On the 17th of April 315 such patients were reported to me-a very small number considering the strength of the army, the wretched weather, the character of the country, &c. The transport Massachusetts was prepared for them, and on the 20th was dispatched for Annapolis. Adhering to the same plan as other men fell sick, I provided the means of transporting them also, and for this purpose I availed myself of the services of the Sanitary Commission. May 1, Mr. Olmstead, the secretary of that association, had one boat, the Daniel Webster No. 1, in his possession, a steamer on which he could carry 250 patients. At his request I procured the Ocean Queen, a steamer of the largest class of sea-going ships, and turned her over to him. He agreed to fit her up in forty-eight hours after getting possession of her. It took rather longer than that, however, and then she carried but about three-fifths of the number she should have carried.
Of course in inaugurating a system of this kind under our circumstances some delays, some awkwardness, and some confusion were to be expected. If I had had at my disposal a few medical officers of experience, these arrangements could have been made with more rapidity and precision. As it was, with the exception of the Surgeon-General of Pennsylvania, I had no one on the water who had the faculty of rapid systemization, but all seemed disposed to do the best they could, and I believe the operations at Yorktown were fully as successful as could have been hoped for. Mr. Knapp, an agent of the Sanitary Commission, was particularly zealous-a little too much so at times. Without my knowledge he took possession of the Commodore, intending to fit her up and officer her with New York surgeons to send to New York with wounded. This did not suit my views at all, and would simply have rendered that steamer less than half as efficient as I intended she should be. Of course I forbade that, but I agreed to give him the Elm City, the next steamer, with perhaps permission to go to New York.
In the mean time a few of our men were being wounded and treated in our hospitals. On the 17th April General Smith had an important affair on our left, in which 32 men were reported to me as killed and 100 wounded. The wounded were sent to the hospital ships. On the 26th 12 men of a Massachusetts regiment were wounded and sent to the ships. In irregular firing during the siege several more of our men were wounded and disposed of in the same manner.
I have already stated that the army was well supplied with medical stores and the means of transporting them before it was put in motion. What was my surprise, then, so soon as we were in position before Yorktown, to find my office flooded with requisitions for more. Upon inquiry, I found that these things had in many instances been left by the troops in their old camps. Liquors had very generally disappeared. Various excuses were rendered that were not satisfactory. The medical officers seemed to suppose that the medical director was to furnish them with fresh supplies at every change of position, and had taken no pains to transport their stores from Washington to the Peninsula. It was some time before I could remedy this piece of improvidence at all. My store-ship, after having reached Fort Monroe, was detained there by a storm, and when she reached Ship Point it was found very difficult to land her supplies. I succeeded finally in getting her a berth at Cheeseman's Creek, and was then enabled to get on more rapidly. My supplies of stimulants, however, being very limited-those ordered from New York not arriving till very late-I was compelled to refuse to issue to the regiments the little on hand, for the purpose of being sure of having some at least in the event of a battle. I distributed what we