Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex and son of Elizabeth’s courtier was appointed Commander in Chief of the parliamentary army in July 1642. He left London for Nottingham “to rescue His Majesty’s person, and the persons of the Prince and the Duke of York out of the hands of those desperate persons who were then about them.” The Londoners turned out to watch the army marching out and were distinctly unimpressed by the “ragged looking” troops who were “marching out of step”. On the way to Nottingham the untrained troops pillaged the villages through which they passed. The army however, was soon whipped into shape and the following year Essex issued his detailed ordinances for the conduct of the army both on the march and on the battlefield. It provides a startling insight into the manner in which an army of the seventeenth century operated.
Laws and Ordinances OF WARRE,
Established for the better Conduct OF THE ARMY,
By His Excellency the Earl of ESSEX,
LORD GENERALL Of the Forces raised by the Authority of the PARLIAMENT,
For the defence of King and Kingdom.
And now inlarged by command of HIS EXCELLENCY;
And Printed by his Authoritie,Laws and Ordinances of Warre.Of Duties to GodI. First, Let no man presume to blaspheme the holy and blessed Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; nor the known Articles of our Christian Faith, upon pain to have his Tongue bored with a rod-hot Iron.
II. Unlawfull Oaths and Execrations, and scandalous acts in derogation of Gods Honour, shall be punished with losse of Pay, and other punishment at discretion.
III.All those who often and wilfully absent themselves from Sermons, and publike Prayer, shall be proceeded against at discretion: And all such who shall violate Places of publike Worship, shall undergo severe Censure.Of Duties in generall.The Third earl of Essex
I. ALL such as shall practice and entertain Intelligence with the Enemy, by any manner of means or flights, and have any communication with them, without direction from my Lord Generall, shall be punished as Traytors and Rebels.
No man shall relieve the Enemy with Money, Victuals, Ammunition; neither harbour or receive any such, upon pain of death.
III. If a Town, Castle, or Fort be yeelded up without the utmost necessity, the Governour thereof shall be punished with death.
IV. But if so be, that the Officers and Souldiers of the Garrison, constrain the Governour to yeeld it up: In such a case shall all the Officers be punished with death, and the common Souldiers who have been active, or have given their consent in constraining the Governour, shall cast lots for the hanging of the tenth man amongst them.
V. And withall to know in what case and circumstances a Governour, and the Militia of the Garrison may be blamelesse, for the surrendring of a Town, Castle, or Fort, it is hereby expressely signified: That first they are to prove the extremity of want within the place, insomuch that no eatable provision was left them for the sustenance of their lives. Secondly, That no succour or relief in any probable wise could be hoped for. Thirdly, That nothing else could be expected, but that within a short time the Town, Castle, or Fort, with all the Garrison, and Arms, Ammunition, Magazine, and appurtenances in it, must of necessity, fall into the hands of the Enemy. Upon proof of which forementioned circumstances, they may be acquitted in a Counsell of Warre, else to be lyable to the punishment above expressed.
VI. Whosoever shall be convicted to do his Dutie negligently and carelesly, shall be punished at discretion.
VII. Whosoever shall presume to violate a Save-guard, shall die without mercy.
VIII. Whosoever shall come from the Enemy, without a Trumpet, or Drum, after the Custome of Warre, or without a Passe from His Excellency, within the Quarters of the Army, or within a Garrison Town, shall be hanged up as a Spie.Of Duties towards Superiours and Commanders.I.WHosoever shall use any words tending to the death of the Lord Generall, shall be punished with death.
II. No man shall presume to quarrell with his superiour Officer, upon pain of Cashiering, and Arbitrary punishment; nor to strike any such, upon pain of death.
III. No Souldier shall depart from his Captain, nor Servant from his Master, without license, though he serve still in the Army, upon pain of death.
IV. Every private man or Souldier, upon pain of Imprisonment, shall keep silence when the Army is to take Lodging, or when it is Marching, or Imbattallio, so as the Officers may be heard, and their Commandments executed.
V. No man shall resist, draw, lift, or offer to draw, of lift his Weapon against any Officer, correcting him orderly, for his defence, upon pain of death.
VI. No person shall make any mutenous assemblies, or be present or assisting thereunto, or in, or by them, demand their pay, upon pain of death.
VII. No man shall resist the Provost-Marshall, or any other Officer, in the execution of his Office, or break prison, upon pain of death.
VIII. None shall utter any words of sedition and uproar, muteny, upon pain of death.
IX. A heavy punishment shall be inflicted upon them, who after they have heard mutenous speeches, acquaint not their Commanders with them.
X. Whosoever shall receive an injury, and shall take his own satisfaction, shall be punished by Imprisonment, and as it shall be thought fit by the Marshall-Court: But he that is injured shall be bound, if he do not forgive the injury, to seek reparation by complaint to his Captain, or Colonel, or other superiour Officer, and it shall be given him in ample manner.Of Duties Morrall.I. Drunkennesse in an Officer, shall be punished with losse of Place; in a common Souldier, with such penalties as a Court-Marshall think fit.
II. Rapes, Ravishments, unnaturall abuses, shall be punished with death.
III. Adultery, Fornication, and other dissolute lasciviousnesse, shall be punished with discretion, according to the quality of the offence.
IV. Theft and Robbery, exceeding the value of twelve pence, shall be punished with death.
V. No man shall use reproachfull, nor provoking words, or acts to any, upon pain of Imprisonment, and further punishment, as shall be thought fit to be inflicted upon enemies to discipline and service.
VI. No man shall take or spoil the Goods of him that dieth, or is killed in Service, upon pain of restoring double the value, and Arbitrary punishment.
VII. Murther shall be expiated with the death of the Murtherer.Of a Souldiers Duty touching his Arms.I. ALL Souldiers coming to their Colours to watch, or to be exercised, shall come fully armed, upon pain of severe correction.
II. None shall presume to appear with their Arms unfixt, or undecently kept, upon pain of Arbitrary correction.
III. If a Trooper shall lose his Horse or Hackney, or Foot-man any part of his Arms, by negligence of lewdnesse, by Dice or Cards, he or they shall remain in qualitie of Pioners and Scavengers, till they be furnished with as good as were lost, at their own charge.
IV. No Souldier shall give to pawn, or sell his Armour, upon pain of imprisonment, and punishment at discretion; and wheresoever any Armour shall be found so sold or pawned, they shall be brought again into the Army.
V. If a Trooper shall spoil his Horse willingly, of purpose to be rid of the Service, he shall lose his Horse, and remain in the Camp for a Pioner.
VI. If one borrows Arms or another to passe the Muster withall, the borrower shall be rigorously punished, and the lender shall forfeit his Goods.
VII. None shall presume to spoil, sell, or carry away any Ammunition delivered unto him, upon pain of death.Of Duty in Marching.Pikemen marching with drum and fifeI. None in their March thorow the Counties shall waste, spoil, or extort any Victuals, Money, or pawn, from any subject, upon any pretence of want whatsoever, upon pain of death.
II. No Souldier shall presume, upon no occasion whatsoever, to take a Horse out of the Plow, or to wrong the Husbandmen in their person, or Cattell, or Goods, upon pain of death.
III. No Souldiers, either Horse or Foot, shall presume in Marching to straggle from his Troop or Company, or to March out of his rank, upon pain of death.
IV. No Souldier shall presume, in March ing or Lodging, to cut down any fruittrees, or to deface, or spoil Walks of trees, upon pain of severe punishment.Of Duties in the Camp and Garrison.I. No man shall depart a mile out of the Army or Camp without license, upon pain of death.
II. No man shall enter, or go out of the Army, but by Ordinary wayes, upon pain of death.
III. No man shall presume to draw his Sword without Order, after the Watch is set, upon pain of death.
IV. No man shall give a false Alarum, or discharge a peece in the night, or make any noise without lawfull cause, upon pain of death.
V. No man shall draw any Sword in a private quarrell within the Camp, upon pain of death.
VI. He that makes known the Watchword without Order, or gives any other word but what is given by the Officers, shall die for it.
VII. No man shall do violence to any that brings Victuals to the Camp, upon pain of death.
VIII. None speak with a Drum or Trumpet, or any other sent by the Enemy, without Order, upon pain of punishment at discretion.
IX. 45 A Sentinell or Perdue found asleep, or drunk or forsaking their place before they be drawn off, shall die for the offence, without mercy.
X. No man shall fail wilfully to come to the Rendevouz or Garrison appointed him by the Lord Generall, upon pain of death.
XI. No man that carrieth Arms, and pretends to be a Souldier, shall remain three dayes daies in the Army without being inrolled in some Company, upon pain of death.
XII. No man that is enrolled, shall depart from the Army or Garrison, or from his Colours, without License, upon pain of death.
XIII. No private Souldier shall out stay his Passe, without a Certificate of the occasion, under the hand of a Magistrate at the next Muster, upon pain of losing his pay, during all the time of his absence.
XIV. He that absents himself when the sign is given to set the Watch, shall be punished at discretion, either with Bread and Water in Prison, or with the Woodden Horse.
XV. Whosoever shall expresse his discontent with his Quarter given him in the Camp, or Garrison, shall be punished as a Mutineer.
XVI. No Officer, of what quality soever, shall go out of the Quarter to Dinner or Supper, or lie out al-night, without making his Superiour Officer acquainted, upon pain of cashiering.
XVII. All Officers whose charge it is, shall see the Quarters kept clean and sweet, upon pain of severe punishment.
XVIII. None shall presume to let their Horses feed in sown Grounds whatsoever, or to endamage the Husbandmen any way, upon severest punishment.
XIX. Whosoever shall in his Quarter, abuse, beat, fright his Landlord, or any Person else in the Family, or shall extort Mony or Victuals, by violence from them, shall be proceeded against as a Mutineer, and an enemy to Discipline.Of Duties in Action.The Musketeer
I. NO man shall fail immediately to repair unto his Colours (except he be impotent by lamenesse or sicknesse) when an Alarum is given, upon pain of death.
II. No man shall abandon his Colours, or flie away in Battail, upon pain of death.
III. If a Pike-man throw away his Pike, or a Muskettier his Musket or Bandilier, he or they shall be punished with death.
IV. No man shall burn any House or Barne, be it of friend or foe, or wilfully spoil any Corne, Hay, or Straw, or Stacks in the fields, or any Ship, Boat, Carriage, or any thing that may serve for the provision of the Army without order, upon pain of death.
V. None shall kill an enemy who yeelds, and throws down his Arms.
VI. None shall save a man that hath his offensive Arms in his hands, upon pain of losing his Prisoner.
VII. Whosoever in skirmish shall fling away his Powder out of his Bandiliers, that he may the sooner come off, shall be punisht with death.
VIII. No Souldier shall imbezzell any part of the prey till it be disposed of by the Lord Generall, or others authorized, upon pain of death.
IX. No Officer or Souldier shall ransome, or conceal a Prisoner, but within twelve hours, shall make the same known to the Lord Generall, or others authorized, upon pain of death.
X. No man upon any good successe, shall fall a pillaging before licence, or a sign given, upon pain of death.
XI. A Regiment or Company of Horse or Foot, that chargeth the enemy, and retreats before they come to handy-strokes, shall answer it before a Councell of War; and if the fault be found in the Officers; they shall be banished the Camp; if in the Souldiers, then every tenth man shall be punished at discretion, and the rest serve for Pioniers and Scavengers, till a worthy exploit take off that Blot.Of the Duties of Commanders and Officers, in particular.I. ALL Commanders are straightly charged to see Almighty God reverently served, and Sermons and Prayers duely frequented.
II. All Commanders and Officers that finde any of discontented humors, apt to mutenize, or any swerving from direction given, or from the policy of the Army set down, shall straightway acquaint the Lord Generall therewith, or others authoriz’d, as they wil answer their neglect.
III. Any Officer that shall presume to defraud the Souldiers of their Pay, or any part of it, shall be cashiered.
IV. No Corporall, or other Officer commanding the Watch, shall willingly suffer a Souldier to go forth to a Duell, or private Fight, upon pain of death.
V. What Officer soever shall come drunk to his Guard, or shall quarrell in the Quarter, or commit any disorder, shall be cashiered without mercy; and the next Officer under him shall have his Place, which he may pretend to be his right, and it shall not be refused to him.
VI. A Captaine that is carelesse in the Training and Governing of his Company, shall be displaced of his Charge.
VII. All Captains or Officers that shall outstay their Passe, shall be punished at the Lord Generals discretion.
VIII. All Officers, of what condition soever, shall have power to part quarrels & frays, or sudden disorders betwixt the Souldiers, though it be in any other Regiment or Company, and to commit the disordered to Prison for the present, untill such Officers as they belong unto are acquainted with it: And what Souldier soever shall resist, disobey, or draw his Sword against such an Officer (although he be no Officer of his Regiment or Company) shall be punished with death.
IX. A Captain or Officer non-resident in the place assigned him for Garrison without license, shall have one Moneths pay defaulted for the first Offence, and two Moneths for the second: upon the third Offence he shall be discharged of his command.X. After the Army is come to the generall Rendevouz, no Captain shall cashier any Souldier that is enrolled, without speciall Warrant of the Lord Generall.
XI. No Captain or Officer of a Troop or Company, shall present in Musters, any but reall Troopers and Souldiers, such as by their pay are bound to follow their Colours, upon pain of cashiering without mercy. And if any Victualler, Freebooter, Enterloper, or Souldier whatsoever, of any Troop or Company, shall present himself, or his horse in the Muster, to mislead the Muster-Master, and to betray the service, the same shall be punished with death.
XII. No Provider, Keeper, or Officer of Victuall or Ammunition, shall imbezell or spoil any part thereof, or give any false account to the Lord Generall, upon pain of death.Of the Duty of Muster-Masters.I. NO Muster-Master must wittingly let any passe in the Musters, but such as are really of the Troop or Company presented, upon pain of death.
II. All Captains shall cause their Troops or Companies to be full and compleat; and two dayes after the Generall Mustering, they shall send to the Lord Generall a perfect List or Roll of all the Officers of their Troops and Companies, and likewise of all the Troopers and Souldiers that are in actuall Service, putting down distinctly on the head of each man his Monethly Pay.
III. The like Roll or List shall the Captains send to the Lord Generall, and to the Treasurer of the Army upon every Pay-day, during the Service, with a punctuall expression at the bottome of the said Roll, what new Troopers or Souldiers have been entertained since the last Pay-day, in lieu of such as are either de ceased or cashiered, and likewise the day whereon they were so cashiered and entertained.
IV. Which said List or Roll shall be subscribed, not onely by the Captain and his Lievtenant and Coronet or Ensigne, but also by the Sergeants and Corporals respectively, who shall declare upon their Oath, That the Troopers and Souldiers enrolled in the said List, are reall and actuall Troopers and Souldiers of the respective Troops and Companies. And whosoever shall be convicted of falshood in any of the premises, shall be cashiered.
V. No Muster-Master shall presume to receive or accept of any Roll to make the Musters by, but the forementioned Rols, upon pain of the losse of his place, and other punishment at discretion.
VI. No man shall presume to present himself to the Muster, of to be inrolled in the Muster-Rolls by a counterfeit name, or surname, or place of birth, upon pain of death.Of Victuallers.I. NO Victuallers shall presume to issue or sell unto any of the Army, unsound, unsavoury, or unwholesome Victuals upon pain of imprisonment, and further Arbitrary punishment.
II. No Souldier shall be a Victualler without the consent of the Lord Generall, or others authorized upon pain of punishment at discretion.
III. No Victualler shall entertain any Souldiers in his House, Tent, or Hutt, after the Warning-piece at night, or before the beating of the Ravalee in the morning.
IV. No Victualler shall forestall any Victuals, nor sell them before they be appraised by the Marshall Generall, upon severe punishment.Of Administration of Justice.The PikemanI. ALL controversies between Souldiers and their Captains, and all others, shall be summarily heard and determined by the Councell of Warre, except the weightinesse of the cause require further deliberation.
II. All Officers and others who shall send up any Prisoners unto the Marshall Generall of the Army; shall likewise deliver unto the Marshall, the cause and reason of the Imprisonment; And without such cause and reason shown, the Marshall is expresly forbid to take charge of the Prisoner.
III. When a Prisoner is committed to the charge of the Marshall Generall, The information of the crime which he standeth committed for, is to be given in to the Advocate of the Army, within 48 hours, after the commitment, or else, for default thereof, the Prisoner to be released, except good cause be shown; wherefore the Information cannot be ready within that time.
IV. The Goods of such as die in the Army or Garrison, or be slain in the service, if they make any Will by word or writing, shall be disposed of according to their Will. If they make no Will, then shall go to their Wives, or next Kin. If no Wife or Kindred appear within a yeer after, shall be disposed of by the appoint ment of the Lord Generall, according to the Laws Civill and Military.
V. No Magistrate of Town or Countrey, shall without license imprison any Souldier, unlesse for capitall Offences.
VI. In matters of debts or trespasse, or other inferiour cases, the Magistrate shall acquaint his Captain, or other chief Officer therewith, who is to end the matter with rhe consent of the complainant, or to leave the party grieved to take his remedy by due course of Law: And if the Officer fail of his duty therein, the Lord Generall upon complaint of the party grieved, will not onely see him righted, but the Officer punished for his neglect in this behalf.
VII. No man shall presume to use any braving or menacing words, signes, or gestures, while the Court of Justice is sitting, upon pain of death.
VIII. No Inhabitant of City, Town, or Country, shall presume to receive any Souldier into his service, or conceal, or use means to convey such Run-awayes, but shall apprehend all such, and deliver them to the Provost Marshall.
IX. All Captains, Officers, and Souldiers, shall do their endeavours to detect, apprehend, and bring to punishment all Offenders, and shall assist the Officers of the Army for that purpose, as they will answer their slacknesse in the Marshals Court.
X. If the Marshall shall dismisse without Authority, any Prisoner committed unto his charge, or suffer him to make an escape, he shall be lyable to the same punishment due unto the dismissed or escaped offendour.
XI. All other Faults, Disorders, and Offences not mentioned in these Articles, shall be punished according to the generall Customes and Laws of Warre. ANd to the end that these Laws and Ordinances be made more publike and known, as well to the Officers, as to the common Souldiers, every Colonell and Captain is to provide some of these Books, and to cause them to be forthwith distinctly and audibly read in every severall Regiment, by the respective Marshals in presence of all the Officers; In the Horse Quarters by sound of Trumpet; and amongst the Foot by beat of Drum: And weekly afterwards, upon the pay day, every Captain is to cause the same to be read to his own Company, in presence of his Officers. And also upon every main Guard, the Captain is to do the like, that none may be ignorant of the Laws and Duties required by them.THese are to Authorise you to Print for the use of the Army, The Laws and Ordinances of Warre, by me established, and of late inlarged by my Command, for the better conduct of the Service. And likewise by these presents to forbid all others to Print the same at their perills on the contrary.
Given under my Hand, 25. Novemb. 1643.
To Luke Fawn, Stationer.