COLONEL, the commander of a regi ment or battalion of troops ; he is the highest in rank of those called field-offi cers, and is immediately subordinate to a general of division.
The derivation of the word is uncertain. It is supposed to have been given origi nally to the leader of a body of men ap pointed to found a colony ; or to have come from the word coronarius, indica ting the ceremony of investing an officer with the command of a corps ; or, finally, from the word columna, denoting the strength or support of an army.
The title of colonel-general was, for the first time, conferred by Francis I., about the year 1545, on officers commanding considerable divisions of French troops, though, according to Brantome, it had been given to the chief of in Albanian corps in the service of France at an ear lier period. When the troops of that country were formed into regiments (the infantry about 1565, and the cavalry seventy years afterwards), the chiefs of those corps were designated 21Iestres de Camp ; and it was not till 1661, when Louis XIV. suppressed the office of colo nel-general of infantry, that the com manders of regiments had the title of colonel.
In England, the constitution of the army was formed chiefly on the model of the French military force ; and the terms regiment and colonel-general were intro duced into this country during the reign of Elizabeth. It must, morever, be ob served, that in the regulations made by the citizens of London for forming the militia in 1585, it is proposed to appoint colonels having authority over ten cap tains ; and that both colonels and lieu tenant-colonels are distinctly mentioned in the account of the army which was raised in order to oppose the threatened invasion of the country in 1588. Before the time of that queen, it appears that the commanders of bodies of troops equiva lent to regiments had only the general title of captain.
The duties of colonels are described in Ward's Animadversions of Warre,' which was published in 1639; and from the account there given, it appears that those duties were then nearly the same as they are at present. To the colonel
of a regiment, besides the general super intendence of the military duties per formed by the troops composing it, is in trusted the care of providing the clothing of the men and of appointing the agent through whom their pay is transmitted. Colonels take precedence of one another according to the dates of their commis sions, and not according to the seniority of their regiments.
The lieutenant-colonel is immediately under the full colonel. He assists the latter in directing the evolutions of the battalion or regiment, which he also com mands during the absence of his superior officers.
If appointed after 31st March, 1834, the annual pay of a colonel is, in the Life and Horse Guards, 1800/. without other emolument; but in all other regiments the colonel derives emoluments from cloth ing. The annual pay, exclusive of these emoluments, is—in the Grenadier Guards, 1200/. ; in the Coldstream and Scots Fusi lier Guards, 1000/. ; in the cavalry regi ments generally, 900/. ; and in the regular infantry, 500/. The sum voted for the full pay of 135 colonels, in 1845, was 88,4501. The daily pay of a lieutenant colonel is—in the Life Guards, 9s. 2d. ; in the Foot Guards, 1/. 6s. 9d. ; in the Royal Artillery, 11. 7s. Id. in the Horse Brigade, and 18s. Id. in the Foot ; in the Royal Engineers, 18s. Id. and 16s. ld. ; and in the Royal Marines and in the In fantry, 178. The full pay of 176 lieuten ant-colonels was 59,180/. in 1845. The half-pay of a colonel of cavalry is 158.6d., and of infantry 148. 6d. per diem. A lieutenant-colonel of cavalry receives 12s. 6d., and of infantry, 118. ; and in the Artillery and Engineers, 118. 8d. For prices of commissions see Commissiox.
In February, 1845, there were in the British army 374 colonels and 697 lieu tenant-colonels.