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The Prices of Officer’s Commissions

Officer's Commissions were costly

This print of an Officer of the 14th Light Dragoons displays the 'new' uniform of 1812.

Prices of Officer’s Commissions

The following is a table of the prices paid by Officers of the Army for their respective Ranks. The amounts clearly reflect the relative status held by the various branches of the service.

There were several different officer’s commissions. Ensign is the lowest rank held in the Infantry, while Coronets served in the Cavalry. In some Regiments, such as the Fusiliers, the lowest rank was a “Second Lieutenant,” with a purchase price of £450.

RANK Horse Guards Dragoons Foot Guards Infantry
Lieut.-Colonel £4950 4982/10/- £6700 £3500
Major £4050 £3882/10/- £6300 £2600
Captain £2950 £2782/10/- £3500 £1500
Lieutenant £1350 £ 997/10/- £1500 £ 550
Ensign/Coronet £1050 £ 735 £ 600 £ 400

NB: When an Officer wished to purchase a promotion to the next level of Rank, he would pay the difference. For example, an Ensign of the Regular Infantry, having already paid £400, would only pay an additional £150 to purchase a Lieutenancy worth £550

The illustration above shows an Officer of the 14th Light Dragoons and displays the ‘new’ uniform of 1812.


Jason Everett has been a re-enactor since 1982 with a group representing a red-coated Canadian regiment of the War of 1812. For the past five years he has been its Commanding Officer. Other interests include Modern Ballroom, and Regency Country Dancing.
Military Re-enactment Society of Canada / Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada

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