War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0547 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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The accession of men from the field was regulated with equal care. Commandants of regiments and batteries who had made out rolls of men and officers suitable for the Invalid Corps were directed to forward them each to his own corps commander. It was his duty to transmit them, with his remarks, to the Provost- Marshal-General; then to issue orders transferring the enrolled individuals from their present organizations to the Invalid Corps; lastly, to send them to a rendezvous indicated by the Adjutant-General in the department where his command was then serving. He might forward their arms and equipments with them, or not, at his option. A subsequent order directed that the rolls above mentioned, as well as those furnished by chiefs of hospitals, should state the nature of the transferred man's disability, and whether he was fitted for the First or Second Battalion.

It was soon found that unsuitable officers were sometimes nominated for the organization by corps commanders. Naturally and justly anxious to keep every worthy man in field service, they were apt to decide that any one would do for an invalid corps who had incurred the necessary amount of physical disability, no matter what might be his character as a man or his history as a soldier. It seemed to be considered a proper receptacle for persons who were useless or noxious at the front, but whose offenses were still not flagrant enough to warrant dismissal from the service. In most instances this was probably not so much the error of the chiefs of corps as of other subordinate officers, especially the heads of regiments.

It was decided by the War Department to rescind so much of General Orders, Numbers 173, as authorized corps commanders to transfer commissions to the Invalid Corps, and to direct that every one desiring a position in it should make written application therefor to the Provost-Marshal-General. His request must be backed by a surgeon's certificate of partial disability, by recommendations from at least three former commanders of rank, and by his full military history. Officers already transferred, but who had not yet received their appointments from the Secretary of War, were to make similar applications.


The largest accessions were derived, as was natural, from the hospitals. On the 11th of June, 1863, the invalid detachments heretofore mentioned were dissolved and their members, whether commissioned or enlisted, turned over to the corps, provided they possessed the proper moral and physical qualifications. In all general hospitals or convalescent camps rolls of transfer were made out after each regular muster. Not only the wounded and the disabled by disease, but men of over forty-five and under eighteen were held to be proper subjects of action. Unquestionably the most efficient single means of bringing men into the corps was the organization of examining boards to visit hospitals and decide upon the disposition of the patients. The inspections were conducted in accordance with the provisions of General Orders, Numbers 130, Adjutant-General's Office, May 15, 1863. It contains two lists of physical infirmities, the first disqualifying men for active service, but not for the Invalid Corps; the second disqualifying for the Invalid Corps and qualifying for a discharge. A revised list was published by the same authority in General Orders, Numbers 212, dated July 9, 1863. Five boards were constituted, headed,