This is one of the most untouched examples of a true Indian Wars era .45-70 carbine we have seen in decades. Fresh from an estate auction, the only notable defect is a small splinter of wood missing from the right forestock and near the left end of the saddle sling bar assembly as shown in the images provided. Overall condition is very good and the weapon exhibits a deep smooth age patina overall. It has not been cleaned or refinished in any manner. The action is tight and crisp, the bore is strong and all markings are crisp and legible. There are no obvious replaced or incorrect parts present. The compartment is cut for the cleaning tools but none are present but there is an original primed US Cartridge Company period .45-70 Government casing in there! The saddle bar and ring remain intact and the rear sight is correctly marked with a “C.” Serial number 450,033 is listed as issued around March of 1889 in a batch designated for use by the 3rd US Cavalry. It is noted a “3” is stamped in the stock and there is a letter “F” period carved in as well, perhaps the Troop letter. This is a weapon that likely saw extensive service both on the American western plains as well as in the Spanish American War.
The 3d Cavalry Regiment was first organized in 1846 as an elite Mounted Riflemen Regiment that combined the mobility of the cavalry horse with the shock of heavy infantry and the long range effective fire power of the new rifled musket. The Mounted Rifles were formed to safeguard settlers on the frontier, but the outbreak of the Mexican War necessitated their deployment to Mexico that year. The Regiment distinguished itself throughout the Mexican War from its first battle at Vera Cruz to the storming of Chapultepec Fortress in Mexico City, earning it the title, “Brave Rifles.”
The 3d Cavalry Regiment fought hostile Indian’s on the frontier for many years, and it is from this era that the unit draws upon its cavalry traditions.
The 3d Cavalry Regiment’s most notable Indian Wars battle was the Battle of Rosebud Creek. A combined force of the 3d Cavalry and friendly Indian allies engaged and defeated the hostile Lakota Sioux on June 17, 1876. George Capps’ painting Saving Captain Henry depicts the battle. It was from the Sioux tribe that the regiment adopted its motto, “Ai-ee-yah,” the Sioux word for “attack!”
The 3d Cavalry had a pivotal role in the Spanish American War, leading the attacks in Santiago, Cuba against enemy positions on San Juan and Kettle Hills. All cavalry regiments were dismounted before the campaign and fought as such since there was not adequate transportation to send the horses to Cuba.
Twenty-three of the regiment’s troopers received the Medal of Honor, all awarded for gallantry in action between 1871 and 1898. The list includes William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, whose award was rescinded in 1916 for not being a member of the military. Cody’s medal was reinstated in 1989.