The water is good, similar to that of the other springs that have been prepared for the use of the men. The supply of water in the spring within the grounds is very scanty. The hospital steward told me he had abandoned it, because he found it required two hours and a half to fill barrel of water. The spring is inaccessible to wagons. It has always been at the service of the hospital. I inclose the order of Colonel Ingalls to this effect. If this house were used for hospital purposes it could only be made available for the quarters of the surgeons attached and for a dispensary. The sick would require hospital tents upon the lawn. If the grounds were occupied in this way, as they are altogether insufficient for the whole establishment, it would necessity the organization of a separate administration-surgeons, cooks, stewards, &c.-an expenditure of personnel that we cannot very well afford. We have now 170 hospital tents pitched on the plantation, well arranged and well policed; the camp well drained; the administration tents, the cooking apparatus, and the subsistence tents centrally located and convenient for all parties. Thirty-five more tents are on the ground, and are being pitched as the force at our disposal will allow.
Sixty-five of these tents have plank floors. The remaining 35 of the first 100 would have been floored if the lumber had been on hand. The delay in receiving this, however, has developed an interesting and important fact: The mortality in the tents has been very sensibly greater than in those without floors. I have directed the surgeon in charge to prepare tables showing the comparative rates of deaths in the two classes of tents for my information. If lumber is received, I will suspend the flooring of the remaining tents until these tables can be examined and the question set at rest. I must remark that although the whole of the tents occupied were in good police, and an air of comfort pervading them, still those without floors were decidedly superior in these respects to the others.
In relation to the relative advantages of hospital tents and buildings for hospital purposes, I think that among those at all familiar with the subject there is but one opinion-that the tents are decidedly the best.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHS. S. TRIPLER,
Surgeon and Medical Director Army of the Potomac.
General R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff Army of the Potomac.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Medical Director's Office, May 29, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I am convinced a very large proportion of the number lost to our army from our camp at Yorktown to this point is due to the straggling that has been permitted, both in breaking up of encampments and on the line of march. Hundreds were collected in the woods and in houses and huts in our old position at Camp Winfield Scott who were not borne upon the surgeon's reports. I sent out officers to search for these men, and of many who could not be collected in this way we heard by accident, and brought them in after days of privation had brought on actual disease. It would seem there could have been no roll call before the troops took up their line of march, so all along the line of march whoever pleased would drop out, lie by in the woods out of sight, and then for days would be strag-