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A rare, identified group of New York militia not only kept together for 170 years, but preserved with its original bill of sale to to the militia trooper in 1842.

The owner is identified on a membership certificate from the Brigade of NY Horse Artillery as Alfred M. Davis and the bill of sale is made out to A.M. Davis by H.J. Storms of New York City, the well known military goods dealer, father of Civil War contractor C.S. Storms.

Alfred Merritt Davis (1808-1877) of Suffolk County, NY, was a member of Captain Noah H. Jones's company in the Second Regiment of Horse Artillery in the First Brigade of New York State Horse Artillery. This was a unit that, according to NY state records, was drilled and equipped as cavalry, but liable to service as horse artillery. Davis's gear consists of his brass-mounted leather dragoon helmet; his pair of Sharpe marked flintlock pistols; his "Dingee / N. York" marked 1837 pattern saddle holsters; his red morocco leather sword belt and eagle panel belt plate; and his cavalry saber and scabbard.

The helmet is a black leather, slightly oxidized to brown, with brass trimmed high comb, brass scaled chinstrap secured on the sides with side bosses decorated with a raised star, and oval brass front plate decorated with a charging horseman, which is a later version of the 1812 US Dragoon pattern helmet plate. Campbell and O'Donnell illustrate similar plates in figures 567 and following of American Military Headgear Insignia, along with a similar Henry Storms marked helmet illustrated in Figure 575. Three of the brass stud fasteners are missing from the trim, but it is all there and the studs can be replaced (they are rather like the old brass-headed paper fasteners.) The brass strip over the top of the comb shows it never had a horsehair crest, but a small leather tab sewn on the left side shows it did once sport a plume or pompom, and perhaps a cockade. The sweatband is in place inside. The scaled chinstrap was decorative (it is missing one scale on the front- please see the photos.) A long portion of the functional leather chinstrap is still attached to one roundel on the side, and a shorter section to the other.

The sword belt is red morocco leather with gilt blind-stamped designs. It is solid and intact, and it still has its shoulder support belt and the forward, short sling for the saber. (This is a billet intended to engage a small buckle on a separate strap around the scabbard ring.) The plate is similar to plate 202 in O'Donnell and Campbell, American Military Belt Plates: a spread-winged eagle in the center panel with a floral border. The belt is solid and intact, with a partial tear across the shoulder belt that could be mended.

The saber follows the British 1796 pattern with a plain blade in very good condition, iron guard and langets, plain dark wood grips, steel scabbard showing some bright spots, but mostly brown. The plain blade shows a silver gray.

The pistols are simple brass mounted flintlocks marked Sharpe on the lock plates and "Sharpe / Extra / Proof" on the barrels. There is a little surface rust on outer portions of the lock plates and a small area of standing crust on one of the barrels near the proof stamping. The wood is generally good with a tight fit to the metal, just some handling and storage dings. They obviously lay with the locks down: the wood on their offsides is a tad lighter from exposure. The ramrods are missing, but were probably fairly simple.

The holsters are the US 1837 pattern, but with a leather cover, as specified in the bill of sale, instead of bearskin. They show damage and have been repaired to make them displayable. The left holster and cover suffered more. The flap is missing part of its edge trim and the holster on that side is missing its end cap and was partially detached from the backing piece. Torn stitching holes made it impractical to resew and it has been reattached with some glue. Similarly, the yoke was split along its center line of stitching and this has been mended by gluing a strip of leather along the top and bottom so the holsters can drape over a support and hang properly. Both holsters have their ammunition pouches with five tin tubes intact on their faces. The covers were detached and have been lightly treated to soften them and have been reattached to the yoke with a lace. The right holster still has its tie down loop with the Dingee mark. The loop is missing from the left holster. They display alright. Naturally, they look better with the right holster toward the viewer.

The paper work in the grouping is A.M. Davis's 1841 membership certificate in the unit, an 1842 printed general order regarding the 3rd Regiment of Horse Artillery, and the original 1842 bill of sale made out to A.M. Davis for all of the above items signed by H.J. Storms. Henry Storms was in business from 1816 to 1854, when the business passed to his son, C.S. Storms, who will be well known by Civil War collectors.

These items are interesting enough on their own, but it is pretty much unheard of nowadays for such a grouping to remain intact.

Shipping $40. NY addresses add sales tax. The sword will shipped separately from the other pieces.