intro and research request
- Dear Sirs and Ladies,
Thanks for allowing me to join the list. I'm not a re-enactor, but have had some small acquaintance with medievalists in the past. My prime interest is in the post-revolutionary eras in France, England and the U.S.
I'm working on an historical and have a question regarding the British military which I haven't been able to find in any of the books I've read. Specifically, how rare (or not) was the "mustang" officer in the British military? Does anyone know of instances where an enlisted man was elevated to officer rank either via a field commission or other method, and are there any books to which I might refer? If possible, I'd like serious sources - not, as some wag suggested, TV sources like "Sharpe's Rifles." While Sean Bean is all that is heroic and handsome, he's just an actor and it's only fiction. :)
I assure you I'm not usually this lazy; I've been consulting books at the NYPL, but there are 245 in the circulating library collection alone - goddess only knows what's held in the research branches. I'd like to finish this book sometime before the next millenium.
If that isn't already enough, which are the best books for information about the American militia and British military for 1790s-1820? I'm interested in specifics about how it was run, regiment lists, etc.
This is a lot to ask of you, I know, and I'm deeply appreciative. While I do quite well in historical research, I'm a novice to the military and militia. I'm concerned that I'll find inaccurate sources and won't know any better. My biggest peeve in reading fiction is when the author "just doesn't get it right," so I'm trying my darnedest to avoid the same.
Thanks so much!
Nora Siri Bock
New York, New York
Soaps, salves, sundries and such
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- Nora, in the colonies I know of James Fitzgibbon of the 49th Reg't of Foot who was raised from the ranks. His niece (?) wrote a biography about him which is quite good. As far as I know about the US they didn't encounter this type of "problem" since they elected/appointed their officers so if you were popular and spent money on beer then you were a Captain! :-)
Also the Canadian/Canadien Militia didn't have a purchase system either. I don't think the French purchased either.
These Republicans will just let anyone command won't they! Also check into military lists that show quartermasters. They tended to be sergeants or sergeant majors that were commissioned as officers, but given the crappy jobs of wagons and lists.
> I'm working on an historical and have a question regarding the British military which I haven't been able to find in any of the books I've read. Specifically, how rare (or not) was the "mustang" officer in the British military? Does anyone know of instances where an enlisted man was elevated to officer rank either via a field commission or other method, and are there any books to which I might refer?
> Also the Canadian/Canadien Militia didn't have a purchase systemeither. I don't think the French purchased either.
> These Republicans will just let anyone command won't they!I would have two comments on the foregoing statements:
1.- In the Militia your officer's rank was determined by how many men
you enlisted. An employer of a large work force was able to achieve
higher rank if he could coerce enough of his employees to enlist.
This of course does not jibe with the concept that every able bodied
man between 16 and 60, who had two oposing teeth to bite the
cartridge, was automatically expect to serve. Maybe some "experts"
care to comment
2,- One of the few rights granted to the rank and file in the British
army was to be commanded by gentlemen.
- Try and get of Wellingtons Army by Sir Charles Oman. There is a good
chapter on British army officers and the purchase system. It's
published by Grenhill here in the UK and by Stackpole in the States.
In it he states, "There was, throughout the war,(Peninsula) a
perceptible proportion of officers who had risen from the ranks."
I'll see what else I can find,
All the best,