War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0103 Chapter XIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

my duties, though a Protestant myself, I do not hesitate to declare that in my opinion the latter are far preferable to the former, being better disciplined, ore discreet and judicious and more reliable. In the arrangement of the hospitals it might be judicious to assign one section to the Sisters of Charity and the other to the Protestant nurses.

Male nurses are most readily obtained by detail from the troops. There are many men in the ranks who are the subjects of infirmities, disqualifying them for the active duties of the field, who could be usefully employed as nurses in the hospitals. Numbers have been enlisted with hernia and cirsocele, and are being discharged on account of these, who would be very capable of doing the duties of nurses.

3. Plan for the extension of hospital accommodations at Washington, D. C.-I assume that this army will number 200,000 men, of whom 30,000 will garrison Washington and its defenses, and 170,000 will be mobilized. We had on the 18th September 84,778 of whom 6,007 were reported sick; this is a little in excess of 6 per cent. of the whole force. The sanitary condition of the army has been constantly improving for the last six weeks. The ratio of sick is increased by the condition of a few corps. Some of the regiments arrived with large sick reports; others have suffered from being encamped in unhealthy locations; but even in hospital more than five per cent; when the grand army is put in motion. This would require 8,500 beds for the 170,000. We have now 1,163 beds, exclusive of the eruptive-fever hospital, leaving 7,337 to be provided for. I have not estimated for the sick of the garrison of Washington, as they can be taken care of in their field hospitals. Many of those left sick in the general hospitals would be able in a short time to serve in the works in case of an attack upon Washington, and they might be considered as forming a part of the garrison to be left; so that we estimate that the whole complement of 170,000 will be put in motion.

If the 170,000 should fight anywhere within seventy-two hours' transportation of Washington, I should recommend that the wounded be sent back to this city. If we have a well-consteated series of battles within that time of Washington we may have 56,666 casualties. The Army of Mexico left Pueblo 10,500 strong, and the killed and wounded in the valley exceeded 3,000. We have no right to rely upon a less proportionate loss, through no one expects it to occur.

The proportion of the killed to the whole loss is a difficult problem to investigate. We are yet to experience the destructive power of rifled muskets and cannon. I do not know how well the enemy may be supplied with either, or how well they may be able to serve them if they have them. We used to estimate the proportion of the killed with the old weapons to be 25 per cent. of the whole loss. It has been estimated since the introduction of the new arms that that proportion is now inverted-i. e., that of 100 casualties 75 will now be fatal. I think that extravagant. But let us estimate one-half of the loss as likely to require hospital accommodation, and we shall then want 28,333 beds for the wounded, making with the sick, a grand total of 35,670.

Now, the General knows his own plans and I am ignorant of them. It may be the great battle may be fought nearer Fort Monroe than Washington, or near Richmond than either. Our hospitals at Washington in either case would be to a great extent unavailable. I cannot, therefore, make more than an approximate estimate of what will be required here. From the data I have adduced the General can form a better judgment than myself. I think, however, assuming 200,000 as.