Washington's army marched mostly on its feet. But the General also formed four "regiments of horse," the Continental Light Dragoons.
Although costly to maintain, the Light Dragoons performed a valuable service. They provided a way for Washington to attract young gentlemen of good families into the military. By commissioning young aristocrats as dragoons, Washington could honor the family connections of his fellow gentlemen officers, repay favors, and settle the young soldiers where they had the best chance of claiming the highest honors.
Washington appointed George Baylor colonel and commanding officer of the 3rd regiment of horse, "Baylor's Dragoons." Baylor immediately went to work. He appointed officers (although Washington reserved the right to veto his choices), purchased horses (for an average price of $120), designed the regiment's uniforms, and arranged for the soldiers he recruited to be inoculated against smallpox.
The regiments consisted of six troops of 32 privates each, plus officers. Each regiment had a quartermaster (in charge of supplies), a paymaster, a surgeon and surgeon's mate, a chaplain, a saddler, a riding master, and a trumpet major. In addition, each troop of the regiments had its own quartermaster sergeant, an orderly or drill sergeant, a trumpeter, a farrier (to shoe the horses), and an armorer. All together, each regiment totaled up to 280 men, nearly all of them hand-picked by Washington and other gentleman officers like Baylor.
Your letter of the 1st from Baltimore came to my hands this day; Your desires of commanding a Regiment of Horse I cheerfully yield to, because it is the recommendation of Congress, your wish is my desire."
George Washington to George Baylor,
January 9, 1777
"Gentlemen of property and spirit in the States?are invited to serve, at their own expense, in Troop or Troops of light cavalry."
Resolution of Congress, March 2, 1778