Medical Cadets during the Civil War
O.R.--SERIES III--VOLUME I [S# 122]
CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE UNION AUTHORITIES FROM NOVEMBER 1, 1860, TO MARCH 31, 1862.
In an act approved August 3, 1861, entitled "An act for the better organization of the military establishment," a corps of medical cadets, to be attached to the medical staff' of the Army, was provided for by the following section, viz:
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That there be added to the medical staff of the Army a corps of medical cadets, whose duty it shall be to act as dressers in the general hospitals and as ambulance attendants in the field, under the direction and control of the medical officers alone. They shall have the same rank and pay as the military cadets at West Point. Their number shall be designated by the exigencies of service, at no time to exceed fifty. It shall be composed of young men of liberal education, students of medicine, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three years, who have been reading medicine for two years, and have attended at least one course of lectures in a medical college. They shall enlist for one year, and be subject to the Rules and Articles of War. On the fifteenth day of the last month of their service, the near approach of their discharge shall be reported to the Surgeon-General, in order, if desired, that they be relieved by another detail of applicants.
In accordance with the provisions of this section, notice was given that examinations of candidates for admission into this corps would be held in the cities of Washington and New York by the Army Medical Boards there in session. Of a great number of applicants 66 were found to be qualified for examination, and were invited to appear before the boards; of this number 48 were approved by the examiners and were appointed, 7 failed to present themselves, 1 declined an appointment niter having been approved, 7 were rejected, not coming up to the standard required, and 3 are awaiting examinations for the remaining vacancies.
All of those appointed are now actively employed; they have been found to be of great service in the field and in hospitals, increasing the efficiency of the medical department by an intelligent assistance, and gleaning for themselves an amount of knowledge impossible to be attained by the study of their profession in civil life, except at the cost of the labor of years.
As no provision is made by the act for the subsistence of medical cadets, it is therefore respectfully recommended that they be allowed one ration each per diem. There is also no allowance of camp and garrison equipage for their accommodation in the field. They should have the same as is now allowed subalterns of the Army. It is respectfully recommended that this deficiency be supplied.
In view of the advantages derived from the employment of this body of young men and the increased comfort that can be afforded by their means to the sick and wounded of our brave Army, it is respectfully recommended that fifty more cadets be added to the corps, to be appointed <ar122_636> in the same manner and to enjoy the same privileges and emoluments as those already in service.
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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016