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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 6, Part 1 (Prisoners of War)
Page 850 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

the sinks have been but imperfectly covered, so that the filth is seeping up through the ground. When there is rain the grounds are flooded with an infusion of this poisonous matter; at least so I was informed by Colonel De Land, who also states that he finds it impossible to make these men observe the ordinary rules of decent cleanliness of person or quarters. There are no kitchens to the barracks in the center square. As a general thing the prisoners are too much crowded. In the southwest square three of these buildings contain 440 men. This overcrowding, together with the disregard of personal cleanliness, must prove a fruitful source of disease.

The hospitals are in good order, well regulated, and clean. No prescription book is kept, but the other books and records are full and complete. The dispensary is neatly ordered and kept, and the supply of medicines is ample, that of luxuries and comforts bountiful. under the direction and supervision of Surg. A. F. Whelan, First Michigan Sharpshooters, surgeon of the post, a new hospital building is in course of erection and approaching completion. It is a frame building, boarded perpendicularly with inch stuff, having the joints battened, lathed, and plastered inside. It will contain four wards, each 28 by 100 feet, 13 feet high, well ventilated and lighted, with bath- rooms, lavatories, and privies conveniently arranged. It will contain also rooms for surgeon, matron, nurses, and attendants, kitchen, dining- hall, and closets, plans of which are appended.

The garrison at this camp is composed of the First Regiment of Michigan Sharpshooters, Colonel De Land (who is commander of the post), having an aggregate of 812; six companies of the Eighth Regiment Invalid Corps, Colonel Sweet, with an aggregate present of 447; six companies of the Fifteenth Regiment Invalid Corps, Colonel Strong, with an aggregate present of 409. The aggregate present and absent of officers and men is 1,783. Aggregate of strength present, 1,595; number of sick in garrison, 275, which is about 7 1/2 per cent. of the command.

During the month of December there were in Federal hospital 516 cases of disease with six deaths, giving the ration of mortality of about 11 1/2 per 1,000 per month. Of this number of sick there were 17 cases of measles, 24 of mumps, 34 of pneumonia, and 96 of epidemic (!) catarrh. This presents 130 cases of disease of the respiratory organs, being a ration of 25 1/5 per cent. of the whole number of sick in the hospital during the month.

There is at this time 5,616 prisoners in this camp, of whom 225 are sick in hospital.

The total sick in hospital during the month of December last past was 2,011, with 57 deaths, a ration of 28 per 1,000. The disease most prevalent among the prisoners is camp diarrhea, arising, doubtless, from badly cooked food and extreme filthiness of person and quarters. Of the sick in hospital during December there were, of measles, 134 cases; mumps, 168; pneumonia, 84; epidemic (!) catarrh, 233; showing 317 cases of disease strictly of the respiratory organs, which gives 15 1/2 per cent. of the whole number of those treated in hospital.

It will be observed that the number of cases of disease of the respiratory apparatus among the prisoners is very great, but the proportion to the whole among the Federal occupants of the camp is over 10 per cent. greater, the cause of which is manifestly owing to the greater exposure of these men while doing guard duty mounted on the top of a high fence, exposed to the full sweep of the cold and da directly from the lake with unobstructed force.


Page 850 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 6, Part 1 (Prisoners of War)
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