War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0553 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

They furnished guards for the rebel prison camps at Rock Island and Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Johnson's Island, Ohio; Elmira, N. Y.; Point Lookout, Md.; for the recruiting depots and camps of distribution at Portland, Concord, Boston, New Haven, New York City, Trenton, Pittsburg, Fort Snelling, and Alexandria; they supplied provost-marshals of districts with details to enforce the draft; they conducted the conscripts to rendezvous; they escorted large numbers of substitutes, recruits, and rebel prisoners to and from the front; guarded the railroad between Baltimore and Washington, and performed the patrol and guard duty of the capital; manned a portion of the defenses of Washington during the raid of Early, and for four months before and after guarded many general hospitals, and supplied them with ward- masters, nurses, and clerks; furnished clerks, also, to various military departments and superintendents of recruiting.

SERVICES - FIELD DUTY.

The field service of the corps has, of course, been slight; but when called on for this species of duty it has performed it with as much alacrity and steadiness as other troops; it has shown that it could behave in battle as became a corps of veterans. During the raid of Early upon the rear of Washington a large portion of the threatened front was held by the First, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Fourteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-fourth Regiments. Of these only the Sixth and Ninth came into collision with the enemy. The Sixth had two slight skirmishes in front of Fort De Russy, with a loss of one officer and four men wounded. The Ninth was brought into action at Fort Stevens, after the rebels had pushed their picket-line to within a short distance of the fortification and disabled a number of the gunners. The regiment charged, drove the enemy some distance, and maintained a sharp skirmish until night, losing 5 killed and 7 severely wounded. While the danger to the capital continued the Veteran Reserves endured the same field exposures as the other troops, and with at least equal cheerfulness.

As the proof of this zeal, and also of the fact that invalid soldiers can for a short time perform severe duty, it is worth while to note the fact that the Sixth Regiment made a day's march of twenty-three miles from one threatened point to another, with only one straggler, and that one excused by the surgeon. Major- General McCook, who commanded the defenses, complimented the Veteran Reserves in his official report as follows:

To Colonel Gile and the officers and men of the First Brigade, Veteran Reserve Corps, I am largely indebted for the success of my efforts in keeping the enemy from our line until the arrival of the Sixth Corps.

The history of the Eighteenth Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps, during the summer of 1864, is an interesting and even pathetic exhibition of what invalid soldiers can and will do if necessary. It was composed of six Second Battalion companies; that is to say, of men who had been declared unfit not only for field service but for garrison duty; of men so far crippled and enfeebled that the inspecting surgeons had judged them unable to carry a weightier weapon than the sword.

They had, however, been armed with muskets and used as guards to forward soldiers to the Army. They were unfit to march, but they could go by rail or boat, and they could fire on deserters. When