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"U.S. dragoons?" Topic

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15 Dec 2022 10:35 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "U.S. dragoon's" to "U.S. dragoons?"Crossposted to Napoleonic Discussion board

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spydr122215 Dec 2022 9:58 a.m. PST

can i use british heavy drgoons for american drgoons????

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2022 10:22 a.m. PST

It has been a long time since I did anything with War of 1812, but my recollection is that the usual substitution for US Dragoons were French dragoons. This may be at least in part because both Americans and French wore their trousers tucked into their boots, unlike the British Dragoon Guard regiments.


raylev315 Dec 2022 11:01 a.m. PST

Actually, you can use both British and French light dragoons, with blue jackets. The headgear for both would fit US dragoons of the period since both types of headgear were used by the various regular and militia dragoon units.

It would appear the two US regular dragoon units wore the French style, while the militia wore the British style. Oh, and some research shows US dragoons wearing the shako.

Frankly, I'd go with what you prefer unless you're focused on a particular regiment, and you can find specifics on their uniform.

Son of MOOG15 Dec 2022 11:52 a.m. PST

Here is a really useful site with loads of information. the dragoons are the last entry while the militia units are included in each State plate. As noted in the above answer, the US Regulars wore a French style helmet while the militia dragoons tended to favor the British "Tarleton" style helmet. This link was given in another TMP thread awhile ago.
Hope this helps.
Tom D


epturner15 Dec 2022 2:46 p.m. PST

The main difference between the French and American helmets was the placement of the plume.

If you go to Knuckleduster's website, Forrest has some very good information on the US Dragoon uniform tucked away in there.


Brechtel19815 Dec 2022 6:29 p.m. PST

The main difference in the helmets was that the French dragoon helmet was brass and the American's was jacked black leather reinforced with steel strips.

That is a significant difference.

The Americans wore their plumes on the left side of the helmet, as did the French dragoon arm.

The American regular light dragoon uniform 'combined a light cavalry jacket and a poor man's imitation of the French heavy cavalry helmet' which produced 'a handsome and distinctive style.'

And the light dragoon uniform 'demonstrates clearly the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on American military dress.'

See Military Uniforms in America, Volume II, edited by John Elting.

Brechtel19816 Dec 2022 6:06 a.m. PST

For the non-regular US cavalry of the War of 1812 period they wore an assortment of period cavalry dress.

For example:

The 7th New York Dragoon Regiment was dressed in red faced black with yellow lace,and wore a Tarleton-type cavalry helmet. They did wear three different types of coat-which might have been to distinguish the different companies of the regiment.

The applicable uniform regulations for New York cavalry in 1809 read, in part:

'Section XVIII Cavalry Uniform-Regimental field and staff and troop officer, a cap or helmet and short scarlet coat, faced with black silk velvet, the collars, cuffs, and wings on the shoulders to be the same; eight buttons on the lapels, two on each side of the collar, three on each sleeve and three on each skirt, the button holes and the edges of the coat (the bottom excepted) to be trimmed with gold lace or yellow silk binding, the bottons and epaulets of the like color, with buff vest, buckskin breeches, and long black topped boots.'-taken from the New York (State) Militia Act of 29 March 1809.

One company was employed as scouts and messengers at Plattsburg in July 1814.

The Boston Hussars of the Massachusettes Volunteer Militia was uniformed in an American copy of the European hussar units. The jacket and coveralls were in dark green with red pelisses edged in black fur. In full dress the unit wore breeches in light tan and the uniform appears to be a copy of the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard. Their headdress was a shako with plate, cords, brass chinscales and plume in the front.

They were not activated during the War of 1812. They were formed in 1810 and were disbanded in 1817.

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2022 9:18 a.m. PST

The short answer to your question is no. In addition to the above information, the U.S, dragoons were not equipped with muskets/carbines, rather with swords and pistols only. British and French dragoons in contrast were armed with muskets/carbines in addition to the sword.

Knuckleduster miniatures (also mentioned above)stock fine representations of both U.S. dragoons and the mentioned New York dragoons with their unique tunic and Tarleton type helmet.

Vincent the Librarian18 Dec 2022 6:08 p.m. PST

I always felt that the USA Dragoons had a really good looking uniform, one of my favorite cav uniforms (maybe next to the Empress Dragoons), but everyone has their own opinions.

For my militia dragoons, I used Revolutionary War British Tarleton cavalry.

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