- naekuoLv 71 decade agoBest Answer
In April 1855- six years before the start of the Civil War- Capt. George B. McClellan sailed to Europe as part of a military commission to study the latest developments in European tactics, weaponry, and logistics. McClellan's focus was on the organization of engineer troops and cavalry. After the tour, which lasted a year and included observing battles of the Crimean War, McClellan brought back almost 100 books and manuals. These he read before writing his report, which concluded with his proposed manual for American cavalry adapted from Russian cavalry regulations. He also designed a cavalry saddle that was a modification of a Hungarian model used in the Prussian Service. The McClellan saddle was adopted by the U.S. War Department in 1859 and remained standard issue for the remaining history of the horse cavalry. The saddle was simple and less expensive than existing saddles, light enough not to burden the horse, but sturdy enough to give good support to the rider and his gear. It supported a rawhide-covered open seat, a thick leather skirt, wooden stirrups, and a girth strap made of woolen yarn. Added accessories to the saddle often included a nose bag for horse feed, a curry comb to groom the horse, a picket pin and lariat to tether the horse while grazing, saddlebags, and a "thimble" that held the muzzle of the cavalryman's carbine. The McClellan saddle was placed on top of a saddlecloth, shabrack, or saddle blanket. Many Confederate cavalrymen enlisted with their own horses and civilian saddles. In time the Confederacy issued the Jenifer saddle. But when Southerners' horses grew thin because of the inadequate food supply, the Jenifer saddle became painful to the bony withers of the horses. In 1863 the Confederate army issued the lighter and better-contoured McClellan saddle to its cavalry. Because leather was scarce in the South during the Civil War, many of the McClellan saddles had skirts of painted canvas.