1st Regiment of light dragoons


To Arms in Defense of Liberty

AS an army without cavalry is, in all countries a very defective machine, but in this province, circumstanced as it is, it is impossible to carry on the service, with any tolerable degree of credit and success, without a certain proportion of this species of troops, General LW, begs leave to address himself to the young gentlemen of the different counties, entreating that they will form themselves into companies of LIGHT DRAGOONS April 19, 1776, The Virginia Gazette​

Each Troop to consist of a one captain, one lieutenant, one cornet, two serjeants, two corporals, and a trumpet or horn sounder and 30 troopers


On June 13, 1776, the Convention of Delegates appointed 

Theodoric Bland, captain of the First Troop of Horse;
Benjamin Temple captain of the Second Troop of Horse;
John Jameson captain of the Third Troop of Horse;
Llewellyn Jones captain of the Fourth Troop of Horse; 

Henry Lee, captain of the Fifth Troop of Horse;
John Nelson captain of the Sixth Troop of Horse.

In June 1776 Captain Bland is promoted to Colonel of the Light Dragoons and remains until ill health forces him to retire in 1779.

The regiment saw action at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Guilford Courthouse. 

At Brandywine, Bland's report on General Howe's flanking maneuver allows Washington enough time to react.

After Monmouth in 1778 dragoons under Maj Talmadge are used to track and harass the British movements.

Col Theodoric Bland's Papers https://archive.org/details/blandpapersbein00campgoog 


Each Dragoon with a helmet of leather with white horse-hair crest... blue coats faced with red, with gilt or yellow-metal buttons; red waistcoats with gilt buttons; black belts, black stocks, leather breeches, and black top boots. Lt. Lefferts. 

The Uniform varied throughout the war with some troops uniformed in regimental coats of brown faced green wool and some later issued metal helmets. American cavalry forces went through many reorganizations under Pulaski. The 5th Troop became Lee's Legion. Other troops were combined due to heavy losses fighting the British.  

On April 28, 1778, the Virginia Commissary of Stores was instructed to "furnish those Gentlemen, of the City of Williamsburg who have engaged to serve as Volunteer Cavalry agreeable to the recommendation of Congress, with such necessary Cloathing as they may want not exceeding Cloth sufficient to make a Horsemans Cloak, Coat & Waistcoat; Linen for two Shirts and two pair of Stockings for each Voluntier they paying for the same."

Unit Quartermaster Has Pattern Requirements and Approved Vendors.

Helmet: Black leather helmet blank with visor, white horse hair crest sewn into the ridge extension, 2-3 chains and black leather tourban. Helmet blanks can be made on a wood form or purchased from GGGodwin. It is preferred to make them as the GGGodwin version does not have a proper ridge crest extension.

Regimental Coatee: Gary has the pattern and can provide both fabric and approved tailor for assembly with instructions. Fabric is to be NYPD dark blue wool for the body, Kochan Phillips madder red facings,madder serge for the turn backs, brass buttons for the front and cuffs, epaulets with small brass buttons. 

Weskit: Madder red wool with brass buttons, back and rest of lining of linnen see Gary for pattern sources

Shirt: White linnen or shirt to 18th century pattern.

Neck Stock: Black in color leather, horsehair or velveteen tied or with clasp.

Breeches: Brain tan buckskin is preferred for durability but linnen or wool is acceptable. They should fit well or they will not last in the saddle. There are many sources. There is also a workshop for leather breeches every other year or so. 

Boots: of proper 18th century fashion (seam should be on the back of the boot and not sides) French dragoon boots, English riding boots etc. 

Hunting shirt: per unit pattern open front, of osnabrig linen to be used on working parties or as designated

If you have questions please ask before buying something. 


July 5, 1776, The Virginia Gazette "WANTED for the first troop of HORSE, about 30 geldings from 14 hands and a half to 15 hands high, and from 4 to 6 years old, well formed and active. Bays will be most suitable, or the colours nearest to bay. Apply to the subscriber at the rendezvous at Blandford, in Prince George county; to lieutenant Call, near Petersburg; or to cornet Henry in Hanover.


Swords: While Potter swords from New York were favored, many types of swords were used as could be found, procured or shipped in from Europe. Rapahannock Forge swords were manufactured during the last years of the war.

Pistols: Each trooper carried 1-2 pistols as a secondary weapon in fur covered holster mounted on the front of the saddle.

Carbines were short muskets which became available later in the war.

Horse Tack: Simple leather tack of was produced in the colonies with saddlers being mentioned in Maryland and Virginia


Saddles: Captain Lee reports purchasing saddles in Charleston at the head of the Elk. English dragoons are using Elliot Light Dragoon Saddles during the war. Towards the end of the war French cavalry saddles are shipped to the states.

Joining The Regiment

If you are interested in joining the regiment please send us a note below in the contact section. We don't discriminate and would love to have any interested riders join us. We do expect you to safely be able to mount, dismount, ride at a gallop with a sword/lance, shoot from horseback etc in proper uniform. Even if you have never ridden a horse but have a love for this area of history let us know.

Contact Us

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Better yet, see us in person!

We would love to hear from you. Would you like to join us? 

Would you like us to come to your school for an educational presentation?

Would you like to have us at your reenactment or historic event?

HIA Foundation, Inc