War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0109 Chapter XXXI. GENERAL REPORTS

Search Civil War Official Records

or straw and water; when circumstances would permit, to designate barns as preferable in all cases to houses, as being at that season of the year well provided with straw, better ventilated, and enabling the medical officers with more facility to attend to a greater number of wounded, and to have all the hospital supplies taken to such points as were selected. These directions were generally carried into effect, and yet the hospitals were not always beyond the range of the enemy's guns. Very few hospital tents were to be obtained, owing to the haste in which the army was marched from Virginia into Maryland, but the weather was such as to enable the wounded to be taken care of without them. A reference to the map accompanying this report will exhibit better than any description the location of these hospitals, which from the length of the line of battle and the obstinacy with which the engagement was contested, required to be numerous. The battle lasted until dark. During the day I received valuable aid from Assistant Surgeon Howard, U. S. Army, who was busily engaged while the battle was in progress in riding to different parts of the field and keeping me informed of the condition of medical affairs. After night I visited all the hospitals in Keedysville and gave such directions as were deemed necessary.

The subject of supplies, always a source of serious consideration, was here peculiarly so. The condition of affairs at Monocacy Creek remained as heretofore described, and the action of the railroad was not commensurate with the demands made upon it. The propriety of obtaining the hospital wagons from Alexandria was evident, as these gave a supply for the emergency and enabled surgeons to attend to the wounded as soon as the battle opened. After the victory was won, supplies of medicines, stimulants, dressings, &c., were sent for and brought from Frederick, in ambulances, by officers sent for that purpose, and were distributed to the different hospitals as they were needed. The fear of the supplies becoming exhausted, for the difficulty in procuring them was well known, caused uneasiness on the part of some medical officers, who did not know the efforts that had been made before and were made during and after the battle to have enough furnished to supply their wants. I visited after the battle every hospital in the rear of our lines, although not always making myself known, and in no instance did I find any undue suffering for lack of medical supplies. Owing to the difficulty in having them brought from Monocacy Creek, for the first few days the supplies of some articles became scanty, and in some instances very much so; but they were soon renewed, and at the temporary depot established in Sharpsburg shortly after the battle a sufficient quantity of such articles as were necessary from time to time arrived, and when this temporary depot was afterward broken up, about the middle of October, a portion of the supplies remained on hand. Not only were the wounded of our own army supplied, but all the Confederate wounded which fell into our hands were furnished all the medicines, hospital stores, and dressings that were required for their use.

The difficulty of supplying the hospitals with food was a much greater one than that of providing articles belonging to the medical department, and was a meter of very great concern. This, a matter in all battles of moment, was in this particularly so on account of the distance of the depot of supplies. An order was procured from Colonel Ingalls for a number of wagons (12), to be turned over by the quartermaster at Frederick to an officer that I should send there, for the purpose of bringing up supplies of medicines and food. These wagons could not be obtained at Frederick. Two were then procured from