Invalid Corps vs. Veteran Reserve Corps

The original name for the “Corps of Honor” that would be created by General Order No. 105 and populated by men injured or taken ill in the line of duty, was the “Invalid Corps”. However, from what I’ve been reading, the name was not looked upon favorably. From Captain J.W. DeForest’s final report on the corps before its dissolution in 1865 he wrote: “The bitter prejudice of field troops a garrison organization had found scope in a multitude of and jeers which made the title of Invalid Corps a burden frequently begged to be sent back to their old regiments in the rather than remain in garrison at the price of being called invalids.”

Invalid Corps or I.C. also meant “Inspected Condemned” a term used by meat inspectors who would “label, mark, stamp, or tag as “Inspected and condemned” all carcasses and parts thereof of animals found to be.” And that specific language can still be found in some USDA regulations today. Really. I checked. 🙂

I imagine that men who were continuing to serve their country by protecting railroads and supplies, guarding prisoners, and serving garrison duty (in addition to nursing in hospitals and operating helping to keep the peace under the Provost Marshal) would not take kindly to being referred to as invalids. Less than a year later, General Order No. 111, dated March 18, 1864 change the name to the “Veteran Reserve Corps.”

By the time of the summer of 1864, all of the soldiers would have been in what was termed the “Veteran Reserve Corps.” However, I find that the use of the original term is more in keeping with how they were viewed and in some way, how many viewed themselves. They were the Invalid Corps, the Infidel Corps, the Cripple Brigade and many other similar terms. As such, our documentary, and the term I plan to use throughout this process and the film will be: Invalid Corps.


Inspected and Condemned Stamp


Posted on: February 3, 2015