War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0765 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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Various modes were adopted for the detection of frauds practiced by recruits and substitutes to enter, and by drafted and enrolled men to escape the service.

The volunteer and the drafted man are governed by very different motives in presenting themselves for examination; for while the former tries to conceal every physical defect, the latter is equally anxious to magnify every slight ailment. If the volunteer resorts to false teeth, hair-dye, and falsehoods to conceal his age, bandages for varicose veins, and the application of ice for hernia, the drafted man also feigns deafness, blindness,liver and kidney complaints, or any other disease that will avail him in his extremity.

When deafness is feigned, the following method was found useful for detecting it: The man was seated directly in front of the surgeon and close to him; a watch was then placed against one of his ears and he was asked in a loud tone "if he could hear it;" to which he usually answered in the affirmative. The watch then withdrawn a few inches, and the question repeated in a low tone several times, gradually withdrawing the watch and sinking the voice until it was scarcely more than a whisper; while his attention was fixed upon the watch he did not notice how far the surgeon had moved from him, or in what tone he was speaking.

The would-be blind man was detected by telling him that he must accompany the surgeon to a place prepared to test the eyesight; and taking him up and down stairs,over logs, boxes,and impediments of all kinds,and if he avoided all these his blindness was not considered sufficient to unfit him for the military service.

Cardiac disease is often feigned, and men frequently present themselves for examination after having undergone violent physical exercise; in such cases they should be allowed to wait and sit quietly for at least half an hour, and then by careful examination the attempted fraud can usually be detected at once.

The frauds against which the examining surgeon has to guard it will be seen, are as various as the characters of the men examined, and no rules can be given to govern in such cases; but to guard successfully against these frauds, aside from professional skill, he should be conversant with the frailties and idiosyncrasies of human nature and be able to turn his knowledge to account, for he must rely a great extent upon his own judgment.


Medical, like all other talent, should not be expected without proper compensation; and, although this Bureau obtained it, it is nevertheless true that the great majority of the late surgeons of boards continued in the position from a patriotic desire to serve their country, or a personal feeling of pride (that, having commenced, they would continue to end), fearing, perhaps, that in the case of resignation their enemies ascribe it to the fact they were obliged to do so for faults committed in the performance of their duties.

Many surgeons of boards received the appointment unsought, having been recommended by their respective members of Congress on account of their high standing in community. They were men of ability and honesty, and, indeed, in their recommendations of physicians for the position of surgeons of boards of enrollment, members