An Invalid Corps Song?

97th Regimental String BandIn 1862, General Order No. 105, of the U.S. War Department created the Invalid Corps. A year later, its name was changed to the Veteran Reserve Corps. This popular song written by Frank Wilder gives a good idea of what the sentiment was towards these men at the time. The song tells the story of a young man who tried to join the Union army but was rejected because of his various ailments. The rest of the song basically makes fun of the invalid corps and the men who were exempted from front line duty.  One wonders how much it had to do with the eventual name change.

This version is from the 97th Regimental String Band. According to their website, the 97th Regimental String Band recreates an actual string band of the Civil War Era singing a wide variety of traditional American songs in authentic, “living history” style. The 97th Regimental String Band is a eudaemoniousconcatenation of jocular harmonists that provides both vocal and instrumental music of the 1800’s. They have performed throughout the United States at many of the major theme parks, festivals, civil war reenactments and special concerts. Downright awesome. I may have to pick up a couple of their albums.



I wanted much to go to war,
And went to be examined;
The surgeon looked me o’er and o’er,
My back and chest he hammered.Said he,
“You’re not the man for me,
Your lungs Are much affected,
And likewise both your eyes are cock’d,
And otherwise defected.”


So, now I’m with the Invalids,
And cannot go and fight, sir!
The doctor told me so, you know,
Of course it must be right, sir!

While I was there a host of chaps
For reasons were exempted,
Old “pursy”, he was laid aside,
To pass he had attempted.
The doctor said, “I do not like
Your corporosity, sir!
You’ll “breed a famine” in the camp
Wherever you might be, sir!”


There came a fellow, mighty tall,
A “knock-kneed overgrowner”,
The Doctor said, “I ain’t got time
To take and look you over.”
Next came along a little chap,
Who was ’bout two foot nothing,
The Doctor said, “You’d better go
And tell your marm you’re coming!”


Some had the ticerdolerreou,
Some what they call “brown critters”,
And some were “lank and lazy” too,
Some were too “fond of bitters”.
Some had “cork legs” and some “one eye”,
With backs deformed and crooked,
I’ll bet you’d laugh’d till you had cried,
To see how “cute” they looked.


Posted on: February 10, 2015