PHILADELPHIA, Augusta 29, 1863.
Surgeon-General U. S. Army, &c.:
SIR: Absence from home has prevented me from replying to your letter of the 12th instant at an earlier period.
I have carefully examined the paragraphs marked in red ink in the Regulations for the Government of the Bureau of the Provost-Marshal-General of the United States, and find but little to criticism. They seem to me to be, as a whole, as perfect as it is possible to render them.
To paragraph 11 some exception may be urged. Thus, it is stated that neuralgia in none of its forms should be admitted as a cause for exemption, unless accompanied by manifest disorder as a cause for exemption, unless accompanied by manifest disorder of the general health, wasting of a limb, or other serious local disease. It has occurred to me to see a large number of cases of neuroglia in various parts of the body without any of these concomitant, and yet the patients would, I am sure, have been utterly unfit for military duty. In such cases exemption should, of course, not be granted without the certificate of the attending physician.
Paragraph 15 grants exemption on account of the loss of a nose. It is difficult for me to perceive why such a defect, if it does not interfere with respiration, should prevent a man from fighting.
Paragraph 28. Fistula of the anus, in ordinary cases, is so easily remedied that it should not be regarded as disqualifying circumstance, and yet I have known several men in this city to be exempted on this account, notwithstanding they were quite healthy.
Paragraph 33 grants exemption on account of loss or atrophy of both testicles, and also on account of the retention of these organs with the inguinal canal. I cannot see why the first two of these affections should in any wise interfere with the duties of a soldier, if he is well formed and sound in other respects; nor ought the retention of the testicles in the groin be, in my opinion, a sufficient cause for exemption, unless accompanied by hernia. A man thus affected may be as strong as when these organs are situated in the scrotum, as I know from personal observation.
Many men, I fear, are admitted into the Army who are utterly unfit for field duty in consequence of the feebleness of their syphilitic parents should, in my judgement, as a general rule, be excluded from the service as incapable of bearing up under its hardships. The enlistment of such persons is not only useless to the Government, but a source of expense and annoyance.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your friend and obedient servant,
S. D. GROSS.
WASHINGTON, D. C., October 22, 1863.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY, U. S. Army,
Provost-Marshal-General, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, inclosing "a copy of the report of a committee of the New York Academy of Medicine on the list of disqualifications of drafted men," and asking whether, in my opinion, "the adoption of the recommendations made by the committee
will lead to an increase or diminution in the number of drafted men held to service."
In reply I have to state that the adoption of the recommendations of the committee will lead to a diminution in the number of drafted men