Does anyone know the method by which soldiers were paid in the War of 1812? My understanding is that they were usually paid late through the regimental paymaster but did their sergeants ever touch the money and was the remuneration in coin, gold, army script, or pound notes? Did the money arrive direct from the Royal Mint for British forces or perhaps the Boston Mint for American soldiers? At some point it wound have to have been transported by wagon or perhaps mule to someone who could approve its distribution. Any ideas would be helpful.
Thanks for your assistance,
I guess that Sgt Morley had no alternative but to do as his officer bid!
Excellent, thank you Ron. This is at least proof that such a role existed and so suggests that my transcription might be correct.
I am most grateful for the example and the description of the duties. The loss of such a man in battle would have been felt by the whole company I would imagine.
The pay sergeant kept the record of a soldier’s accounts, pay and disbursements. This was apparently extra duties for which an allowance was paid to the designated sergeant.
‘Sergeant Morley, then a company pay sergeant in the 5th Regiment of Foot, tells how in 1812 he was advised by his Commanding Officer to forge a signature.’ [the Quartermaster’s signature was required on the return]
Thanks Gary. You may well be right, though it is an unusual way to express the fact of his rank and company.
However, if no examples of a pay sergeant surface then I must deduce that I'm wrong. It's been known before... 😁
I would imagine that it means he was paid in the light company, not that he was a 'pay sergeant'.
A good question, and before posting my question I also checked a few muster rolls to see if I could find a reference to such a designation. As you say, there is none.
However, a letter written in 1812 by a soldier of the 1/61st can be seen in the local records office in which that term appears to be used to describe a comrade killed at Salamanca. Unfortunately a hole in the paper has removed part of the word, so my transcription may be incorrect, but it seems to read '...he was a sergeant and pay [in] our Light Company...'.
I can find no such rank in any reference work so I thought that I would pose the question to the experts on this forum in hope that it might be identified as a non-official company role.
If no-one else has heard of it, I'll just have to review the letter again!
Thanks for taking time to look in to this.
I am not sure where you get the term Pay Sergeant from? I just checked the muster rolls for the 1st Foot Guards in 1815 and the 1st Battalion 95th Rifles in 1810. The 1st Foot Guards had a Paymaster, while the 1st Battalion 95th Rifles had a Paymaster and two pay clerks. Neither showed a pay sergeant.
May I briefly resurrect this question?
Interesting and informative responses here but, given what has been written, can anyone explain the role of the company pay sergeant please?
I know in the Peninsular War, when the soldier was paid, the battalion pay officer would arrive and there would be a formation. Each soldier would be called up separately. He would sign his name / make his mark and he would receive his money in coin. A sergeant would not touch the money at that point. Pay day was the 24th of the month. In the Light Division on 24 July 1810 on the River Coa, the battalions were pulled out of their positions just south of Almeida and were in pay formation about 6 a.m. Only outposts were left in the front. One of the reasons why we know this is because that is when the French attacked which caused some delay to the division's response.