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2nd Regiment of Light Dragoons (United States)

The 2nd Regiment of Light Dragoons was a unit of the U.S. Army in the early nineteenth century. It was first activated in 1812. The regiment was consolidated with the 1st Regiment of Light Dragoons on May 12, 1814, forming the Regiment of Light Dragoons.

2nd Regiment of Light Dragoons
Active1812 — 1814
DisbandedMay 12, 1814
Country United States
Branch United States Army
CampaignsWar of 1812
Sole CommanderJames Burn


An act of Congress on January 11, 1812 authorized an additional regiment of light Dragoons.[1] By June 1812, the regiment had been activated.[2]


Although the regiment was organized on January 11, 1812 the regimental colonel, James Burn, was not appointed until April 25. Secretary of War William Eustis delayed recruiting for almost a month, then allowed recruitment of only three out of twelve companies. No clothing or equipment was supplied until September and October. The regiment was not fully equipped until December. Purchase of horses had been ordered in March but by September only half the regiment was mounted; many of its mounts were unfit for service. Eustis scattered the regiment from the Ohio River to New England. One company disappeared from the War Department's records.[3]

While stationed at Sackett's Harbor, New York, both the 1st and 2nd Regiments had their strength increased by the transfer of soldiers from the 26th Infantry Regiment.[4]


Neither the 1st Regiment nor the 2nd Regiment were used as consolidated units during the War of 1812. Generals frequently used their assigned dragoons as escorts, couriers and scouts rather than fighting men.[5]

William Henry Harrison ordered Colonel John B. Campbell of the 19th Infantry to lead a force which included Major James Ball's squadron (including Captain Samuel Hopkins's troop) of the 2nd Regiment of Light Dragoons from Fort Greenville, Ohio to attack a cluster of Miami Indian villages on the Mississinewa River. On December 17, 1812, Campbell's force attacked and destroyed the principle village. The Miami counterattacked before dawn on December 18 and, although Campbell and his soldiers persevered, they suffered ten dead and thirty-eight wounded. Campbell retreated to Fort Greenville. The expedition suffered the loss of over one hundred horses and more than three hundred men were disabled by frostbite. More than one hundred dragoons were temporary or permanent but non-fatal, casualties. On April 28, 1813, General Procter and Tecumseh attempted to lure U.S. troops, including Major Ball's re-constituted 2nd Squadron into a battle outside Fort Meigs, Ohio. The U.S. forces held their ground inside the fort and the British and Indians broke off he attack.[6][7]

The regiment participated in the attack on Fort George, Upper Canada in May 1813.

On September 27, 1813, Ball and his dragoons, although dismounted, accompanied Harrison on his invasion of Canada at Amherstburg. The squadron captured a bridge over the Aux Canards River.[6]


  1. ^ Heitman pp. 80
  2. ^ Rauch p. 8
  3. ^ Elting p. 14
  4. ^ Brenner
  5. ^ Unwin p. 49
  6. ^ a b Urwin pp. 42—45
  7. ^ Rauch p. 31


  • Brenner, James T. "Notes on Ohio's Regular Army Infantry Regiments, 1812 to 1815" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 15, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  • Cole, David (2013). "Survey of U.S. Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  • Elting, John R. Amateurs, to Arms! A Military History of the War of 1812 (1st ed.). Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. ISBN 0-945575-08-4.
  • Heitman, Francis B. (1903). "Historical register and dictionary of the United States Army". War Department. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  • Rauch, Steven J. (2013). "The Campaign of 1812" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  • Urwin, Gregory J. W. (1983). The United States Cavalry: An Illustrated History, 1776-1944. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  • "Battle of Stoney Creek". Retrieved November 16, 2014.