I think that this army is now occupying a better locality, and that we may look for an improvement in the health of he men. Still, rains are very frequent, and some of our caps are in consequence damp and wet. The excitement of being in presence of the enemy, and the daily expectation of a conflict and occasionally the actual occurrence of one, will tend to keep the men in better halt and spirits. The rains keep the roads in shocking condition. We have great difficulty in getting up supplies. The railway is in working order to within from 3 to 15 miles of our several camps. This is of much assistance. Still, its capacity in rolling stock is very limited, and there are no suitable cars for carrying sick and wounded. I have used the covered freight cars for transporting sick, but could only take 100 at a time. The great difficulty, however, is in getting the men over the roads to the railroad station.
I had calculated that we should fight our great battle before Rich- mond, and, if successful, we should have the whole city, if necessary, for a hospital; but this anticipation has not been realized so far. We had a smart affair on our right the day before yesterday, in which we had a smart affair on our right the day before yesterday, in which, we had near 200 wounded. The exact number is not yet reported to me. We are now bringing them here in ambulances,, a distance of some 15 miles. I cannot send wounded men over the road to the station in its present condition, and so have to make temporary provisions for them here. This I find very difficult. If the number of wounded increase it will be a very serious matter. I have floating hospitals at White House for 2,000 men, but to get down there is the great difficulty.
I have authorized Mr. Olmstead, of the Sanitary Commission, to purchase a cargo of ice for distribution to the hospitals ashore and afloat in the York River. This has been done. I have also directed the medical purveyor to purchase one hundred cases of portable soup for distribution to the several regiments and independent commands of the army.
So many frauds have been practiced upon the service by malingerers that I have been reluctant to send any more of our sick to the North. We never get any back that have been sent there, and I know there are hundreds in New York who ought to be in the field. Still, I think I shall be compelled to send off another transport from White House with some 400 men. I infer from your last letter that they can be received in Washington, and will send them there.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHS. S. TRIPLER,
Medical Director Army of the Potomac.
Brigadier General W. A. HAMMOND,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Medical Director's Office, June 11, 1862.
Are the regiments of your command prepared with all necessary medicines, instruments, and dressings for the field? If by careful examination you find that deficiencies requisitions, and you will detail one medical officer to proceed with the whole of them to the medical purveyor at