|ounted troops or dragoons, were the most colorful and dashing of soldiers. However, they were also the most expensive to outfit. Good horses were costly to buy and maintain. Fighting from horseback required specialized equipment. Although the cavalry believed that the saber was the most effective weapon, horsemen needed firing weapons. Many carried pistols in saddle holsters. Others carried a carbine, a short shoulder weapon of smaller caliber than the musket.
arly in the war dragoons had little impact on the course of the war. They provided communication links over large areas. They sometimes encountered minor skirmishes during the patrolling of the camp perimeter. As the war continued, dragoons took on an increasingly important role in combat. The shock of a cavalry charge often proved decisive in gaining a victory.