The 17th Light Dragoons welcomes all worthy and able bodied individuals who wish to become a Light Dragoon of His Majesty’s Forces serving on the campaign in the colonies during the American Revolution.  If you are searching for an interactive experience in history, enjoy educating the public , and want to stand out among the rest on the field, the 17th Light Dragoons “Death or Glory Boys” is the place for you. 

We have a mounted and dismounted detachment, which follow strict historically accurate guidelines as far as uniforms, weapons, accoutrements, horses, and tack. The dismounted unit acts as light infantry on the field, either in a supporting role with the mounted detachment, or as part of the Advance Guard of the British Army.
Interested applicants need not have any particular horse experience (although it helps to know which end of a horse is which), and may do any impression consistent with their age, sex, and race, for this period; for this type of a regiment. For safety reasons, we must ensure that both horse and rider are suitable and ready to be on the field, and are well trained in weapons and tactics of the era, plus general safety rules that we all must follow.

Impressions within the unit consist of Mounted and Dismounted Dragoons and Trumpeters, Camp Followers or Distaff, and in some cases displaced civilians.  You need NOT have a horse to belong to our unit!

Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation
Whatever it is your adventurous heart may be seeking, there is a lot of work involved in living history and Revolutionary War reenacting. You can expect to drill hard and live like a Dragoon on the campaign, carry wood, shovel and clean the piquet areas, groom and tend to the horses, fetch water for the horses and for cooking, clean pots, get sweaty and dirty, but maintain your uniform and horse in a clean and professional appearance and keep your equipment in good order. 

We are servants to the King and we proudly represent one of Great Britain's elite regiments of Light Dragoons. Our mission is to field a well-drilled and uniformly equipped British Light Dragoon regiment while representing the legacy of the regiments past and present.  Engaging the enemies of the Crown is our primary mission.  We earn our shilling by being the eyes and ears of the commander on the field, we patrol the perimeter of the main army’s camp, and usually we are the first to make contact and engage the enemy of the field of battle and the last to leave it. Regardless of our orders or the circumstances we may face, we always live up to the regiment’s motto “Death or Glory!”

If you think you have what it takes to serve as one of His Royal Majesty's Dragoons, and are interested in accepting the King's Shilling,
e-mail us!


At Colonial Williamsburg

Frequently Asked Questions -

1.  Who are you people?
We are a group of ordinary people who have common interests in 18th century history. Some of us have professional horse backgrounds, but we come from all walks of life and live up and down the eastern seaboard. Some of us ride, some of us don't. We all love what we do and have a great time doing it.
2.  What are you doing?
We attempt to recreate the life of the 18th century British  soldier as accurately as possible (while staying within the bounds of safety, public health and relative good sense).  In trying to live as they did, we learn more about history and we also improve our horsemanship
3.  Where do you do this and how often?
We attend on average 8 events a year. Reenactments are at private sites, or state, and national parks. Some that commemorate an actual battle on its site could be held annually. Others could be every few years or more. We travel as far North as Upstate New York and as far South as the Carolinas. Attendance at events is voluntary, but we encourage you to attend at least one event a year.
4.  What is a ‘Dragoon’?
The word dragoon refers to a type of cavalry (mounted) soldier.  The name derives from a  musket carried by French cavalry called a "Dragon". Characteristics of  light dragoon troops included  horses that were typically more lightly built than heavy cavalry or regular Dragoon horses. This meant that they were faster and more maneuverable.  Light Dragoons did not wear body armor, as the early (16th and 17th century ) cavalry did. They were some of the most heavily armed troops of the American revolution, carrying a pair of pistols, a carbine and saber. Dragoons did not always fight on horseback: sometimes they rode to the area of need, dismounted, and fought on foot.
5.  What did Dragoons do?
In the American Revolution, dragoons were important on both the British and Continental sides.   Dragoons are cavalry. In the 18th Century, the horse was the fastest means of land transportation, so mounted men were used as messengers and as scouts for determining the best line of march, or position of the enemy.  Mounted soldiers were also able to get into battle (or out of it) quicker than infantry.  Other responsibilities included patrolling, foraging and camp and baggage guard. The dragoons were never a large part of the army in terms of numbers, but they had a significant impact on the outcome of many engagements.

6.  Is that a Skull and Crossbones on your Helmet?
Yes.  It is. And No we are not Pirates! The Regiment was raised in 1759 by Colonel John Hale. He was a personal friend of General Wolfe who was killed during his victory at the Battle of Quebec. Colonel Hale was assigned the responsibility of bringing the news of the victory and thus the end of the seven years war (also know as the French and Indian War) to King George. In honour of the victory, King George gave Hale a regiment of Light Dragoons to raise and equip. Hale chose the skull and crossbones badge and the motto "Death or Glory" to remember Wolfe's victory and sacrifice at Quebec. The skull and crossbones badge is still worn today in the modern British Army by The Queen's Royal Lancers.

7. What does it cost to Join?
We pay a small annual fee per person for liability insurance. 
You do need to purchase your own uniforms and equipment, though we do have some items we can loan out while you are working on getting kitted out.
You do not have to pay to go to reenactments, although we all chip in for food for the weekend, and you need to get there.