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1863 July 18: Invalid Corps Recruits Wanted

July 23, 2013

This article on recruitment for the Invalid Corps appeared in both the July 11 and July 18, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal.  The shorter, first article is from The Polk County Press of July 18, 1863.

The Veteran Reserve Corps—originally called the Invalid Corps—was a military reserve organization created within the Union Army during the American Civil War to allow partially disabled or otherwise infirmed soldiers (or former soldiers) to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines.

The corps was organized under authority of U.S. War Department General Order No. 105, dated April 28, 1863.  The Invalid Corps was created to make suitable use in a military or semi-military capacity of soldiers who had been rendered unfit for active field service on account of wounds or disease contracted in line of duty, but who were still fit for garrison or other light duty, and were, in the opinion of their commanding officers, meritorious and deserving.  In the Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, you will find many notes in the Remarks column for “Trans. to V.R.C.”

From The Polk County Press:

“VETERAN VOLUNTEERS.”—An order has been issued by the War Department, presenting very strong inducements to all able-bodied soldiers who have served in this war not less than nine months, to re-enlist for three years or during the war, within the next ninety days.  A bounty of $402 is offered, a month’s pay in advance, $25 bounty money and $2 premium, in all $40, being payable on mustering in, $50 at the end of two months, $50 at the end of six months, and thereafter $50 each six months.  If the war closes within three years, whatever bounty remains unpaid shall be paid over, and in case of death at any time during service, the heirs of a volunteer are entitled to all the bounty remaining unpaid.  Veteran volunteers can enter any of the old regiments in the field or go into new organizations to be officered by persons who have approved themselves in service.  This is a most excellent order, and will doubtless retain in the service a large body of veterans.

From The Prescott Journal:

Men Wanted for the Invalid Corps.

6th Dist. Wis, La Crosse; July 18.

Only those faithful soldiers who, from wounds or the hardships of war, are no longer fit for active field duty, will be received in this Corps of Honor.  Enlistments will be for three years unless sooner discharged.—Pay and allowances same as for officers and men of the United States Infantry; except that no premiums or bounty for enlistment will be allowed.  This will not invalidate any pensions or bounties which may be due for previous services.

The following uniform has be adopted for officers and men of the Invalid Corps.

FOR OFFICERS—Frock coat—of sky blue cloth, with dark-blue velvet collar and cuffs, in all other respects, according to the present pattern for officers in infantry.

Shoulder straps—According to present regulations, but worked on dark-blue velvet.

Pantaloons—Of sky-blue cloth, with double stripe of dark-blue cloth down the outer seam, each stripe one-half inch wide, with space between of three-eights of an inch.

Forage cap—Present regulated.

FOR ENLISTED MEN.  Jacket—Of sky-blue jersey, with dark blue trimmings, cut like the cavalry jacket, to come well down on the abdomen.

Trowsers¹ —Present regulation, sky-blue.

Forage cap—Present Regulation.

Men who are still in service and unable to perform effective field duty may be transferred to this corps.

Medical Inspectors, Surgeons in charge of Hospitals, Military Commanders, and all others having authority to discharge, under existing laws and regulations, are forbidden to grant discharges to any men under their control who may be fit for service in the Invalid Corps.

For the convenience of service, the men will be selected for three grades of duty.  Those who are most efficient and able bodied, and capable of performing guard duty, etc., etc., will be armed with muskets and assigned to companies of the First Battalion.  Those of the next degree of efficiency, including those who have lost a hand or an arm ;  and the least effective, including those who have lost a foot or leg, to the companies of the Third Battalion ;  they will be armed with swords.

The duties will be chiefly to act as provost guards and garrisons for cities, guard hospitals and other public buildings, and as clerk orderlies, etc.

Acting Assistant Provost Marshals General are authorized to appoint Officers of the Regular Service, or of the Invalid Corps, to administer the oath of enlistment to those men who have completely fulfilled the prescribed conditions of admission to the Invalid Corps, viz:

1.  That the applicant is unfit for service in the field:
2.  That he is fit for the duties, or some of them, indicated above.
3.  That, if not now in the service, he was honorable discharged.
4.  That he is meritorious and deserving.

For enlistment or further information apply to the Board of Enrollment for the 6th Dist. at La Crosse, Wis.

1.  Now-obsolete spelling of trousers. This spelling was used from the 17th century to the 19th century.

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