2nd Continental Light Dragoons

The 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, also known as Sheldon's Horse after Colonel Elisha Sheldon, was commissioned by the Continental Congress on December 12, 1776,[1] and was first mustered at Wethersfield, Connecticut, in March 1777 for service with the Continental Army. The regiment consisted of four troops from Connecticut, one troop each largely from Massachusetts and New Jersey, and two companies of light infantry.

2nd Continental Light Dragoons
2nd Legionary Corps
Active1776–1783; reestablished 1978 by State of Connecticut
Country United States
Allegiance Connecticut
SizeRegiment of six troops
120 men in 1780
Part ofContinental Army
Nickname(s)Sheldon's Horse
ColorsBlue coat with buff facings
EngagementsBattle of Brandywine,
Battle of Germantown,
Battle of Yorktown
Elisha Sheldon
Benjamin Tallmadge

Military action

The regiment saw action at the Battle of Woodbridge, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Kingston, Battle of Schoharie, The Battle of The Flocky (site of the first cavalry charge on American soil), Battle of Paoli, Battle of Whitemarsh, Battle of Morrisania, Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Germantown, and the Battle of Yorktown.

The unit almost never served as a whole. Usually individual troops were assigned as necessary.

The regiment performed numerous raids from whaleboats against British and Loyalist installations on Long Island. Some of the successful raids captured Fort St. George, Ft. Slongo and Lloyd's Neck, Long Island.

Elements from the unit comprised Washington's personal bodyguard. In 1778, when Loyalist agents and a crack British commando team shadowed Washington for weeks with the intention of kidnapping him, they had to abandon the operation because, according to the British Intelligence dispatches, "The 2nd Dragoons are (always) with him." The 2nd Dragoons also guarded John Andre during his incarceration, trial and subsequent execution in Nyack, New York.

The regiment's main patrol areas during the war were in Southern Connecticut and New York, where they intercepted British supplies and fought off bands of Loyalist partisans who preyed on local citizens. This duty earned them the nickname "Watchdogs of the Highlands". They also earned the sobriquet "Washington's Eyes", likely because of their spy work. Major Benjamin Tallmadge became a spy master who ran one of the most successful spy rings of the war, able to infiltrate the British military command in New York city.

After the war

On January 1, 1781, the regiment was reorganized by the dismounting of two of its six troops and re-designated the 2nd Legionary Corps. The regiment was furloughed June 9, 1783, at Newburgh, New York and discharged on November 20, 1783, by proclamation of General Washington.

The 2nd Light Dragoons are prominent in Colonel John Trumbull's paintings of the American Revolution.



  1. ^ "Our Past: 2nd Continental Light Dragoons". 2nd Continental Light Dragoons. Second Continental Light Dragoons Official Website. Retrieved 8 December 2017.

External links

1st Continental Light Dragoons

The 1st Continental Light Dragoons, also known as Bland's Horse, was a mounted regiment of the Continental Army organized between 13 June and 10 September 1776 in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was made up of men from eastern and northern Virginia for service with the Continental Army.

Banastre Tarleton

Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, GCB (21 August 1754 – 15 January 1833) was a British soldier and politician. Tarleton was eventually ranked as a general years after his service in the colonies during the American Revolutionary War, and afterwards did not lead troops into battle.Tarleton's cavalrymen were called 'Tarleton's Raiders'. His green uniform was the standard uniform of the British Legion, a provincial unit organised in New York, in 1778. After returning to Great Britain in 1781 at the age of 27, Tarleton was elected a Member of Parliament for Liverpool and returned to office in the early 19th century. As such, Tarleton became a prominent Whig politician despite his young man's reputation as a roué. Given the importance of the slave trade to the British shipping industry in Liverpool, Tarleton strongly supported slavery as an economic means.

Battle of Fort St. George

The Battle of Fort St. George (or Fort George) was the culmination of a Continental Army raiding expedition led by Benjamin Tallmadge against a fortified Loyalist outpost and storage depot at the Manor St. George on the south coast of Long Island on November 23, 1780, during the American Revolutionary War. Tallmadge's raid was successful; the garrison was surprised, and many provisions and prisoners were taken.

Benjamin Tallmadge

Benjamin Tallmadge (February 25, 1754 – March 7, 1835) was an American military officer, spymaster, and politician. He is best known for his service as an officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He acted as leader of the Culper Ring during the war, a celebrated network of spies in New York where major British forces were based. He also led a successful raid across Long Island that culminated in the Battle of Fort St. George. Following the war, Tallmadge was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Federalist Party.

Elijah Churchill

Elijah Churchill (1755–1841), was a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Elisha Sheldon

Elisha Sheldon (March 6, 1740 - March 11, 1805) was a Colonel in the American Revolution.

Born in Lyme, Connecticut, Sheldon joined the Continental Army at the outbreak of hostilities, and served under the command of General George Washington, who requested that Congress commission Sheldon to raise a cavalry regiment. The 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, which he commanded, came to be known as "Sheldon's Horse", and "served with distinction throughout the Revolutionary War".Shortly after the end of the war, he moved to Franklin County, Vermont, where he had a grant of land.He died in Saint Albans, Franklin County, Vermont, and was buried next to his wife, Sarah Bellows. The town of Sheldon, Vermont was named for him, and the Elisha Sheldon House is part of the Litchfield Historic District.

Last surviving United States war veterans

This is an incomplete list of the last surviving veterans of American wars. The last surviving veteran of any particular war, upon their death, marks the end of a historic era. Exactly who is the last surviving veteran is often an issue of contention, especially with records from long-ago wars. The "last man standing" was often very young at the time of enlistment and in many cases had lied about his age to gain entry into the service, which confuses matters further.

Lemuel Cook

Lemuel Cook (September 10, 1759 – May 20, 1866) was one of the last verifiable surviving veterans of the American Revolutionary War.

List of Continental Army units (1777–84)

The Continental Army was the army raised by the Second Continental Congress to oppose the British Army during the American Revolutionary War. The army went through three major establishments: the first in 1775, the second in 1776, and the third from 1777 until after the end of the war.

The Continental Army of 1777 was a result of several critical reforms and political decisions that came about when it was apparent that the British were sending massive forces to put an end to the Revolution. In order to create a more stable, better trained army that would not cease to exist at the end of each year — the army had nearly collapsed at the end of 1776 — men were now required to enlist for either three years, or for the duration of the war.

Paoli order of battle

The following units and commanders fought in the Battle of Paoli during the American Revolutionary War.

The Battle of Paoli (also known as the Battle of Paoli Tavern or the Paoli Massacre) was part of the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought on September 21, 1777 in the area surrounding present-day Malvern, Pennsylvania.

United States Cavalry

The United States Cavalry, or U.S. Cavalry, was the designation of the mounted force of the United States Army from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries. The Cavalry branch became the Armor branch with tanks in 1950, but the term "Cavalry" such as "armored cavalry" remains in use in the U.S. Army for mounted (ground and aviation) reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) units based on their parent Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) regiment. Cavalry is also used in the name of the 1st Cavalry Division for heraldic/lineage/historical purposes. Some combined arms battalions (i.e., consisting of a combination of tank and mechanized infantry companies) are designated as armor formations, while others are designated as infantry organizations. These "branch" designations are again, heraldic/lineage/historical titles derived from the CARS regiments to which the battalions are assigned.Originally named and designated as United States Dragoons, the forces were patterned after cavalry units employed during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), especially by the opposing well-supplied mounted dragoons units of the King's Army (British Army), especially used with great effectiveness in the Southern Theater of the Carolinas in the latter part of the war. The traditions of the U.S. Cavalry originated with the horse-mounted force which played an important role in extending United States governance into the Western United States, especially after the American Civil War (1861–1865), with the need to cover vast ranges of territory between scattered isolated forts and outposts of the minimal resources given to the stretched thin U.S. Army.

Significant numbers of horse mounted units participated in later foreign conflicts in the Spanish–American War of 1898, and in the Western Front battlefields of Europe in World War I (1917–1918), although numbers and roles declined.

Immediately preceding World War II (1941–1945), the U.S. Cavalry began transitioning to a mechanized, mounted force. During the Second World War, the Army's cavalry units operated as horse-mounted, mechanized, or dismounted forces (infantry). The last horse-mounted cavalry charge by a U.S. Cavalry unit took place on the Bataan Peninsula, in the Philippines in early 1942. The 26th Cavalry Regiment of the allied Philippine Scouts executed the charge against Imperial Japanese Army forces near the village of Morong on 16 January 1942.The U.S. Cavalry branch was absorbed into the Armor branch as part of the Army Reorganization Act of 1950. The Vietnam War saw the introduction of helicopters and operations as a helicopter-borne force with the designation of Air Cavalry, while mechanized cavalry received the designation of Armored Cavalry.

Today, cavalry designations and traditions continue with regiments of both armor and aviation units that perform the cavalry mission. The 1st Cavalry Division is the only active division in the United States Army with a cavalry designation. The division maintains a detachment of horse-mounted cavalry for ceremonial purposes.

Southern theater Participation, 1781
Units by state
Non-state units

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.