and that it devolved upon me so to extend their capacity as to provide accommodation for the number of sick and wounded that we should be likely to have. The buildings already provided and occupied were seen at once to be totally inadequate. The entire hospital establishment in Washington, Georgetown, Alexandria, Baltimore, and Annapolis contained but 2,700 beds. The Sanitary Commission being in session in Washington about the 1st of September, an invitation was extended to me to assist, which I accepted. They were then discussing the subject of general hospitals. They seemed to be of the opinion that there should be as many as 5,000 beds in Washington. I explained to the gentlemen at some length my views on the subject, and endeavored to show them that 20,000 beds at least would be required. After several days' consideration the Commission appointed a committee to wait upon the Secretary of War, to request him to have frame buildings erected sufficient to accommodate 15,000 men, and to request your approval of the same. The subject was brought to your notice in a letter from Mr. Gibbs, one of the Commission, which letter was referred to me, and was the occasion of my first report to you in reference to general hospitals. This report, dated September 9, 1861, will be found in the appendix, marked G.
I had at that time taken some steps to increase the existing establishment to meet immediate wants, when I was informed by the Surgeon-General that the Secretary of War had charged him with the superintendence and control of this matter, and that he should have all that was necessary provided in due season. My report, however, with a letter from the Sanitary Commission, was submitted by you to the Secretary of War, accompanied by a letter from yourself. In the course of the month it was returned to you, with authority to make your own arrangement for providing hospitals. I was then directed by you to go on with this work, but first to submit my plans to you. I was, as I stated in my first report, decidedly in favor of putting up cheap frame buildings, expressly designed for hospitals, in preference to relying upon hotels, school-houses, and the like, as seemed to be the existing plan. I fully believed suitable buildings could be erected at a cost not exceeding $ 25 per bed. I had seen such a plan in the possession of Dr. Harris, of the Commission, and had been promised a copy of it. The Commission, however, objected to his furnishing it, agreeing to send me a much better plan, and one sufficiently economical to suit my views. After tedious delays their drawings were at last sent to Washington. They were the design of an architect in New York, taken from the general plan of the Lariboisiere in Paris, excellent in itself, but too costly I feared for our purposes. The expense, as estimated by the architect, was $ 75 per bed. Time pressing, and it being too late to wait for other plans, I reluctantly determined to adopt if, after having made certain modifications that would not impair its advantages, but would reduce the cost to about $ 60 per bed - i. e., if the architect's estimate could be relied on. I submitted the plan to you, accompanied with a report. (See Appendix H.) I adhered in this report to my original estimate for 20,000 men as a minimum. To the plan proposed you objected on account of the expense in the then condition of the Treasury, but you thought that one-fourth of the buildings I had recommended might be put up. I then proposed to go to Annapolis, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, to see what could be done there to increase our accommodations, hoping that by evacuating all our hospitals in the vicinity of Washington, with the addition of the 5,000 beds to be provided in the new buildings, we might be able to get along with tolerable comfort in the event of a battle. Upon my return I submitted the report in Appendix I.