War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0549 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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as its duties would allow, and detachments from it were to be relieved as often as once a week; regular parades and frequent short drills were to be had, both in the camps of rendezvous and at stations; commanding officers were to hold their subordinates to a strict accountability; incorrigibly bad men were to be dishonorably discharged. On the 1st of each month the company commandant was to forward to the Bureau a list of all deaths, desertions, and discharges, with names, rank, former company, regiment, and State. On arriving at a new station he was to report also to the Bureau the strength of his command, the names of men missing on the way, where lost, and whether probably stragglers or deserters.

The formation established for the companies was that of the U. S. infantry, but the maximum was not demanded, and they were usually ordered to stations on attaining a minimum.

On the 5th of September, 1863, the Provost-Marshal-General was authorized by the Adjutant-General to organize the companies into regiments, and on the 26th of the month following he was permitted to appoint colonels and lieutenant-colonels, with commissions dating from September 5, 1863.


One of the first steps of the War Department with regard to the corps had been to devise a special uniform for it. For enlisted men it consisted of a dark-blue forage cap and sky-blue trousers, according to the present regulation, and of a sky-blue kersey jacket, trimmed with dark blue and cut long in the waist, like that of the U. S. cavalry. Officers were directed to wear a sky- blue frock coat, with collar, cuffs, and shoulder-strap grounds of dark blue velvet, and sky-blue trousers, with a double stripe of dark blue down the outer seam, the stripes half an inch wide and three-quarters of an inch apart.

The uniform was becoming, but has never been popular. The men did not like to be distinguished from their comrades of the active service by a peculiar costume; they wanted to keep the dark-blue blouse and dress coat in which they had learned their profession and received their Honorable disabilities. This feeling was aggravated by the inevitable jealously between field and garrison regiments, which ripened into something like bitterness between the soldiers of the Invalid Corps and the ranks in which they had so lately marched and fought.

In the case of the officers, the light blue was so far from agreeable to the eye and soiled so easily that they were eventually allowed and then directed to resume the dark-blue frock coat, although retaining the other insignia of their branch of the service.


Such is the substance of the orders, circulars, and letters of instruction issued with regard to the Invalid Corps during the first six months of its existence. On the 31st of October, 1863 [November 6, 1863*], Colonel Rush submitted a report exhibiting the following results:

The corps contained sixteen regiments, each constituted of six companies of the First and four companies of the Second Battalion. The force was officered by 16 colonels, 16 lieutenant- colonels, 8 majors, 166


*See Vol. III, this series, p. 999.