War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0217 Chapter XXIII. GENERAL REPORTS.

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sent from regiments which had marched by colonels or captains, with out the knowledge of the medical officers, from negligence or favoritism, who were fully able to do the duty required of them, and under the circumstances it became necessary to send them on the boats. This state of things could have been prevented had the medical department full control of its vessels when the preparation were commenced to ship the sick.

The delay occasioned by the causes I have alluded to rendered the case at last an emergency, under the pressure of which it was impossible to have every case thoroughly examined. There are always numbers of skulkers and worthless men in the army who are on the watch for an opportunity to escape duty, and these are always the cases which require the most careful examination; and these are the men who raise the cry of the inhumanity, want of attention, and cruelty of surgeons, which is so frequently taken up and echoed and re-echoed from one end of the country to the other. Out of 3,000 cases examined to their regiments. When the time and the means are considered it will, I think, be conceded that seldom have so large a number been transported without accident and without suffering. A careful and attentive medical officer was placed on each boat with medical supplies sufficient for use. Credit is very deservedly due to Dr. Dunster and the medical officers of the vessels for the manner in which this large number was transported and provided for. The labor was great.

The supplies appertaining to the medical department were, owing to the excellent manner in which the purveying was performed by Assistant Surgeon Alexander, in every way abundant while at Harrison's Landing, and when the army left that place it was, so far as the medical department was concerned, fully, I might almost say elegantly, equipped with all that was requisite for another campaign.

The subject of the ambulances, after the health of the troops, became a matter of importance. medical officers and quartermasters had charge of them, and as a natural consequence little care was exercised over them, and they could not be depended upon during an action or on a march. it became necessary to institute some system for their management-such that they should not be under the immediate control of medical officers, whose duties, especially on the day of battle, prevented any supervision when supervision was more than at any other time required. it seemed to me necessary that whilst medical officers should not have the care of the, horses, harness, &c., belonging to the ambulances, the system should be such as to enable them at all times to procure them with facility when wanted for the purposes for which they were designed, and to be kept under the general control of the medical department. Neither the kind nor the number of ambulances required were in the army at that time, but it nevertheless was necessary to devise a system that would render as available as possible the material upon the spot, particularly as the army might move at any time, and not wait for the arrival of such as had been asked for, only a portion of which ever came. In order to inaugurate a system which would make the best of the materials on hand and accomplish the objects just referred to, the following order was written and published by direction of the commanding general:


Numbers 147. Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., August 2, 1862

The following regulations for the organization of the ambulance corps and the management of ambulance trains are published for the information and government