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Hunting down the past - Major Mitchell

We have a very limited knowledge of Sergeant-Major Dominick Mitchell, the-some-time 2-i-c of the original Prince Rupert’s Bluecoats.

The sergeant-major, or, as we say today, major, of the regiment, was usually the third in command after the colonel and lieutenant-colonel. However, as we have shown earlier in this blog, in Prince Rupert’s Bluecoats the Lieutenant-Colonel, Russell, was the de facto commander from day to day, and Mitchell was his deputy.

We have a fair history of Russell, but there are scant sources for Mitchell. Peter Young, in his Edgehill /Marston Moor/ Naseby trilogy, refers to him several times. Lawson Nagel, in his History of the Bluecoats, also refers to him, as do several historical sources (Symonds in his diary being one of them). However, unlike Russell, or his predecessors Henry and Thomas Lunsford, there is no back-story or proper reference.

I found this very frustrating, and spoke with several ex-COs of the current regiment. They suggested several ideas for information, but all of these unfortunately drew a blank, or left us with further conjecture. All of our conversation and research in readily available books led us to believe the following:

  1. As the sergeant-major, he was probably a professional officer. Russell was quite young to run a regiment and had limited experience; he was an MP and a nobleman, not a professional soldier by trade. It would make sense for Rupert to ensure he had some good experience amongst his senior ranks of his own-named regiment.

  2. He was captured at Bolton, but was in garrison with the Bluecoats at Chester the following year, so must have been rescued once Bolton was taken. I found reference to the 18 February 1645, where the corporation of Chester authorised payment of £40 to Sergeant-Major Mitchell “for his Highness Prince Rupert’s foot regiment now resident in this garrison”.