War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0560 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

almost overwhelming experience of the present. It must be remembered that over 60,000 men have entered the Veteran Reserve Corps, and that at one time it was twice as large as was the entire U. S. Army at the commencement of the war. It is believed that the improvements in its management have corresponded with the general advance in other branches of the War Department.

A single amendment to General Order 76 is suggested. Even under its provisions the period which elapsed between the inspection of the invalid and his actual arrival in the corps was too great, and it occasionally happened that he died, deserted, or otherwise disappeared from the hospital before the order transferring him to the organization was issued.

Would it not have been well to give the examining board authority to order the man at once to the nearest camp of rendezvous, there to await the action of the Adjutant-General? The Veteran Reserve Corps officers attached to hospitals might have taken charge of the detachments. By this plan the movement of transfer would have been expedited, the blanks which now exist in the records with regard to the fate of certain men would have been fewer, and it is not believed that the errors of selection would have been much more numerous.


The services performed by the Veteran Reserve Corps have been so varied in nature that it is impossible to state them in a compendious exhibit. Where one regiment has escorted thousands of prisoners, convalescents, recruits, and conscripts, whose numbers can be given with accuracy, another has simply guarded important posts and vast stores of public property, thus performing duty which cannot be expressed statistically. After examining the voluminous reports of the regiments for the year, I find it impossible to present their information intelligibly otherwise than by detached summaries.

These epitomes will be brief; they will indeed be little more than the barest memoranda, necessarily unjust to certain organizations, but this error cannot be avoided without a fullness of detail which would render the report too voluminous. It should be observed that the services of the Second Battalion are not stated here for the reason that its records are not under the control of the Bureau.

First Regiment. - At Elmira, N. Y., performing patrol duty and guarding hospitals, store-houses, and camp of rebel prisoners. Up to the close of the war the prisoners constantly in camp averaged between 10,000 and 12,000; frequent attempts to escape and one prisoner recorded as escaped; duty of guarding them very severe. Squads of convalescents, recruits, conscripts, & c., generally 80 or 100 strong, escorted to the front or to other posts; no record of a single escape. Many volunteer troops disbanded at this station; at one time 15,000 present; various disturbances resulted; order restored by this regiment. Two companies on duty at Rochester, N. Y., repressing disorders committed by disbanding regiments.

Second Regiment. - Headquarters at Detroit, Mich., detached companies at various points throughout the North; patrol, escort, and ordinary guard duty. From headquarters the following men have been conducted to the front: Recruits, 1,026; substitutes, 202; conscripts, 140; convalescents, 805; stragglers, 201; deserters, 242; paroled prisoners, 242; total, 2,858; escapes, 16. Similar service performed by the detached companies, but no numerical records forwarded to this Bureau.