THE FIRST MAJOR

by Lloyd W. Fowles

          By 1808 the Command wanted an equality in all respects with the other military companies which performed escort duty in the State. There was one detail, however, which loomed larger as the years rolled on, and it caused "constant hostility" between the Horse Guard and the Foot Guard Companies. Whereas the commanding officer of the Horse Guards was a major, the two Foot Guard Companies were led by captains. This fact seemed to place the Foot Guards in an inferior position, in spite of the fact that the First Company originated in 1771 and the Second Company four years later, while the two Horse Guard Companies originated in 1778 and 1808. This difference in rank must have been particularly humiliating to an officer such as Major Terry who felt that the dignity and prestige of his position should have recognition second to none. Consequently, "to rectify this disturbing inequity," the General Assembly in May 1809 enacted legislation which gave the commanding officers of the Foot Guard Companies equal rank with the Horse Guard. From this time on, there seem to been no difficulties concerning the relative rank of the officers who led the escort companies, and Major Terry could feel that his company had achieved equal stature and distinction in every aspect of military etiquette.

 

February 22, 2004
Article edited for inclusion in "Battalion Review" by Major L. Schave

From An Honor to the State, by Lloyd Fowles.
Used with permission

 

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