In the colonial era America’s mounted force consisted of militia mounted on horses to cope with Indian raids or serve with the British in their conflicts with the French in North America. In this early period the continent’s heavily wooded terrain and small population limited the size of mounted units and the extent of their operations. During the Revolutionary War, a need emerged for permanent cavalry units to support the Continental Army. On 12 December 1776 the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the 1st Regiment of Light Dragoons. Authorization for an additional three regiments soon followed. Basic issue to each trooper included a coat, cap, leather breeches, and a pair of boots and spurs. Weapons consisted of a saber and flintlock pistol that each man provided for himself, while officers were further expected to supply their own mounts.