Recruitment of the British Army


    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 how the British Army recruited troops during the Revolutionary War.


      Recruitment of the British Army

      We have seen that at the outbreak of the American Revolution the total land forces of Great Britain (exclusive of militia) numbered about 48,000 men. The exigencies of the war necessitated an increase. By 1781 a force of 110,000 men had been enrolled, of which about 56,000 were located in America and the West Indies.1 Thousands of soldiers had, in the meantime, been lost through death and the accidents of war. The question naturally arises, therefore, as to how troops were raised both to meet the increased size of the army and to make good the casualties. In a word, how was the army recruited?

      Throughout the war the government experienced great difficulty in obtaining sufficient men for the ranks.2 Again and again it was found impossible to complete the augmentation voted by parliament.3 The correspondence of the adjutant general, Edward Harvey, is burdened with complaints about the state of the recruiting. “Sad work everywhere in recruiting,” he writes in December, 1775. “In these damned times we must exert zeal.”4 The competition for recruits among the various regiments was intense.5 Some of them, not satisfied with such able-bodied men as they could secure by hook or crook, enlisted invalids and out-pensioners.6 Not a little ill-feeling was aroused among the militia officers by attempts to enlist their levies as well.7 Prior to 1775 Roman Catholics as a rule had been excluded from the ranks; but now those in Connaught and Munster were gladly welcomed.8 Recruiting parties were even sent into the American colonies.9 As is well known the paucity of men led not merely to the hiring of the Hessians, but to the recruiting of many Germans into British regiments.10 In 1775 bootless attempts were made to procure 20,000 mercenaries from Russia11 and the use of a Scottish brigade in the pay of Holland.12 These facts strikingly illustrate the appalling scarcity of available fighting men.

      Throughout the struggle, Scotland continued to be the most fertile field for recruits. “The present ardor of the Highland Gentlemen,” wrote Lord John Murray, “is great to be employed in His Majesty’s Service.”13 England was less productive; while Ireland was well-nigh barren, supplying recruits not only few in number but poor in quality.14 “What can be the meaning that recruiting goes so slow in Ireland?” Harvey asks Cornwallis in July, 1775. “The regiments in Britain have 17 parties in that country and only 24 recruits are got in one week, 28 in another, and 10 more in another. This will never do. This Country [England] is but in a middling situation, if men are so scarce.”15 Political conditions account in large measure for Scotland’s wealth of recruits. The military power of the chieftains had been broken in 1745; and from feudal superiors they had been converted, through the failure of the government to provide an equitable land system, into grasping landlords. Rents had indeed become so oppressive that many thrifty and industrious clansmen were leaving the country. Hence when the call for troops came, “the best fighting men of Argyllshire and Invernesshire eagerly hailed the chance of winning by their swords a settlement in America more secure than that which their progenitors had held, by the tenure of the sword in the valleys of their native Scotland.”16 Readiness to enlist was not confined in Scotland, however, merely to the clansmen. “Many tradesmen, worth £200 to £300,” says Stocqueler, “forsook their business to join the army, refusing bounties…A club of one hundred weavers at Glasgow draughted fourteen of their number for recruits; and made up a stock of £350 to maintain their families in their absence. Even the link boys raised 30 guineas among their number to support the war.”17 In England widespread want of sympathy with the colonial policy of the government undoubtedly checked recruiting. No one was less wanting in such sympathy than the secretary at war himself. Lord Barrington was also opposed to the measures employed to obtain recruits, and doubted their efficacy. This must unquestionably have dampened the ardor of his military subordinates. In Ireland abundant crops seem to have made the task of the recruiting officer especially difficult at the outset of the war. The Dublin government stated in October, 1775, that the agriculturists had rarely enjoyed so prosperous a year. “Corn of all kinds,” wrote Lord Harcourt, “and potatoes, the chief food of the people, are a drug.” With their cabins overflowing with plenty, the Irish farmers were in no mood to be tempted into the ranks.18

      A number of other circumstances tended to make recruiting difficult throughout the British Isles. Service was ordinarily for life.19 The pay of both officers and men was inadequate to meet the rising standard of comfort and luxury.20 Little honor was attached to military service. In 1775 no medals or decorations were awarded for gallantry. There was nothing to correspond to the Victoria Cross. Ever since Cromwell’s time, the soldier had been regarded as the natural enemy of the liberties of the people. On all sides he was held up to ridicule and contempt. The newspapers delighted in caricaturing his ignoble and unhappy life. The popular estimate of him was summed up in a saying current in the navy some thirty years later: “A messmate before a shipmate, a shipmate before a stranger, a stranger before a dog, a dog before a soldier.”21 All of these circumstances combined to make the work of the recruiting officer onerous.

      Prior to 1778, the crown employed two methods of obtaining men. The first of these was voluntary enlistment. On 16 December, 1775, the War Office gave notice in the London Gazette, the official organ of the army, that “during the Continuance of the Rebellion now subsisting in North America, every Person, who should enlist as a soldier in any of His Majesty’s Marching Regiments of Foot, should be entitled to his Discharge at the end of Three Years, or at the end of said Rebellion, at the option of His Majesty.”22 Although no mention of the fact was made in the proclamation, a bounty of one guinea and a half was offered to every volunteer.23 A second method of obtaining soldiers was by pardoning malefactors before the law upon condition of their enlistment.

      Vagrants, smugglers, and criminals of various kinds might thus escape such legal penalties as had been adjudged them. Even deserters, whether at large or imprisoned, were to be pardoned upon agreeing to reënter the ranks of either their former regiment or some other.24 In this way every gaol served as a recruiting depot.

      The physical requirements for men entering the ranks, whether voluntarily or perforce, seem to have been somewhat loose. No full-grown man was to be taken for the marching regiments, who was under 5 feet 61/2 inches high. Youths under that size might be enlisted, if they were well-made and promised to grow to it.25 No doubt the recruiting officers were careful to see that the jail birds enlisted were in fairly sound physical condition. The volunteer underwent a physical examination before a surgeon, and was obliged to attest that he had “no Rupture, nor ever was troubled with Fits,” and that he was in “no ways disabled by Lameness, or otherwise, but had the perfect use of his Limbs.” The volunteer in Great Britain had likewise to declare that he was a Protestant.26

      Such were the methods of recruiting the army employed during the first three years of the war. After the surrender at Saratoga, however, when hostilities with France were apprehended, they were felt to be inadequate, and additional measures were deemed necessary – measures which would not interfere with the old methods, to be sure, but which would modify them slightly and open up new sources of recruits. Accordingly, in May, 1778, parliament passed a press act, 18 Geo. III, C. 53, “for the more easy and better recruiting of his Majesty’s Land Forces.”27 It provided that every volunteer should receive a bounty of £3, and that he should be entitled to his discharge at the end of three years unless the nation were at war. It also empowered the justices of the peace and the commissioners of the land tax, who were constituted commissioners for the enforcement of the act, to levy, and deliver to the recruiting officers “all able-bodied idle, and disorderly Persons, who could not, upon Examination, prove themselves to exercise and industriously follow some lawful Trade or Employment, or to have some Substance sufficient for their Support and Maintenance.” They were also to raise and deliver all Persons who should be convicted of running Goods to the Value of 40£ or under in lieu of all legal Penalties.” For every man raised in either of the aforesaid ways, the recruiting officers must pay to the parish officers 20s. and to the overseers of the poor, in case the man had a wife and family chargeable upon the parish rates, not less than 10s. nor more than 40s., according to the number of children. A reward of 10s. was offered to the discoverer of any person liable to impressment within the provisions of the act. No voters and, between May 25th and October 25th, no harvest laborers were to be impressed. Impressed men might demand discharge at the end of five years, unless the nation were at war. No person should be enlisted by virtue of the act “who was not such an able-bodied Man as is fit to serve his Majesty, and was free from Ruptures, and every other Distemper, or bodily Weakness or Infirmity, which may render him unfit to perform the Duty of a Soldier.” No person should be enlisted “who should appear in the opinion of the…Officers…to be under the Age of seventeen Years, above the Age of forty-five Years, or who should be under the Size of five Feet, four Inches without Shoes.” The act was to be put into operation in every county on notice being given to the high sheriff by the secretary at war; but it might be suspended at the king’s discretion throughout the whole or any part of Great Britain.28

      This law received the royal assent 28 May, 1778. It was set into operation by Barrington, the secretary at war, in the following month. Whether it was ever suspended does not appear. Geographically its operation was confined, by direction of the secretary at war, to Scotland and to “the City of London, the City and Liberties of Westminster, and such parts of the County of Middlesex as are within the Bills of Mortality.” Wales and other parts of England thus escaped its action.”29 Barrington gave as his reasons for this the fact that in the summer of 1778 he feared to interfere with the harvesting, while in the autumn and winter the “Forces were not so circumstanced as to admit of a general and effectual execution of the said Act.”30

      Apparently the statute did not prove successful, for in January, 1779, Sir Charles Jenkinson, who had succeeded Barrington at the War Office, begged leave in the Commons to bring in a bill for its repeal and for the substitution of a measure promising better results. He informed the house that the chief advantages arising from acts of this character lay in the numbers of volunteers brought in under apprehension of being impressed. He believed, therefore, that every possible encouragement should be held forth to volunteers in order to render impressment the less necessary. The law of 1778 had failed because it did not offer sufficient advantages to volunteers. This defect he hoped to remedy in the proposed measure.31

      The result of Jenkinson’s plea was the passage of a second press act, 19 Geo. III, C. 10.32 While following in general the lines of the previous law, it met the views expressed by the secretary by holding out more attractive inducements to volunteers. The bounty offered to them was raised from £3, under the act of 1778, to £3 3s., and its payment made easier. After the expiration of their terms of service, volunteers were to be exempt from the performance of statute (highway) duty, from service as parish officers, and from service in the army, navy, or militia. They were to be allowed to set up and exercise any trade in any place in Great Britain, a concession the value of which can only be appreciated when it is realized that almost every city and corporation then possessed an exclusive system of customs and by-laws, regulating industrial pursuits within its limits in such a way as to debar any but the properly initiated. Furthermore, volunteers discharged on account of wounds, prior to the expiration of their terms, were to be entitled to the same privileges as those serving full terms; and no suspension of the act was to withhold from volunteers the benefits guaranteed therein. The new law also made less exclusive the physical requirements for both volunteers and impressed men. The act of 1778 had provided that recruits must be able-bodied men between seventeen and forty- five years of age and at least five feet four inches in height. The act of 1779 admitted able-bodied men between the ages of sixteen and fifty years. Those under eighteen years were qualified if their height was at least five feet three inches. Those over eighteen years, however, were required to be at least five feet four inches. In one other important matter the new measure differed from the old. It rendered another class of malefactors available for the ranks by declaring that not only smugglers and “all able-bodied idle and disorderly persons” were liable to impressment but also “incorrigible rogues,” who were defined as persons “convicted of running away from and leaving their Families chargeable upon the Parish.”

      This statute received the royal assent 9 February, 1779. On the same day the secretary at war directed that the act be put into execution throughout Great Britain. On 22 May, in order not to interfere with the harvesting, its operation was suspended by an order in Council in South Britain, with the exception of the “Cities of London and Westminster and such parts of Middlesex as lay within the Bill of Mortality as also some of the principal towns.” On 26 November it was again put into force throughout the region of suspension. On 26 May, 1780, it was repealed, with the exception of the parts relating to volunteers.33

      The operation of both press acts was marked by several noteworthy features. The spirit in which the earlier one was to be enforced was set forth by Barrington in two rather remarkable letters. In an age when the treatment accorded to soldiers was as a rule brutal and inhuman, and when press gangs were accustomed to seize their prey, without much regard for law or justice, he could write to the commissioners for enforcing the act, “…It must be confessed that to carry these good purposes into execution [i.e., the terms of the act], it has been necessary to give Powers to the Commissioners, which, if abus”d, may occasion Acts of Cruelty and Oppression. I am confident that Comm’rs will guard against every thing so disgraceful and pernicious. Soldiers, it is true, are wanted at this juncture; but no necessity of State can authorize their being got at the Expense of Justice and Humanity…”34 At another time, writing to the magistrates with regard to certain impressed men who desired to submit proof that they did not come within the terms of the act, he manifested a similar spirit: “Frequent representations have been made to me in behalf of impressed Men who could bring evidences of their not being objects of this Act, now executing by you; but that the time of appeal being elapsed, the Commissioners do not think it proper to receive such evidence. I therefore take the liberty of acquainting you that in such cases, if you will in any instance, be pleased to admit the matter to a rehearing, rather upon the grounds of a human indulgence than a legal claim, I shall be very ready to concur with you in giving relief to persons, whom you shall judge aggrieved although they should not have availed themselves in due time of the appeal allowed by the legislature.”35

      Several nice questions of interpretation arose in connection with the acts. One was whether an impressed man might employ a substitute. It was pointed out that the latter might be a far better physical specimen than the former, and that therefore his admission would result in a greater gain for the service. Jenkinson ruled that “the practice of discharging Impressed Men upon their finding proper Substitutes is contrary to the express directions of the Act itself, and tho’ the Regiment might be somewhat benefited, by getting better Men in their own room, yet the Service in general and the Public would be greatly injured thereby; for it cannot be expected that the Magistrates should proceed in the execution of the Act, if the persons impressed by their Authority are suffered to obtain their Discharge by paying a sum of money, and be left at Liberty to return to the very neighborhood where they had proved obnoxious, with minds incensed against the Magistrates and others concerned in their Commitmt.”36

      On several occasions persons who had been taken into custody by the magistrates as liable to impressment offered to volunteer and then claimed the bounty. Was this practice allowable? Barrington, to whom the question was originally put, answered at first in the affirmative, but later, and finally, in the negative: “Having stated in my first Circular Letter to the Commissioners,…that Men who come within the description of the Act and are apprehended may notwithstanding Enter as Volunteers, I think it necessary to acquaint You that on a reconsideration of the Act, It is my opinion that this Option cannot be given to persons in Custody.”37

      Several magistrates wrote in high dudgeon to Jenkinson that men were enlisting in the militia to escape impressment. “With regard to the practice you mention,” answered the secretary, “I really do not think that the public suffers thereby upon the whole; for the Men, from being troublesome and obnoxious, become at once of use to their Country, to whose defence they contribute as much by voluntary Service in the Militia, as if they had been impressed into the regular Army.”38

      In a number of instances foreigners were impressed – Hessians, Hungarians, Tuscans, Dutchmen; but, at the request of the ambassador representing their native country, were released.39

      Apprentices were sometimes enlisted or impressed; and, although the law did not require it, were also surrendered on the masters’ demand, in accordance with an opinion rendered in 1760 by Sir Charles Pratt, the attorney general.40

      The physical requirements laid down for recruits were not to be construed too closely. Jenkinson informed one colonel that, though the impressed men “might not be such Recruits as a Battn. might choose to take in times of profound Peace,…in the present moment it would…be imprudent to part with any Man that could be made of the smallest Use.”41

      That a spirit of coöperation was often wanting between the military and civil officers engaged in enforcing the acts, there can be no doubt. Recruiting officers complained that the commissioners were negligent about levying persons liable to impressment; commissioners retorted that the officers were negligent about attending their meetings as required by law.42 “I am sorry, to say,” wrote Jenkinson in April, 1779, “I have had more complaints of this kind from the Commissioners in Essex than from any other county.”43

      There was a similar want of harmony between military and naval officers. The competition between them for eligible recruits was bitter and, sometimes bloody. In June, 1778, the streets of Plymouth were treated to a lively brawl between an army press gang and a navy press gang, which resulted from an attempt on the part of the sailors to rob the soldiers of an enlisted man.44

      Such occurrences, however, were the order of the day. While the press gangs fought one another for recruits, the recruits fought the press gangs for freedom. The aversion to military service on the part of impressed men was intense. Many of them in order to incapacitate themselves cut off the thumb and forefinger of the right hand.45 Others deserted at the first opportunity. To use the words of one officer, they were “a mighty, slippery, set of fellows.”46 They could not be trusted at large with the regiment while it was at home; but had to be kept under lock and key until it embarked for America or other foreign parts. “It is clear,” wrote Jenkinson, “that the greater part of the Impressed Men cannot be trusted in any Regt. that is serving in Great Britain: It is doubtful whether they ought to be trusted in any Regiment serving on the Continent of America; but they may with great propriety be sent either to the Regts in the West Indies, or the Garrisons of Gibraltar and Minorca. From these places they cannot easily desert; and there are no facts to lead us to conclude that they would not serve well there.”47

      The prisons in which these men were temporarily incarcerated were often the scenes of fierce encounters between jailers and jailed. The keeper of the Savoy Prison in London, where many were confined, reported that as he and several turnkeys were locking up one evening, they were attacked by a number of impressed men “armed with short bludgeons that they had cut from the Brooms that were given them to clean their Apartments with.” After a struggle the prisoners were overcome, but that night two of them threw themselves out at one of the windows. One escaped, the other fell on his head and was killed.48

      Regarding the effectiveness of the press act of 1778, the records yield no data. Regarding the effectiveness of the act of 1779, we are fortunate in possessing a detailed report which was drawn up by Jenkinson for the benefit of Lord Amherst.49 It shows that from March to October, 1779, no fewer than 1,463 men were impressed in South Britain; and from March to July, 61 in North Britain. Considering the demands for soldiers, these can hardly be considered large figures. The report points out, however, that the act had greatly stimulated voluntary enlistment. The apprehension of impressment had induced many reluctant persons to volunteer. This was especially true as regards the navy and the militia, both of which had gained increased numbers of voluntary recruits since the passage of the law. The regular army, while profiting less, had secured by voluntary enlistment about 2,200 more men than would have been the case without the stimulus of the press act. This represented an increase of more than one-third upon the ordinary recruiting.

      On 1 October, 1779, the 1,463 men impressed in South Britain were disposed as follows:

      Embarked for foreign Stations, or serving on board the Fleet as Marines . . . . . . . . . . 236

      Incorporated in the Regts. and additional Camps at home . . . . . . . . . . 726

      Discharged as absolutely incapable of service . . . . . . . . . . 178

      Discharged upon the Certificate of the Commrs. on a Rehearing, or by order of the Court of King’s Bench, as not being Objects of the Act . . . . . . . . . . 138

      Discharged upon the Claim of Foreign Ministers, or as belonging to old Corps . . . . . . . . . . 29

      Dead . . . . . . . . . . 17

      Remain at Chatham and in the Savoy, not yet appropriated . . . . . . . . . . 139

      Total . . . . . . . . . . 1,463

      We have seen that between 1775 and 1781, the regular army was increased from 48,000 to 110,000 men. Having examined the methods by which these men were obtained, we have now to examine the manner in which the organization of the army was expanded to receive them; for it is obvious that, in enrolling 60,000 more men, either the regiments existing at the outbreak of the war must have been enormously increased in size or new regiments must have been added. In point of fact the expansion was affected in two ways: (1) by enlarging regiments existing in 1775, and (2) by creating new regiments.50

      (1) Regiments existing in 1775 were enlarged by adding new companies or battalions, by increasing the numbers in the existing companies or battalions, or by a combination of both methods. For example, in 1775 the 60th Foot was augmented by the addition of two battalions, the 21st Foot by raising each company from thirty-eight to fifty-six men, and the 4th Foot by raising each company from thirty-eight to fifty-six men and adding two companies of fifty-six men each.51 These seem to have been the methods employed at the beginning of the war. Prior to 1778 only one new regiment was raised – the 71st Foot, in 1775.52

      (2) The surrender of Burgoyne and the Franco-American alliance led to a change. In the spring of 1778, while the old methods of augmentation were retained, no less than twelve new regiments of foot were raised.53 In the spring of 1779 still another54 was added, together with three regiments of light dragoons.55 The latter were formed out of light troops from other dragoon regiments. The declaration of war by Spain in June led to further activity. In the summer and autumn, thirteen regiments of foot and one of light dragoons were raised.56 To these were added three regiments of foot, which were raised during the winter of 1779-1780.57 Adding two more regiments of foot which appear on the list for 1781,58 we find that no fewer than thirty-one independent regiments of foot and four regiments of light dragoons were created between 1778 and 1781. This does not include a large number of fencible59 and volunteer corps of a somewhat irregular character for home service. Most of the newly raised regiments, whether regular or irregular, were disbanded at the close of the war.60

      Not a few of these corps were raised by noblemen or gentlemen, partly at their own trouble and expense. This was done, of course, only with the king’s permission. The precise nature of the agreement entered into in every case by the crown on the one hand and the raiser of the regiment on the other cannot be ascertained. In most instances, probably, the nobleman or gentleman, in return for the trouble entailed in recruiting the men, was granted the command of the regiment and the privilege of nominating some or all of the officers. The officers doubtless bought their commissions from the nobleman and shared both the work and the expense of the recruiting. The permission to raise a regiment and the conditions attached thereto were embodied in what was known as a “letter of service,” addressed to the prospective colonel by the secretary at war. The enlistment was carried on under authority of a “beating order,”61 which was likewise issued under the hand of that official. When several corps were being raised at the same time, the seniority (regimental number) of each in the army was usually determined by the date of completion.62

      A concrete illustration may serve to make this clear. On 19 December, 1777, Barrington issued a letter of service to John Campbell of Barbreck, a Scottish gentleman, stating that the king had given him permission to raise a Highland regiment of foot, 1,082 strong.63 The conditions were to be as follows: Campbell was to have the colonelcy and the nomination of the officers. In case he nominated as major an officer who had served less than five years in the army as captain, that officer was to pay £300 for his commission, which sum was to be used in helping to defray the cost of recruiting. The seniority of captains and subalterns in the regiment was to be determined by the date at which they completed their respective companies. The officers of the first company completed would be senior to the officers of the company next completed, and so on through the entire ten companies of which the corps was to be composed. The officers were to be entitled to half-pay in case the regiment should be disbanded at the close of war. To help meet the cost of recruiting, the government allowed Campbell: (1) £3 bounty money per man; (2) the pay (barring “subsistence”) of the entire regiment from the date of the beating order (19 December); (3) 5 guineas for every man reviewed and approved; (4) the subsistence money of every non- commissioned officer and private man from the date of his attestation (enlistment). Recruits had to be at least five feet four inches in height and between eighteen and thirty years of age. The regiment was to be raised and approved within four months from the date of the letter of service. It later became the 74th Foot, serving in America during the war.64

      This entire system, known as “raising men for rank,” was by no means peculiar to the American Revolution, but had been utilized in previous wars.65 George III, however, adopted it with extreme reluctance. He feared that the formation of new corps would interfere with completing the old regiments to a war footing; that it would, as he put it, “only perplex and totally annihilate all chances of compleating the regular forces, which alone in time of need can he depended upon; particularly in England, the raising new corps would be total destruction to the army.”66 He preferred increasing the strength of the old regiments to raising new ones. “A new raised corps,” he stated, “will from time of being compleated require at least a year before it can be properly trained for actual service; an [old] regiment composed of good officers and non-commissioned officers will bear a great augmentation, and three months fit them for service.”67 He suspected, furthermore, that every nobleman who raised a regiment would have in view not the service of the country but the procuring of commissions for relatives. In other words, the thing might be turned into a job. This could not fail to arouse disgust among the officers of existing corps. They would be obliged to witness men securing commissions equal to or higher than their own, not through merit, experience, or seniority, but through favor. “By an unwearied attention to the services of officers,” wrote the king to North, “I flatter myself I have their goodwill, which would be totally destroyed if I was giving away to every job that noblemen are wishing for their relations, not the service of the country.”68 Nevertheless, the difficulty of obtaining recruits by the ordinary methods forced His Majesty to adopt a policy which he could not at heart approve.

      Of the regiments thus raised for rank, the following served in America and the West Indies during the war, and are therefore of especial interest:

      71st. This regiment of two battalions was raised in the latter part of 1775 by Simon Fraser, Master of Lovat. Fraser’s father, a Scottish nobleman, had been compelled to forfeit his estates for participation in the rebellion of 1745. After his death, in February, 1775, the son besought the king to restore the estates to him. George III consented, and out of gratitude Fraser proceeded to raise the regiment in question. During the Seven Years’ War he had raised a Highland regiment, the 78th, which had been disbanded in 1763. The new regiment contained many officers and privates of the old “Fraser’s.” It was formed at Glasgow, and served under Cornwallis in the Carolinas. The greater part of the regiment was included in the troops surrendered at Yorktown. It was disbanded in 1783.69

      74th. This regiment, commonly referred to as the “Argyle Highlanders,” was raised by Colonel John Campbell of Barbreck in 1777-1778, as previously explained. He was a veteran of the old 78th above-mentioned. The regiment served in Nova Scotia, and distinguished itself in the defence of Penobscot Bay against an American squadron under command of Commodore Saltonstall. The flank companies saw service in Canada. it was disbanded in 1783.70

      76th. This regiment was raised by Lord McDonnel in the Highlands and Isles in 1777-1778. When inspected in May, 1778, it was found to consist of 683 Highlanders, 118 Lowlanders, 114 Irish, and 9 English. It was sent to the relief of Jersey, when that island was attacked by the French, and subsequently to America, where it served under Cornwallis in North Carolina and at Yorktown. During the campaign, 400 of the Highlanders were horsed in rough and ready fashion, and served as mounted infantry. The regiment was disbanded in 1784.71

      82d. Raised in the Scottish Lowlands by the Duke of Hamilton in 1779, this regiment served in Nova Scotia and Antigua. The uniform was red faced with black. Sir John Moore of Peninsula fame obtained his company in it. The flank companies were lost at sea off the coast of New Jersey. The remainder of the corps was disbanded in 1783.72

      84th. This regiment, consisting of two battalions and known as the “Royal Highland Emigrants,” deserves special mention. It was raised in 1779 by Colonel Allan Maclean out of the families of soldiers of the 42d, 77th, and 78th Highlanders, who had settled in Canada at the close of the Seven Years’ War. Recruits were also obtained from Scottish emigrants in New York and North Carolina. Maclean drove a hard bargain with the king. He was to receive not merely the lieutenant-colonelcy of the corps, but in case of his death, his wife was to have a pension and his children a grant of lands in America. Grants were likewise to be given to the officers. The uniform consisted of the full highland garb with the facings and regimental tartan of the Black Watch (42d). The 1st battalion served in Canada, the 2d in the Carolinas and Virginia. One detachment of the latter was present with Cornwallis at Yorktown, while another fought under Lord Rawdon in South Carolina. The regiment was disbanded in 1784.73

      85th. Two noblemen, Lords Harrington and Chesterfield, raised this regiment in London in 1778. Unofficially it was known as the “Westminster Volunteers.” The uniform was red faced with bright yellow. For some years the corps was located in Jamaica. The greater part of it was lost on board the Ville de Paris and other French prizes taken in Rodney’s action with Comte de Grasse, which were swept away by a cyclone off the Banks of Newfoundland, when homeward bound in 1783. The remainder of the regiment was disbanded at Dover Castle in the same year.74

      86th. Charles, 5th Duke of Rutland, raised this regiment under an order dated 2 July, 1779, the recruiting rendezvous being at Newark and Grantham. It was commanded by Colonel St. Leger, and served in the West Indies. Detachments were also employed as marines on the West India and American stations. The regiment was disbanded at York in April, 1783.75

      87th. Formed at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in 1778 by George Lord Chewton, afterwards Earl of Waldegrave, this regiment served in the West Indies, and was disbanded at Coventry in April, 1783.76

      105th. This regiment was raised by Lord Rawdon at Philadelphia in 1777 during the British occupation under the title of the “Volunteers of Ireland.” It was not placed upon the establishment, however, until 1782 or 1783, when it was brought into line as the King’s Irish Regiment of Foot. It saw much active service in America, and was disbanded in 1783.77

      The foregoing regiments were infantry. One cavalry regiment, the 22d Dragoons, was raised in like manner (i.e., by a nobleman) but saw no service in America.

      The raising of new regiments was not confined, however, to a few gentlemen or noblemen. In the latter part of 1777 and beginning of 1778, the towns of Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Warwick, and Coventry volunteered to perform a like service. These offers, excepting the last four, were accepted. As in the case of an individual raising a regiment, the town was allowed to nominate some or all of the officers.78 The only difference lay in the fact that the town bore practically the entire expense of the recruiting. The funds were realized by public subscription among the townspeople. Thus in 1779 the 72d (Royal Manchester Volunteers), the 79th (Royal Liverpool Volunteers), the 80th (Royal Edinburgh Volunteers), and the 83d (Royal Glasgow Volunteers) were formed.79

      It cannot be said that the king was any more pleased with this method of raising regiments than with the method of raising them through noblemen. Again he feared that the appointments might be turned into a job for the benefit of some man or some family. In the case of the Edinburgh regiment, he stated that although he appreciated the zeal manifested by the citizens, he preferred to have them devote their subscription to completing one of the old Scottish regiments rather than to raising a new one.80

      The first of the so-called “loyalty regiments,” the 72d, saw no service in America. The 79th, popularly known as the “Royal Liverpool Blues,” cost the town £2,951. Sent to Jamaica in 1780, it returned home in 1784 and was disbanded.81 The 80th did good service under Cornwallis; while the 83d, after serving in Jersey at the time of the French descent upon that island in 1781, was sent to New York. Both regiments were disbanded at the close of the war.82

      Subscriptions were also started in some of the towns and counties to stimulate enlistment by offering to each man a sum of bounty money (varying from one to six guineas) in addition to that granted by the crown. Such was the case in Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Warwick, Coventry, Leeds, and Lancaster. In Ireland, Cork exhibited its loyalty in this way; while the Roman Catholic inhabitants of Limerick offered a guinea per head to the first five hundred men who should there enlist. As regards the counties, Oxfordshire alone assisted in supplying ten regiments by offering a bounty of six guineas to every volunteer; while Nottinghamshire devoted itself to the 45th Foot with the king’s promise that it should be called the Nottinghamshire regiment as soon as the county had raised three hundred recruits. This was accomplished without difficulty, and in this manner the so-called “territorial system” is said to have been initiated. At the same time the nobility of Norfolk resolved to start a subscription to complete one or more regiments and begged the king to send recruiting parties into the county.

      Thus in 1778 about 15,000 men, of whom two-thirds came from Scotland, were raised through the efforts of towns and individuals for the service of the state;83 and in January of that year it was necessary to appoint an inspector general and superintendent of recruiting of the forces on foreign service.84

      No treatment of the methods of recruiting the army would be complete without an explanation of the system known as “drafting.” When a regiment in America, or in fact on any foreign station, had become much reduced in strength, it was customary to draft (i.e., to transfer) the remaining privates into some other regiment whose ranks needed replenishment. The first regiment would thus be reduced to a mere skeleton, consisting of the commissioned and non-commissioned officers and the drummers. These would be sent home to fill up the cadre by recruiting.85 Drafting was also used in other cases. When it was desired to send a regiment to America and it was found that the numbers were not equal to a war footing, the deficiency would sometimes be made good by drafting men from corps on home service. Similarly regiments already stationed in America would have the gaps in their ranks filled by drafts from regiments at home.86 A regiment receiving drafted men compensated the regiment delivering them at the rate of £5 per man.87 Frequently a regiment in America would keep its ranks full by leaving one or two companies at home to serve as a kind of recruiting depot for the collection, training, and shipment of new levies.88

      In spite of the fact that drafted men were each allowed a bounty of a guinea and a half, the practice was bitterly disliked, as was only natural.89 A man who had expressed a preference for a particular regiment by enlisting in it was bound to feel resentment on being transferred to some other regiment in which he had no interest, sentimental or otherwise. Transference to regiments under orders for the West Indies evoked especial indignation, Men went to that quarter of the globe only to die of disease or neglect or both.

      The wrath aroused by drafting is well illustrated in two letters addressed to the secretary at war by Major Cochrane of the 69th.90 Writing from Bedford, 26 April, 1776, he states: “I acquainted your Lordship that last Wednesday twenty Draughts from the Regiment for the Regts in America march’d from this [place] for Chatham, under the care of a Serjeant and two Corporals; and at the same time expressed my fear of the Serjeant’s being able to manage them on the march. This morning I had Accounts from Hitching, which is only 16 miles from this, and I was told they were extremely riotous and not to be governed – indeed I suspected it, nor do I think if will be in the power of the Serjeant to get them on; and much mischief may happen.” Two days later, the Major writes again: “Serjeant H___ who commands the escort writes me of yesterday’s date from Highgate; acquaints me that three have deserted and the rest will do nothing but what they please, and he is obliged to put up with every affront” Whether the unfortunate sergeant ever got his irate charges to Chatham, we are not told.

      A much more striking and serious illustration of the trouble caused by drafting occurred at Leith in April, 1779. It chanced that the 83d was about to sail from that port to America when orders were issued to complete its ranks with drafts from the 31st, 42d, and 71st regiments. The men from the 31st and part of those from the 42d submitted without trouble. The rest, however, obstinately refused to embark. Being mainly Highlanders, they were reluctant to join the 83d, since they would be compelled to abandon their native costume, the kilt. A detachment of two hundred men under Major Sir James Johnstone was dispatched to seize the mutineers. He found forty or fifty of them drawn up near the quay at Leith with backs against a wall and with bayonets fixed. Johnstone vainly remonstrated with them. One of the mutineers while trying to escape was seized by the collar by one of Johnstone’s men and dragged from the wall. This precipitated a fight. Both sides opened fire. Thirty mutineers were killed or wounded. The rest were overpowered and taken prisoners to Edinburgh Castle.91 Frays of this sort with drafted men were not an uncommon occurrence in the life of the army officer during the war.92



      1. These were “regulars.” The figures do not include a number of independent companies of somewhat irregular character. 38 Commons Journal, pp. 33-36.
      2. W.O. 1:992-1008, passim.
      3. “There is no Prospect that we shall be able to procure in time for this Campaign [1776] all that are necessary to complete the Augmentation.” C.O. 5:93, Germain to Howe, 28 Mar. 1776. “We found it impossible to fill up the Augmentation voted in 1778 by obtaining Recruits sufficient for that purpose.” W.O. 4:275, Jenkinson to Clinton, 5 Dec. 1780.
      4. W.O. 3:5, to Lord Gordon, 28 Dec. 1775.” In England the Government [in August, 1775] could not get above 400 recruits.” H. Walpole, Last Journals, I, 500.
      5. For example, see W.O. 1:996, Lieutenant Lumsden to Colonel Dalrymple, 8 Sept. 1778; ibid., 1:998, Adjutant Pole to Barrington, 9 Apr. 1778.
      6. W.O. 1:998, Captain William Morris to Barrington, 20 May, 1778; ibid., 1:995, W. Brown to Barrington, 29 Jan. 1778; ibid., 1:997, Lord Macdonald to Barrington, 5 Feb. 1778; ibid., 1:999, Lieutenant Simpson to Barrington, 9 Feb. 1778.
      7. W.O. 1:996, Sir William Codrington to Barrington, Dec. 1778 ibid., 1:995, Colonel Calcraft to Barrington, 8 May, 1778.
      8. Lecky, American Revolution (edited by Woodburn), p. 242. Howe was strongly opposed to recruiting the army in America with Irish Roman Catholics: “But this Army, tho’ complete in the Spring, must have between 6 & 7,000 Recruits, and of the worst Kind, if chiefly composed of Irish Roman Catholics, certain to desert if put to hard Work, and from their Ignorance of Arms not intitled to the smallest confidence as Soldiers.” C.O. 5:92, Howe to Dartmouth, 26 Nov. 1775.
      9. W.O. 1:51, Governor Dalling to Secretary at War, 31 Aug. 1781.
      10. W.O. 4:273, Barrington to Howe and Carleton, 20 May, 1776, Barrington to Howe, 31 Oct. 1776; ibid., 28:7, St. Leger to Major Lernoult, 20 May, 1782; ibid., 1:52, Matthew to Jenkinson, 12 July, 1782; Correspondence of Geo. III. with Lord North, I, 293; L. Butler, Annals of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, I, 208.
      11. C.O. 5:92, Dartmouth to Howe, 5 Sept. 1775; ibid., 5:93, Pownall to Howe, 5 Jan. 1776; Dartmouth MSS., I, 395. As late as 7 July, 1777, Howe writes to Germain, “A Corps of Russians of 10,000 effective fighting Men I think would ensure the Success of the War to Great Britain in another Campaign.” C.O. 5:94.
      12. Trevelyan, II, 41.
      13. W.O. 1:993, to Barrington, 20 Jan. 1776.
      14. See, for example, Duncan, Hist. of R. A., I, 164, 334. Cf. the opinions expressed by Colonel Pattison, “Letters” (N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll. 1875), pp. 81, 105,.
      15. W.O. 3:5, 6 July, 1775. Cf. Harvey to Mackay, 6 Nov. 1775, “Recruiting as bad as ever. Ireland produces nothing worth speaking of. Something must be done if possible to correct this fundamental want.”
      16. Trevelyan, II, 33-34. Cf. Andrews, Journal of a Lady of Quality, p. 38 and Appendix I.
      17. The British Soldier, p. 59 note.
      18. Trevelyan, II, 32-34; Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, I, 265.
      19. Wheeler, The War Office Past and Present, p. 90.
      20. Fortescue, III, 41.
      21. Belcher, First American Civil War, I, 250, 258.
      22. London Gazette, 16 Dec. 1775. For complete text, see the appendix to this chapter.
      23. W.O. 3:5, Harvey to Elliot, 10 Mar. 1775. A rather amusing incident occurred in connection with the bounty. In 1778 the 78th was raised in the highlands of Scotland largely from the clan of Mackenzies. When the regiment had been organized, it was marched down to Edinburgh. There the men showed symptoms of dissatisfaction. Upon investigation it was found that this was due to the fact that while some of them had received no bounty, others had gotten it twice in consequence of so many having the same name. Cannon, Historical Records 72d, p. 4.
      24. London Gazette, 20-24 Feb. 1776, 28-31 Mar. 1778; W.O. 1:991, Grant to Christie, 6 Feb. 1776, Fenwick to Barrington, 3 Mar. 1776; ibid., 1:682, 995, 997, passim; Clode, II, 13-14. For illustrations of enlistment of criminals, see the appendix to this chapter.
      25. W.O. 1:993, Murray to Barrington, 10 Oct. 1775; ibid., 1:5, Harvey to certain regimental officers, 11 Feb. 1770.
      26. W.O. 1:1002, Aird to Jenkinson, 28 Dec. 1779 (enclosure).
      27. Statutes at Large (Ruffhead’s Edition), XIII, 273-280.
      28. The provisions relative to the enforcement and suspension of the act are exceedingly ambiguous. The interpretation given in the text is based upon the actual practice.
      29. W.O. 4:965, passim.
      30. W.O. 4:965, Barrington to the high sheriffs of England and Wales, 8 June, 2 Dec. 1778.
      31. Parliamentary History, XX, 112 et seq.
      32. Statutes at Large (Ruffhead’s Edition), XIII, 316-317.
      33. W.O. 4:966, passim; London Gazette, 4-8 May, 1778. For dates of passages and repeal, see 38 Commons Journal.
      34. W.O. 4:965, Letters of Notice, June, 1778. The italics are mine.
      35. W.O. 4:965, Barrington to commissioners for executing the act in Kensington Gardens, 15 Aug. 1778. The italics are mine.
      36. W.O. 4:967, Jenkinson to Captain Bassett, 26 Feb. 1780.
      37. W.O. 4:965, Barrington to the Commissioners, 17 Aug. 1778. Cf. ibid., 1:1005, Lord Percy to Jenkinson, 8 Mar. 1779. Jenkinson concurred in Barrington’s opinion in this connection, but some of the magistrates exhibited a reluctance to follow it. W.O. 1:1005, Lieutenant Mainwaring to Jenkinson, 1 May, 1779; ibid., 4:966, Jenkinson to Ipswich Commissioners.
      38. W.O. 4:966, Jenkinson to John Livesey and E. Brewer, 13 Apr. 1779.
      39. W.O. 1:1004; 4:965, passim.
      40. W.O. 1:998, “Opinion of C. Pratt,” Oughton to Barrington, 6 Aug. 1778; ibid., 1:1004, Lord Harrington to Jenkinson, 10 July, 1779; Clode, II, 34. Sir James Oughton warned Barrington that “Fraudulent Claims of Apprentices are so frequent and so detrimental to the Service that they ought to be guarded against with Caution.” W.O. 1:998, 6 Aug. 1778. See also W.O. 1:1004, Lord Harrington to Jenkinson, 10 July, 1779.
      41. W.O. 4:966, Jenkinson to Colonel Fraser, 20 Aug. 1779. Two minor questions of interpretation should be noticed. The acts forbade any military officer to serve as a commissioner. Did this include officers on half-pay? Barrington replied in the affirmative. Were the commissioners obliged “to reduce into writing the reasons on which their decisions were grounded”? Barrington answered, No. W.O. 4:965, Matthew Lewis to Mr. Duffe, 27 Oct. 1778.
      42. See, for example, W.O. 1:1002, Lord Dunkellin to Jenkinson, 5 May, 1779; ibid., 1:1005, Colonel Peirson to Jenkinson, 15 Mar. 1779.
      43. W.O. 4:966, Jenkinson to Lindsay, 9 Apr. 1779.
      44. W.O. 1:998, Lieutenant General Parker to Barrington, 19 June, 1778.
      45. W.O. 1:1005, Oughton to Jenkinson, 27 May, 1779, Colonel Peirson to Jenkinson, 11, 15 Mar. 1779; ibid., 1:1002, Major J. Clayton to Jenkinson (undated).
      46. W.O. 1:991, Colonel Gisborne to Barrington, 29 Jan. 1776. The colonel was referring to Irish recruits, but his words were by no means inapplicable to those impressed in England. See also Andrews, Guide to Materials for American History in P.R.O., II, 32 note.
      47. W.O. 4:966, Jenkinson to Amherst, 26 Oct. 1779. Sir David Lindsay, writing to Jenkinson regarding certain recruits, stated, “116 are impressed men whom it has been absolutely necessary to keep in confinement as there is not a man of them that would stay with us twenty- four hours.” W.O. 1:1004, Plymouth, 2 July, 1779. Though the fate of the impressed men was not an enviable one, they were in many instances allowed a choice of evils by being suffered to pick the regiment with which they preferred to serve. W.O. 4:967, passim.
      48. W.O. 1:997, William Jackson to Matthew Lewis, 22 Nov. 1778. Cf. W.O. 4:966, Jenkinson to Sir J. Fielding, 31 Aug. 1779.
      49. W.O. 4:966, Jenkinson to Amherst, 26 Oct. 1779.
      50. The merits of the two methods were debated in two contemporary pamphlets: T. Cadell: Considerations upon the Different Modes of Finding Recruits for the Army, London, 1775; J. Bew: A Letter to the Author of a Pamphlet entitled Considerations upon the Different Modes of Finding Recruits for the Army, London, 1776.
      51. W.O. 24:481.
      52. W.O. 24:481.
      53. To wit, 72d, 73d, 74th, 75th, 76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82d, 83d. W.O. 24:494. Cf. Fortescue, III, 245. Six of these regiments were Highland: viz., 73d, 74th, 76th, 77th, 78th, 81st.
      54. 84th. W.O. 24:499. Cf. Fortescue, III, 289.
      55. 19th, 20th, 21st. W.O. 24:499. Cf. Fortescue, III, 289.
      56. 85th, 86th, 87th, 88th, 89th, 90th, 91st, 92d, 93d, 94th, 95th, 96th, 97th, and 22d Dragoons formed from drafts from light troops of other regiments. W.O. 24:499, 504. Cf. Fortescue, III, 290.
      57. 98th, 99th, 100th. W.O. 24:504. Cf. Fortescue, III, 293.
      58. 101st, 102d. W.O. 24:512. In addition to these the Army List for 1782 gives regiments 103 and 104, and for 1782, regiment 105.
      59. The fencible corps were “a species of militia, raised for the defence of particular districts, from which several of them could not by the conditions of their enlistment, be detached.” Grose, Military Antiquities, I, 164.
      60. Fortescue, III, 290, 498.
      61. For example of beating order, see the appendix to this chapter.
      62. There was no little rivalry among colonels for numerical precedence as regards regimental title. In 1778, for example, the Duke of Atholl and William Gordon were engaged each in raising a regiment in Scotland. Each longed to have his corps numbered the 73d, which appears to have been the lowest vacant title at the time. Atholl wrote to Barrington in high dudgeon, 8 February, that Gordon had been publishing notices in the Edinburgh papers referring to his regiment as the 73d, although he had absolutely no authority for so doing and had raised only a few hundred men. W.O. 1:995.
      63. There were to be 8 battalion companies, 1 company of grenadiers, and 1 company of light infantry. The battalion companies were to consist each of 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 1 ensign, 5 sergeants, 5 corporals, 2 drummers, 100 private men. The flank companies were to consist each of 1 captain, 3 lieutenants, 5 sergeants, 5 corporals, 2 drummers, 2 pipers, 100 private men. The field officers were to include 1 lieutenant colonel and 2 majors.
      64. 36 Commons Journal, p. 613; ibid., vol. 37, p. 45. Letters of service for several of the regiments raised in 1777-1778 will be found in ibid., vol. 36, pp. 612-617. Some examples are given in the appendix to this chapter. In January, 1778, the king commissioned nine gentlemen as captains, each of whom was to raise an independent company of 100 private men in Wales. They were allowed to nominate the subalterns, and were subject to practically the same conditions as if each had been raising a regiment. The companies were subsequently united to form the 75th (Prince of Wales’).
      65. Clode, II, 5-6; Chichester, passim; W.O. 1:997-998, passim. During the war the War Office was fairly flooded with offers to raise regiments on terms similar to the above. Lord Dunmore in December, 1777, for example, offered to recruit a Highland regiment among the Campbells, Gordons, Macdonalds, and Murrays. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 101. See also 37 Commons Journal, pp. 523-529. In some cases commissions were granted to men who would raise a company of 100 men. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, I, 265; II, 95. Cf. Fortescue, II, 576. The author of a pamphlet entitled Reflections on the Pernicious Custom of Recruiting by Crimps (undated but apparently of 18th century origin) alleges that many persons who engaged to raise men for rank procured their recruits by means of crimps.
      66. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 120.
      67. Ibid., I, 265.
      68. Ibid., II, 108 (29 Dec. 1777). Cf. ibid., I, 265, 300. In 1781 Jenkinson also expressed himself as opposed to raising new regiments, ibid., II, 366-367. The king laid down this rule regarding appointments in the new regiments: “I ever objected to a corps almost entirely composed of men that had never been in the service; the Captains of these companies must have been Lieutenants, the Lieutenants ensigns.” Ibid., II, 115.
      69. Chichester, p. 731; Cannon, Historical Record 71st; Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, I, 275, 292.
      70. Chichester, p. 734; 36 Commons Journal, p. 613.
      71. Chichester, p. 463; 36 Commons Journal, p. 613; 37 ibid., p. 45; W.O. 1:997-999, passim. Beating order dated 25 Dec. 1777. Regiment returned complete on I July, 1778.
      72. Chichester, p. 527; 36 Commons Journal, p. 613.
      73. Chichester, pp. 712-713; W.O. 1:681, Dartmouth to Gage, 15 Apr. 3.775; Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, I, 240.
      74. Chichester, p. 647. The king wrote to North, 15 Jan. 1778, “I hope care will therefore be taken to turn the idea of a Westminster regiment into a subscription for compleating the army at large.” His hopes were not realized as the context indicates. Iater (24 June, 1779) he writes, “The E. of Harrington will raise at his own expense and without any unreasonable jobs for officers.” Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 120, 265.
      75. Chichester, p. 782. The duke was rewarded with a lord-lieutenancy. As in the case of the Earl of Harrington, the king expressed pleasure that the 86th was to be raised “without any unreasonable jobs for officers.” Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 265-266.
      76. Chichester, p. 791.
      77. Chichester, p. 638.
      78. In the case of the Liverpool regiment (79th), for example, the corporation nominated no officer above the rank of captain. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 100.
      79. Fortescue, III, 245; 36 Commons Journal, pp. 613-615. The king made a point of appointing as colonels of these regiments officers who had distinguished themselves on American service. W.O. 4:274, Barrington to Howe, 3 Feb. 1778.
      80. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 120.
      81. Chichester, p. 771. The town did not recommend to commissions higher than the rank of captain. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 100.
      82. Chichester, pp. 504, 780. In a letter to North (24 Jan. 1778) the king intimates that he is displeased because the people of Edinburgh insist on recommending part of the officers, whereas the Glasgow people had acted handsomely in leaving the appointments to the crown. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 124.
      83. W.O. 1:682. “Resolution of Nobility of Norfolk”; ibid., 1:996-998, passim; Fortescue, III, 290; Chichester, p. 583; Cannon, Historical Record 73d, p. 1. Referring to the number of corps raised in Scotland, the king seemed inclined to complain because so much opportunity for promotion had been given to one part of his kingdom in preference to the rest. Correspondence of Geo. III with Lord North, II, 120.
      84. Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Townshend. See commission in W.O. 25:33.
      85. W.O. 1:616, Carleton to Lord Robert Bertie, 21 May, 1776.
      86. W.O. 1: 680, Lord Rochford to Barrington, 23 January, 1775.
      87. W.O. 4:273, Barrington to Gage, 31 Jan., 31 Aug. 1775, Barrington to Carleton, 18 Apr. 1776.
      88. Numerous examples of drafting methods are to be found scattered through the records of the colonial and war offices for 1775-1783. See Lamb, Memoir, p. 107.
      89. W.O. 4:273, Barrington to Gage, 31 Jan., 31 Aug. 1775; ibid., 1:52, Edward Matthew to Thomas Townsend, 12 July, 1782.
      90. W.O. 1:991, Cochrane to Barrington, 26, 28 April, 1776.
      91. W.O. 1:616, Buccleugh to Oughton, April, 1779; Oughton to Amherst, 22 April, 1779. Lord John Murray had previously warned Barrington in a letter of 11 Mar. 1778 that it would not be wise to draft Highlanders. “By reason of the difference of their dress and language it has not been usual to draught them into other Regiments, which if now done might be detrimental to recruiting.” W.O. 1:997. The officers objected to drafting no less than the men, but on different grounds. A board of field officers at New York in 1780 reported: “There has been great confusion made and apparent hardship done both to Regiments and to the Individuals themselves, by numbers of men that were enlisted and cloath’d by one Regiment having been drafted into another just previous to their embarkation, and in many cases without any settlement of their accounts.” C.O. 5:100, report dated 25 Oct. 1780.
      92. Clode states (II, 4) that after 1765 drafting ceased except with the soldier’s consent. In most cases his consent was evidently taken for granted. There are plenty of cases, however, to show that it was not freely given, if given at all.




      War Office, December 16, 1775.
      IT is His Majesty’s Pleasure, That, from the Date hereof, and during the Continuance of the Rebellion now subsisting in North America, every Person, who shall enlist as a soldier in any of His Majesty’s Marching Regiments of Foot, shall be entitled to his Discharge at the End of Three Years, or at the end of the said Rebellion, at the Option of His Majesty.

      By His Majesty’s Command,


      Shrewsbury, 18 Aug. 1778, Mr. Ashby, Deputy Sheriff of Shropshire to Barrington.

      “… I presume to mention to your Lordship that seven desperate Rogues included in H. M’s conditional pardon…dated July 9th last remain in Salop Gaol to be delivered over to such Person or Persons as shall be duly authorised to receive them on condition of their enlisting and continuing to serve H. M. in his Land Service___, their names are John Williams otherwise Williamson for a Highway Robbery, Edward Williams and John Humphreys being found at large being sentenced to be transported, Abraham Jones for a Highway Robbery, Thomas Herbert for Sheepstealing, William Bennett for Shoplifting and Thomas Jarvis the Younger for Burglary…”


      Weston House, 10 Sept. 1778, Mr. Godschall [J. P.?] to Barrington.3

      “John Quin an Irish American 29 years of Age near six feet high very dirty and ragged seemingly of slow understanding was this morning convicted before me of Orchard Robbing. He is willing to serve as a soldier. I have therefore committed him to the House of Correction in Guildford to await your Orders…”

      Henley, 6 Aug. 1779, T. Cooper, Under Sheriff of Berks, to Jenkinson.4

      “This day received a Letter from General Smith the High Sheriff of Berks desiring me to inform you of the Names of the several Convicts who had received Sentence of Death but were pardoned on Condition of entering into the Service.

      “At the Summer Assizes 1778 Robert Thacher Received Sentence of Death for a Highway Robbery but has since been reprieved till his Majesty’s Pleasure concerning him be known and still remains in the Gaol of the County of Berks. . . .

      “At the last Assizes for Berks the three following Persons received Sentence of Death William Hughes for Sheep and Horse stealing William Marriott and William Abby for Horse stealing but were all reprieved before the Judges left the Town and are exceedingly proper Fellows either for the Land or Sea Service…”



      G. R.

      These are to authorise you by beat of drum or otherwise, to raise so many volunteers in any county or part of our kingdom of Great-Britain, as are or shall be wanting to recruit and fill up the respective companies of our regiment of foot, under your command, to the number allowed upon the establishment; and you are to cause the said volunteers, to be raised and levied as aforesaid, to march under the command of such Commission or Non-commissioned Officer, in such numbers and at such place, to any place or port you shall think proper; and all Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Constables, and all others Our civil Officers whom it may concern, are hereby required to be assisting unto you in providing quarters, impressing carriages, and otherwise as there shall be occasion; and for so doing, this Our order shall remain in force for twelve months from date hereof, and no longer.

      Given at Our Court at St. James’s, this day of 17__ in the ____ year of Our reign,

      By His Majesty’s command.


      Copy of a Letter from the Secretary at War to the Honourable William Gordon, dated 19th December, 1777.6

      War Office, 19th December 1777


      I am commanded by the King to acquaint you, that His Majesty approves of your Proposal for raising a Regiment of Foot in the Highlands of Scotland; to consist of Eight Battalion Companies, One Company of Grenadiers, and One of Light Infantry. The Battalion Companies to consist each of 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 1 Ensign, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 private Men; the Grenadier Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, 2 Pipers, and 100 private Men; the Light Infantry Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 Private, with the usual Staff Officers. The Regiment to have the Field Officers under mentioned; viz. One Lieutenant Colonel and One Major, each having also a Company; and One Major without a Company, receiving an Allowance of 10s per Diem in lieu thereof, and 5s per Diem as Major; but in case of the Death or Promotion of the additional Major, the Pay of such Major is to cease upon the Establishment.

      The Regiment to be under your Command as Colonel Commandant, with the Command of a Company.

      I am to inform you, that Levy Money will be allowed you at the Rate of £3 per Man, for 1,082 Men; and that His Majesty has been pleased to direct, that the Pay of the Regiment shall take place from the Date of your Beating Order; and shall be allowed you in Aid of Recruiting, on Condition that you do render an exact Account of the said Levy Money, and Pay, that shall be issued to you, charging against it Five Guineas for each Man reviewed and approved, together with the Subsistence of the Non-commissioned Officers and private Men, from the Day of their respective Attestations; and if there should be any Balance remaining it is to be considered as a Saving to the Public, to be hereafter disposed of as shall be thought proper.

      No more than three Guineas will be allowed to be given to each Recruit.

      None are to be inlisted under Five Feet Four Inches, nor under Eighteen Years, or above Thirty.

      It is required, that the Regiment shall be actually raised and approved (after being reviewed by a General Officer) within Four Months from Date hereof.

      I have represented to His Majesty, that you humbly hope you shall be indulged in recommending the Officers, being such as are well affected to His Majesty, and most likely, by their Interests and Connections, to assist in raising the Corps without Delay; but that you do not desire any Commissions for them until the Regiment shall have been raised and approved.

      You will therefore be pleased to send me, for His Majesty’s Consideration, a List of such Persons as you propose for Officers; who, if they meet with His Royal Approbation, may be assured that they shall have Commissions as soon as ever the Regiment is completed. And I am to acquaint you, it is His Majesty’s intention that the Companies which shall be first raised shall entitle their Captains and Subalterns to Seniority in the Regiment, according to their respective Ranks, and the different Periods at which the said Companies shall be completed.

      I am to inform you that in case the Persons approved by the King for the Rank of Major should be of less than Five Years standing in the Army as Captains, they are to pay £300 each for their Commissions; which sums are to be carried in Aid of the Charges brought on the Public for Levy Money, and credited to the General Account.

      I am likewise authorized by His Majesty to acquaint you, the Officers will be entitled to Half Pay in case the Regiment shall be reduced after it has been established.

      I have the King’s Commands to add, that as Orders are given for several other Highland Corps, it is His Majesty’s Intention, that their Seniority in the Army shall be determined by the Periods at which they shall be respectively completed.

      I have the Honour to be, Sir, etc.

      Honourable Colonel William Gordon

      Like Letter, of same Date, to John Mackenzie, Esquire.

      Like Letter, dated the 25th December, 1777, to Colonel James Murray.

      Like Letter, dated the 3d of January, 1778, to Colonel Francis McLean.


      Copy of a Letter from the Secretary at War to the Mayor of Liverpool, dated 8th January, 1778.7

      War Office, 8th January 1778.

      I am commanded by the King to acquaint you, that His Majesty approves of the very handsome Proposal made by the Gentlemen of Liverpool, through their Committee, for raising a Regiment of Foot at their own Expence; the Regiment to consist of Eight Battalion Companies, One Company of Grenadiers, and One of Light Infantry. The Battalion Companies to consist each of 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 1 Ensign, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 private Men; the Grenadier Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, 2 Fifers, and 100 private Men; the Light Infantry Company of 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Serjeants, 5 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 100 Private, with the usual Staff Officers. The Regiment to have 1 Colonel Commandant, 1 Lieutenant Colonel, and 1 Major, each having also a Company.

      The Non-commissioned Officers and private Men are to receive Pay from the Days of their respective Attestations.

      No more than Three Guineas Bounty Money will be allowed to each Recruit.

      None are to be enlisted under Five Feet Four Inches, nor under Eighteen Years, or above Thirty.

      It is required, that the Regiment shall be actually raised and approved (after being reviewed by a General Officer) within Four Months from the Date hereof. I have represented to His Majesty, that Commissions are not desired for the Officers until the Regiment shall be reviewed and approved.

      The List of the Gentlemen recommended through the Committee for Commissions has been laid before the King, and honoured with his Royal Approbation; and they may be assured that they shall have the Commissions as soon as ever the Regiment is raised and approved.

      I am likewise authorized by His Majesty to acquaint you, that the Officers will be entitled to Half Pay in case the Regiment shall be reduced after it has once been established.

      I am to add, that it is his Majesty’s Pleasure, that from the Date hereof, and during the Continuance of the Rebellion now subsisting in North America, every Person who shall enlist as a Soldier in any of His Majesty’s Marching Regiments of Foot, shall be entitled to his Discharge at the end of Three Years, or at the end of the Rebellion, at the Option of His Majesty.

      I have the Honour to be,
      Sir, etc.

      Worshipful the Mayor of Liverpool.

      1. London Gazette, 12-16 Dec. 1775.
      2. W.O. 1:995.
      3. W.O. 1: 997.
      4. W.O. 1:1004.
      5. T. Simes, Military Guide, 1, 243-244.
      6. 36 Commons Journal, pp. 613-614.
      7. 36 Commons Journal, p. 616.

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