Cardwell Reforms

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Description:
The Cardwell Reforms refer to a series of reforms of the British Army undertaken by Secretary of State for War (and former soldier) Edward Cardwell between 1868 and 1874.

Background

The starting point was a Royal Commission in 1858, established in the aftermath of the Crimean War, under Jonathan Peel, then Secretary of State for War. In addition to the obvious instances of incompetence and maladministration which had been revealed, it was evident that the provision of an army of only 25,000 in the Crimea had stripped Britain of almost every trained soldier. The lesson was reinforced by the Indian Mutiny, which once again required almost the entire usable British Army to suppress.

The Commission reported in 1862, but few of its lessons were immediately implemented. The main obstacle had been objections by the defunct British East India Company and its executors, who wished to maintain their own military establishment, and by the "die-hards", senior officers who opposed almost any reform on principle. The arch-conservatives among the Army's officers were led by the Commander in Chief, Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, who was Queen Victoria's cousin, and:

<blockquote>"... almost the last of the typically Hanoverian characters thrown up by the English ruling dynasty, and derived his ideas on drill and discipline from Butcher Cumberland and the Prussian school of Frederick the Great."

On August 2,...
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