discipline: eternally and inevitably,
discipline. Discipline is the screw, the nail,
the cement, the glue, the nut, the bolt, the rivet
that holds everything tight. Discipline is the wire,
the connecting rod, the chain that co-ordinates.
Discipline is the oil that makes the machine run fast,
the oil that makes the parts run smooth, as well as
the oil that makes the metal bright. They know about
discipline here... the principle of discipline here is divinely
simple: you lay it on thick and fast, all the time."
Obedience has been and will always be
absolutely crucial to the efficient performance of military
forces. Compliance with orders was maintained through strict
discipline. In 1867, the principle form of corrective action
in cases of insubordination was confinement.
Ten incarceration cells were located at
the fort. They were used for sentences not exceeding 42
days. Any sentence of seven days or more required a
regimental court martial. Most minor crimes resulted in
shorter terms than this.
Detention was solitary or mixed. In the
case of solitary confinement, prisoners could not leave their
rooms except to receive fresh air and exercise. Mixed
imprisonment meant hard labour, such as drill in marching order,
breaking stones, shot drill (moving cannon balls from one spot to
another), cleaning barracks and privies.
For sentences under a week, soldiers were
given a single blanket; longer terms meant that after the first
week, bedding was provided, but it was removed every third night
for the remainder of the sentence.
Rations reflected the nature of the
crimes and ranged from full rations to bread and water.
Alcohol and tobacco in any form were prohibited.
Discipline was governed by a graduated
series of punishments to fit the crime. Minor crimes were
drunkenness, lateness, poor turnout and insubordination.
These resulted in confinement to cells with extra duty or loss of
pay, or loss of good conduct badges.
Serious offenders who required
considerable terms of imprisonment were sent to the penitentiary
Officers were governed by the same set of
values as troops, but did not receive the same punishment.
They were never sent to the garrison cells. Instead fines,
confinement to quarters, extra duties or, in extreme cases,
dismissal were in effect.
One of the punishments that was also used
until 1881, was flogging. In 1854, a maximum of 50 lashes in
one punishment was established; previously the number was 200. If
a man passed out, he was revived and the punishment continued.
Lashes were laid on by the drummers who in turn were lashed by the
drum major if they were not using enough force.
FLOGGING IN THE BRITISH ARMY
The Duke of Cambridge, Commander in Chief of
the British Army, has just issued an order which is virtually an
abolition of the punishment of flogging, heretofore much practiced
in the Service. The soldiers on entering the Service are to be
classified in two classes, in the first of which they will not be
liable to corporal punishment except for aggravated mutinous
conduct in time of war. They will continue in the first class
unless they commit certain crimes, for which they will be degraded
to the second class, in which they may be subjected to corporal
punishment. Uninterrupted good conduct for a year will transfer a
soldier for the second time to a first class. The plan is
ingenious, and seems likely to accomplish its purpose and put an
end to flogging, except for aggravated offenses committed by
- 7th February, 1860 - The Weekly British
Soldiers guilty of desertion were branded
with the letter "D" (until 1871). Originally the
branding was done by the drum major using needles and gun
powder. In 1840 marking instruments were used and it became
more like a tattoo. Another brand used was "B.C.",
which referred to Bad Character. Prior to 1867 these branded
soldiers were usually sent to criminal colonies, such as
Executions were only implemented for
crimes of mutiny, desertion, or violence against superiors, and
were more common in wartime.
Next page: Officers Quarters