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regiment alone, this brevet rank does not tell;
but whenever his corps is in garrison with
another regiment, or part of a regiment, he has
a right to assume his army rank. An English
officer told me of an extraordinary anomaly of
this kind which happened in India some years
ago. A captain in a cavalry regiment, who,
from having been mentioned in general orders
when on the staff, had attained the brevet rank
of colonel, took command, by virtue of his
seniority, of a whole brigade of cavalry before
the enemy: thus superseding all the field-officers
of his own and of every other regiment of
cavalry. When the campaign was over, he
rejoined his regiment, and did duty again as a
simple captain. I have myself seen in Dublin,
and at the camp at Aldershot, many officers who
were one day doing duty as captain with their
regiments, and the next day were visiting the
guards as field-officers of the day. In the
French army we could hardly understand such
an extraordinary anomaly, but it seems an
almost indispensable evil in an army where
regimental promotion can only be bought and sold,
and is really not in the hands of the authorities
to bestow. There must be some means of
rewarding service, distinction, or valour, in every
army. With us, it is done substantially; that is,
when an officer does anything by which he can
claim promotion, he is duly rewarded by real

An officer of one of the regiments at Aldershot
took me over the quarters of a hussar regiment
but lately returned from India. As is usual in
the English cavalry, nothing could be finer or
cleaner than the men and the horses, nor could
anything exceed the politeness with which the
officers received me. But there was pointed out
to me an individual whose position in the army
is a commentary on the English system of
promotion. This was the senior lieutenant of the
corps: a gentleman who had been thirty years
in the army, had worked through all the grades
from private hussar to lieutenant, had seen
service in the Crimean campaign, as well as
throughout the great Indian mutiny. In actual
service he was senior to every officer in the
regiment, including the colonel, by several
years. And yet, as he had not the money
wherewith to purchase the rank of captain, he
had only a death-chance of promotion. In his
own regiment, or in any other corps, the Queen
of England herself could only promote him by
making him a present of from two to three
thousand pounds. I was told that this gentleman
was an excellent soldier in every respect,
and much liked by his brother officers. There
is in England a military newspaper called the
Army and Navy Gazette, the editor of which is
a gentleman who was correspondent of the Times
newspaper before Sebastopol. This paper is
looked upon as almost semi-official on military
and naval matters, and its opinion is highly
respected. In its columns the abolition of
this abominable purchase system is often
advocated, but there is a class of officers who
uphold what seems, to all other nations and
armies in Europe, a disgrace to the English

The uniforms and accoutrements of the
English army have been greatly changed for the
better since I saw their battalions in the Crimea.
Their cavalry is now almost perfect in dress,
arms, and saddlery; their artillery, both horse
and foot, the same; but their infantryman is
still the very worst dressed foot-soldier in
Europe, without any exception, and yet, with
their scarlet tunics, they might have the most
showy battalions in the world. They adhere to
the old-fashioned white belt which we have long
discarded, and they still retain the heavy pouch,
bearing all its weight across the chest. The
officers dress in blue tunics, save on rare occasions;
when they wear scarlet, the distinction
of their rank is so difficult to perceive as to
be almost impossible. In their blue tunics
there is no distinction whatever of rank, except
for the field-officers. This is the more singular,
as I have observed that in the English navy the
distinctions of rank are all marked, in both dress
and undress, so plainly that no one can mistake
them. The English infantry officer’s scarlet tunic
is in the very worst taste, with plasterings of lace
about the collar, the tails, and the cuffs, which
serve no possible purpose except to add to the
expense. Across the chest they wear a red
scarf or sash, which is as useless as it is ugly,
and they also adhere to the white leather
sword-belt. Then they have a third uniform:
a scarlet jacket, worn open, with a waistcoat,
which is the dinner costume. Surely a plain
scarlet frock, with no lace but to mark rank
say on the sleeve, as in their navywith
epaulets for full dress, the red scarf abolished,
a black sword-belt for undress, and a gold one
for full dress, would be a better-looking and a
more simple costume. I have always noticed
that the greater variety of uniforms a soldier
has the more certain he is to be more or less
shabby. An old coat and a new one, both of
the same make and pattern, are sufficient. An
officer may certainly have such additions as
epaulets, gold lace, belt, and so forth, for greater
occasions; but he should never have but one
garment, and, more particularly, should always
wear the same colour as his men. I saw
a battalion of the Guards at drill in Hyde
Park. The men wore undress jackets of white
cloth; the officers, blue-braided hussar-looking
frock-coats. No stranger could have guessed
that the officers and men belonged to the same

English officers seem to dislike all uniforms
in general, and scarlet uniforms in particular.
I observe that on every possible occasion,
the moment he is off duty, the first thing an
English officer does, is, to divest himself
of his uniform, and to put onoften very
curious-lookingplain clothes. To wear these
plain clothes, even officers of rank will risk being
reprimanded by their superiors. The difference
of a general officer, or the colonel of a regiment,
being liked or disliked, is very often determined
by the fact of his allowing plain clothes to be worn,