WASHINGTON, D. C., April 15, 1863.
The Board met pursuant to the foregoing order, and continued in session from day to day, except Sunday, until the final adjournment. During the first two days of the session of the Boards, Medical Inspector R. H. Coolidge and Surg. Meredith Clymer only were present. Asst. Surg. Roberts Bartholow reported from general hospital, Forty Schuyler, and was present for duty on Monday, April 13. During the subsequent meetings of the Board all the members were present.
The Board very carefully, and as thoroughly as the terms of the law permitted, proceeded to prescribe rules for governing "boards of enrollment in determining shall be exempt from draft as physically or mentally unfit for the service." Whilst profoundly impressed with the necessity of permitting no man to secure exemption from military duty who is mentally and physically qualified, they were equally solicitous to avoid encumbering the Army with useless recruits. Fortunately the performance of this duty was rendered less perplexing by the conviction that the interests of the Government and the necessities of individuals are identical. The list of disqualifying infirmities herewith submitted is large, and it will be seen that a regard for the effectiveness of the Army, as well as for diseased and disabled citizens, would not permit us to overlook those conditions which positively or relatively incapacitate men for the performance of miliary duty.
In the French miliary service, where the necessities of the State are held superior, the unwise admission of conscripts affected with various disqualifying infirmities has rendered it necessary, to avoid the great expense to the State of maintaining and discharging useless conscripts, to increase the number and variety of causes of disqualification.
In 1854 such was the number March, 1856, addressed a letter to the Minister of War on the subject, in which he states that of the whubsequently discharged for this cause, by which the treasury sustained a loss of 1,500,000 francs.
From 1831 to 1842 the mean average number of exemptions was annually 94,860, from which it results that, to secure the contingent of 80,000 men, not less than 174,860 young men were annually examined.
The "act for enrolling and calling out the national forces" does not establish the stature of drafted men. In this country and in Europe the minimum height is generally fixed by the Minister of War; and surgeon, but by the stature of the recruit is not determined by the tasted to incorporate in its synopsis of disqualifications any rule concerning stature. The subject is an important one. In the Army of the United States the minimum standard height of five feet eight inches for artillery and five feet six inches for infantry, in 1825, has been gradually reduced, until now it is fixed at five feet three inches. The minimum standard height of the Roman soldier was five feet two and one-fourth inches, and the present standard of the British and French armies is, respectively, five feet five inches and five feet one and one-half inches.
The Board think it would be unwise to lower the present standard, and injudicious to leave boards of enrollment without a definite rule of action.
Although the maximum standard height has not hitherto been made