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Lieutenant

Lieutenant

Ensign

Ensign

2 Sergeants

2 Sergeants

3 Corporals

3 Corporals

2 Drummers

2 Drummers

140 Soldiers

100 Soldiers

The colonel, lieutenant-colonel and sergeant-major appear on the roll twice, as staff" officers and as captains of companies. They also drew pay and allowances in both roles.

The colonel, lieutenant-colonel and sergeant-major appear on the roll twice, as staff" officers and as captains of companies. They also drew pay and allowances in both roles.

manded by Coronells. Regiments conteine not alwaies a like number of Companies, some having 10, some 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and some thirty Companies and above . . . the Companies arc some more in number and some lesse. Some reach 300 men, some 200, some 100, some 90, some 80, some 70'. This flexible system was still the norm in the service of the United Provinces in the 1630s, as Henry Hexham's manual indicates. Hexham refers to companies of 120, 150, 200 and 250 men, and uses companies of 80 or 160 men in his diagrams of company formations.

This basic model was followed in England, where infantry were formed into regiments composed of a staff and several companies. One essential difference was the absence of a standing army, which meant regiments were raised anew for each military expedition. This allowed the Privy Council or the commander it appointed to specify the theoretical strength of the units it wanted each time an army was formed. As a result the organisation of regiments varied somewhat.

Two interesting examples are to be found in the papers of the army to be raised in 1620 to support the territorial claims of James I's daughter Elizabeth in the Palatinate, and of that actually raised for the first Bishops' War. The first had 13 companies to a regiment, the Colonel's Company of 192 men, and the other 12 companies with 144 men. The second had 12 companies, the Colonel's with 188 men, the Lieutenant Colonel's with 140, and the other ten companies with 105 men each. In each case the number quoted is for private soldiers only, the officers, both commissioned and noncommissioned, being counted separately.

Sometimes the choice of regimental organisation left room for innovative ideas, an example being the five regiments which were to have been raised in 1642 to suppress the Irish popular revolt. Plie theoretical organisation of these regiments was to be a thousand men divided amongst five companies, one of which was to have been equipped only with 'firelocks' (dog-lock or English-lock muskets) instead of matchlock muskets and pikes—this may have been intended as a concession to the Irish weather. In the event only one regiment reached Ireland, the others being re-formed for service in England for the Civil War.

At the outbreak of the Civil War both sides inevitably shared a common military heritage and tradition. As far as infantry organisation is concerned, however, this left room for considerable variations, as the original Dutch model was very flexible and the English themselves had recently begun to experiment in different styles. The most popular style had become a regiment with ten companies and a total strength of 1,000 or 1,200 men plus officers. The companies could either be of 100 men each, giving a total of 1,000 men in the regiment; or organised on an unequal system, with the Colonel's Company consisting of 200 men, the Lieutenant Colonel's of 160, the Sergeant Major's of 140, and each of the other seven of 100 men, giving a total of 1,200 men.

The army raised by Parliament and commanded by the Earl of Essex is known to have used the system of unequal companies described above, as the lists of regiments and officers printed in 1642 specifically say so. Parliament reduced the number of companies in Essex's regiments in 1644 from ten to eight, but more to force the merger of weak companies than as an organisational experiment. In 1645 the system used at the outbreak of the war was retained, and the New Model Army was raised on the same basis as Essex's in 1642.

On the other hand the Scottish army hired by the English in 1642 to serve in Ireland used a theoretical system of ten companies of 100 men each plus officers. It is not known which of these systems was adopted by the King's Army as a formal specification is lacking; certainly a regiment of ten companies was the aim, but which of the two styles was favoured is unknown.

In many respects the theory went by the board anyway as some colonels, particularly on the Royalist side, never managed to recruit a full regiment. In other regiments, however, the colonel's local influence remained powerful, and he was able to raise extra companies or incorporate others from disbanded units into his own regiment. The Earl of Manchester, for example, had 19 companies in his own regiment; Sir Arthur Haselrige had 12 in his; and Sir William Brereton had 16 in his, including three of Dragoons and one of 'firelocks'.

Militia regiments, both Trained Bands and Auxiliaries, followed systems dictated by local conditions, but were still based on the model of a staff and several companies. The number of companies in a regiment varied, as did the number of men in a company. Before the Civil War Trained Band companies in the Cities of London and of Westminster numbered 300 men each plus officers. The City of Westminster retained this theoretical system throughout the war but the London Trained Bands were re-organised to equal companies of 200 men each in 1642. In the counties the intention seems to have been companies of about 100 men, but there were many local variations.

Officers

As mentioned above, the officer structure of an English infantry regiment was based upon the Dutch model, and that of the Earl of Essex's army in 1642 is shown in the associated chart. This shows a staff of a colonel, lieutenant-colonel, sergeant major, quartermaster, provost marshal, chirurgeon, two chirurgeon's mates, preacher, wagonmaster and drum major. The company officers were the company commandcr, either a staff officer or a captain, a lieutenant, an ensign, two sergeants (three in the Colonel's Company), three corporals and two drummers. The first three were commissioned officers, holding a written commission signed by their general, but the others were also called 'officers' in contemporary parlance as they held a position in the company.

Three other officers are found listed in some regiments during the Civil War. These are the 'gentlemen-at-armes', the clerk and the 'lans-passadoe'. The first is to be found on the company rolls of both armies, and his omission in Essex's list is surprising. This officer, who was termed 'captaine at armes' in the Scottish service, was responsible for the inspection of the company's arms and the storage of its immediate supply of gunpowder, bullets and matchcord. The clerk is often found on both the regimental and company strengths; his duty was to keep the company muster rolls and often to receive the soldiers' pay and sometimes to distribute it under his captain's orders. The lanspassadoe was another junior officer who ranked below the corporal and whose duty it was to assist him; this officer is only recorded on the rolls of the Eastern Association, although the position is mentioned in several military manuals before and after the Civil War.

Numbers

Whatever the theoretical organisation of a regiment its actual effective strength was another matter entirely. At the outbreak of the war popular or influential colonels on both sides could fill their companies; but the experience of war soon resulted in widespread desertion, while cold, rainy weather and poor clothing caused heavy losses through sickness. Any examination of the surviving muster rolls shows that the infantry in the marching armies of both sides suffered terribly and only constant recruitment could fill the gaps. Although both sides had a common experience, Parliament proved better able to organise the recruitment of its infantry. While still weak in comparison with theoretical strengths, Parliament regiments remained stronger than those of their opponents. Both sides made attempts in 1644 to re-model their armies by amalgamating weak regiments and saving the excessive costs of weak companies with almost complete officer cadres. Parliament succeeded with its New Model Army, but the King failed to overcome the entrenched interests of his colonels.

Ensigns

In the 17th century every company of a regiment of Foot carried its own flag which was known as an 'ensign' or 'colour'. They were made of painted silk and measured approximately foot square. The ensigns of a regiment commonly followed a system whereby each company could be identified by the number of regimental symbols it bore. Thomas Venn described the most common system: 'The Colonel's Colours in the first place is of a pure and clean colour, without any mixture. The Lieutenant-Colonel's only with St George's Armes in the upper corner next the staff, the Major's the same, but in the lower and outermost corner with a little stream blazant, and every Captain with St George's Armes alone, but with so many spots or several dcvices as pertain to the dignity of their respective places'. A common variant on this theme was for the sergeant major's ensign to bear one of the regimental symbols instead of a stream blazant; this meant that the first captain would have two of the regimental symbols, and so on.

Although the system described by Venn was certainly the most common used by either side,

/ \ Regimental Strengths: Parliament Armies, 1644
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