Extracts from General Wolfe's Orders

From Instructions to Young Officers by Major General James Wolfe
First published 1768, 2nd edition published 1780


Oct. 27, 1749.

If any woman in the regiment has a venereal disease, and does not immediately make it known to the surgeon, she shall upon discovery be drummed out of the regiment, and be imprisoned in the Tolbooth if she ever returns to the corps.

Jan. 1, 1750.

A list to be given tomorrow at orderly time of the number of women in the regiment that sell liquor of any kind, with the streets they live in, and by whose permission it is they sell such liquors, that proper measures may be taken to prevent their contributing to the uncommon villanies that have of late brought reproach upon the regiment.

No soldiers wife is to suttle or sell liquor without the major's leave, on pain of imprisonment: and leave will only be obtained for such as are particularly recommended by the captain or commanding officers of companies.


The officers are desired to discourage matrimony among the men as much as possible: the service suffers by the multitude of women already in the regiment.


The lieutenant-colonel is informed that several soldiers have been married in this town in a clandestine and illegal manner: this practice is contrary to all order and discipline, and deserves exemplary punishment, as well as from the civil magistrates as from the military; the first soldier who shall disobey the repeated orders that have been given on this subject, and shall presume to marry in this infamous manner and without his officers knowledge must expect to be proceeded against with the utmost rigour. The lieutenant-colonel further recommends to the soldiers not to marry at all; the long march, and embarkation that will soon follow, must convince them that many women in the regiment are very inconvenient, especially as some of them are not so industrious, nor so useful to their husbands, as a soldiers wife ought to be.

Dover Castle
Dec. 23, 1753.

The Lieutenant-colonel has had complaints from the people in the neighbourhood of this castle against some women of loose disorderly conduct, supposed to belong to the: garrison; which however is not true.- The colonel, is likewise informed that the soldiers have in an open, indecent, and scandalous manner frequented these same women, to the great dishonour not only of the corps they belong to, but to mankind in gene­ral: he therefore desires they may be informed, that he considers this sort of commerce with the sex as the last and most dangerous degree of brutality, ignominy and vice; and that he cannot but entertain an exceeding contemptible opinion of those who have been concerned in it. These women, encouraged by the soldiers, have done mischief here abouts to the farmers; the soldiers will therefore for the future: be looked upon as the abettors of these abandoned, infamous persons, and will be accountable in some measure for their ill deeds, and punished accordingly.


Several soldiers have taken upon them to marry without the consent or approbation of their captains: the lieutenant-colonel will have a list sent of these mens names with the first orderly man.

He has been informed that some mean rascals have agreed with the magistrates, or civil officers, in their quarters to marry prostitutes and common whores for pecuniary considerations, to the great dishonour and discredit of the troops. If ever anything of this sort comes to his knowledge, he will never forgive the offender, nor consider him in any other light than as the last and most contemptible of scoundrels, and will order him to be treated as such upon all occasions.

Orders Given by Major General Wolfe in America

May 17th, 1759.

The regiments are to receive provisions for no more than three women per company of 70, and four per company of 100 men.

River St Lawrence

The general has directed (though not in publick orders) that no woman be permitted to land with the troops, and no insult of any kind be offered to the inhabitants of the island.

Point Orleans

The sutler who was drummed along the line this day for keeping a disorderly tent, and insulting an officer in the execution of his duty, is not to be permitted to return, but if found in camp is to be sent to the provost, and there kept in irons.

Orders and Regulations

Whenever any body of troops marches from this camp no women are to go with them, or follow till further orders; they will be subsisted here.

No women to be petty-sutler in the camp without proper authority, on pain of being struck off the provision rolls.

July 9

The regiments and corps may send for one woman per company from the Point of Orleans.

August 20

If any woman refuses to serve as a nurse in the hospital, or leaves it without being regularly dismissed by order of the director, she shall be struck off the provision roll, and if found afterwards in any of the camps she shall be turned out immediately.

August 25

It has been observed that fascines have been taken away from the places where they were deposited by order, - any soldier found guilty of such irregularity will be most severely punished; the women are also forbid this practice. 

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