3d Drgoon
                              button recovered at Tappan Farm


Fighting tyranny

since 1777

About Us
About Us
The 3d Light Dragoons

3d CLS at 2006
                          Cowpens Event

Photo 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 dragoon.


The 3d Light Dragoons, Inc. is a North Carolina not for profit corporation and may seek IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) status for the purposes contained in its mission statement and those included in its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.

 Unit Affiliations

The 3d Light Dragoons, Inc. is a new member of Continental Line, Inc..  We are also affiliated with the Carolina Brigade

What is a Dragoon?

The Oxford English Dictionary first recognized the word dragoon in 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 light cavalry, 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 Continental Light 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!

                          Dragoon Pistol

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