CHIEF

Chief was the last mount on the rolls of the U. S. Cavalry, officially eliminated as a branch of the U. S. Army in 1942. He spent his twilight years at Fort Riley, Kansas and died in 1968.

The McClellan saddle he’s wearing saw epic service, too.  It was the standard-issue U. S. Cavalry saddle from shortly after the Civil War to the end of the arm’s existence.  Hollywood bought up hundreds of surplus McClellans over the years, for use in Westerns featuring cavalry.  In the 19th Century, the leather of the saddle was black, changed to brown in the 20th Century.  The brown version is always seen in Hollywood films — a minor historical inaccuracy considering Hollywood’s scrupulousness about getting the style of the cavalry saddle right.

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