East India Company Army

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The East India Company maintained armies in its three Presidencies. These were formed from the mid-18th century and lasted until the Indian Mutiny. European regiments were amalgamated with the British Army in 1860. 'Native' regiments continued until the abolition of the Presidency Armies in the 1890s. For Indian armies and regiments after this date, see the Indian Army.

The three Presidency armies were quite distinct from each other and operated independently. More information can be found on their respective articles:

FIBIS resources

Part 1 FIBIS Journal Number 17 (Spring 2007) Part 2 FIBIS Journal Number 22 (Autumn 2009)
Refer FIBIS Journals for details of how to access these Journals


FIBIS Research Guide

Researching ancestors in the East India Company's Armies by Peter Bailey Families in British India Society, 2006. (FIBIS research guide; 1)

This is the essential handbook for anyone researching ancestors who were connected to the HEIC Armies of Bengal, Bombay, and Madras. It covers records from the armies' origins until their assimilation into the British Army in 1860. Laid out in a clear and accessible manner, the book directs searchers to records on all available stages of a man's career, whether officer or soldier, including sources which may provide details on his wife and children. For those researchers not fortunate enough to have access to the India Office Records at the British Library, the LDS film numbers are included. A full review by Richard Scott Morel, Archivist of Pre-1858 India Office Records, is available on pp. 45-46 of the FIBIS Journal 17 (Spring 2007)

Purchase a copy from the FIBIS Online Shop

India Office records at the British Library

British Library’s Help for Researchers: European Officers

Records include Cadet Papers IOR/L/MIL/9/107-253 1789-1860. Cadet Papers up to about c 1805, may comprise nothing more than a baptism certificate or father's declaration of date of birth.

Books and Articles

"Irishmen in the East-India Company Army" by Peter Bailey in Irish Family History-Journal of the Irish Family History Society Volume 17, 2001 page 84


The National Army Museum, London has a card index, mainly in respect of East India Company Army Officers

Wives and children

Marriages between EIC soldiers and Anglo Indians or Native women, the allowances paid to wives and the army records kept regarding these wives are discussed in "Haemoglobin D (B Punjab) in an East Anglian Family", The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 95, No. 2 (Jul. - Dec., 1965), pp. 295-306. The article (including an extract) and its implications are the subject of this archived India List thread. The article may be read online on the subscription website JSTOR. Some card holders of participating libraries may have access, refer Miscellaneous tips. Also available at the British Library

See also

External Links

  • Presidency Armies Wikipedia
  • British East India Company Armies Wikipedia
  • Army and Civil Service Wikipedia. Gives strengths of the Presidency armies in 1796, 1806 and 1857.
  • This India List thread is about the difference between “Rank in Regiment” and “Rank in Army”
  • This India List thread is about the fact that commissions and ranks were not purchased within the East India Company Armies. However one possible exception is mentioned.
  • This India List post discusses some of the advantages of joining the East India Company’s Armies, rather than the British Army, as does this further India List post .It lists a number of the various types of Sergeants to be found on the Madras 'Effective Supernumeries' and advises these were positions of significant importance and standing.
  • The Nafziger Collection of Orders of Battle from the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth Kansas. Contain a PDF catalogue document for the 7000 PDF documents in the collection in addition to a search facility. The files relating to India are mainly in respect of location of regiments of the British Army, but there does appear to be some limited information in respect of the location of East India Company Army regiments.
  • A helpful website which has closed is regiments.org, here are pages from the archived site at January 2008 An overview of the South Asian Armies page, Alphabetic Index, South Asia page and Numeric index, South Asia page
  • The Cadet and Staff Registers of the Sandhurst Collection. The registers show the details for almost every officer cadet that attended the Royal Military Academy Woolwich and Royal Military College Sandhurst, England

Historical books on-line