Corps of Invalids

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Corps of Invalids

CORPS OF INVALIDS. The British army had long organized companies of men who were unfit for active service into garrison companies to guard fortifications and stores. On 21 April 1777 the Board of War recommended the creation of an eight-company Corps of Invalids, with a view to making use of veterans who were unfit for further field duty but still capable of limited service. Congress approved the recommendation on 20 June and named Colonel Lewis Nicola as commander of the Corps. Congress also directed the Corps to provide a "school for young gentlemen previous to their being appointed to the marching regiments," but this role was never actually performed. Nicola began recruiting in Philadelphia during the summer of 1777, and eventually established detachments at Boston and West Point, where the Corps performed the valuable service of manning the fortifications and guarding the stores at those locations. The Corps was disbanded between April 1783 and December 1784 at West Point. The states retained partial control over their men in the Corps, but never gave them a high priority.

SEE ALSO Nicola, Lewis.


Lerwill, Leonard L. The Personnel Replacement System in the United States Army. Washington, D.C., 1954.

Wright, Robert K, Jr. The Continental Army (Army Lineage Series). Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History, 1983.

                              revised by Harold E. Selesky