that numbers of men are reported sick by their captains who are not found upon the reports of the medical officers of their regiments. The true number of the sick is large enough to give me much concern, but I am unwilling it should be represented to be larger than it really is through the careless manner in which company reports are too frequently made out. Considering the season of the year and the unfavorable state of the weather it cannot be disputed that this is the most healthy army the world has ever seen. The general health of the whole force is rather improving then deteriorating; still, certain corps are at a stand-still, while others are sadly falling off.
I have observed in several instances that regiments after arriving here speedily exhibited a wretched sanitary condition. The maximum, however, was soon reached, and they have steadily improved until their sick lists would compare favorably wit the rest. This might be accounted for by acclimation, by gradual improvement in discipline and police, by becoming better acquainted with the wants of a soldiers in camp, and with the meads of meeting those wants. But others troops, and those, too, from particular sections of country, have not improved. The Vermont regiments in Brooks' brigade are examples of this. They give us the largest ration of sick of all the troops in this army, and that ration has not essentially varied for the last three months. They suffered in the first place from measles. In this they simply shared the lot of all irregular troops. Since then they have been and are the subjects of fevers (remittent and typhoid.)
The inspector of hospitals (Surgeon Keeney) reports to police of all these regiments as good, their clothing good, their tents good, with the exception of the Second and Third Regimens, and, strange to say, those two regiments are in decidedly the best sanitary condition. The locations of the camp of the Fifth and Sixth are reported as bad, but that of the Third is also bad. The soil is clay, the face of the country rolling, but presenting many plains sufficiently extensive for camps. These plains have been selected, and in consequence the difficulties of drainage, always great in a clay soil, have been increased.
While writing I have received another weekly report from the Vermont brigade, which shows a large increase of sick over that of the preceding week. The Berdan Sharpshooters are also in a bad sanitary condition, and not improving. Their camp, however, is badly located. I shall visit this brigade personally.
We have now successfully passed through the season of malarious fevers. The sanitary arrangements of this army have been successful in warding off the diseases of summer and autumn. We are now called upon to guard against those of winter and spring. The principal diseases we have to fear are typhus and typhoid fevers and pneumonia. These diseases prevail in this district during the present and approaching season. Already a number of cases have occurred, some of which have been fatal. These diseases arise from foul air, bad clothing, imperfect shelter, exposure to cold and wet, imperfectly-drained and badly-policed camps, &c. The indispensable conditions for securing the health of men in the field are good shelter, good clothing, good food, and good water, dry camp grounds, and an abundant supply of pure air.
For the shelter of our men we are to choose between tents and huts. There are clusters of buildings at several places within our limits that might be occupied by our troops, but having been erected for a different purpose, they are in nowise adapted to this. They are ill-constructed, ill-ventilated, too crowded, and generally out of position. I should prefer, if it is practicable, the "Chester hut," as used at Balaklava