Weight of Dragoon Armament and Equipment

“On more than one occasion, the Apache have escaped from Dragoons, when almost in their grasp, where fleetness of their horses was put to test by the troops on broken down animals.” (Colonel George Archibald McCall, New Mexico in 1850: A Military View (1968) Robt. Frazer, ed., 187) In 1852,John Greiner, an Indian Agent in New Mexico observed, “A dragoon mounted will weigh 225 pounds. Their horses are all as poor as carrion. The Indians have nothing but their bows and arrows and their ponies are as fleet as deer. Cipher it up. Havy dragoons on poor horses, who know nothing of the county, sent after Indians who are at home any where and who always have some hours start, how long will it take to catch them? So far, although several expeditions have been started after them, not a single Indian has been caught.” (Journal of American History, Vol. III (No.4, 1909), 549; cited in Frazer, Ibid.)

“The weight of a man & kit upon a horse will average 350 pounds.” Sgt. C. Francis Clakrke. 29 September 1852, Fort Massachusetts (Miller, ed, Above a Common Soldier (UMN Press 1997) 41).

Source: Ex. Doc. No. 2, Message of the President, December 2, 1851, page 253

Item…………………….. Pounds Oz
Musketoon……….. …………. 6 …. 8
Aston Pistol…………………. 2 …. 8
Sabre, sabre-belt, cartridge-box,
sling and swivel, and sabre knot. 8 …. 4
Forty rounds of ammunition…….. 3 …. 0
Holster complete……………… 2 …. 8
Curry-comb and brush………….. 1 …. 8
Spurs and straps……………… 0…… 8
Two blankets (horse and bed)…… 9 ….. 0
Valise containing one pair of wool
overalls, one pair of drawers, one
flannel shirt, one pair of stock-
ings, and one fatigue frock…… 6 ….. 4
Great-coat…………………… 6 ….. 4
Nose-bag…………………….. 1 ….. 4
Picket-pin and rope…………… 3 ….. 0
___________
Total…………………78 ….. 0

2 Replies to “Weight of Dragoon Armament and Equipment”

  1. So we can conclude that the weight upon the horse’s back was:
    78 lbs of equipment + 20 lbs of saddle + 10 lbs kit bag with 3 day’s rations + 150 lbs of soldier = 258 lbs.

    Griener says 225 and Clarke 350. 258 comes between the two but leaves Clarke looking a bit heavy. Dragoons were said to be big men. If the average dragoon weighed 200 lbs instead of 150, then the weight is close to 310 lbs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *