War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0771 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

this office, there are some which have not as yet attracted the attention of statistical writers. Of these, "what nationality presents the greatest aptitude for the military service" is the first.

In alluding to it in this preliminary report all subsequent remarks are based solely upon the opinion expressed by the surgeons of boards of enrollment to whom the question was proposed. It is needless, then, to say that the following criticisms are not presented as demonstrable truths.

For the most part these officers have given it as the result of their experience that the physical, moral, and intellectual characteristics of the American gave him the precedence over other nations in respect to his fitness for war. A smaller proportion have recorded their opinion in favor of the Germans. Still fewer decide for the Irish; one or two for the English and Scotch.

It is believed that, from its nature, this points will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to determine definitely.

For this opinion several reasons may be assigned. Among these it might be urged that the data upon which a decision must be founded embrace not the nations (whatever they may be) with which the comparison is made, but that portion residing in this- not, perhaps, the best specimens of the race - and men who certainly have experienced or are in the transition state of those multifarious modifying influences known under the generic term of acclimation.

It has been frequently asserted (and not without foundation in history for the remark) that ceteris paribus, all first-class nations excel their enemies upon their own soil. However this may be, it would afford a ground for the opinions expressed by the great majority of the surgeons that, because of his physique elan, and intelligence, the American was the best type of the soldier on this continent.

The last subject to which I shall refer in these concluding remarks is embraced in the question concerning the "physical qualifications of the colored race for military service."

In reference to this question, which, in order that it may be properly decided, involves a comparison between the two most widely different types of mankind, viz, the Caucasian and the negro, a few prefatory remarks can alone be presented. The materials which would enable us to discus this subject more fully exist, but, as was before said, no time has been permitted for their elaboration.

A sufficiently careful investigation, however, of the vital statistics relating to negro substitutes and recruits has already been made to enable me to say that when they shall have been tabulated the conclusions at which ethnologists have arrived in regard to the typical physical characteristics of the race will be found to be borne out in all important particulars. Excluding all hypotheses concerning the origin and permanence of type, and solely basing these criticisms upon the data which we possess, it may also be proper to say that, according to the information we have been able to obtain,it may be doubted whether the moral idiosyncracies which anatomists have founded upon their peculiarities of structure can be shown to exist to so great a degree as most anthropologists have supposed.

That the organization of the negro differs from that of any other of the great races of men no one, perhaps, will be hardy enough to dispute; but that his difference and those anatomical peculiarities that form the contrast between this and other types involve an unfitness for the service, does not appear to be the case. A study of the opinions expressed by 115 surgeon