such reports as this should be made to yourself, to General Ruggles, as commandant of the sub-department, or direct to General Van Dorn, but, as my orders are from you, I will continue to write to you, and you can act in the matters reported as may be pleasant to yourself.
Your, most respectfully,
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
Missouri State Guard, Brigadier General,
on Special Service, C. S. Army.
HDQRS. MEDICAL DEPT., FIRST BRIGADIER, SECOND DIV.,
Camp on Comite River, La., August 11, 1862.
Major General J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Commanding Forces in the Field:
GENERAL: The health of this brigade, as you are aware, is very bad, and has been so ever since its arrival at Vicksburg. It is my opinion that this climate is the cause of the peculiar diseases which are so enervating, and which affect the many so as nearly to ruin our army. When this brigade arrived at Vicksburg they were in as good hearth as they had ever been since they entered the service, and better than they had been for six months previous to that time. We had been at Vicksburg but a short time before the malarious atmosphere began its work, and the numbers that fell before it fully testify its virulent power. We have been almost ruined by it, and the indications are that our condition will be made worse daily if an effort is not made to counteract it. The only remedy I can suggest, after many days of reflection, viewing the cause of it as I do, is to have this command removed to some point north of this,to which they are acclimated. I believe that it is appoint generally conceded by leading medical men that when a climate disagrees with a person or persons it requires one season for them to become acclimated. This being the case, I do not think the health of this command can be improved in this climate until after frost comes and destroys to a great extent the malaria. I suppose the enemy are suffering as much, if not more, than we are, and that is some consolation. The following statistics show the strength of this command at different periods during six or eight weeks:
Command. Number of Number of Number of
men for men for duty men for duty
duty left at present
arrived at Vicksburg. date.
3rd Kentucky Regiment 520 275 122
6th Kentucky Regiment 390 301 151
7th Kentucky Regiment 340 275 119
35th Alabama Regiment 375 252 150
Cobb's battery 117 97 36
Company of 80 52 6
Total 1,822 1,252 584
NOTE.- Take out Cobb's battery, leaves effective strength of brigade up to this morning, 548. Reduction in effective strength of brigade,by sickness, while at Vicksburg,reduced by sickness to date, 671. Reduction by sickness from time of arrival at Vicksburg, to date, 1,238. This table shows only non-commissioned officers and privates.
In a period of six or eight weeks the effective strength of this command has been reduced more than two-thirds. I am aware that Cobb's battery is not in this brigade at this juncture, but it has been with us