well regulated

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Mar 18 01:32:55 UTC 2003

In a message dated 03/17/2003 10:01:44 AM Eastern Standard Time,

> "regulated" with respect specifically to troops meant "properly
>  The Oxford English Dictionary gives only one example of this meaning, from
> 1690:  "We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine
> and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that

Is this by any chance the origin of the term "Regular" as in "Regular Army"?

When there was a draft, a "Regular" (always capitalized) in the US Army was
simply someone who had enlisted rather than been drafted.  In fact, an
enlistee was commonly referred to as an "RA" ("Regular Army", from the fact
that serial numbers for enlistees, before being replaced by Social Security
numbers, began with the letters "RA"), although draftee liked to refer to
RA's as "lifers".

Traditionally, however, a "Regular" was simply a long-term soldier

I suppose you could say that the current US Army consists of "Regulars".

"Three years ago this very month we went to Governor's Isle
For to furnish food for cannon in true military style
Thirteen American dollars every month we'll surely get
For to stand in the mud and red-hot sun with a military step

There's Sergeant John McCavrity and Corporal Donahue
They make us march up to the crack in gallant Company Q
Oh we're marching off for Sitting Bull, and that's the way it goes
Forty miles a day on beans and hay in the Regular Army Oh!"

This brings up the possibility---I think a rather remote possibility---that
"well regulated militia" meant "militia that behaved like Regulars in battle".

           - Jim Landau

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