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Re: [WarOf1812] Literacy among the OR's of the 95th Foot

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  • mmathews@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU
    (snip) ... And this begs the question, would you find more literate men among the militia than the regular military? On both sides of the border? Not being
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 2, 2000
      (snip)
      >comrades. Certainly the point of the rifle regiments was to draw the better
      >men from the redcoated regiments, (something which in 1800 met a lot of
      >resistance from the regiments from whose men were drawn- the regt'l colonels
      >sent their "rubbish" instead....) and later from the militias, and part of
      >this intelligence was the ability to read and write. (snip)

      And this begs the question, would you find more literate men among the
      militia than the regular military? On both sides of the border? Not being
      the dregs of society/useless gutter louts/yadda yadda; would they have had
      more opportunities to gain some measure of education? Seems like a logical
      premise, but I await the collective wisdom of the list. ;-)

      Michael


      Michael Mathews -- Winona State University
      Voice: (507) 285-7585 Cel: (507) 450-3535 Fax: (507) 280-5568
      ------------------------------
      "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
      - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
    • IX Regiment
      In message , Roger Fuller writes ... I realise that Private Wheeler wasn t in the
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 2, 2000
        In message <001a01c044e9$9e31b3a0$6746d63f@hp-customer>, Roger Fuller
        <fullerfamily@...> writes
        >>PS: I understand, though have not looked at it carefully, that riflemen
        >were encouraged to learn to read and write, and that opportunities were
        >provided by the regiments
        >>for this. Any comment Roger?
        >>
        >Ray, that's a good question, and one that has been answered in different
        >ways in the past, mostly indicating that, by the number of memoirs of 95th
        >Other Ranks, one must say that they were more literate than their redcoated
        >comrades. Certainly the point of the rifle regiments was to draw the better
        >men from the redcoated regiments, (something which in 1800 met a lot of
        >resistance from the regiments from whose men were drawn- the regt'l colonels
        >sent their "rubbish" instead....) and later from the militias, and part of
        >this intelligence was the ability to read and write. Coote-Manningham in his
        >Regulations for the Rifle Corps (1800) prescribes in detail the
        >establishment of regimental schools for all men and families in the
        >regiment, but I haven't looked into whether these schools were ever actually
        >established. I shall report back on it when I find more info.
        I realise that Private Wheeler wasn't in the Rifles, but his letters
        provide quite a lot on information about schooling and education, he and
        his wife ran the Regimental school when they served in the Ionian
        islands late in his service. I imagine that the details were not wildly
        different from Regiment to Regiment. Letter No. 107 dated 10 June 1824
        onwards.
        Cheers

        P**
        >
        >
        >So, it is difficult to make a blanket judgement about the literacy rate of
        >the 95th's OR's solely on the basis of the known memoirs alone. The regiment
        >showed its literacy rate, however, by the sheer number of corporals and
        >sergeants in the regiment, as half-companies were expected to operate on
        >their own, even squads had to function on their own, should the officer be
        >missing or a casualty.
        I have come across a similar problem when researching the Journal of
        James Hale. It claims that James Hale wrote the book, but the prose is
        of a reasonably good quality and is supposedly written by a man who
        couldn't sign his name a few years earlier, I suspect that at least a
        scribe had been used if not an author who wrote the book from the
        information that the soldier provided.
        P**

        --
        IX Regiment
      • HQ93rd@aol.com
        In a message dated 11/2/00 9:01:32 AM, mmathews@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU writes:
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 3, 2000
          In a message dated 11/2/00 9:01:32 AM, mmathews@... writes:

          << And this begs the question, would you find more literate men among the
          militia than the regular military? >>

          Of course then there's always the ...ahem....93rd.
          The majority (Other Ranks) were taught, while growing up, in Parish schools
          at home in Scotland. While on garrison duty in South Africa twixt 1805 and
          1814 they earned extra money by teaching school. 700 of them were attested as
          to carrying their own bibles when on church parade. A famous New Orleans
          account is of a New Orleans gentleman, who having fought in the battle, later
          took off the body of a dead Highlander (bloody looter!) a bible which had
          been given the soldier by his mother.
          The high discipline and low offense and corporal punishment rate in the 93rd
          is often attributed to the high literacy rate.

          Cheers
          B
          93rd SHRoFLHU
          THE Thin Red Line
          http://hometown.aol.com/ninety3rd
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