I read this somewhere (and now cannot remember where!) and would like to check whether or not it is correct. An officer promoted to (say) Captain in the field would not have paid for his commission (although he may have paid for an ensign or lieutenant's commission). I read that if he retired from the army, if he had been a captain for long enough he would get the price of a captain's commission even though he hadn't bought it. Is this correct? And if so, does anyone know how long he would have to be a captain to get it?
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Thanks for your clarification!
That they could benefit financially from the value of their own labor regardless of their class origins... ring a bell? This was a major reason for the loyalty thousands of republican soldiers had for their officers, notably the republican generals who were eventually absorbed by Napoleon. Or point me to the right tree if I'm barking up the wrong one.
That was my understanding also. It might partially explain why impoverished officers might exchange into battalions going abroad. Maybe a sense of adventure, but also the chance of casualties to obtain a step without cost. Might explain why they might volunteer to lead the Forlorn Hope for example.
I've just looked at the 1811 Regulations (uploaded below) The regs for commissions start on page 31, and don't seem to make any distinction for how the commission was obtained, or how long it was held before sale.