A military chaplain is a chaplain who ministers to soldiers, and other members of the military. In many countries, chaplains also minister to the family members of military personnel, to civilian noncombatants working for military organizations and to civilians within the military organization's area of operations. Although the term chaplain originally had Christian roots, it is generally used today in military organizations to describe all professionals specially trained to serve any spiritual need, regardless of religious affiliation. Often, in addition to offering pastoral care to individuals, and supporting their religious rights and needs, military chaplains also advise senior officers on issues of religion, ethics, troop morale and morals.
The first English military-oriented chaplains were priests on-board proto-naval vessels during the eighth century A.D. Land based chaplains appeared during the reign of King Edward I, although their duties included jobs that today would come under the jurisdiction of military engineers and medical officers.
Philip Hughes was officially listed as the Chaplain for the 44th Regiment of foot, during the Braddock expedition. Little is known about him, apart from "In 1755, Philip Hughes earned some distinction amid the chaotic defeat of General Braddock's army on the Monongahela river, rescuing the colours of the 44th Regiment despite being wounded in the battle."
The following is an extract of a letter from Fort Cumberland, dated July 23, which appears in The Public Advertiser, October 31, 1755.
"I believe I am the first Chaplain who ever saved a Pair of Colours, which I took within fifty Yards of the Cannon, when the Enemy were Masters of them. The French and Indians crept about in small Parties so that the Fire was quite around us, and in all the Time I never saw one, nor could I on Enquiry find any one who saw ten together. The Loss killed and wounded 864. The French had 2,000 men, besides Indians, we had six Indians, and they at least as many hundred, We marched near 400 Miles in three Months, cut 350 thro' Woods, for the last 200 saw no House but this dirty Fort. Rum 20's a Gallon, the worst brown sugar 4s 6d a Pound, a Year old Calf sold to Sir Peter Halket and our Mess at 3.*.(* - a pound sign I assume. It looks like a capital L in cursive) after the 25th of June a Dollar for a Pint of Rum, so you may judge of our Distress. The whole Country is a Wood."
A special thank-you to Darrell Pace for the suggestion and information on Chaplain Hughes.
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