War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 1000 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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found on examination to be unfit for further field service. Depot camps of rendezvous for these men were established at Saint Louis, Mo., New York, and other suitable points. The men thus obtained were divided into two battalions, according to the nature of their disability. The First Battalion is armed with muskets and is designed to perform duty in large cities towns as provost guards, and to make short marches, in case of necessity; to convey drafted men to and from the rendezvous; to guard them; to guard prisoners and convey prisoners to their destination and, if need be, to man fortifications; in fact, to do all kinds of garrison duty. For this battalion men were selected who were disabled for field service by reason of disease which was liable to be aggravated by exposure to the hardships of camp life and bivouacking, but who retained the full use of all their limbs.

The Second Battalion is armed with swords and revolvers, and is designed to do duty in hospitals, offices, store-houses, and depots of supplies. This battalion is composed of men who have lost a leg or an arm, or whose physical disability, owing to wounds, or aggravated disease contracted in the line of duty, renders them unable to perform duty in the First Battalion.

As soon as a company of either battalion was organized, clothed, armed, and equipped, it was assigned to duty where its services were most needed, relieving the men of active regiments on duty there. Thus invalids have gradually been assigned to duty, as the organization progressed, until now the men of the First Battalion perform the provost and guard duty, and the draft rendezvous in many of the States; while the Second Battalion supplies clerks, nurses, attendants, and guards for many of the general hospitals, relieving, man for man, men of active regiments, and enabling the surgeons to send them to duty in the field. The magnitude of this labor can be estimated from the fact that over 2,000 men of the Second Battalion are now employed in this duty in the hospitals of Washington alone, and the surgeons express themselves highly pleased with the manner in which the duty is performed. It is designed to supply every hospital in the country with men of the Invalid Corps, thus obviating the necessity for retaining any men fit for active service on permanent duty at any of these institutions.

It must be borne in mind that while the men are rendered thus useful during the unexpired period of their enlistment they would, if sent back to their regiments, have been an incubus to an active army, impeding its operations by straggling on a march or overcrowding ambulances and field hospitals owing to physical disability. Prior to the organization of the corps most of the men now in it would have been, under existing regulations and law, discharged from the service with a pension of $8 per month, in return for which they would render no service to the Government. By retaining them in this corps, at an addition to this pension of only $5 per month, ratioeives from each the full service of an active man, while the men are furnished with Honorable employment suited to their capacities, and are spared the necessity of becoming pensioners, and shielded from the undoubted evils of a life of idleness.

Though but little more than six months have elapsed since the order authorizing the formation of the corps was issued, over 200 companies of invalids have been organized. From these sixteen regiments, numbering ten companies each, have been thus far formed. Each regi-