Text from Osprey Publishing, the book Saratoga 1777: Turning Point of a Revolution by Brendon Morrissey:

Advance Guard: Col Daniel Morgan

The riflemen had 374 all ranks fit and present out of 578 (the rest sick) at the start of September.

The 300 Light infantry were drawn from each brigade and are included among those "on command".

My questions are:

  • Why "The 300"?
  • What does last sentence mean? Does it mean that they took 300 infantry overall, or 300+300+300+300... instead?
  • 300 overall. The publishers are called Osprey btw.
    – C'est Moi
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:11
  • 1
    Obviously, historical accuracy is relevant here, but the fact of the sentence starting with The is what forces the "only 300 in total" interpretation. Personally, I think ...drawn from every brigade (or even better, ...drawn from all brigades) would go a long way towards removing the potential doubt. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:22
  • I'm not sure why it's 'The 300 Light infantry ...'. If it's a company (or whatever) name, I'd expect 'The 300 Light Infantry ...' or 'The 300th Light Infantry ...'. If it's just short for 300 light infantrymen, which the context seems to indicate, I'd expect 'The 300 light infantry ...'. // As FF says, the definite article in 'the 300 light infantry' (however capitalised) must mean 1 x 300 (unless the string indicates an unknown number of men in the 300 Light Infantry company). Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:36
  • The question is reasonably composed and shows evidence of critical thought. I therefore do not understand the unexplained downvote from someone who has overlooked the site guidance to encourage newcomers, and I have compensated for it with upvote.
    – Anton
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 17:07

2 Answers 2


The 300 Light infantry were drawn from each brigade and are included among those "on command".

In full: The 300 [men of the] Light Infantry were [made up of men who had been] drawn from each brigade and [these 300 men] are included among those "on command".

The 300 – the definite article is licensed by “of the Light infantry”, which defines “300 [men]” – they are a specific set of men.

  • 1
    Infantry means soldiers: The 300 soldiers were . . . Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 15:57
  • Hmm... as the men of the Light Infantry must have been soldiers...
    – Greybeard
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 21:22
  • This answer is correct but you only really needed to say "INFANTRY can be a plural noun".
    – equin0x80
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 5:22
  • How do you figure that things not even in the sentence can license anything? Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 17:36
  • @TinfoilHat Elementary my dear Tinfoil Hat: 1. The quote is discussing numbers of men "on command". "The 300" refers to numbers of men. It is not a regiment called "The 300 Light Infantry." It refers to the 300 men of the Light Infantry. "men of the" is simply ellipsis. If we omit the "the", from "300", then it implies that 300 men from other regiments joined those in the Light Infantry - however, without knowing how many Light Infantrymen there were before, this would be confusing and not give a result as to how many men were "on command."
    – Greybeard
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 22:16

An order of battle has a short hand for brevity sake that should not be confused with normal prose. The quote is likely referring to an american revolutionary war military unit composed of an under-strength Morgan's Rifles (the 374 "rifles") as well as (likely Dearborn's) 300 light infantry to reinforce them. Thus Col Morgan would have at most 674 soldiers under his command.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.