The British Army at the Start of the Revolution


    About the author

    Edward St. Germain.
    Edward St. Germain

    Edward A. St. Germain created in 1996. He was an avid historian with a keen interest in the Revolutionary War and American culture and society in the 18th century. On this website, he created and collated a huge collection of articles, images, and other media pertaining to the American Revolution. Edward was also a Vietnam veteran, and his investigative skills led to a career as a private detective in later life.


      Editor’s note
      The following is a chapter from a book “The Organization of the British Army in the American Revolution” by Edward E. Curtis, Ph.D. It explains a bit about the makeup and structure of the British Army at the start of the Revolutionary War, including their regiments and other resources.


      The British Army at the Start of the War

      Ever since the American Revolution became a subject of investigation, no little attention has been paid to the Continental army. The British army on the other hand has received but passing notice. Writers have frequently assumed that it was a smooth-running fighting machine which failed because badly directed. The impression has been created that it wanted in nothing save success. We are asked to picture Washington’s men as ragged and half-starved while Howe’s are to be imagined as warmly clothed and well-fed. In fact the well-equipped forces of the crown, in scarlet coats and gold braid, have traditionally been used as a foil to set off the wants and sufferings of the tattered Continentals. To test the accuracy of this view and also to shed light upon the methods employed by the British government in recruiting, transporting, and subsisting its army in America is the purpose of the present study.

      At the outbreak of the Revolution, the total land forces of Great Britain exclusive of militia numbered on paper 48,647 men, of which 39,294 were infantry; 6,869 cavalry; and 2,484 artillery. These troops were unequally divided between two separate military establishments – the English establishment and the Irish establishment. The Scottish establishment had been abolished in 1707. The English establishment comprised 25,871 infantry organized into 46 regiments and 20 independent companies; 4,151 cavalry organized into 16 regiments; and 2,256 artillerymen organized into one regiment of 4 battalions. Of the aforesaid infantry one regiment of 482 men (the 41st) and the 20 independent companies of 1,040 were largely non-effective, being composed of “invalids”2 doing garrison duty in Great Britain and the Scilly Islands.3

      The Irish establishment consisted of 13,423 infantry divided into 28 regiments; 2,718 cavalry divided into 12 regiments; and 228 artillerymen embodied into one regiment of four companies.

      Such were the numbers of the British army in 1775 and such they had approximately been ever since the close of the Seven Years’ War.

      An examination of the location of the British army in 1775 reveals the fact that while small detachments of it were to be found in many distant quarters of the globe, the bulk of it was distributed unequally among three different countries. There were roughly speaking 15,000 men in England, 12,000 in Ireland, and 8,000 in America. The remaining 10,000 were distributed among the West Indies, Africa, Minorca, Gibraltar, and Scotland. The following table indicates the situation in detail:


      England, 19 Regs. Infy. 11,396
      16 Regs. Cav. 4,151
      Total 15,547
      Scotland, 1 Reg. Infy. 474
      Total 474
      Isle of Man, 3 Cos. Infy. 142
      Total 142
      Ireland, 21 Regs. Infy. 9,815
      12 Regs Cav. 2,718
      Minorca, 5 Regs. Infy. 2,385
      Total 2,385
      Gibraltar, 7 Regs. Infy. 3,339
      Total 3,339
      West Indies, 3 Regs. Infy. 1,909
      Total 1,909
      America, 18 Regs. Infy. 8,580
      Total 8,580
      Africa, 1 Corps Infy. 214
      Total 214
      Total of Infy. 38,254
      Total of Cav. 6,869
      Total overall 45,1234

      The regiments of the British army were of two kinds – household regiments and regiments of the line. The former included three regiments of Foot Guards (the 1st or Grenadier Guards, the 2d or Coldstream, the 3d or Scots Guards) and three regiments of Horse Guards. These were the oldest corps in the army and constituted a body of picked men. Ordinarily they were stationed at London and Westminster as a bodyguard to the king. During the American Revolution, a “brigade of Guards,” formed by selecting fifteen men from each of the sixty-four companies of household infantry, served in America.5

      The regiments of the line were simply the ordinary regiments of the army. The infantry were numbered from 1 to 70; the cavalry, from 1 to 18; although some of the regiments had names as well as numbers. The whole matter is set forth in detail in the appendix to this chapter.

      The average strength of an infantry regiment on the English Establishment was 477 and on the Irish 474 men. The ordinary regiment consisted of one battalion organized into 10 companies.6 The strength of a company varied. In a regiment of 477 men it consisted of 38 privates. Of the 10 companies in each regiment, one consisted of grenadiers and another of light infantry. When introduced into the army in 1677, the function of the grenadiers had been to hurl hand-grenades among the enemy’s ranks at close quarters. The size and weight of these missiles demanded that the throwers should be tall of stature and muscular of build. By 1775 the grenades had disappeared, but the grenadiers still remained, representing in height and strength the flower of each regiment. Light infantry had been introduced, largely through the exertions of Sir William Howe, shortly before the American Revolution, to provide each regiment with a corps of skirmishers. Good marksmen of light build and active temperament were required for the service.7 Thus the grenadiers and light infantry had come to constitute the picked men of a regiment. During an engagement they were usually placed in the flanks, and hence were known as the “flank companies.” In an army it was customary to form them into one or two special battalions in order to make their united strength available for work requiring the highest courage and skill. For example, it was the flank companies of the garrison of Boston that Gage dispatched to Lexington and Concord on that memorable April night in 1775. At the battle of Bunker Hill, the grenadiers flanked the British line on the left and the light companies, on the right. When Howe landed at Staten Island in 1776, he organized the grenadiers into a reserve and grouped the light infantry into three battalions. During Burgoyne’s expedition, 1777, the grenadier and light infantry companies were formed into an “Advanced Corps” under General Frazer. At Freeman’s Farm, 7 October, 1777, the grenadiers and light infantry were disposed on the flanks of the British line. Lord Rawdon set out for the relief of Ninety-Six in June, 1781, with six flank companies of the 3d, 19th, and 30th Foot. Many other illustrations of this sort might be given.8

      The internal organization of an infantry regiment of 477 men may be exemplified by the 23d or Royal Welsh Fusileers, a corps which saw much service in America.


      Field and Staff Officers
      Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Chaplain, Adjutant, Surgeon and Mate.
      One Company
      Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 2 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 1 Drummer, 38 Private Men. Seven companies more of the like numbers.
      One Company of Grenadiers
      Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 2 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 1 Drummer, 2 Fifers, 38 Private Men.
      One Company of Light Infantry
      Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 2 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 1 Drummer, 38 Private Men.

      Throughout the war the strength of the cavalry regiments was less uniform than that of the infantry. The majority numbered 231 men. They were ordinarily divided into 6 troops each. The internal organization may be illustrated by the 17th Dragoons, the first corps of horse sent to America during the war. In April, 1775, its strength was increased to 288 sabres, and it was organized as follows:

      17th DRAGOONS (APRlL, 1775)10

      Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major, Chaplain, Adjutant, Surgeon.
      One Troop
      Captain, Lieutenant, Cornet, Quarter Master, Sergeants, 2 Corporals, 1 Hautbois, 37 Private Men. Five troops more of the like numbers.

      At the outbreak of the war, the artillery was grouped into 1 regiment or 4 battalions, each battalion consisting of 8 companies. A single battalion was organized as follows:

      Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major.
      One Company
      1 Captain, 1 Captain Lieutenant, 2 First Lieutenants, 2 Second Lieutenants, 4 Sergeants, 4 Corporals, 9 Bombardiers, 18 Gunners, 73 Matrosses, 2 Drummers. Total 116.

      Seven more companies of the same numbers.11

      While the gunners and matrosses were enlisted men, the drivers in the artillery were hired civilians.12 “As late as 1798 field guns appearing at a Woolwich review were drawn by horses in single file and driven by ploughmen on foot wearing smock frocks and armed with long whips.”13 When the army was campaigning in foreign parts, horses, wagons, and drivers were obtained from the peasantry sometimes by hire and sometimes by impressment. After the battle of Long Island, Howe bought a hundred horses from loyalist farmers for the artillery and hired eighty two-horse wagons with drivers for the carrying of ammunition and stores.14 While tumbrils were usually drawn by three horses, the number of horses allotted to each gun varied with the size of the piece. In Burgoyne’s army, 1777, a 6-pounder fieldpiece was drawn by four horses, a 3-pounder by three horses, a “royal howitzer” by three horses.15 Both Howe and Burgoyne were supplied with 3-pounders mounted on light carriages, known as Congreve carriages, which made it possible to carry them on the backs of horses or mules in difficult country.16 It was customary to allot two guns to each regiment of foot and these were known as “battalion guns.”17 The practice was criticized by some officers because it prevented concentration of artillery fire. Burgoyne seems to have abandoned it, marshaling his field guns into three “brigades” or batteries, each of which comprised four 6-pounders. One of these “brigades” was assigned to the left, another to the centre, and a third to the right. In addition, Burgoyne took with him a park of heavy guns, howitzers, mortars, 12- and 24-pounders, to reduce earthworks and blockhouses erected by the Americans and to clear away abattis.18

      The military music which stirred the heart and quickened the step of the British redcoat was for the most part of a simple sort. Each regiment of foot had a few fifers and drummers and each regiment of horse a few trumpeters. Each regiment of the Guards enjoyed in addition a band of eight pieces, two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, two bassoons. The musicians, who are said to have been excellent performers, were civilians, hired at good pay by the month. Their chief duty was to play “from the parade on the Horse Guards to St. James’s Palace, while the Kings guard was mounted, and back to the Horse Guards.” The Royal Artillery Regiment also had a band composed of a master musician and eight other musicians, two trumpets, two French horns, two bassoons, and four clarinets or hautbois, ten instruments being provided for eight men. The players were ranked as matrosses and were under the Articles of War. These were apparently the only corps enjoying bands.19

      The infantry, cavalry, and artillery constituted the three most important branches of the army. There were in addition to these a company of military artificers (the ancestors of the Royal Sappers and Miners) and a small but efficient corps of engineers. The former saw no service in America but several officers of the latter did excellent work abroad.20 Captain John Montrésor and Lieutenant Page were present at Bunker Hill, where Page was wounded. Montrésor and Lieutenants Kesterman and Fyers participated in Howe’s New York campaign of 1776. Lieutenant Twiss rendered capable service under Burgoyne in 1777. It was he who pointed out the fact that Sugar Hill overlooked the American works at Ticonderoga and urged its occupation, thus forcing the rebels to evacuate a strong position. Major Moncrieff won high praise for his share in the defence of Savannah in 1779 and his conduct of the siege of Charleston in 1780. Sir Henry Clinton in his dispatch of 13 May, 1780, to Germain said: “But to Maj. Moncrieff, the commanding Engineer, who planned and with the assistance of such capable officers under him, conducted the siege with so much judgment, intrepidity, and laborious attention, I wish to render a tribute of the highest applause and most permanent gratitude, persuaded that far more flattering commendations than I can bestow will not fail to crown such rare merit.”21 Of Lieutenant Sutherland, who was chief engineer at Gloucester, Cornwallis wrote at the conclusion of the Yorktown campaign, “Lieutenant Sutherland the commanding Engineer…merited in every respect my highest approbation.”22

      The supply and transport services were still in a crude and embryonic state. Mention is made in the Army List of a Commissary General and a Waggon Master General for the forces at home and abroad, but the nature of their duties and the scope of their authority are uncertain. The one, however, was the parent of the Commissariat Department and the other of the Transport Service, both of Which were later combined into the Army Service Corps.23

      No medical corps in the modern sense of the word existed. Ever since the time of Charles II, there had been a Physician General and a Surgeon General, and since 1758, Inspectors of hospitals; but little is known regarding their functions. According to the regulations, a surgeon and mate were attached to each regiment of foot. They were, however, essentially regimental officers. Although holding their commissions of the king, they were really appointed by the colonel, whose servants they had originally been. Sometimes the offices of captain and surgeon would be combined in one person. Many of the medical officers were Scotsmen, doubtlessly owing to the excellent facilities afforded for the study of medicine at Glasgow and Edinburgh in the eighteenth century. In many instances their professional knowledge must have been slight. The surgeons were not required to hold a medical diploma or degree, nor the mates to pass a medical examination. Sergeant Lamb, the author of the Journal of the American War, acted as assistant surgeon to the 9th and 23d regiments in America, although he had received no medical education whatsoever. Nurses were sometimes obtained among the women who followed the army, for it is a curious fact that the government permitted the common soldiers dispatched to America to take their “wives” with them and even rationed them from the public stores.24 The medical service, in short, was largely extemporaneous, and the feeling seems to have been that it was cheaper “to levy a recruit than to cure a soldier.”

      Army doctors labored under many other disadvantages besides ignorance and inexpert assistance. They were poorly paid. In 1775 the stipend of a surgeon’s mate in the 60th Foot amounted to 3s. 6d. a day. Although given a certain allowance for medicines they had to provide their own surgical outfits; were not allowed uniforms; and occupied an inferior social status among the other commissioned officers. In the matter of medicines, they were governed to a large extent by a warrant issued in 1747 whereby a certain individual had been appointed Apothecary General with the monopoly for himself and his heirs of providing drugs for the army.25

      If the physical welfare of the soldier was ill-cared for, his spiritual welfare was practically neglected. While there are occasional references to church parades in British orderly books of the Revolutionary period, there is little else to indicate that commanding officers took more than passing interest in the religious life of the men. There was no Chaplain’s Department or Chaplain General. The regulations called for a chaplain of the Church of England for each regiment, but this was often treated as a dead letter. Like the surgeons, the chaplains were essentially regimental officers, holding commissions of the king but being nominated by the colonel. In some cases the latter pocketed their pay and dispensed with their services; in other cases they themselves drew their pay but consigned the performance of their duties to deputies. For example, the chaplains on the roster of the Royal Regiment of Artillery clubbed together and hired a curate to perform their joint duties at Woolwich while they continued to enjoy fat livings elsewhere in rural parishes. Their attendance was rarely required. In 1785 they were directed to appear at headquarters since the king intended to review the regiment. One of them begged to be excused on the ground that he was eighty-six years of age.26 Scant mention is made of chaplains in connection with the forces in America. Their number was probably small. Carleton complains to Barrington in November, 1777: “Not any of the Chaplains of the regiments serving in this Army are Come over, and had it not been that the Reverend Mr. Brudenell accompanied General Phillips to this country, and an other Gentleman who came over as deputy there would have been no person to officiate in so considerable a body of Troops.”27 Reverend Mr. Brudenell was in fact the only chaplain to attain prominence during the war. He accompanied Burgoyne’s expedition in 1777, and we have from the pen of that general a Napieresque picture of him at the burial of General Fraser after the battle of Freeman’s Farm (7 October, 1777): “The incessant cannonade during the solemnities, the steady attitude and unaltered voice with which the chaplain officiated, though frequently covered with dust which the shot threw up on all sides of him, the mute but expressive mixture of sensibility and indignation upon every countenance, these objects will remain to the last of life upon the mind of every man who was present.”28

      Mr. Brudenell was doubtless an exception to the ordinary run of his profession. The majority of chaplains had but a poor reputation, and were typical of an age of spiritual torpor. The only divine who took active and effective interest in the religious life of the army was John Wesley. He sought the soldiers in their camps and barracks and won many followers. Old-fashioned colonels refused to allow their men to attend church or chapel, preferring to keep them in quarters of a Sunday, on the ground that instead of going to worship they would resort to alehouses and get drunk. Religious feeling in the army was indeed at a low ebb. Dean Swift declared some years prior to the American Revolution that he had been told by prominent officers that “in the whole compass of their acquaintance they could not recollect three of their profession who seemed to regard or believe one syllable of the gospels.” It was observed abroad, according to the dean, that no race of mortals had so little sense of religion as the English soldiers. On the other hand, Sergeant Lamb, speaking from long experience, declared that a large proportion of the soldiery were not only moral but truly pious.29

      The uniform of the private soldier was ill adapted for comfort and speedy movement. In the majority of regiments, it consisted of the familiar red coat (whose voluminous folds were buttoned back to form lapels), stock, waistcoat, smallclothes, gaiters reaching just above the knee, and cocked hat.30 Ordinary regiments had facings of yellow; royal and household regiments, of blue.31 Officers and men wore the hair “clubbed”; that is, plaited and then turned up and tied with tape or ribbon. In case the supply of hair on a man’s head was insufficient, he was obliged to eke it out with a switch. Over his left shoulder the foot soldier wore a broad belt supporting a cartouch box, while another belt around his waist supported a bayonet and short sword. On service the infantryman also carried a knapsack containing extra clothing and brush and blackball, a blanket, a haversack with provisions, a canteen, and a fifth share of the general equipage belonging to his tent. These articles (estimating the provision to be for four days)32 added to his accoutrements, arms, and sixty rounds of ammunition made, according to Burgoyne, a bulk totally incompatible with combat and a weight of about sixty pounds.33

      The dragoons were armed and clad very much like the foot, except that they wore high boots and carried pistols and long swords. Being still regarded as a species of mounted infantry, they also carried firelocks and – in the case of heavy dragoons – bayonets.”34

      The uniform of the artillery consisted of a blue coat, cocked hat, white waistcoat, white breeches, and black spatterdashes. Sergeants apparently carried halberds, but corporals, bombardiers, gunners, and matrosses were armed with carbines and bayonets.35 Bandsmen were dressed in the color of the regiment’s facings.36

      In every branch of the service the uniforms of the officers were similar to those of the men. They wore sashes of considerable length and breadth, which might serve as a kind of “slung stretcher” for carrying the owner off the field in case he were wounded. Perhaps their scarlet hue was intended to conceal traces of blood. The most striking feature of the officer’s uniform was the gorget. Originally this was a large steel plate designed to protect the throat, but with the abandonment of medieval armor it had shrunk in size until at the time of George III it was purely ornamental, being simply a small plate – often of gold – hung about the neck in front and bearing the regimental device.37

      The British regular fought the embattled farmers of America with the “Brown Bess.” This was a smoothbore flintlock musket with a priming pan, three feet eight inches long in the barrel, and weighing fourteen pounds. It had an effective range of three hundred yards, but its accuracy was unreliable at a distance greater than one hundred. A soldier who could hit his enemy at that interval must have been a first-class marksman and have possessed a Brown Bess of exceptionally good quality. At a distance of over one hundred yards, the firing line during an engagement relied not so much upon the shooting of each individual as upon the general effect of the volleys it delivered. The bayonet, which weighed over a pound and was about fourteen inches in length, did not increase shooting accuracy when fixed to the muzzle of the gun. The missile used in the Brown Bess was a round leaden bullet weighing about an ounce and made up with a stout paper cartridge.38 In loading, the soldier first tore the end off the cartridge with his teeth, then sprinkled a few grains of powder from it into the priming pan, and finally rammed the ball and cartridge down the muzzle of the barrel with an iron ramrod.39 Although twelve separate motions were required in using the Brown Bess, it is said that a clever marksman could load and fire five times a minute. The average soldier, however, fired only two or three rounds a minute. With bayonets fixed, only one round could be fired to much purpose; since the bayonet made it difficult to ram down the charge. The men often put in powder and ball without ramming, and the effect was, of course, slight. Rapid firing was not considered by some officers as very essential. “There is no -necessity,” wrote Wolfe, “for firing very fast; a cool well-levelled fire with the pieces carefully loaded is more destructive and formidable than the quickest fire in confusion.”40 Burgoyne criticized his men for the impetuosity and consequent uncertainty of their fire in the action of 19 September, 1777.41

      Another firearm in use was the fusil, which has been defined by one authority as a musket of less than ordinary length and weight, and by another as a light, rifled musket.42 It was supplied to light companies and fusileer regiments.

      At this period an improved rifle was just being brought to the attention of the military authorities. Major Patrick Ferguson (of King’s Mountain fame), egged on by the boasted skill of the American marksmen, had invented a breech-loader. The breech was opened by a screw plug to allow admission of ball and cartridge; special arrangements were made to prevent the fouling of the plug and the accumulation of gas, and the piece was sighted for one hundred to three hundred yards. In June, 1776, he gave a demonstration at Woolwich before Lord Amherst, Viscount Townshend, General Harvey, and several other prominent officers. He astonished the beholders. “Notwithstanding a heavy rain and a high wind, he fired,” according to a contemporary, “…after the rate of four shots per minute at a target two hundred yards distant. He next fired six shots in one minute. He also fired (while advancing after the rate of four miles per hour) four times in the minute. He then poured a bottle of water into the pan and barrel of the piece when loaded, so as to wet every grain of powder; and in less than half a minute, he fired with her, as well as ever, without extracting the ball. Lastly, he hit the bull’s eye, lying on his back on the ground. Incredible as it may seem to many, considering the variation of the wind, and wetness of the weather, he only missed the target three times, during the whole course of the experiment.”43

      Ferguson took out a patent for his improvements, and was allowed to form a corps of riflemen composed of volunteers from regiments serving in America. While rifled flintlocks were not officially adopted by the regular army until many years later, colonels are said to have supplied them to one or two good shots in their regiments; and before the close of the war, every battalion in America had organized a rifle company for itself.44

      Aside from their clumsiness, the firearms of the period had one very serious drawback: their efficiency was dependent upon the weather. A high wind might blow the powder out of the pans. “If a man was shooting towards the wind he had to take precautions against getting his face scorched and his eyes injured by the back blown flare from the touch-hole.”45 A rainstorm might either wash the powder out of the pans or dampen it so that it failed to ignite. If sufficiently heavy and prolonged, a downpour of rain might soak through the cartouch boxes and turn every cartridge into pulp. When Howe’s army landed at the Elk River, 26 August, 1777, a heavy rain fell for thirty-six hours. The cartouch boxes were wet through and the Guards alone lost 1,600 rounds of ammunition.46 Thus fire effects were extremely uncertain in wet weather. Not one shot in four might go off ; and if the infantry were attacked by cavalry, their only reliance was the bayonet. During the siege of Louisburg in 1745, the troops were cautioned that since the air of Cape Breton was moist and foggy, they must be especially careful to keep their firearms dry. Quaintly the commander added that “the Light Infantry should fall upon some method to secure their arms from the dews and droppings of the trees when they are in search of the enemy.” In the course of the Revolution, more than one engagement was terminated by rain. In Pennsylvania, during the autumn of 1777, for example, the 20th Foot came to close quarters with some American troops; but, a violent wind and rainstorm arising, the firelocks were rendered useless and the two forces separated.47

      Perhaps, after all, it made little difference whether the weather was fair or foul. Under any circumstances the marksmanship in most regiments was poor. Scant mention is made of target practice, and the inference is that there was little of it. It has been claimed that the soldiers did not aim at anything in particular. This probably accounts for the saying that it took a man’s weight in bullets to kill him. An American who was taken prisoner by the 42d Highlanders during the assault on Fort Washington in 1776 relates: “Not less than ten guns were discharged with their muzzles toward us, within forty or fifty yards, and some were let off within twenty…I observed that they took no aim, and the moment of presenting and firing was the same.” These conditions gave rise to the sharpshooter, a man who not merely aimed his musket, but aimed it at something or somebody. During the campaign of 1777, Burgoyne formed a body of sharpshooters by selecting a group of sober, active, robust men from each regiment.48 Officers trained in the school of European warfare, however, were prone to place more reliance upon the bayonet than upon the bullet.49 Burgoyne in particular urged his men to use the bayonet: “Men of half [your] bodily strength and even Cowards may be [your] match in firing; but the onset of Bayonets in the hands of the Valiant is irresistible…It will be our glory and preservation to storm where possible.”50 After the first battle at Freeman Is Farm (19 September, 1777), the same commander, while complimenting the gallantry of his troops, lamented “the mistake they are still under, in preferring [firing] to the Bayonotte [sic]51

      In passing, it should be pointed out that the flints used by the British soldier during the war were notoriously poor. Colonel Lindsay of the 46th lamented that the valor of his men was so often “rendered vain by the badness of the pebble stone.” He exclaimed indignantly against the authorities for failing to supply every musket with the black flint which every country gentleman in England carried in his fowling piece. In this respect the rebels were acknowledged to be far better off than the king’s troops. A good American flint could be used to fire sixty rounds without resharpening, which was just ten times the amount of service that could be expected from those used by the British forces. Among the rank and file of the redcoats, the saying ran that a “Yankee flint was as good as a glass of grog.”52

      The sword was not the weapon of the officers in all cases. Infantry officers carried spontoons, or half-pikes, and sergeants bore halberds. The latter were about seven feet in length and had a crosspiece near the point to prevent overpenetration after a thrust. The woody character of the country in America induced many of the officers to discard these awkward medieval weapons and to replace them by firelocks. Fusils were carried apparently by all officers of the 7th and 23d (fusileer) regiments and by certain officers of the grenadier and light companies of some other regiments.”53

      The subject of pay is a difficult and confusing topic in the history of the army.54 The pay of the private soldier at the time of the American Revolution amounted to 8d. a day. Of this he got little in food and drink and probably nothing in coin. His pay was divided into two parts, one known as “subsistence,” the other as “gross off-reckonings.” The first, amounting to 6d. a day or £9:2:6 a year, was supposed to be applied to the cost of his food and was nominally inviolable. In reality, however, several charges were made against it for items that had nothing whatsoever to do with victuals. Thus, 6d. a week was subtracted from it to pay for his shoes, stockings, gaiters, medicines, shaving, and the repair of his arms; and 1d. a week was retained as a fee by the regimental paymaster and divided between him and the surgeon.55 From the other part of the soldier’s pay, the “gross off-reckonings,” amounting to 2d. a day or £3:0:10 a year, three deductions were ordinarily made: first, the “poundage” or payment of 1s. in the pound on the full pay to the paymaster general of the forces;56 second, the “hospital,” or payment of one day’s full pay (8d.) to Chelsea Hospital; third, the “agency” or payment of 2d. in the pound on the full pay to the regimental agent. The balance, known as the “net off-reckonings,” was applied to the cost of the soldier’s clothing.57

      This brief summary affords but a faint idea of the complicated and cumbersome method of paying the troops. “The chaos of ‘subsistence,’ ‘gross off-reckonings,’ ‘net off-reckonings,’ ‘stock purses,’ and ‘non-effective funds’ in the financial departments of the military service” writes Fortescue, “was simply indescribable. The computation of ‘off-reckonings’ alone was a branch so extensive as to give title to an official in the Pay Office; and if he were truly a master of that most abstruse of sciences he must have been a very remarkable man.”58 A parliamentary commission appointed in 1780 to investigate the finances of the army is said to have abandoned its task in despair.59

      One of the curiosities of regimental finance was the warrant men. These were six fictitious personages on the rolls of practically every regiment of foot. Their pay formed a fund to meet a variety of expenses. The pay of two of the warrant men constituted an allowance to the widows of regimental officers. The pay of the remaining four constituted an allowance to the colonel for clothing lost by deserters, an allowance to the captain for recruiting, and allowances to the colonel and the agent for their own use. Moreover, each company of foot had on its rolls several non-effectives called contingent men, whose subsistence was paid to the captain to keep the regimental arms in repair, and to defray other contingent expenses.60

      The feeling in the army respecting pay was probably reflected in an anonymous pamphlet published in London in the same year as the battle of Bunker Hill.61 The author, an officer, stresses the fact that since the current rate of pay was established, the prices of bread and butchers’ meat had increased to four times their previous cost. Common toilers in other callings were far better remunerated than the soldiers. A tailor, weaver, or mechanic could live on his wages more respectably than an officer. As for the private in the ranks, after the usual deductions had been made in his stipend, he had not enough left to subsist himself healthfully or to enjoy any recreation costing a little money. “From the eight pence per day which is issued for the pay of a soldier, when all deductions are made, for clothing, for necessaries, for washing, for the paymaster, for the surgeon, and for the multiplied articles of useless and unmilitary fopperies, (introduced by many colonels to the oppression of the soldier for what they call the credit and appearance of the regiment) there is not sufficient overplus for healthful subsistence; and as to the little enjoyments and recreations, which even the meanest rank of men can call their own in any country, the brave, the honorable, the veteran soldier, must not aspire to.”

      As has been intimated, the system of buying and selling commissions was still in vogue despite repeated attempts to suppress it.62 A commission in the cavalry was usually more expensive than one in the infantry; and a commission in the household regiments, more costly than one in the line regiments. In 1777, for example, a company of foot sold at £2,200 while a troop of horses brought 4,000 guineas. A lieutenant-colonelcy in the line cost £4,500 while one in the household brigade cost £4,800. It is not surprising that commissions in the Guards sold at higher figures than those in the line. The household troops were indeed a privileged body. Lieutenants of the Guards ranked as captains in the rest of the army; and captains, as lieutenant colonels. Officers of the Guards generally had “better birth, more money, and greater opportunities for pushing” their advancement than officers of the line. “High commands,” as one writer has aptly put it, “were regarded as plums for a guardsman’s consumption.”63 In fact, an officer of the line had no chance of promotion to a vacancy if there was a Guardsman anywhere in view. This came to be a sore grievance. “The rise in the Guards,” so a contemporary letter runs, “is so rapid from the suppressions of the ranks of Lieutenant and Major that officers of the Line have always the mortification to find after long and painful service, a body of men who supersede them in the profession, and claim most of the elevated posts in the army. When the road seems smooth to a regiment, an inundation of captains in the Guards, by dint of Court rank and etiquette of preceding, defeat all the prospects of the actual soldier, and trample on a life of dangers and fatigue.”64

      Statistics seem to bear out the complaint voiced in this letter. “In 1769 out of every twelve commissioned officers, one was a Guardsman; while out of every three men commanding regiments, one had been a Guardsman.”65

      The purchase system had an amusing side. Although royal authority had forbidden it in 1711, custom still allowed infants to hold commands. This was done in order to provide support for the orphans of distinguished officers by securing to them the annual pay and allowances of a commission. Mere boys were frequently taken out of school, and placed in responsible regimental positions.66 One of Howe’s regiments was commanded by a lieutenant colonel so overcome with gout that he could barely walk. Another was nominally commanded by a lunatic. In both cases this was due to the impossibility of finding purchasers for the commissions, the gouty colonel having waited for at least three years for someone to relieve him.67

      The purchase system had a noteworthy effect upon the character of the officers in the lower and higher grades of the army. It hampered men of moderate means from climbing very high up the ladder of rank. As a result most of the regimental officers – the lieutenants, captains, and majors – came from the middle ranks of society, that is, from the rural aristocracy in the country and the mercantile classes in the cities. The higher officers – the major generals, lieutenant generals, and generals – sprang as a rule from the nobility. Howe, Gage, Burgoyne, Clinton, and Rawdon, for example, “belonged to ancient ennobled families.” These men were politicians as well as soldiers, another fact which must also be considered in accounting for their advancement. While commanding iN America, Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne had seats in the House of Commons. Burgoyne returned home to attend parliament during the winter of 1775-1776. Cornwallis was about to depart on the same errand in December, 1776, when the mishap to the Hessians at Trenton detained him in America.68

      Many of the regimental officers were none the worse soldiers for the purchase system. Realizing that their lack of wealth blocked the way to high military advancement, they came to love their calling for itself. Often forced to renounce marriage owing to the insufficiency of their pay, they regarded “the regiment as their home,” and grew gray in uniform. To them the chief interest in life came to be the efficiency and reputation of the battalion. Although perhaps a little rusty on the literature of their own time, they were, many of them, deep students of the older military literature, particularly the classical. When taking up the pen to engage in any military controversy, they signed themselves “Valerius,” “Postumius,” or “Cincinnatus, ” and illustrated their views by examples drawn from ancient warfare.69 Off parade they treated the subalterns as their peers and allowed nothing to interfere with the equality which they deemed should “exist between one gentleman and another.” Burgoyne, who was reputed to be the pattern of military manners, declared, “Any restraint upon conversation, off parade, unless when an offence against religion, morals, or good breeding is in question, is grating; and it ought to be the characteristic of every gentleman neither to impose, nor submit to, any distinction but such as propriety of conduct, or superiority Of talent, naturally create.”70 While there were marked exceptions, many regimental officers displayed sympathetic consideration for the comfort and happiness of their men. The bond between them and the non-commissioned officers was often extremely close; and they came to regard the corporals and sergeants, who in many cases had been in the regiment as long as, if not longer than, themselves, with the same kindly feeling as a master does an old family servant.71

      To this admirable picture there was unfortunately a dark side. Discipline was harsh. The lash was used to punish offences whether trivial or heinous. Nor was it applied either lightly or sparingly. Sergeant Lamb relates: “I well remember the first man I saw flogged. During the infliction of his punishment, I cried like a child.”72 Howe’s Orderly Book bears testimony to the stern disciplinary methods of the day. In turning its pages, one is repeatedly confronted with such entries as the following: “Boston, 24th Nov. 1775. Thomas Bailey, Grenadier in His Majesty’s Corps of Marines, tried by the General Court Martial…for Striking Lieut. Russell of the 4th, or King’s own Regiment, and of Insolent Mutinous behaviour. The Court…have found him guilty of the latter, and do therefore Sentence him to receive Eight Hundred Lashes on his bare back with a Cat of nine Tails…3 Jan. 1776. Thomas MacMahan, Private Soldier in His Majesty’s 43d, Regiment of Foot, and Isabella MacMahan, his wife, tried by…Court Martial for Receiving Sundry Stolen Goods, knowing them to be such, are found Guilty of the Crime laid to their Charge, and therefore Adjudge the said Thomas MacMahan to Receive 1,000 lashes on his bare back with a Cat of nine Tails…and the said Isabella MacMahan, to receive 100 Lashes on her bare back, at the Cart’s Tail, in Different portions and the most Conspicuous Parts of the Town, and to be imprisoned three months. Thomas Owen and Henry Johnston, Private Soldiers in His Majesty’s 59th Regiment of Foot, tried by the General Court Martial…for having broken into and Robbed the Store of Messrs. Coffin, Storekeeper, of Sundry goods. The Court, having duly Considered the whole matter before them is of opinion that the prisoners…are guilty of the Crime laid to their Charge, and doth, therefore, by virtue of the Power and Authority to them given and Granted by the Second Article of War, Section 20, Adjudge that the said Thomas Owen and Henry Johnson do suffer Death by being hanged by the neck until they are Dead.”73

      There were not wanting officers, however, who preferred an appeal to the better feelings of their men to an application of the cat. Lamb has a passage which illustrates this, and which incidentally throws light on other methods of military punishment. Referring to Major Bolton of the 9th Foot, he states: “On the occasion of punishing a man for desertion…the Major attended by the officers of the regiment, came to see the sentence of law-martial enforced. After the third drummer inflicted his twenty-five lashes [i.e., when the offending soldier had received seventy-five] Major Bolton, without addressing either the surgeon or officers in attendance, advanced, evidently much affected, to the halberts, in a compassionate manner expostulated with the man concerning the magnitude of his offence, and afterwards ordered him to be taken down, remitting the remainder of the intended punishment, on the soldier’s promise of future good conduct. Such severe inflictions were unusual whenever he commanded: he avoided flogging the men as much as possible, and only resorted to it for those great crimes which required extraordinary coercion. For the common breaches of military laws and duties, he used to send them some hours of the day to drill, sometimes making them wear the regimental coat turned inside out, in order to exhibit them as examples of ill behaviour and disgrace. They were, moreover, prevented from going on any command, or mounting the principal guards. On some occasions he confined the ill-conducted soldier to his barrack room, or the guard-house, and when his offence deserved it, the man was condemned to the black-hole, and at times obliged to live on bread and water. In short his mode of treating men showed them his unceasing strictness in preserving order and discipline, as also his fine feelings and dispassionate motives.”74

      The standard of morality in the army did not rise higher than that of the age. A passion for gambling pervaded all ranks. The author above quoted relates how private soldiers would play for the very clothes on their backs and how many of them without a stitch that they could call their own had to borrow clothes from their comrades in order to pass muster on inspection.75 Eighteenth- century redcoats were also hard drinkers. In an age when the Foxes, Pitts, and Graftons drank to excess, it was not to be expected that the Braddocks, Howes, and Burgoynes would keep within the bounds of temperance.

      Howe must have seen many “crapulous mornings” at New York; and we have Madame Riedesel as an authority for the statement that Burgoyne nightly sought oblivion in drink towards the close of the Saratoga campaign.76 Charges of gross immorality have also been laid against the army, but here one plunges into a fog of rumor and hearsay where the truth is difficult to ascertain. Although Burgoyne passionately denied it, some two thousand women are said to have followed the unlucky expedition from Canada in 1777.77 Both Howe and Burgoyne are reported to have found intimacy with the wives of subordinate officers a solace to the rigors of campaigning.78 Stedman, himself a British commissary, is authority for the statement that His Majesty’s officers shocked Quaker sensibilities by sometimes bringing their mistresses with them into the houses where they were quartered during the occupation of Philadelphia.79 The extent to which the troops were guilty of rapine and plunder is not easy to estimate. While American writers have probably tended to exaggerate the guilt of the redcoats in this particular, the fact remains that their own officers have sometimes condemned the conduct of the rank and file in strong terms.80 Deviations from the rules of humane warfare, however, were rarely condoned by those high in command, and Howe, Burgoyne, and Cornwallis strove to stay the hand of thief and marauder.81

      When one surveys as a whole the conduct of the British army in the American Revolution, comparing its deportment with that of European armies in the eighteenth century, he must come fairly to the conclusion that The forces of George III manifested unusual respect for the persons and property of noncombatants.82


      1. In this work the citations Adm. (Admiralty), A.O. (Audit Office), H.O. (Home Office), C.O. (Colonial Office), T. (Treasury), and W.O. (War Office), refer to MSS. in the P.R.O. (Public Record Office, London). The reference, Addit. MSS., refers to collections in the British Museum. When a printed work is frequently referred to, only the name of the author is given. The complete title of the work may be found by consulting the Bibliography. Other references are self-explanatory.
      2. “The invalids in the British forces…consist of soldiers partly disabled by wounds and veterans, who from old age and length of service are rendered incapable of the duties of an active campaign, but are still judged fit for garrison duty.” Grose, Military Antiquities, I, 164. In 1775 a detachment of invalids was dispatched to garrison Newfoundland. Duncan, History of the Royal Artillery, I, 268.
      3. The statistics in this and the next few paragraphs have been compiled from the Court and City Register, 1775, and 35 Commons Journal, pp. 35-37.
      4. This includes the 41st, Col. Wren’s regiment of invalids, but does not include the 20 independent companies of invalids doing garrison duty. The forces in India were under the control of the East India Company. They did not become a part of the British army until 1858. Clode, Military Forces of the Crown, I, 268.
      5. W.O. 1:681, Germain to Barrington, 23 Mar. 1776; ibid., 4:273, Barrington to Howe, 13 May. 1776. Cf. Trevelyan, The American Revolution, II, 101.
      6. The 1st Foot and 60th Foot had two battalions in 1775.
      7. The light infantry carried a special kind of musket which was lighter than used by most companies. See W.O. 1:992, Loudoun to Barrington, 28 Feb. 1776. Regarding Howe’s responsibility for light infantry, see Lamb, Memoir, p. 89; Dictionary National Biography, “Sir William Howe.”
      8. Fortescue, III, 149, 156; Trevelyan, IV, 177; Lamb, Journal, pp. 112, 159; W. Rogerson, Historical Records of the 53d, p. 4; Digby, Journal, p. 109; London Gazette, 10 Oct. 1779; Smythies, Historical Records of the 40th, p. 42.
      9. W.O. 24:480.
      10. W.O. 24:481.
      11. W.O. 55:373, p. 299. See also Parliamentary Report on Ordnance Estimate for 1783. A royal warrant of 1779 raised the number of companies per battalion from 8 to 10.
      12. “The artillery drivers are not Servants to the Crown but only Servants to the Contractors who supply Government with horses and are paid by the Contractors nine shillings a week per man.” W.O. 1:996, Robert Clarke to Barrington, 22 Oct. 1778. Cf. Duncan, Hist. of R. A.; Scott, History of the British Army, III, 328: “A decision was given at the Court of King’s Bench on the 6th of June, 1780, that the horses, conductors and drivers on contract with the Board of Ordnance for the service of the Royal Artillery, while on actual service, shall be received by Innkeepers by billet, and accommodated with quarters at the rate of dragoons and their horses.”
      13. Vincent, Records, of Woolwich, II, 387.
      14. Duncan, Hist. of R. A., I, 131, 303, 309.
      15. Burgoyne, State of the Expedition, p. 92.
      16. Duncan, Hist. of R. A., I, 307, 309; Burgoyne, State of the Expedition, pp. 13-16.
      17. C.O. 5:164, Townshend to Germain, 15 Mar. 1778; T. Simes, Military Guide, II, “Field-pieces”; Duncan, Hist. of R. A., I, 50, 212; Scott, Hist. of British Army, III, 328.
      18. Burgoyne, State of the Expedition, pp. 13-16.
      19. Farmer, Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band, pp. 37, 39, 48; Kappey, Military Music, p. 87.
      20. Porter, History of the Royal Engineers, I, 203-207; Chichester, Records and Badges of the British Army, pp. 152-153; Fortescue, IV, 915. Artificers are occasionally mentioned as participating in the American campaigns, but they were not members of the company mentioned above. In some cases they were probably civilians, who were hired to serve for the campaign as masons or carpenters. Such apparently were the two hundred artificers engaged for Burgoyne’s expedition (State of the Expedition, p. 93). In other cases they were doubtless privates with a knack at the building trades. Twiss recommended the formation of a corps of military artificers for American service, but no action seems to have been taken. W.O. 46:11, Townshend to Haldimand, 18 Oct. 1779. Infantry and artillery officers were sometimes detailed to serve as assistant engineers. For staff of engineers in Canada, 1776-1778, and at New York, 1774, see appendix to this chapter.
      21. Quoted by Porter, I, 207.
      22. Ibid.
      23. Chichester, pp. 908-909. The commissary general acted under the orders of the Treasury. He was not a military officer as was the waggon master general.
      24. Whether the women accompanying the army were always lawfully wedded wives of the men is not certain. Sergeant Lamb states (Memoir, p. 75) that privates were obliged to obtain written permission of the officers of the company in order to marry, “as but few young women could be taken on board when the regiment embarked for foreign service.” Lieutenant Colonel Maunsell, who was in charge of embarkations at Cork, stated on one occasion that it was necessary to allow a certain number of women to accompany the soldiers on the transports bound for America in order to prevent the men from deserting. Only a fixed number of women were tolerated in the field. Howe permitted six per company during the campaigns of 1776 and 1777; Burgoyne permitted three per company during the invasion of New York, 1777. Children as well as women connected with the army were fed and clothed out of the public stores. This must have increased the difficulty of maintaining the royal forces in America. Children were sometimes born on the march and wives are known to have accompanied their redcoated husbands upon the field of battle. Kemble Papers, I, 345, 374, 381-382, 386; Lamb, Memoir, p. 182; ibid., Journal, p. 143; Burgoyne, Orderly Book, p. 45; ibid., State of the Expedition, p. 116; “Minute Book of a Board of General Officers ” (N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll. 1916), p. 84; Wier-Robinson Correspondence, Wier to Robinson, 20 May, 1777; Stryker, Trenton and Princeton, p. 25, note; W.O. 1:12, Carleton to Sir Geo. Yonge, 21 Dec. 1782; ibid., 1:2, Gage to Barrington, 15 Aug. 1775; ibid., 1:991, “Return of Four Detachments embarked on Board Victualling Ships at Cove, 27 March, 1776.”
      25. Belcher, I, 328-330; Fortescue, IV, 922-923; Chichester, p. 925; Lamb, Journal, pp. 388-389; Goodenough and Dalton, Army Book of the British Empire, p. 266; Duncan, Hist. of the R. A., II, 15.
      26. Duncan, Hist. of R. A., II, 18-19.
      27. W.O. 1:11, 17 Nov. 1776.
      28. Memoirs of Madame Riedesel, p. 122, note.
      29. Trevelyan, III, 271-279; Lamb, Memoir, p. 70; Fortescue, IV, 925; Belcher, I, 330 ff.; Chichester, p. 916.
      30. Skrine, Fontenoy, p. 64. Various attempts have been made to explain the origin of the red coat. Authorities concur that it was first introduced into the British army as the uniform of the New Model Army in 1644-1645. The problem is to ascertain why red was selected as the parliamentary color. It seems strange that the Puritans, who were noted for their plain and sombre attire, should have chosen to clothe their soldiery in scarlet. Stocqueler, who holds Cromwell responsible for the innovation, implies that the idea originated in the fact that the livery of the king’s bodyguard was red. This would seem to be a reason against the Parliamentarians adopting the hue rather than one for their adopting it. Fortescue, however, expressly points out that red was not Cromwell’s color; for when he became protector he arrayed his bodyguard in gray and silver. He traces the red coat to the troops of the Eastern Association, but confesses that “it is not clear why they should have given the pattern to the whole army; and even if it were clear, we are quite in the dark as to the ground of its predilection for that particular color.” Macmillan’s Magazine, Sept. 1893, J. W. Fortescue, “A Chapter on Red Coats.”
      31. For a “View of the Facings, etc. of the several Marching Regiments of Foot…,” see appendix to this chapter. Illustrations of uniforms may be found in Belcher, I, 283, 320, 322; Chichester, pp. 167, 235; Cannon’s Regimental Records, passim; A Representation of the Cloathing of His Majesty’s Household and of all the Forces upon the Establishments of Great Britain & Ireland, 1742. Gen. Wolfe is said to have invented “a working dress to save the soldiers’ clothing, which was composed of a red jacket with sleeves, over which a sleeveless redcoat could be slipped for parade or for active service.” Nevill, British Military Prints, p. xvi.
      32. Cornwallis testified that each man carried three, sometimes four, days’ provisions. A View of the Evidence, p. 16.
      33. Burgoyne, State of the Expedition, p. 148, note. Stedman declares that the weight of the entire equipment at Bunker Hill might be estimated at 125 lbs. American War, I, 128.
      34. Lamb, Memoir, p. 178; Fortescue, II, 592, note; III, 537; Belcher, I, 281-285.
      35. Duncan, Hist. of the R. A., I, 154, 242, 265, 329.
      36. Farmer, Memoirs of the R. A. Band, p. 53.
      37. Nevill, British Military Prints, pp. xxxii, 14.
      38. There were 14 1/2 bullets to the pound. T. Simes, Military Guide, II, “Musquet.” Maj. Gen. Terry in L. Butler, Annals of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Appendix, p. 43, states that in 1800 the weight of the musket was 10 lb. 2 oz. and of the bayonet 1 lb. 2 oz., length of barrel 3 ft. 4 in., diameter of bore .753 in., charge of powder 6 drs. F.G. with 3 flints to every pound. Cf. Sawyer, Firearms in American History, pp. 101-103, with illustrations; plate no. 10.
      39. The ramrods were sometimes of wood, sometimes of steel. W.O. 28:7, “Report on small arms in Canada,” 1 Aug. 1781.
      40. Quoted in Lloyd, Review of the History of Infantry, p. 155. Furthermore, the soldier did not carry more than threescore rounds as compared with the 100 that he carries to-day. At Fontenoy each man had only 24 rounds. See also ibid., p. 145; Belcher, II, 59; Fortescue, III, 536; Encyc. Brit., “Brown Bess”; Oman, Wellington’s Army, pp. 301-302; T. Simes, Military Guide, II, “Manual of Exercise…in 1764.”
      41. Orderly Book, p. 116.
      42. Fortescue, III, 536, note; Butler, Annals of King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Appendix, p. 2. In a return of arms at Quebec, 1 Jan. 1782 (W.O. 28:7), mention is made of musquetoons. These were short muskets of large calibre used especially by cavalry. Carbines are also mentioned as used by cavalry in America. Types of muskets and cartridges used by the army in 1775 may be seen in the Museum of the Royal United Service Institution, London.
      43. Lamb, Journal, pp. 308-309. see also Dict. Nat. Biog., XVIII, 348-350. A picture and detailed description of Ferguson’s breech-loader will be found in W. W. Greener, The Gun, p. 89.
      44. Fortescue, The British Army, 1783-1802, p. 83. For some time prior to their departure for America, it is said that the Guards had been “practicing with a rifle-gun in Hyde Park, against a small target three hundred yards off.” Quoted from contemporary source in Trevelyan, II, 101.
      45. Sawyer, Firearms in American History, p. 99.
      46. Trevelyan, IV, 224.
      47. Belcher, II, 59; Oman, Wellington’s Army, pp. 301-302. It has been alleged that the Hessians failed to stave off defeat at Trenton because the rain fell so hard that their muskets would not go off.
      48. Orderly Book, 2 Sept. 1777, p. 91.
      49. Trevelyan, III, 6; IV, 158, and note; Belcher, I, 323.
      50. Orderly Book, 20 June, 1777, p. 3.
      51. Ibid., p. 116.
      52. Lindsay, A Military Miscellany (1796), referred to by Trevelyan, IV, 34.
      53. Oman, Wellington’s Army, p. 303; Fortescue III, 535; Trevelyan, II, 101; W.O. 1:995, John Campbell to Barrington, 13 Mar. 1778; ibid., 1:999, Ross and Gray, agents, to Barrington, 2 Mar. 1778; Butler’s Annals of King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Appendix, p. 43.
      54. The schedule of pay for all ranks is given in the appendix to this chapter. The best and fullest account of the pay system is in the 9th Report on Public Accounts (1783) in 39 Commons Journal, pp. 325-344. A partial explanation relating chiefly to the net off-reckonings is in the Report on the Land Forces and Marines (1746). See also Fortescue, The British Army, 1783-1802, p. 8; History of the British Army, I, 318; III, 510-515; Andrews, Guide to Materials in P.R.O., II, 131, 132, 134-135; J. W. Williamson, A Treatise of Military Finance, 1782.
      55. After 1771, the last-mentioned sum was repaid.
      56. Repaid after 1771.
      57. An excellent description of the system of net off-reckonings will be found in W.O. 1:1005. Several other rather exceptional stoppages should be mentioned. A deduction of 3d. per diem was made from the soldier’s pay when he was on board ship being transported from England to America, and a deduction of 4d. per diem when he was in the hospital. A fraction of his pay was sometimes deducted, also, to meet the expense of a regimental chaplain. W.O. 1:10, Howe to Barrington, 27 Mar, 1777; ibid., 1:52, Edward Matthew to Richard Fitzpatrick, 31 July, 1783; Andrews, Guide to Materials in P.R.O., II, 274.
      58. History of the British Army, III, 514.
      59. Ibid., p. 514.
      60. 39 Commons Journal, p. 330.
      61. Observations on the Prevailing Abuses in the British Army…, London, 1775. Cf. Fortescue, III, 41.
      62. The purchasing of commissions was not allowed in the artillery. Forteseue, The British Army, 1783-1802, p. 34. For the prices of commissions, see appendix to this chapter.
      63. Belcher, I, 270. For sale-price of commissions as fixed by royal authority in 1766, see T. Simes, Military Guide, I, 348.
      64. London Evening Post, Feb. 1776, quoted in Trevelyan, II, 94.
      65. Belcher, I, 270, 287-288.
      66. Except in the case of orphans mentioned, commissions were not as a rule granted to youths under sixteen years of age. See note appended by Barrington to a letter from William Dalrymple, 31 July, 1778, in W.O. 1:996.
      67. Belcher, I, 267-268; Clode, II, 91-92; Trevelyan, II, 93.
      68. Belcher, I, 271; Trevelyan, II, 95.
      69. Trevelyan, II, 96.
      70. Quoted in Trevelyan, II, 96.
      71. Trevelyan, II, 95-99; Fortescue, The British Army, 1783-1802, p. 32; Lamb Memoir, pp. 68, 109.
      72. Ibid., p. 66.
      73. Pp. 263, 288.
      74. Memoir, p. 68. When it was intended to flog a man, three halberds were arranged in a triangle, across the top of which a fourth was placed “in order to make a whipping post, to which the culprit was tied.” Hence arose the expression, “brought to the halberds.” The cat was applied to the bare back, usually by a drummer, and from the sanguinary results, British soldiers were sometimes derisively called “bloody backs.” It will be recalled that this epithet was applied to Capt. Preston’s men on the night of the Boston Massacre. Nevill, British Military Prints, p. xvi.
      75. Lamb, Memoir, p. 74.
      76. Memoirs, p. 125.
      77. Burgoyne, State of the Expedition, pp. 114, 171.
      78. Memoirs of Madame Riedesel, p. 125; Jones, History of New York, I, 351; Von Elking, Die Deutschen Hülfstruppen in Nordamerikan Befreiungskriege, pp. 29, 316.
      79. American War, I, 309.
      80. Ibid., pp. 241-242, 309; Narrative of Sir William Howe, p. 59; Kemble, Journal, I, 91.
      81. During Burgoyne’s expedition, 1777, for example, two soldiers were sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes for robbing a man at Fort Edward. Burgoyne, Orderly Book, p. 74.
      82. On this topic, see also Belcher, I, 274, 278-280; Fortescue, The British Army, 1783-1802, p. 35.




      1st Foot Guards . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,649
      2d Foot Guards (Coldstream) . . . 1,058
      3d Foot Guards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,058


      1st (2d Batt.) (Royal) . . . 477
      3d (Buffs) . . . . . . . . . 477
      4th (King’s Own) . . . 477
      5th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      7th (Royal Fusileers) . . . 477
      8th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      10th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      11th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      12th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      13th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      14th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      16th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      18th (Royal Irish) . . .477
      19th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      21st (Royal North British Fusileers) . . . 477
      23d (Royal Welsh Fusileers) . . . 477
      25th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      26th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      27th (Inniskilling) . . 3353
      29th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      30th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      31st . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      32d . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      36th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      38th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      41st . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4824
      43d . . . . . . . . . . . . . .477
      47th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      48th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      50th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      51st . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      52d . . . . . . . . . . . . . .477
      56th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      58th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      59th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      60th (2 batt’s) (Royal American) . . . 955
      64th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      65th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      66th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      67th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      69th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      70th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      O’Hara’s Corps . . . . 2145


      1st (1st Batt.) (Royal) . . . 4776
      2d (Queen’s Royal) . . . 477
      6th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      9th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      15th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      17th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      20th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      22d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      24th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      27th (3 cos.) (Inniskilling) . . . 1427
      28th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      33d . . . . . . . . . . . . . .474
      34th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      35th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      37th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      40th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      42d (Royal Highland) . . . 474
      44th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      45th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      46th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      49th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      53d . . . . . . . . . . . . . .474
      54th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      55th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      57th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
      61st . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
      62d . . . . . . . . . . . . . .474
      63d . . . . . . . . . . . . . .474
      68th . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474



      1 Regt. Horse Guards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
      1 Regt. Horse Grenadier Guards . . . . . . . . . . . . .353
      1 Royal Regt. Horse Guards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319

      Regiments of the Line

      1st Dragoon Guards (The King’s) . . . . . . . . . . . .345
      Dragoon Guards (The Queen’s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      3d Dragoon Guards (The Prince of Wales’s) . . . 231
      1st Dragoons (Royal) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      2d Dragoons (Royal North British) . . . . . . . . . . .231
      3d Dragoons (King’s Own) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
      4th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
      6th Dragoons (Inniskilling) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      7th Dragoons (The Queen’s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
      10th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
      11th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
      15th Dragoons (The King’s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
      16th Dragoons (The Queen’s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231


      1st Horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
      2d Horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .214
      3d Horse (Carabineers) . . . . . . 214
      4th Horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
      5th Dragoons (Royal Irish) . . . . 45
      8th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      9th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      12th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      13th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      14th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      17th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
      18th Dragoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231


      Major General and Commanding Officer . . . William Phillips
      Lieutenant Col . . . Forbes Macbean
      Chief Engineer . . . Harry Gordon
      Lieutenant of Engineers . . . 7
      Adj . . . Molesworth Cleiland
      Q.M. . . . Sam’l Rimington
      Fire Master . . . Wm. Houghton
      Draughtsman . . . Lieut. Chas. Wintersmith
      Comm’y and Paymaster . . . Alex’r Shaw
      Ass’t Comm’y . . . Kenman Chandler
      Surgeon . . . Gervas Wylde
      Surgeon’s Mates . . . 3
      Clerks of Stores . . . 4 (number variable)
      Carpenters . . . 5
      Conductors . . . 12
      Comm’y of Horse . . . 1
      Ass’t to Comm’y of Horse . . . 1
      Nurse to Hospital . . . 2
      Smiths, Wheelers, Masons, Collar Makers, Miners


      Commanding Officer of Artillery . . . Samuel Cleaveland
      Engineer Extra. and Capt . . . John Montrésor
      Engineer in Ord’y . . . 1
      Draughtsman . . . 1
      Ass’t Chaplain . . . 1
      Surgeon . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
      Barrack Master of Albany . . . 1

      Commissary and Paymaster . . . 1
      Clerks of Stores . . . 2
      Conductors . . . 8
      Carpenters . . . 4
      Wheeler . . . 1
      Collar Maker . . . 1
      Smiths . . . 3
      Cooper . . . 1
      Armourer . . . 1
      Nurse . . . 1


      Colour of FacingsRank and Title of the RegimentsDistinctions in the same ColourIf Gold or Silver Hat Lace &c. for the OfficersColour of the Waistcoats, Breeches, and Lining of the CoatsColour of the Lace
      Blue1st, or the royal regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with blue double worm
      Blue2d, or the Queen's royal regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a blue stripe
      Blue4th, or the King's own regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a blue stripe
      Blue7th, or royal fuzileersGoldWhiteWhite, with a blue stripe
      Blue8th, or King's regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with a blue and yellow stripe
      Blue18th, or royal IrishGoldWhiteWhite, with a blue stripe
      Blue21st, or royal North-British fuzileersGoldWhiteWhite, with a blue stripe
      Blue23d, or royal Welch fuzileersGoldWhiteWhite, with red, blue and yellow stripes
      Blue41st, or invalidsGoldRedPlain button-hole
      Blue42, or royal HighlandersGoldWhite Waistcoats and lining of coats. No breeches.White, with a red stripe
      Blue60th, or royal AmericansSilverWhiteWhite, with two blue stripes
      Yellow6th regimentDeep YellowSilverWhiteWhite, with yellow and red stripes
      Yellow9th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with two black stripes
      Yellow10th regimentBright YellowSilverWhiteWhite, with a blue stripe
      Yellow12th regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with yellow, crimson and black stripes
      Yellow13th regimentPhilemot YellowSilverWhiteWhite, with a yellow stripe
      Yellow15th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a yellow and black worm and red stripe
      Yellow16th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a crimson stripe
      Yellow20th regimentPale YellowSilverWhiteWhite, with a red and black stripe
      Yellow25th regimentDeep YellowGoldWhiteWhite, with a blue, yellow and red stripe
      Yellow26th regimentPale YellowSilverWhiteWhite, with one blue, and two yellow stripes
      Yellow28th regimentBright YellowSilverWhiteWhite, with one yellow and two black stripes
      Yellow29th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with two blue, and one yellow stripe
      Yellow30th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a sky-blue stripe
      Yellow34th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a blue and yellow worm, and red stripe
      Yellow37th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a red and yellow stripe
      Yellow38th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with two red, and one yellow stripes
      Yellow44th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with blue, yellow and black stripes
      Yellow46th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with red and purple worms
      Yellow57th regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with a black tripe
      Yellow67th regimentPale YellowSilverWhiteWhite, with a yellow, purple, and green stripe
      Green5th regimentGoslin geenSilverWhiteWhite, with two red stripes
      Green11th regimentFull greenGoldWhiteWhite, with two red and two green stripes
      Green19th regimentDeep greenGoldWhiteWhite, with two stripes, red and green
      Green24th regimentWillow greenSilverWhiteWhite, with one red and one green stripe
      Green36th regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with one red and one green stripe
      Green39th regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with light green stripe
      Green45th regimentDeep greenSilverWhiteWhite, with a green stripe
      Green49th regimentFull greenGoldWhiteWhite, with two red and one green stripes
      Green51st regimentDeep greenGoldWhiteWhite, with a green worm stripe
      Green54th regimentPopinjay greenSilverWhiteWhite, with a green stripe
      Green55th regimentDark greenGoldWhiteWhite, with two green stripes
      Green63d regimentVery deep greenSilverWhiteWhite. with very small green stripe
      Green66th regimentYellowish greenGoldWhiteWhite, with one crimson & green, & one green stripe
      Green68th regimentDeep greenSilverWhiteWhite, with yellow and black stripes
      Green69th regimentWillow greenGoldWhiteWhite, with one red and two green stripes
      Buff3d reg. or the BuffsSilverBuffWhite, with yellow, black and red stripes
      Buff14th regimentSilverBuffWhite, with a blue and red worm, and a buff stripe
      Buff22d regimentPale BuffGoldPale BuffWhite, with one blue and one red stripe
      Buff27th or Innisk. reg.GoldBuffWhite, with one blue and one red stripe
      Buff31st regimentSilverBuffWhite, with a blue and yellow worm, & small red stripe
      Buff40th regimentGoldBuffWhite, with a red and black stripe
      Buff48th regimentGoldBuffWhite, with black and red stripe
      Buff52d regimentSilverBuffWhite, with a red worm, and one orange stripe
      Buff61st regimentSilverBuffWhite, with a blue stripe
      Buff62d regimentYellowish buffSilverYellowish buffWhite, with two blue, and one straw-coloured stripe
      White17th regimentGrayish whiteSilverGrayish whiteWhite, with two blue and one yellow stripes
      White32d regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with black worm and a black stripe
      White43d regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with red and black stripe
      White47th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with one red and two black stripes
      White65th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a red and black worm, and a black stripe
      Red33d regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a red stripe in the middle
      Red53d regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with a red stripe
      Red56th regimentPurpleSilverWhiteWhite, with a pink-colour stripe
      Red59th regimentPurpleSilverWhiteWhite. with
      Black50th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with a red stripe
      Black58th regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with a red stripe
      Black64th regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with a red and black stripe
      Black70th regimentGoldWhiteWhite, with a narrow black worm stripe
      Orange35th regimentSilverWhiteWhite, with one yellow stripe


      Royal Reg. of Horse-Guards F. PayRoyal Reg. of Horse-Guards Subsist.Dragoons F. PayDragoons Subsist.Foot-Guards F. PayFoot-Guards Subsist.Foot F. PayFoot Subsist.
      Colonel and Captain£2 1s£1 11s£1 15s£1 6s 6d£1 19s£1 10s£1 4s18s
      Lieutenant Colonel and Captain£1 9s 6d£1 2s 6d£1 4s 8d18s 6d£1 8s 6d£1 1s 1d17s13s
      Major and Captain£1 7s£1 1s 6d£1 6d15s 6d£1 4s 6d18s 6d15s11s 6d
      Captain Lieutenant or Lieutenant15s11s 6d9s7s7s 10d6s4s 8d3s 6d
      Cornet h. gds. & dr. Ens. f. g. or 2d Lt. f.14s11s8s6s5s 10d4s 6d3s 8d3s
      Chaplain6s 8d5s6s 8d5s6s 8d5s6s 8d5s
      Adjutant (Solicitor in foot- guards the same)5s4s 6d5s4s 6d4s3s4s3s
      Quarter-Master8s 6d6s 6d5s 6d4s4s3s4s 8d3s 6d
      Surgeon6s4s 6d6s4s 6d4s3s4s3s
      Surgeon's Mate3s3s3s 6d3s
      Deputy Marshal1s9d
      Serjeant2s 9d2s 3d1s 10d1s 4 4/7d1s 6d1s
      Corporal (Kettle- drum in horse- gds. the same)3s2s 6d2s 3d1s 9d1s 2d10d1s8d
      Drummer3s2s 6d2s 3d1s1s 2d8 4/7d1s8d
      Trumpeter2s 8d2s
      Private Man2s 6d2s1s 9d1s 5d10d6 6/7d8d6d
      Allowance on the Establishment to Colonel4s2s2s 6d1s 2d1s 7 3/4d6 6/7d1s 2d6d
      Allowance on the Establishment to Colonel for Hautbois2s1s 6d
      Allowance on the Establishment to Captain per troop2s1s 6d
      Allowance on the Establishment to Captain per company4s4s2s 4d2s 4d1s 1 1/2d1s 1 5/7d1s1s
      Allowance on the Establishment to Agent2s2s1s 2d1s 2d6 3/4d6 6/7d6d9d


      Lieutenant Colonel100
      Captain Lieutenant060
      First Lieutenant050
      Second Lieutenant040


      First and Second Troops of Horse Guards

      CommissionsPricesDifferences in value between the several commissions in succession
      First Lieutenant-colonel£5,500£400
      Second Lieutenant-colonel£5,100£800
      Cornet and Major£4,300£200
      Guidon and Major£4,100£1,400
      Exempt and Captain£2,700£1,200
      Brigadier and Lieutenant or Adjutant and Lieutenant£1,500300
      Sub-Brigadier and Cornet£1,200£1,200

      Dragoon Guards and Dragoons

      CommissionsPricesDifferences in value between the several commissions in succession

      Foot Guards

      CommissionsPricesDifferences in value between the several commissions in succession
      1st Major/2nd Major with rank of Col.£6,300£2,800
      3rd Major/Captain£3,500£900
      Captain-lieutenant with rank of Lieutenant-colonel£2,600£1,100
      Lieutenant with rank of Captain£1,500£600

      Marching Regiments of Foot

      CommissionsPricesDifferences in value between the several commissions in succession
      1. For lists of regiments and their numbers, see Court and City Register, 1775, and Army List, 1775.
      2. Regiments italicized saw service in America during the Revolution. For data, see Chichester, passim; W.O. 1:890, Estimate of Clothing Tonnage, 25 June, 1776; ibid., 4:273, Barrington to Gage, 1 Aug. 1775; London Gazette, 10 Oct. 1776, and passim; Lamb, Memoir, 110-111; Belcher, I, 339.
      3. Three companies of the 27th were on the Irish Establishment.
      4. Col. Wren’s regiment of invalids for garrison duty.
      5. In computing the number of regiments on the Establishment, I have for convenience regarded O’Hara’s corps as one regiment.
      6. The 2d battalion was on the English Establishment.
      7. The other companies were on the English Establishment.
      8. W.O. 54:689.
      9. W.O. 54:689.
      10. T. Simes, Military Guide, I, 302-304. These regulations were in force in 1775.
      11. Court and City Register, 1776, p. 270.
      12. Duncan, History of the R. A., I, 436.
      13. Simes, Military Guide (1776), I, 347-349.

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