MEDICAL BOARDS OF RE-EXAMINATIONS AND RENDEZVOUS CAMPS.
I am convinced that no little injustice has been done surgeons of boards of enrollment by medical boards of re-examination at rendezvous camps. Surgeons of boards of enrollment, for instance, decided not to exempt drafted men with whom they were personally acquainted, and knew that there existed no physical or mental disability sufficient to entitle them to exemption. Yet, upon the arrival of these men at rendezvous camps, their representations of physical unfitness appeared so well founded that the boards of re-examination, although perfect strangers to the applicants, have recommended the men for discharge and reported the surgeon of the Board as negligent in the discharge of his duty.
This has also been the case with recruits and substitutes who received large bounties,and on their arrival ant rendezvous camps feigned or produced such disabilities as to secure their discharge.
This has been a subject of much complaint from surgeons of boards, who have produced evidence in particular cases of this kind to prove their complaints well grounded. Circular NO.15, Adjutant-General's Office, 1865, corrects this difficulty, but, unfortunately, it was issued but a few days before all drafting and recruiting were stopped.
It will,however, be a matter of great importance to the interest of the service, should any future recruitment of the Army become necessary by draft of through boards of enrollment, that the requirements of this circular be strictly observed and carried into effect, viz.*
IMPORTANCE AND EXTENT OF RECORDS ON FILE IN THIS BRANCH.
The final reports of surgeons of boards of enrollment give the medical results of the examination of 605,045 drafted men who were examined during the progress of the several drafts, exhibiting the distinct diseases for which these men were found unfit for military service.
A grand total of the drafted men examined and exempted is as follows:
Drafted men examined..................................... 605,045
Drafted men exempted for physical or mental disability... 155,730
Ratio exempted per 1,000 examined........................ 257.38
There are also, in addition to the above records on file in this branch of your Bureau, monthly medical reports, giving the minute medical examination,including name, age, nativity, occupation, height, chest measurement at inspiration any expiration, complexion, color of eyes and hair, white or colored, married or single, physique,and result of examination of 508,735 recruits, substitutes, drafted and enrolled men, and the reports of boards of examination showing the disabilities for which enlisted men were recommenced for transfer to the Veteran Reserve Corps.
In addition to the statistical records already enumerated, able and valuable reports have been received from surgeons of boards of enrollment, giving as the result of their experience, information upon the following subjects:
First. Experience in the examination of men for military service and number examined.
*See Circular No. 15, Adjutant-General's Office, April 7, 1865, Vol. IV, this series. p.1259