At the end of 1832, the Secretary of War, Lewis Cass, reported that it cost $150,000 more a year to maintain the Battalion of Mounted Rangers than it would for a full regiment of dragoons. The fate of the Rangers was sealed. By July of 1833, the men of the Ranger Battalion had served their 1-year's enlistment, and demanded their discharge. Earlier that year Congress had authorized The United States Regiment of Dragoons, on the 2nd. of March. This is the date used as the real birthday of the United States Cavalry.
It was believed that a disciplined, uniformed and weaponized mounted service was expected to deliver greater respect of the U.S. Military might than had the Ranger Battalion. The following years are often referred to as the "Golden Age of Militarism" in the United States. Much expense and concentration to detail of clothing...both campaign and dress uniforms......made the new "U.S. Regiment of Dragoons" the elite of the army. Later the Voltigeurs and Topographical Engineers would claim that distinction, but the dragoons would carry the weight of armed conflict until Dragoons and Mounted Riflemen were reorganized along with two regiments of cavalry in 1861.
The term "dragoon" had been in use for centuries, particularly as long as muskets/carbines had been fired from horseback. America tended to confuse the original European definitions of "dragoon and cavalry". Dragoon coming from the original word "dragon" relating to mounted muskets being fired from horseback billowing fire and smoke. However dragoon tended to refer to mounted infantry or riflemen or musketeers being transported to the battle scene, then dismounting to fight on foot. In addition to muskets, heavy swords and later pistols became the armament of the dragoon, where the cavalryman usually only carried saber/sword and later pistols fighting primarily on horseback. Technically then, the U.S. army actually had dragoons throughout the long 110 years of horse mounted soldiering......with the only exception I'm aware of in the 1850's where the 1855 Springfield Percussion Carbine Pistol with detachable shoulder stock was issued to some/all? companies in one of the two new regiments of 1850's cavalry......hopefully I'll have more specific information on that when I get to the 1rst and 2nd Cavalry Regts.
So in effect the dragoons were mounted infantrymen with cavalry sabers and pistols expected to fight either on horseback "cavalry" or dismounted as infantry. This would be the standard for mounted troops whether named dragoons, mounted rifles or cavalry until "cavalry" became mechanized in the early 20th century.
The new Dragoon regiment was issued the the 1833 Dragoon saber which was modeled after the 1822 British saber. Slightly curved steel blade, brass hilt and eel? or sharkskin wire wrapped handle.
Considered the secondary weapon dragoons were issued one or a "brace of flintlock pistols, either the Harpers Ferry 1807 or "possibly" the 1816 North martial pistol....perhaps Mick could nail in down because honestly I have never been able to determine what was issued or how many to each trooper. Randy Steffen always showed the HF model in his drawings as you will note in his sketch below.
The new regiment would get the first percussion martial firearm ever issued in the 1833 model Hall carbine. Shown below is actually the '36 model carbine, which is essentially the same except the placement of the carbine ring and the ramrod bayonet on the '36 model. I chose this one to give better angles of the carbine.
The firing breech mechanism is actually a "front loading breech"....powder went in first like a muzzleloader, followed by buck and ball and finally paper wad. Removal of a screw would allow the breech to be removed and easily conceal in a trooper's pocket.....not regulation.
Uniform would be a dark blue wool shell jacket and lighter Kersy wool blue trousers with yellow trim...which would be standard until the late Indian Wars/Spanish American War. There would be later provision for white canvas jacket and trousers for the hotter climates. Black leather Jefferson Shoes/bootees for footwear. White Buff saber belt and carbine sling, Black leather cartridge box. Black leather folding forage cap.
Horse equipment I have discussed elsewhere...but there does seem to be confusion as to the exact nature of the saddle and quite possibly there was for a short period both a black leather English style saddle as well as an improved Mexican tree saddle. Here again is the sketch of a Dragoon Sargent on horse back. He has two yellow stripes down his trouser leg as opposed to enlisted men who only had a single stripe.
This was truly the Fur Trade mounted soldier!