Regimental Structure and Organisation

A regiment was a relatively new concept, grouping a unit of soldiers together under a single commander, the Colonel. In mediaeval times armies were organised into battles each consisting of many retinues of individual nobles, but during the Renaissance military theorists looked back to classical templates, with a regiment roughly equivalent to a Roman cohort.

The size of a regiment of infantry was theoretically 1000 or 1200 men. These were divided into 10 companies, each of 100 for the regiment of 1000, or consisting of 200, 160, 140 and the rest of 100 for the 1200 man unit. However with the turmoils of Civil War and hard service it was extremely rare for regiments to be anywhere near full strength.

The officers of an infantry regiment consisted of :

  • Colonel: Leader of the regiment, also theoretically commanded the first company but this duty typically fell to the Captain-Lieutenant. The Colonel was sometimes a General Officer with other duties and could be an experienced officer or an aristocrat who could afford to finance the raising of the unit, even occasionally both.
  • Lieutenant Colonel: Second in command of the regiment and might well command it in the absence of the Colonel, he also led the second company. He was often an associate or relative of the Colonel or might be an experienced officer.
  • Major (Sometimes called Sergeant-Major): Third in command of the regiment and leader of the third company. He was responsible for most day-to-day activities of the regiment. Where at all possible, the Major was an experienced officer, usually previously serving as a Captain.
  • Captains (First to Seventh): Commanded the fourth to tenth companies of the regiment.

The Regimental Staff varied but often included:

  • Quartermaster: Responsible for organising places for the men to billet.
  • Provost Marshal: Responsible for discipline
  • Surgeon with Surgeon's mates
  • Chaplain, Preacher, Priest or Minister, depending on the prevailing religion
  • Wagon-Master
  • Drum Major
  • Gentleman-at-Arms was sometimes added, who oversaw the weaponry.

The Companies generally included:

  • Commander: The Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major or a Captain
  • Lieutenant: Second in command of the company. In the Colonel's company he was called the Captain-Lieutenant
  • Ensign: Carried the company's flag and ranked third in command of the company
  • 2-3 Sergeants
  • 2-3 Corporals
  • 2 drummers
  • 100 soldiers

Cavalry regiments were organised in a broadly similar fashion, however they theoretically consisted of six troops each of 60 to 100 men. Parliamentarian regiments usually dispensed with the Lieutenant Colonel, the Major being second in command. Troop officers consisted of the troop commander, Lieutenant, Cornet and Quartermaster.