When the Quartermaster-General advertised for proposals to put up the new buildings, instead of $ 15,000 for each 200 beds, as estimated by the architect, the bids ranged from about $ 30,000 to $ 80,000. This expense could not be incurred, and two only of the buildings, sufficient for 400 men, were attempted, and it was many months before they were completed. In the mean time some of the Philadelphia hospitals were put in order. In February, 1862, 900 beds were ready in that city. In November, 1861, a new hospital in Alexandria was prepared, capable of receiving 900 patients. In the same month Minnesota Row was taken and ordered to be fitted up, and I succeeded in securing 200 beds in the Saint Elizabeth Asylum. These hospitals were fitted up with great care, and made as comfortable as such buildings could be made. They were well organized, and provided with competent medical staffs and good nurses. They gave us a total accommodation of about 6,000 beds, and were sufficient to receive the sick of the Army of the Potomac when it was put en route for the Peninsula. It was a source of deep regret to me that I was unable to accomplish at least so much of my original plan as had received your approval, but at that time such a things was impossible in Washington. Anywhere else it could and would have been done. Subsequent events have shown that if it had been done, much inconvenience and suffering might have been spared.
The sanitary condition of the army during this period was very satisfactory. My records show a constantly-increasing immunity from disease. I regret that I am not in possession of the retained copies of my monthly reports of sick and wounded made to the Surgeon-General. I left a locked chest, containing my official documents and correspondence, in one of the military stores in Washington when we took the field. Through the kindness of General Meigs what remains of those records has been transmitted to me. The assistant quartermaster in whose care the chest was left informs me it was ordered to the Surgeon-General's Office, opened, and some of the papers removed. I miss from it the reports of my inspectors, the duplicates of my sick reports, my records of killed and wounded in the skirmishes in front of Washington, and various other papers. Fortunately what has been permitted to remain will suffice to give a very good idea of the sanitary history of your army up to March 1, 1862.
The Army of the Potomac during this period included the divisions of Stone at Poolesville, Banks at Harper's Ferry and Frederick, Dix at Baltimore, and the forces in the vicinity of Washington. August 22, 1861, 33 per cent. of the troops encamped on the flats near Arlington were reported sick with diarrhea and malarial fever. I have already alluded to the action taken in reference to these men; they belonged to McDowell's division. On the 13th February, 1862, this same division had but 9 serious cases in a force of 10,000 men; there were, in addition, some 200 cases of catarrh and a few of measles. There had been in the mean time, as in other portions of the army, some typhoid fever, but at the last date it had almost entirely disappeared.
I have already remarked upon the constantly-recurring, outbreaks of measles among the volunteers. We had more or less of it among different commands during this whole period. In February, 1862, it was prevailing in the Railroad Brigade. In January it was rife in Dix's division, in Baltimore. September 14, 1861, Stone had 6,000 men at Poolesville, with but 54 sick in hospital, one-fifth of whom had measles, the remainder typhoid and intermittent fever. September 21, 9,000 men are reported at Poolesville, with 91 in hospital and 254 in quarters. February 3, 1862, measles alone kept up the number of men in hospitals.