War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0544 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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were directed to the utilization of disabled soldiers. Accordingly the invalid detachments were serviceable in their limited sphere of action. They were, however, temporary in their nature, the men were mustered and paid on their detachment rolls, but were not dropped from the rolls of their original companies; and on becoming fit for the field they were returned to their colors.

As before, the hospitals continued to discharge thousands of soldiers whose disabilities merely unfitted them for the march and bivouac, while leaving them entirely competent to act as garrison troops and provost-police. That branch of the Army which should call into military use the large class of semi-healthy men was yet to be devised.

AUTHORIZATION OF AN INVALID CORPS.

The final step in this progress, the result of severe martial experience and urgent national need, was taken at the suggestion of the Provost-Marshal-General and, with the prompt and cordial approval of the Secretary of War, on the 28th of April, 1863, was issued General Order 105, Adjutant-General's Office, opening with the sentence: "The organization of an Invalid Corps is hereby authorized." The order proceeds to direct that it shall consist of companies, and, if thereafter intended to keep it within its proper limits and render it a Corps of Honor. Three sources of supply are indicated-first, men in the field who had been disabled by wounds or be disease contracted in the line of duty; second, men absent from their colors in hospitals or convalescent camps, or otherwise under the control of medical officers; third, men who had been discharged for injuries received through Honorable service. Officers as well as soldiers might be collected from these three classes, and from these alone.

The fact of partial disability must be established in all cases by medical certificates, granted only after personal examination. Meritorious character in regard to intelligence, industry, sobriety, and attention to duty must be vouched for by military superiors.

In the case of officers who had left the service, applications to enter the corps must be made through the acting assistant provost-marshal-general of the State in which the candidate resided, fortified by medical certificates of partial disability incurred in service, by evidence of Honorable discharge, and by recommendations from former regimental, brigade, and division commanders. To insure rapid recruitment commandants of regiments throughout the Army were directed to make out rolls of their men and officers who were unfitted for field service and forward them, certified by their own names and those of the examining surgeons, to the Provost-Marshal-General, while medical inspectors, surgeons in charge of hospitals, military commanders, and all others having power to grant discharges were forbidden to release from service any man under their control who might be suitable for the Invalid Corps. Finally, the Provost-Marshal- General was charged with the execution of the order, and the troops organized according to its provisions were placed under his command.

First official year.

ESTABLISHMENT AND NATURE OF THIS BUREAU.

Colonel Richard H. Rush, of the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, subsequently colonel of the First Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps, was the first officer assigned to duty by the Provost-Marshal- General as chief