HISTORICAL FACTS

BUGLES

FAKE: If the Bugle looks like this one, which is made of COPPER & BRASS, measures approxmately 12". They are made in Southeast Asia. And not even considered a [replica] copy of the original cavalry bugle.
REAL: Cavalry bugles of that period were made of BRASS, and made by band instrument companies. They are approxmately 17" long and did NOT have unit designiations on them. They had the "company name" that made the bugle and a U.S. stamped on them.


BUCKLES

Antique Deceptions:

In the 1960's an Englishman named John Fairchild came up with a brilliant antiques deception: he created fantasy belt buckles relating to the old American west.

The first to appear were buckles of the famous "Wells Fargo" express company. Others followed, spanning a range of products and services. Many of the buckles were marked as having been produced by "Tiffany New York", and they often carried embellishments on the reverse that indicated that they were "Property of" a company, or that they were awards for service, or some other type of presentation or souvenir piece. Additionally, Fiarchild obviously performed extensive research in creating his hoax buckles. In designing them he made use of original period advertising and documents for the images on the buckles. And on a number of the buckles, such as the Wells Fargo pieces, he left blanks where (in a separate step of the creation), a place name could be inserted to indicate the station or office where that buckle had been worn. And all of the places that were hand-stamped onto the buckles were, indeed, actual locations that were apprpriate to the company or product.
Genius.

These buckles were quickly sought after by collectors. One well-know militaria dealer told me how, in the mid-1960;s, he had paid $400 each for two of the Wells Fargo buckles at the Dallas gun show.

In fact, many people still do not know that these buckles were complete fantasy pieces, and they often sell for rather decent sums on Ebay.

The buckles are superbly made. They are die stamped, with excellent detail and made of solid brass. These are heavy and impressive pieces, very much like table medals.

These buckles have proved so popular over the decades that many of the designs were copied and are still being sld. However, these "fake Fairchild" buckles are rather poorly cast copies, not die struck, and they are made of pot metal with a brass-colored coating.

But here was Fairchild's icing on the cake: The man actually created a fake reference book ! He published a limited number of a very nice leather-covered book about these "rare" buckles, all supposedly having been collected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by one man, who had worked in the mining industry. That man was real (although long dead when Fairchild created his book). The volume illustrated a great many of Fairchild's fantasy buckles as original, vintage pieces. The publishing date in the book was back-dated to the 1950's and the "publisher" was fictitious.

It was an elaborate and amazing hoax, but one that produced very popular items that are still copied (poorly) to tis day. Imagine: a forger fakes a Rembrandt painting in the 1960's. It is eventually found to be a fake, but prints and posters of the painting are still popular decades later.



HORSES

1775-1908 - The procurement and training of animals for military use has been a function of the Quartermaster Department. Additionally training was done by the respective Cavalry units.

1908 - Congress authorized the Remount Service. They were responsiable to buy and provide initial training, before issuing them to using units. Another function of the Remount Service was supervising the Army’s horse-breeding program designed to raise the quality of horses.

World War I - This was the last major conflict in which the United States Army used horses and mules in significant numbers. The Remount Service provided the horses for the Cavalry and other units. 571,000 horses and mules were used during World War I and 68,000 (plus) of those animals were killed during the war years.

1943 - 7th Cavalry dismounted. World War II saw the mechanization of the 7th Cavalry. Motor vehicles took over the Transportation of equipment, personnel and supplies. Mules continued to be used beacause of their ability to negotiate rugged terrain inaccessible by vehicles.



HORSE BRANDING

1866 - 1885 - Horses were branded on the left sholder with a US Brand.

1885 - 1914 - The US was branded on the left shoulder, and number of regiment with letter of the company on left hip.

1914 - 1924 - Hoof branding was adopted by WWI and the US was branded on the left shoulder

1924 - 1963 - The Preston Brand System is adopted. Under the system each horse is given a serial number four alph-numeric characters consisting of a letter and three numbers (2" in size). (Example: N533, D441, etc.) The serial number is branded on the left side of the neck close up to the mane.

The Preston brand was the horse's serial number and they each horse had a card (5-1/2 x 8 in) that served as their service record and the card followed the horse. When the horse died the card was forwarded to the War Department.

1963 - The branding system was still in use when the last QM Pack train deactivated at Ft. Carson, Colorado.



HORSE SHOES

The horseshoes were the same as used on ranch horses. Each troop had a soldier trained as a farrier (horseshoer) The farrier had to heat the shoes and bend then to fit the horse's hoofs.



SADDLES

1866 - 1943 - The saddle for enlisted personnel was the McClellan saddle, this saddle was the one in use (with some modifications and/or improvements along the way) since civil war days. It was fairly light and was made so that you could tie your bedroll and your rain gear to it also a scabbard for your rifle. Western saddle but they are too heavy to be practical for cavalry troops.

Officers rode English saddles, and most officers had one or two of their own horses and were cared for along with cavalry mounts.



Submitted By: Maj Bill Richardson - 7th Cavalry Regiment 1940