in such a country, with such weather, with lack of food, want of rest, great excitement, and the depression necessarily consequent upon it, could not have other than the effect of greatly increasing the numbers of sick in the army after it reached Harrison's Landing.
Scurvy had made its appearance before its arrival there, the seeds of which had doubtless been planted some months previously, and was due not merely to the want of vegetables, but also to exposure to cold and wet, working and sleeping in the mud and rain, and to the inexperience of these troops in taking proper care of themselves under difficult circumstances. This disease is not to be dreaded merely by the numbers it sends upon the reports of sick. It goes much further, and the causes which give rise to it undermine the strength, depress the spirits, take away the energy, courage, and elasticity of those who do not report themselves sick, and who yet are not well. They do not feel sick, and yet their energy, their powers of endurance, and their willingness to undergo hardship are in a great degree gone, and they know not why. In this way it had affected the fighting powers of the army, and much more than was indicated by the numbers it had sent upon the reports of sick.
All these influences were not without their effect upon the medical officers as well as upon the rest of the army. A number of them became sick from the exposure and privations to which they had been subject, and those who did not succumb entirely to these influences were worn-out by the excessive labor required of them during the campaign upon the Peninsula, and especially by the labor incident to the battles immediately preceding the arrival of the army at Harrison's Landing.
The nature of the military operations unavoidably placed the medical department, when the army reached this point, in a condition far from being satisfactory. The supplies had been exhausted almost entirely or had from necessity been abandoned; the hospital tents had been almost universally abandoned or destroyed; the arrangement of the ambulance was not in such a state as to render very effective service, and the circumstances under which the army was placed required a much larger number of medical officers to perform the duties which were thrown upon that portion of the staff.
It was impossible to obtain proper reports of the number of the sick in the army when it reached Harrison's Landing, nor had the causes just referred to produced their full effects. After about 6,000 had been sent away on the transports 12,795 remained. The data on which to base the precise percentage of sick and wounded could not be obtained at his date, but from the most careful estimate which I could make in the absence of positive data the sickness amounted to at least twenty per cent.
On the 1st of July I directed the Harrison house to be taken and used as a hospital, as it was the only available building for the purpose in that vicinity, although entirely inadequate to meet the wants of the army. Only a few wall tents could be obtained at that time with which to enlarge the capacity of the hospital. No hospital tents could be procured.
The rain began to fall heavily early on the morning of the 2nd, and continued with little interruption until the evening of the 3rd. A few wounded came to the hospital on the 1st and on the 2nd, and thereafter for several days they came in great numbers. Relays of medical officers were required to work day and night, and continued to work faithfully until all the wounded who desired assistance had received it