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A recruiting party, including infantry and light dragoons, drinking and smoking in a tavern, 1805.
Oil on panel by A E Eglington, 1805.
Conscription was never introduced by the British Government during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) so the Army always struggled to fill its ranks. Potential recruits were instead drawn to civilian occupations. This was highlighted in the disparity in pay; where a private could earn seven shillings per week in 1806, a dockworker could expect to earn 28 shillings. Although the Army recruited extensively from the militia, recruitment parties had to resort to all sorts of questionable methods in order to 'persuade' men to enlist when they visited taverns and markets.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection