by Bob Yankle and SCAR
The 3d Light Dragoons are
a troop of interpretive historians
dedicated to educating the public and themselves through research,
integration and interpretation of the American experience and
particularly the experience of the American Revolution
3d Light Dragoons, Inc. is a
Carolina not for profit corporation and may seek IRS Code Section
status for the purposes contained in its mission statement and those
included in its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.
Light Dragoons, Inc. is a
new member of
We are also affiliated with the
What is a
The Oxford English Dictionary first recognized the word
1604 as a French term describing mounted soldiers armed with muskets.
The French word dragon predates this by half a century and refereed to
a short, carbine length musket. By the eighteenth century most
European armies incorporated dragoons, horse soldiers armed with a
carbine and trained to fight both from the saddle and on foot. The
term dragooning even entered the vernacular meaning to pull double
duty similar to today’s term, multitasking. However, theory proved
better than practice and instead of mounted infantry, dragoons
typically filled the role of heavy cavalry in European armies.
Halfway through the eighteenth century Hungarian style
called hussars, proved their worth through rapid deployment and
pursuit roles on the battlefield and on campaign by excelling at
screening and reconnaissance missions. Light cavalry then became an
essential part of European military forces and the British developed
several regiments of Light Dragoons to fill the role and specialize as
mounted skirmishers with pistols and carbines.
During the American Revolution four troops of
Dragoons were formed. Unlike in Europe, the Continental Light Dragoons
performed both heavy and light cavalry roles during the war. An
excellent example of this is the 3d Light Dragoons
performance during the battle of Guilford Courthouse. They start the
battle screening the right flank of the American lines from Hessian
Jaegers and British Light Infantry, a typical light cavalry role, and
later make a saber charge against the British Foot Guards,
successfully fulfilling the role of heavy cavalry. One could say they
were “dragooning” it!