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Civil War Saddle

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McClellan Saddle with Stirrups and Straps used by Calvin Mitchell and donated by Ethel Mitchell through Lois Mitchell, former librarian at the Gouverneur Library.


Lewis Mitchell
1833 - 1909

Read Lewis' Obituary


Calvin Mitchell
1838 - 1914

Read Calvin's Obituary


The McClellan saddle was a riding saddle designed by George B. McClellan(1826-1885), a career Army officer in who played a major role in training and organizing the Union army at the start of the Civil War. McClellan proposed this saddle design that was adopted by the Army in 1859. The McClellan saddle was a long-lasting success and continued in use, in various forms, from the period of its adoption until the U.S. Army's last horse cavalry and horse artillery was dismounted in World War II.

This McClellan saddle was used by Calvin Mitchell, from Hailesboro. He and his brother, Lewis, enlisted in the Army in 1861, entering two different units. Both reenlisted in 1863 until the war's end.

Calvin  and Lewis Mitchell are part of local history, the sons of Hiram and Sally Mitchell, and the father of Ethel Mitchell Risley, who, in 1962, donated the saddle, a canteen, cut, sewing kit, eyeglasses, a Bible, a ring made from a Confederate shell, numerous badges and a silk purse. Calvin acquired the purse, supposedly, when he traded a young lady in the south in exchange for his felt hat. Calvin fought in 21 Civil War battles.


Lewis was a member of the 6th Regular NY Volunteer Calvary and had two horses shot under him. He was slightly wounded, and after the war, came home to be a carriage painter. He wrote a diary of some time during his service.


Read a short transcript of an 1881 entry in this diary.

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