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Protecting the Empire's Frontier

Officers of the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot During Its North American Service, 1767-1776

By Steven Baule

Publication Year: 2014

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

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pp. v-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I had a great deal of help in completing this compendium. One of the most rewarding aspects of this project was learning what a giving and supportive community of researchers exists regarding the British Army during the period of the American Revolution. Todd Braisted provided information about those men who served as provincial officers, as well...

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pp. 1-26

Britain’s redcoated soldier is often portrayed as one of the greatest villains in American history. However, just as the years have worn away the edges of the few buildings and monuments that the British left in America, time has ravaged the memory of the individuals who served with King George III’s army. A few examples remain notable, such as Earl...

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1: The Officer Corps of the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

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pp. 27-76

The officer corps of the Royal Irish was neither distinctive nor unique in 1767, when the regiment arrived in Philadelphia. Before arriving in America, the regiment had been on garrison duty in Ireland for the previous decade and had not seen large-scale combat in that time. This chapter will give an overview of the officers, and the subsequent chapters...

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2: Field Officers

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pp. 77-101

The officers in this chapter reached field rank in the Royal Irish during its North American service. The term field officer derived from the fact that these men were designated to command the regiment “in the field.” They were titled colonel, lieutenant colonel, and major, in descending order. One might question why Major Charles Edmonstone...

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3: Captains and Captain Lieutenants

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pp. 102-143

From 1767 through 1770, the Royal Irish had six captains commanding companies in addition to the three field officers; one of the six commanded the grenadier company, and the other five commanded battalion companies. A seventh captain was added in 1770 when a tenth company was authorized.
Captain was the rank at which officers started to be able to live on...

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4: Lieutenants

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pp. 144-181

This chapter examines the officers who reached the rank of lieutenant during their service in North America. Many of these officers continued to a higher rank. A few retired as lieutenants, and others died in the service. Lieutenant was the most common rank in the regiment: there were nine lieutenancies before the regiment’s expansion in 1770...

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5: Ensigns and Volunteers

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pp. 182-198

Ensign was the junior commissioned rank among line officers. Its title came from the fact that two of the ensigns were responsible for carrying the regiment’s colours, or ensigns, in battle and on parade. The ensigns who purchased their commissions spent £400 if they purchased at the regulated price. Most ensigns were able to purchase a lieutenancy...

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6: Staff Officers

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pp. 199-223

This chapter discusses the officers who held a staff commission in the Royal Irish during its North American service. These include the adjutant, the quartermaster, and the three professional positions of chaplain, surgeon, and surgeon’s mate; the latter held a warrant from the colonel and not actually a commission from the king. Since many staff...

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7: Absentee Officers

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pp. 224-236

Although the absentee rate among officers of the Royal Irish was the lowest of any regiment found for the period, there were still a number of officers for whom the label absentee is appropriate. Excluded from this group are the colonels (who are included with field officers) and the chaplains (who are included with the staff officers), since their stations...

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8: Other Officers Associated with the Royal Irish in America

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pp. 237-251

Included in this chapter are those officers who, though not commissioned in the Royal Irish Regiment, spent a significant period in close association with it. The artillery officer, Robert Douglas, who was assigned to Fort Chartres in Illinois is included, along with James Rumsey, a former highland officer who served as a military secretary for the Royal...

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pp. 252-262

The Royal Irish arrived at Maidstone, England, at the end of February 1776. The Royal Irish had left Cork Harbor, Ireland, in 1767 approximately 450 strong, but only 94 officers and men returned to England. Many of them would be discharged shortly, having been worn out in America.
The remains of the Royal Irish were ordered from Portsmouth, England, on...

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Notes on Sources

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pp. 263-270

The manuscript records kept by the British War Office form the core of materials that support this volume. The majority of those records are extant in the United Kingdom’s Public Record Office at Kew. The best starting point for easily determining an officer’s commission history is the War Office 65 Series, which are copies of the printed army...


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pp. 271-310


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pp. 311-324


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pp. 325-332

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444641
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821420546

Page Count: 372
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Foot, 18th (Royal Irish) -- History -- 18th century.
  • Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Foot, 18th (Royal Irish) -- Officers -- Biography.
  • Great Britain. Army -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
  • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- British forces.
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