The term dragoon refers to mounted infantry. The original concept was that while a cavalryman fought on horseback, a dragoon used the horse for mobility but fought on foot. The name can from the fact they often carried a dragon which was a type of blunderbuss pistol that could be shot while on horseback. Strange name for them because dragoons were expected to fight on foot.
By time of the Civil War some European armies dragoons have evolved in to cavalry that mostly fought mounted but could also fight on foot. At the start of the Civil War many mounted companies in the South, and some in the North, called themselves dragoons but considered themselves cavalrymen. By the middle of the Civil War both sides expected their cavalrymen to fight both on foot and mounted. Still there were 'mounted infantry' units that functioned like original dragoons and fought on foot, only using their horses for transportation. Then there were dismounted cavalry units that did not even have horses.
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