the incompetency of those who pretended to obey it, that another general order from the same authority was demanded and issued December 3 of the same year, which declares that the evidence was abundant that this duty was neglected, and threatens to make the derelict officers pecuniarily responsible for it if not amended. The effect of this neglect, incompetency, or dishonesty has been always to swell essentially the ratio of the sick to the whole force. The surgeon of the Sixty-first New York reported to me as a reason for his large sick report that he had a large number of broken-down men - many 60 to 70 years old, many affected with hernia, old ulcers, epilepsy, and the like. Another brigade surgeon reports that there had been no medical examination of many of the regiments before they were enrolled. Another that there were eighty men with hernia and epilepsy in the Fifth New York Cavalry..
During the months of October, November, and December 3,939 men were discharged from the Army of the Potomac upon certificates of disability. Of these 2,881 were for disabilities that existed at the time the men were enlisted. These men cost the Government not less than $ 200 each, making nearly $ 200,000 a month out of which the people had been defrauded in a single army through the faithlessness of those to whom the duty of bringing none but able-bodied men into the fields had been confided. It seemed as if the army called out to defend the life of the nation had been made use of as a grand eleemosynary institution for the reception of the aged and infirm, the blind, the lame, and the deaf, where they might be housed, fed, paid, clothed, and pensioned, and their townships relieved of the burden of their support.
The general prevalence of the measles was another accident increasing the ratio of the sick. I know of no means of preventing the occurrence of this disease. In more than thirty years' experience and observation I can only say that I have rarely seen a regiment of irregular troops in which it did not appear sooner or later after they had been assembled in camp. In many of our regiments it broke out before they left their homes. Some were more severely scourged than others, but nearly all suffered to some extent. Among regular soldiers it is rarely seen. I do not doubt that it is due to the difficulty of securing the same attention to police, to cooking, to ventilation of tents, & c., among volunteers that is habitual with regular soldiers.
Complaints were made to me in several instances of the inferior quality of the blankets issued to the men. This was perhaps to some degree a cause of disease, but I knew it to be irremediable. It was impossible for the clothing department to furnish the heavy army blankets instantaneously to 600,000 men. The same remarks apply to a considerable proportion of the tents in use. Some regiments suffered for want of good and sufficient clothing. A singular circumstance presents itself in this connection. On the 8th of November, 1861, the surgeon of the Eighth Illinois Cavalry reported to me that 200 of the men had received no overalls from the United States. Many of them were reduced to their drawers. He had three hospital tents floored and furnished with stoves. His regiment was unusually healthy; no death had occurred in it for three months. The location of the regiment was afterwards changed. It was encamped in low grounds, that became intolerably muddy in the course of the winter. The part occupied by the horses was a perfect quagmire, never policed at all. The men became discouraged and careless, and in January, 1862, there were 207 cases of typhoid fever among them. These were removed to the general hospital in Alexandria, but the sick list remained large, and in.