The British Army of the Revolution

The British Army of the Revolution

by Joe Wagner

At the time of the Revolution, the British army was made up of about 60% Englishmen (including Welsh), 24% Scotsmen, and 16% Irish.  Of the officer corps, only 42% were English, while 31% were Irish and 27% Scottish.  There were more non-English officers due to a lack of opportunity for the subjugated Irish and Scots minor nobility at home, resulting in their joining the army for advancement.  The reputation of the British officer corps, at least among their own troops, can be summarized by this excerpt from the memoir of one William Corbett, a Sergeant-Major in the 54th Regiment of Foot, who arrived at his view of officers later in life while serving as a Member of Parliament.