Off the top. . .
Posted by Ken on January 06, 1998 at 08:13:41:
In response to Military ranks, written by Hilary on January 05, 1998 at 15:58:52
What were the ranks of the English military in the early 1800's? Could anyone list them for me, esp. Colonel and below? Also, about how long would it take to get from one rank to the next? If you were a Colonel, at about thirty years of age, what would you have been about seven years before that, when you were twenty-three?
. . . of my head; all my references are at home: lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel. I'm not sure what is below lieutenant--ensign, possibly. Above colonel, there would be at least 3 ranks of generals; I don't remember if "brigadier" was a courtesy rank, as it is today, or an actual one.
As for the second part of your question, remember that in most cases rank could be and was bought, up to (but not including) full colonel. So at 23 you could have been anything--it depended on how rich your family was, what regiment you were in, and what vacancies had arisen. Also, whether the regimental commander, ie, the colonel, approved the sale or not. It was quite possible to be scarcely more than a boy and, say, a major; equally, one might be 40 and a lieutenant. One could get a battlefield promotion; such were quite rare, but about the only way a non-comissioned officer, ie, a regular soldier, could become an officer. The best chance at promotion, clearly, would come when a new regiment was raised, but by 1800, the raising of regiments by private contractors (who would then become the colonel of the regiment) was also rare.
By our standards, the number of officers in a regiment was quite small. I'll try to remember to grab a reference tonight for more details, if you need them.
YHOS in the New Year,
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