HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Numbers 150. Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., August 2,'62.
The suggestions and recommendations contained in the following letter from the medical director of this army and the directions for cooking appended thereto are published for the information and guidance of all concerned, and it is enjoined upon corps and other commanders to see that they are fully carried out.
By command of Major-General McClellan:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, MEDICAL DIRECTOR'S OFFICE,
Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., July 18, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following extract from a report of the sick and wounded in this army, taken from the latest reports made to this office by the medical directors of corps, and to present to you certain suggestions for removing the causes of disease and improving the general condition of the men:
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The diseases prevailing in our own army are generally of a mild type and are not increasing; their chief causes are, in my opinion, the want of proper food (and that improperly prepared), exposure to the malaria of swamps and the inclemencies of the weather, excessive fatigue and want of natural rest, combined with great excitement of several days' duration and the exhaustion consequent thereon. I would recommend, to remedy these evils, that food, with an abundance of fresh vegetables, shelter, rest, with a moderate amount of exercise, be given all the troops, and general and personal police be enforced. To accomplish this, I would suggest that an abundant supply of fresh onions and potatoes be used by the troops daily for a fortnight and thereafter at least twice a week, cost what they may;that the desiccated vegetables, dried apples bread, by floating ovens or other methods, be distributed at least three times a week; that the food be prepared by companies and not by squads, and that there be two men detailed from each company as permanent cooks, to be governed in making the soups and cooking by the inclosed directions; that wells be dug as deep as the water will protect them from the sun and rain, which shall be raised daily and struck once a week and placed upon new ground; the tentes d'abri also to be placed over new ground once a week; that the men be required to cut pine tops, spread them thickly in their tents, and not sleep on the ground; that camps be formed not in the woods, but a short distance from them, where a free circulation of pure air to such an extent as to vitiate the noxious exhalations from damp ground, saturated with the emanations from the human body and from the decaying vegetation. Sleep during the day will not compensate for the loss of it at night; that not more than two drills per day be had, one in the morning from 6.15 to 7, and one in the evening from 6.30 to 7.15; that the men be allowed to sleep until sunrise, and that they have their breakfast as soon as they rise; this, with the labor required for policing,