War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0212 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

The absence of tents prevented shelter being provided, and the vast majority, being slightly wounded, were obliged to find protection from the rain as best they could, the more serious cases being kept in the building. The labors of the medical officers were excessive, but no relaxation was given until all who required treatment had received it. The greatest difficulty experienced at this time was providing proper food, which very many needed much more than any medical or surgical aid. Very soon large caldrons and supplies of beck stock were obtained from the medical purveyor and hard bread from the commissary department, by means of which an excellent soup was prepared and freely issued, relays of cooks being at first employed night and day. This hospital was afterwards sufficiently enlarged by hospital tents to contain 1,200 patients, and when the army left Harrison's Landing the tents were removed to Craney Island, near Fortress Monroe, and a hospital established there by Surgeon Stocker, U. S. Volunteers, who conducted the removal and the re-establishment of the hospital speedily and well.

The transports for the sick and wounded, except those that had been sent North from the Pamunkey River, Reached the army on the 2nd of July. These vessels were fitted up with beds, bedding, medicines, hospital stores, food, with many delicacies, and with arrangements for their preparation-everything, indeed, that was necessary for the comfort and well-being of the wounded and sick. Surgeons, stewards, and nurses were assigned to their respective boats, and remained with them wherever they went. i doubt if ever vessels have been so completely fitted up for the transportation of sick and wounded of an army as these vessels had been by the orders of the Surgeon-General.

The shipment of the wounded and sick began on the 2nd of July in the rain, and was continued day and night until a very large number had been sent away. The want of shelter and proper accommodations at that time at Harrison's landing rendered it necessary to send away many who under more favorable circumstances would not have been sent out of the army. The weather was so inclement and the mud so excessive that there was an evident disposition on the part of medical officers to look leniently upon any case of sickness or of wounds which presented itself. Had they not been sent on board they must have remained out in the rain and mud, without shelter and without proper food. On the 15th of July about 7,000 had been sent away a large number still remained, and during been sent away a large number still remained, and during the first week whilst the shipment was in progress the troops were feeling seriously the effects of the late campaign. The deadly malaria was now producing its full effects, and together with the want of proper food and the exposure to the rains which had fallen so continuously, and the fatigues endured, was now being fully manifested in the prevalence of malarial fevers of a typhoid type, diarrheas, and scurvy. Whilst the shipment of wounded and sick was going on, and as soon as the pressing necessities of the first few days were provided for, my attention was given to ascertain the most expeditious method of improving the health of the army. The results of the investigations made and the means considered proper for adoption (many of which had been enforced before it was written, the good effects of which were daily apparent) in the case were set forth in a communication I transmitted to you on the 18th of July. An extract from this communication was published to the army in orders, and from this extract I quote the following, in order to recall to your mind the