This was a cause for concern. Only one of Raglan's 5 infantry divisional commanders was under 60 (the Duke of Cambridge) he was the Queen's 37 year old cousin who had not seen action before. The cheif engineer Burgoyne was 72. Only two of the infantry divisional commanders had led anything larger than a battalion (regiment with less than 1000 men) into battle.
There were signs of growing professionalism in sections of the officer corps but the actual experience of command was confined to colonial wars, many officers had seen no active service at all. Commissions were bought to senure that the landed aristocracy and gentry from families with a military tradition. Few rank-and-file soldiers sought or recieved commissions, this enables offivers to perpetuate the values of the officer-gentlemen with accepted standards of behavious and a heightened sense of honour and duty. These were positive attributes, but too many officers joined the army because it provided them with a fashionable existence rather than a strenuous existence.
Military administration in 1854 was bad. Too many people became ministers and officials were involved.
-The Secretary of State for War and the Colonies was theoretically responsible for military policy and for political oversight of all troops outside Britain
-The Secretary at War looked after military financial and legal matters
-The Commander in Cheif saw to discipline, appointments, promotions and the army's general state of readiness
-The Adjutant General dealt with recruiting, discipline, pay, arms and clothing
-The Quartermaster General was responsible for movement, quartering, barracks, camps and transport (no transport corps existed)
-The Board of General Officers advised the Adjutant General on clothing and equipment
The Home Secretary administered the yeomanry (volunteer calvary) and the militia (a home defence force raised from volunteers or by ballot in an emergency) and the distribution of regular troops in Britain
-The Ordnance Office controlled the engineers and the artillery as well as the armry's ammunition needs
The Commissariat, a department of the Treasury, was responsible for food, fuel and transport
Problems in the Military Administration and Commit
It produced rivalries, procratination and inertia. Ministers had discussed plans for reforms for some time but successive cabinets were too timid to override the hostility of Wellington and other senior officers to any change that would diminish the authority and independence of the Commander in Chief or subject the army to greater political control.
The army's main commitments were home and imperial defence, given that Britain was shielded by the Royal Navy and that foreign invasion seemed a remote possibility, the demands of domestic security generally took second place to those of imperial defence. Most soldiers served overseas for long periods of time.
Problems of Manpower and Poor Conditions
The army rarely contained more than 115,000 men, soldiers served 21 years in the infantry and 24 years in the cavalry. Long service overseas exacted a heavy toll in human life and health especially in tropical stations like India. Manpower problems were compounded by its failure to attract sufficient recruits.
Labouring classes were not keen on soldiering, the poor conditions of service affected this;
-Barracks were overcrowded and insanitary
-Food was monotonous
-Basic pay was poor (1 shilling/day in infantry and 6 dimes were deducted for food)
-Marriage was discouraged among the rank and file, families of married soldiers were expected to live in the same barrack rooms as the rest of the men
-The disciplinary code was severe, flogging (reduced to 50 lashes in 1846)
-Drill, drill and more drill
The army was a refuge for the dregs of society; misfits, drunkards and criminals
Efforts at reforms pre-1854
The 1830s and 1840s were decades of reform in civilian society. The army was not wholly immune to calls for change;
-Lord Howick (Secretary at war 35-39) and Colonial Secretary (46-52) attempted to bring about military change to make army life more attractive, introducing a more wholesome diet and sought to improve barrack conditions
These attempts at making things better didn't appease the soldiers;
-The administrative system made it difficult to achieve wide-ranging reform
-Parliament, anxious to save money, showed a conspicuous neglect of the soldier