This is a Model 1859 McClellan Civil War Saddle identified to an "S. W. Skinner, Leroy, NY." as marked on the bottom of the left stirrup in black ink. The only such soldier found that fit was a Samuel Skinner from Great Bend, Pennsylvania, a forty-five-year-old mechanic in the LeRoy, New York area who mustered into Co H of the 1st New York Veteran Cavalry as a private for one year on August 29, 1864 at Binghamton, NY. This regiment was originally intended to become the 17th New York Cavalry regiment, but the designation was changed before the organization started. New York State Museum records show Samuel Skinner as part of the 17th Regiment. The 1st NY Vet Cavalry was attached to the 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of West Virginia in August 1864. Records indicate the cavalry regiment was in action at Duffield Station, Cedar Creek, Berryville, Charlestown, and Falling Waters after which it was sent to remount camp in Maryland until the end of October 1864. On December 20, 1864, Skinner joined the regiment from the recruit depot. Skinner was taken ill in March 1865 with constant "distress in the no-no zone" at Camp Piatt (I hate the "d" word), West Virginia where he was exempt from all duty until he was discharged on June 8, 1865. He returned to Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, married, raised a family and died of disease in October 1877.
Skinner’s saddle, a late war variation, is maker-marked with the small brass medallion tacked to the saddle’s left side front under the pommel ring embossed “D. DEMAREST / MAKERS / NEWARK, NJ.”. Daniel Demarest was in the saddle business at 4 Division St in Newark, NJ between 1856 and 1865 and is a well-known and recognized Civil War saddle maker. This saddle remains tight and very strong overall, and retains almost all of its original cavalry equipment. Included are both original saddle skirts, quarter straps, stirrups, stirrup leathers, leather hoods, girth, girth straps and billets, plus its original crupper which still retains it rings, buckles and straps.
If one seeks an identified, high quality, original M1859 McClellan cavalry saddle with service in the Civil War, here you go. Any period saddle in this condition would be priced similar, yet this one is identified. That's certainly a great plus. Just make sure you spray the seat with Lysol due to Private Skinners wartime problem.