Monday, 21 October 2013

Some regimental establishments

Following the earlier post on the size of the regiment of foot, and the various (official) establishment listed, this post will actually detail some of these establishments. This post will look at the regiments in the Low Countries.

As stated previously, regiments in the Low Countries numbered 867, 876 (no typo) or 938 men. How does these numbers translate in companies, sergeants and privates.

Let's start with the largest. This establishment was authorised already in the conflict for regiments serving in the Low Countries. The regiments were composed of thirteen companies: twelve battalion companies and one of grenadiers. Besides the private men, each company consisted of three officers - captain, lieutenant and ensign, or a captain and two lieutenants for the grenadiers, three sergeants, three corporals, and two drummers. The battalion companies had 60 private men, the grenadier companies were slightly larger with 70 men. Together with 5 staff officers - chaplain, adjutant, quarter-master, and the surgeon and his mate - this adds up to 938 men.

The smallest is a big odd, but it existed. This regiment had only twelve companies, 11 battalion and one of grenadiers, at the same establishment as the large regiments, with also five staff officers. This was the regiment of William Evans. It was raised in April 1703, and went to the Low Countries the same year. Though at first established with 938 men, and thirteen companies, part of the regiment was drafted in 1704 to regiment that went to Portugal. The result was this 12 company establishment.

The middle sized regiments, there were four of them in the Low Countries, were all part of the augmentation of 20,000 men to the Confederate forces agreed upon in 1703. Four of the regiments of this augmentation were English, and established with 876 men. These regiments also had thirteen companies, and five staff, and had the same number of officers, non-commissioned officers and drummers. However, the difference was in a somewhat lower establishment of the companies: each company had 56 men.

The estimates for the forces show these establishment until the end of the conflict, and it is interesting to know why the regiments of the augmentation were somewhat smaller than those of the earlier British contingent.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

What was the size of a regiment of foot?

After a couple of months of research for other projects, I returned to the reductions after the War of the Spanish Succession (see also my Half-Pay officers for 1714). Here I looked into the question on the size of a regiment. More in particular, and do keep it simple, the size of a regiment of foot.

Anyone, including me, with some knowledge of the British army, and the Marlburian period, would probably answer that a regiment numbered 13 companies with one of grenadiers.

However, a careful look at the establishment lists of the armies between 1701 and 1712 reveals a variation that must have given contemporary quartermasters severe headaches. And it gives some nice number-crunching.

Let's use the estimate for the armed forces for 1711 as an example (see the Calendar of Treasury Books):
In the Guard & Garrisons, i.e., the regiments serving in England or in garrison on the colonies we have regiments of 760, 809, 834, 876, and 951 men. Judging from the reductions, the regiments were all established with 12 companies.

In the army in Flanders we find regiments of 938 and 876 men. The ones with 938 men were definitely established with 13 companies, the ones with 876 men most likely.

When we move to the Iberian Peninsula, the situation was as worse as at home: regiments of 725, 785, 834, 845 and 876 men. All regiments appear to have been established with 12 companies.

After the reductions of 1712-14 we find the following establishments:
at Dunkirk, 669 men to a regiment of foot with 12 companies
in Flanders 613 to a regiment with 12 companies
at Minorca 625 men with 12 companies
at Gibraltar 500 with 12 companies
In England/Scotland, including the West Indies, 445 men with 10 companies
in Ireland,  444 men, also in 10 companies
(the one man difference between England and Scotland was the Quarter-Master, for whom was no room on the Irish Establishment).