Historically, the U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps (originally the Invalid Corps) was a military reserve organization created within the Union Army during the Civil War to allow partially disabled, otherwise infirm, or over-age soldiers to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines. It existed from 1863 to 1869. The original corps was organized under authority of General Order No. 105, U.S. War Department, dated April 28, 1863. A similar organization had existed during the American Revolution. The Invalid Corps of the Civil War period was created to make suitable use, in a military or semi-military capacity, of soldiers who had been rendered unable to actively participate in field service because of wounds, disease contracted in line of duty, or age, but who were still fit for garrison or other light duty, and were, in the opinion of their commanding officers, meritorious and deserving.
The title "Veteran Reserve Corps" was substituted for that of "Invalid Corps" by General Order No. 111, dated March 18, 1864 to include soldiers whose enlistments had expired but wished to continue in uniformed service to their country.
The Federal corps was mostly disbanded in 1866 following the close of the Civil War and the lessening of a need for reserve troops at the time. The reorganization of the Regular Army in July 1866 provided for four regiments of the Veteran Reserve Corps. The Veteran Reserve Corps was emptied of members when these regiments were consolidated with other regiments in the Army's next re-organization in March 1869, but the shell of the organization remains by an act of the 39th U.S. Congress in 1866.
In honor of the historic VRC, a not-for-profit charitable organization was established in Delaware under IRS Code 501(c)(3). Current members of the U.S. VRC are proud of the rich military heritage of the organization for which they were named.
U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps at the Battle of Fort Stevens 1864; often referred to as the “Battle that Saved Washington, D.C.”
“We can’t run so we’ll
have to stand and fight!”
U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps Amputees