The first phase for the database is complete, and now has 2,437 British Army Officers who served in the Waterloo campaign (so not necessarily those who served at the Battle of Waterloo). It’s based on Dalton’s Waterloo Roll Call and John Booth’s The Battle of Waterloo, Also of Ligny, and Quatre Bras… (London: Printed for J. Booth [etc], 1817) to get a list of officers of the King’s German Legion that Dalton omitted.
Crunching the numbers immediately throws up issues about data structure and who to look at. The British Army had a complication system of rank that involved both a regimental rank and ‘rank in the army’ or brevet rank (a bit more about this is available at The Napoleon Series). To be consistent I’ve only looked at regimental rank (and I haven’t worked out how to model it, yet) and just ran some queries on officers serving with their regiment. This probably needs some explaining: an officer could be a captain in his regiment, but be serving on the staff of the army – in Dalton the individual concerned would be listed twice (grrr… not good for data entry). Excluding these individuals we get as close as we can to those who were doing duty with their unit.
Secondly, Dalton and Booth only give the date of their commission into their rank at Waterloo, not their entire career. So the table below only tells us how long an individual had been in that rank in that regiment by the time of the Battle:
|Regimental rank||Number||Average days service||Standard deviation (days)|
|Major and Lieutenant-Colonel||2||1120||1510|
|Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel||25||653||449|
|Lieutenant and Captain||42||860||564|
|Cornet and Sub-Lieutenant||7||433||301|
Nevertheless, it makes for some interesting reading and raises more questions. Lieutenant-colonels and Majors ought to have been quite experienced with 3-5 years in that position, and the Captains seem to have served for quite a while too. Of course, this doesn’t really tell us what experience they had had – a captain, for example, could have spent the previous 3 years in a recruiting depot in the UK and not spent any time actually on campaign. Also, from the standard deviation figures we can see quite a lot of variation within each rank. Just to illustrate the point, the longest serving commissioned officer in a rank was Captain Henry Graham of the 1st Dragoon Guards who attained that rank on 12 June 1799, and died from his wounds he received at the Battle of Waterloo. The most recent appointment was Lieutenant Henry Anderson (69th Foot) who was appointed on 15 June 1815 and whose coat is now held by the National Army Museum. Of course, Lieutenant Anderson may have served some time as a lieutenant in another regiment, which demonstrates the need for the next stage of the database – adding in full promotion details for these officers.