always get hay to fill them. The stoves provided for the tents are nearly worthless for the purpose.* The supply of provisions for the sick and wounded is just the commissary's issue of Government rations, and includes neither fresh bread nor fresh vegetables. There is no supply, or nearly none, of suitable articles of food from the medical purveyors, as concentrated milk, farina, &c.
The hospital clothing is very deficient. Many men, lying sick of typhoid fever at the time the army broke camp to cross the river to Fredericksburg, left in post hospitals, were frost-bitten.
I do not believe I have ever seen greater misery from sickness than exists now in our Army of the Potomac. In some regiments, which have been long in the field, from which the more feeble men have been weeded out, and the numbers reduced to 200 or 300 men by casualties and disease, where medical officers have acquired experience from long service in the field, the regiment hospitals are tolerably comfortable in their appointments. In these regiments, however, there are few or no patients in hospital,and the surgeons say they have very few supplies, such as are needed by sick men, and can get them only with great difficulty. A few brigades and fewer divisions can be said to be in like condition; of the latter, not over three or four, so far as my knowledge goes. The new regiments are suffering very much for everything that goes to make the condition of sick and wounded men tolerable. Indeed, after the battle of Fredericksburg, for three or four days, some of the general depots for wounded men were without food, except hard bread and such aid as private individuals brought to them, and on Monday night many wounded men lay upon the ground without shelter over them during the heavy rain. There were no stoves in any of the hospitals until Friday or Saturday, a week after the battle, although the weather was very cold.
On the transports between this city and Aquia Creek the suffering was very great. Only two of the transports were fitted up for the purpose; the others were taken from vessels lying in the creek, and in many instances no provisions seem to have been made for supplying food or even during for the wounded,some of whom were frozen during the passage.
I am assured that the diseases which now prevail in the army are the result of proper food for the troops, especially fresh vegetables and bread. All the medical officers with whom I conversed concur in this opinion. They also state that they cannot avail themselves of a hospital fund in case they make one. One officer says that, under the present, general regulations, the officers can, with proper attention to their duties, obviate all this; and in one division that I visited I believe they have done so partially. But medical officers state that, in order to effect all that is necessary, there is need of an officer who shall act as commissary of subsistence for hospitals. I do not know whether such an officer can be appointed by the commander of the army in the field, but suppose he may be. Major Shiras is also of this opinion. He further says, also, that upon requisition all the necessary provisions
*NOTE ON ORIGINAL. - These stoves are coal stoves, of large size, costing from $10 to $15 per stove, instead of the usual hospital tent stove, worth, with pipe, $4 to $5. Several hundred of the former were sent down, and will be abandoned upon the first move of the army unless collected by the quartermaster and returned to this place. Who is responsible for this blunder I cannot yet ascertain, but hope to as soon as Captain Hartz gets over his illness. The right kind of stoves should have been on hand before the battle commenced.