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King’s Order settling rank and command

By
When:
November 12, 2015 all-day
2015-11-12T00:00:00-05:00
2015-11-13T00:00:00-05:00

Compiled by Jim Moyer in 2016, updated 11/11/2019

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Orme addresses Rank and Command issue


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From Wikipedia: Joshua Reynolds is the painter of this portrait of Robert Orme, 1756. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London. Notice the horse’s head is down. Perhaps a metaphor for the fatal end of the Braddock’s Campaign and Orme’s experience in that. Touch or Click to Enlarge.

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Robert Orme, is in Williamsburg 2 March 1755.

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He is chief aide de camp to General Braddock.

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Orme  writes  this letter to George Washington, 2 March 1755 :

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The General 1 having been informd that you exprest some desire to make the Campaigne,

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but that you declind it

upon some disagreeableness

that you thought

might arise from the

Regulation of Command, 2 

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has orderd me to acquaint you that he will be very glad of your Company in his Family, by which all inconveniences of that kind will be obviated.3

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Washington experienced

this Rank and Command Problem twice


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The first time was in 1754 with Captain James MacKay at Big Meadows, Fort Necessity in PA.

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The second time was in 1755-1757 with Captain John Dagworthy in Fort Cumberland in MD.

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British and Colonial Rank and Command

November 12, 1754


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The following  in purple italics is from a Founders Online Footnote:

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The king’s order of 12 Nov. 1754

for settling questions of

rank and command

between regular and provincial officers

apparently reached Virginia

with Braddock’s quartermaster,

Sir John St. Clair, on 9 Jan. 1755.

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Although somewhat confused in wording, it clearly confirmed most of the apprehensions about rank that had plagued GW during the past year.

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Under no circumstances could he as a Virginia colonel, even if he should regain that position with full powers,

be on an absolutely equal footing

with any regular colonel, lieutenant colonel, or major.

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General and field officers commissioned by colonial officials, the king declared, “shall have no rank with” the general and field officers bearing his commission, and all regular captains, lieutenants, and ensigns “are . . . to command and take Post of . . . Provincial Officers of like Rank” when serving with them on detachments, court martials, and other assignments.

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No particular mention was made of the relationship of provincial general and field officers to regular company officers, apparently because it was presumed that the senior colonial officers would “only have the Inspection, & Direction, of their Provincial Corps”

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Founders Online mentions theses sources:

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(“Sketch of Regulations & Orders,” Nov. 1754 in Pargellis, Military Affairs in North America description begins Stanley Pargellis, ed. Military Affairs in North America, 1748–1765: Selected Documents from the Cumberland Papers in Windsor Castle. 1936. Reprint. Hamden, Conn., 1969. description ends , 36).

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See bottom of Page 43,  a “sketch” of the King’s Order.

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A printed copy of the king’s order on rank, endorsed by GW, is in DLC:GW, but it is not known when or how GW obtained it.

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The Founders Online footnote is in purple above.  Source is link below:

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http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-01-02-0120

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The Actual King’s Command itself


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From Pages 42 – 43 of

“Sketch of Regulations & Orders,” Nov. 1754 in Pargellis, Military Affairs in North America description begins Stanley Pargellis, ed. Military Affairs in North America, 1748–1765: Selected Documents from the Cumberland Papers in Windsor Castle

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Sketch of an Order about the Rank &c a of the Provincial Troops in North America

see footnote 1

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WHEREAS some doubts have arisen

with regard to

the Rank and Command,

which Officers and Troops

raised by the Governors

of Our Provinces in North America,

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should have when joyned or serving together with Our Independent Companies of Foot doing Duty in Our said Provinces;

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In order to fix the same and to prevent for the future all Disputes on that Account, We are hereby pleased to declare, 2

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It is Our Will & Pleasure, that all Troops serving by Commissions signed by Us, or by Our General Comanding in Chief in North America, 3

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shall take Rank before all Troops which may serve by Commission from any of the Governors or Councils 4

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of Our Provinces in North America: And It is Our further Pleasure, that the Generals 5

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and Field Officers of the Provincial Troops shall have no Rank with the Generals 5

 

& Field Officers who serve by Commissions from Us: But that all Captains & other inferior Officers of Our Forces, who are or may be employed in North America, are on all Detachments, Courts Martial or other Duty, wherein they may be joyned with Officers serving by Commissions from the Governors or Councils 4

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of the said Provinces, to command and take Post of the said Provincial Officers of the like Rank, though the Commissions of the said Provincial Officers of the like Rank, should be of elder Dates. We are further pleased to declare, that the Troops which may serve by Commissions from the Governors or Councils of the Provinces aforesaid, are, whenever they shall be joyned, or serve with Our Regu- lar Forces, to be under the same Rules & Articles of War with them, and are to be liable to the like Pains & Penalties. 6

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Footnote at bottom of page:

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1

The same as the sign-manual order of November 12, 1754, printed in New Jersey Arch., 1st scr. VIII. pt. 2, p. 29, with changes as indicated below. Precedents for this order are in the “Proposed Regulations relating to the East Indies, February, 1 7^4” (also in the Cumberland Papers), which read in part:

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“13.  In order to avoid all Disputes or Misunderstandings between the Troops in His Majestys service, and those in the service of the Company His Majesty is pleased to order that the Former shall always take Rank of those of the Company: That, Officers of the same Degree shall roll together upon Guards. Parties or Courts Martial: but that the Officers in His Majesty’s Service shall always take Rank or Precedence of those in the Companv’s: that, in Garrison, the Governor, if a Military Person, shall have the Honours directed by His Majesty’s Regulation and the confirming of Sentences of Courts Martial. But if no military officer, the Discipline of the Troops and the confirming of Sentences of Courts Martial shall be in the Hands of the Command- ing Officer of the Troops. “

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14.  That all Courts Martial be held, and Sentences thereof put in Execution, agreeable to His Majestys Rules and Articles of War.”

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2

Sign-manual order inserts “That.”

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3

This clause is inserted in the margin, the document being in a memorandum form.

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4

Sign-manual order reads: “Governors, Lieutenant or Deputy Governors, or Presi- dent for the time being.”

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5

Sign-manual order reads: “General.”

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6

This paragraph was omitted in the sign-manual order, as needing parliamentary authority. A clause was inserted in the Mutiny Act, in committee, December 11; the act received royal assent December 19.

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Washington goes to Boston

1 February to 6 April 1756

to get a British commissioned Rank


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