A junior post-captain would usually command a frigate or a comparable ship, while a senior post-captain (i.e. a full rank captain) would command a ship of the line.
After 1795, when they were first introduced on Royal Navy uniforms, the number and position of epaulettes distinguished between commanders and post-captains of various seniorities. A commander wore a single epaulette on the left shoulder. A post-captain with less than three years seniority wore a single epaulette on the right shoulder, and a post-captain with three or more years seniority was the same as captain and wore one epaulette on each shoulder from then.
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