the army.  Fort Sill displayed the better team work to-day, but the losers showed frequent brilliant individual plays.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Late 19th Century US Army Wheeled Vehicles

These illustrations are from a book with the daunting title of:

SPECIFICATIONS

FOR

MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION,

PAULINS, STOVES AND RANGES,

AND

LANPS AND FIXTURES

FOR

USE IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY


Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1882

Six-Mule Army Wagon:
Pulled by six mules with the driver on the near wheeler controlling the team with voice commands and a jerk line. The wagon weighed 1,950 pounds and could carry about two tons.
Some forms of this wagon were used until the 1930's by Engineer pontoon bridge companies to carry the pontoons, trusses and chess.




Two-Horse, or Four-Horse or Four-Mule Wagon:
Similar to the later Escort Wagon, this vehicle carried about a ton. The driver controlled his undetermined number of animals from the driver's seat with reins. Wagon weight was 1,555 pounds and it carried about one ton.



Sectionalized view of the Two-Horse, or Four-Horse or Four-Mule Wagon.
Note how the internal seats are sprung.


Dougherty Spring Wagon:
A form of stage coach utilized by the US Army, pulled by two to four animals.

Ambulance
Sectionalized view of the Ambulance.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WIND RIVER


Ca. 1930

One of the last Army mules in regular service, Wind River, was sent to a taxidermist after his death. Normally, taxidermists only mount big game or trophy animals, so there was no form available for a mule. The taxidermist used what he thought was the closest animal, a zebra. That is why Wind River looks so unusual.

MULE GUN

ca. 1880




This 1-pdr (37mm) rifled muzzle-loading gun was intended to be fired off the back of a mule. Unfortunately, the reaction of the mule to having a small cannon fired off its back was not fully considered. According to tradition, when the piece was tested the mule broke loose, began to whirl around, scattering the alarmed witnesses, then the mule stepped on the lanyard and fired the piece itself. The force of the recoil was said to have knocked the mule “ass over teakettle” into a nearby river.

This is a rather sophisticated piece. It has a rudimentary recoil/recuperator system, a traversing quadrant at the breech end of the carriage, possibly marked in degrees; and the ability to elevate. There seems to be no facility for holding elevation or traverse, other than by hand. Firing is by lanyard and friction primer.

I don’t believe that this is something cobbled together at a post blacksmith shop, but that it is arsenal made. There are a number of fanciful stories about it, but these are all anecdotal and cannot readily be proved, or, for that matter, disproved. I believe that it was designed to be carried on a mule, but that it was fired from the ground. The large staples on each side of the saddle bars possibly mounted spades or skids of some sort. The earliest photographs of the Field Artillery Museum at Fort Sill in the 1930’s show this gun.