1: The Officer Corps of the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment
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 1The Officer Corps of the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment 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 will present the individual biographies of those who served with the regiment from 1767 through 1776. The establishment of the officer corps of each of the British marching regiments of foot was similar in 1767.Military historian John Houlding notes in his work Fit for Service that the term officer corps should be used advisedly.The eighteenth century had more of an officer class than a true officer corps, and as Houlding articulates, the officer class of the British Army was much more fluid than the contemporary Austrian, French, or Prussian officer corps.1 According to historian Alan Guy, in the British Army of the eighteenth century, peers and commoners shared the officers’ mess without the snobbery or friction of later periods : “For the time being, if a man was not already a member of polite society, his commission gave him entry, and the contemporary definition of the title of gentleman left ample latitude as to how social acceptability could be achieved.”2 A regiment in Britain or America was made up of twenty-seven commissioned line officers and four commissioned staff officers, whereas regiments in Ireland had but three staff officers in 1767. Quartermasters were not allowed on the Irish Establishment until January 1770.All regiments had a single warrant officer, the surgeon’s mate. It was usual practice for one or two of the company officers to also hold a staff position,  Protecting the Empire’s Frontier so a regiment would have fewer than thirty-two men filling those thirtytwo positions.When light infantry companies were authorized in 1771, an additional three officers were added to each regiment. Further augmentation of the regiments’ officer corps would not occur until after hostilities began in 1775. Regiments of horse, dragoons, dragoon guards, and foot guards as well as the Royal Artillery Regiment had establishments that differed from the seventy marching regiments of foot.A few infantry regiments had different structures, but the Royal Irish shared the same basic structure as most of the army’s seventy marching regiments of foot. Table 1.1 Establishment of the officer corps in regiments of foot stationed in America, 1767–1775 American American establishment establishment for a regiment of American for a regiment from August 1775 establishment of foot from through 1778, for a regiment of April 1770 excepting the 18th foot to April 1770 to May 1772 and 59th Regiments Colonel & captain 1 1 1 Lieutenant colonel & captain 1 1 1 Major & captain 1 1 1 Captain 6 7 9 Captain lieutenant1 1 1 1 Lieutenant 9 11 13 Ensign 8 8 10 Chaplain 1 1 1 Adjutant 1 1 1 Quartermaster 1 1 1 Surgeon 1 1 1 Mate 1 1 1 Total 32 35 41 1 After 25 May 1772, this officer would rank as a captain, and his commission would read “captain lieutenant & captain.” Table 1.1 shows the number of officers of each rank that the Royal Irish was authorized to have while in America. The colonel, lieutenant colonel, and major were the field officers of the regiment. Each commanded a company as well.The regiment was authorized to have a captain to command each of the other six companies (seven companies, as of 1770). Two subalterns were allowed for each company besides its  th e of f i c e r corp s of th e 18 th ( royal i ri sh ) re g i m e nt commander.The grenadier company (and after 1770, the light infantry company) was authorized two lieutenants. Each of the other companies had a lieutenant and an ensign.This allowed for eighteen such officers from 1767 through 1770 and twenty after that point.The exception was the colonel’s company, in which the regiment’s sole captain lieutenant replaced the lieutenant. General John Sebright’s company 1 colonel 1 captain lieutenant 1 ensign 1 adjutant 1 chaplain 1 surgeon 1 mate 2 sergeants 2 corporals 1 drummer 28 privates Lieutenant Colonel John Wilkins’s company 1 lieutenant colonel 1 lieutenant 1 ensign 2 sergeants 2 corporals 1 drummer 28 privates Major Henry Folliott...


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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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