Baggage & Social Status in the British Army in the Eighteenth Century
Even in our egalitarian times, the old saying that “rank hath its privileges” (often abbreviated RHIP) certainly still applies in military organizations. But at times, privilege was considerably more noticeable than it is today, where senior personnel are actually supposed to work harder than other personnel.
A good example can be found in the British Army regulations from the mid-eighteenth century, regarding the amount of baggage a soldier was permitted to take on campaign
|Select Baggage Allowances, British Army, Mid-1700s|
|Colonels ||c. 3000 pounds |
|Captains ||c. 1000 pounds|
|Subalterns ||c. 200 pounds|
Colonels and other field grade officers (usually a lieutenant colonel and a major for each regiment) usually had tents, camp furniture, silver, china, books, wines, lamps, clothing, of course. The colonel, being the colonel, could often supplement his baggage depending upon circumstances, as could the Captains commanding of one of the handful of “Independent Companies” that were garrisoned in some areas, such as the North American Colonies.
Subalterns could still manage to get in part of a tent, a camp bed and perhaps a chair, plus mess gear, uniforms and some personal effects out of their allotment. But enlisted men were pretty much limited to mess gear, clothing, and a few personal effects that they could carry on their backs, though the company wagon did serve to carry some commonly useful items, such as tentage.