Military Wiki
2nd Regiment of Light Dragoons
Active 1812 — 1814
Disbanded 12 May 1814
Country United States
Branch U.S. Army
Type Dragoons
Size Regiment
Weapons Sabers
Campaigns War of 1812
Sole Commander James Burn

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 12 May 1814, forming the Regiment of Light Dragoons.


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


Although the regiment was organized on 11 January 1812 the regimental colonel, James Burn, was not appointed until 25 April. 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]


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.[4]

William Henry Harrison ordered Colonel John B. Campbell of the 19th Infantry to lead a force which included Major James Ball's squadron of the 2nd Regiment of Light Dragoons from Fort Greenville, Ohio to attack a cluster of Miami Indian villages on the Mississinewa River. On 17 December, Campbell's force attacked and destroyed the principle village. The Miami counterattacked before dawn on 18 December 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 were disabled by frostbite. More than one hundred dragoons were temporary or permanent but non-fatal, casualties. On 28 April 1813, General Procter and Tecumseh attempted to lure U.S. troops, including Major Ball's re-constituted 2nd Squadron in 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.[5][6]

On 27 September 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.[5]


  1. Heitman pp. 80
  2. Rauch p. 8
  3. Elting p. 14
  4. Unwin p. 49
  5. 5.0 5.1 Urwin pp. 42—45>
  6. Rauch p. 31


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