HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, Camp before Vicksburg, March 15, 1863.
Colonel R. C. WOOD,
Assistant Surgeon-General, Present:
SIR: Yours of 14th instant is received. I commanded the troops which embarked for Vicksburg from Memphis and Helena on the 20th and 22nd of December last, up to January 4, when I was relieved by Major-General McClernand, in chief command, since which time I have commanded continuously, without intermission, the Fifteenth Army Corps, composed of thirty-one regiments of infantry, six batteries of artillery, and three cavalry detachments.
During all this period many changes have occurred, several battles fought, and troops shifted from steamboats to land, back again, and for some considerable time, viz, since January 20, we have been encamped on the low, alluvial land on the neck opposite to and in sight of Vicksburg.
To give an intelligent account of the hospital and sanitary arrangements would require statements of facts that you already possess in great detail, and I need not do more at this time than assert my belief that no army composed, as this was and his, partly of new regiments, ever and better hospital facilities, care, and treatment. Our hospitals are now admirably supplied with everything that a generous and bountiful Government could or should bestow. You can see this yourself, and every gentleman who has sought for proper information has at all times had access to the proper sources; and during the whole period of time since we left Memphis we have been as well supplied with surgeons, medicines, medical supplies, and hospital accommodations as was to be expected. Dr. [Charles] McMillan has been all the time my chief surgeon, and I know that he has labored unceasingly, has exhibited a wonderful foresight, and has not failed to avail himself of every means to provide for the wounded and sick soldiers. He has not lost an hour by sickness or absence, but has been all the time most active in providing for the wants of his department, and I avail myself of this opportunity to express to you, his proper superior, my unqualified approval of all his acts. I have been in many battles, and I know of my own knowledge that the wounded at Chickasaw Bayou and Arkansas Post were removed from the field to the steamboats with a care and system, provided by him in advance, that elicited my hearty approval on the spot, and better managed than in any other battle that I ever witnessed or bore a part in.
Individual exceptions may have occurin Paris, London, New York, Boston, and every city on earth, much more liable to occur in battles and on the field, where men's minds and passions are aroused, and the man who would enlarge on a single case of exception, and publish it to the world as a sample of the whole, is to be pitied as a miserable wretch, beneath the notice of a Government. Our morning reports exhibit the exact number of the sick in hospital and in quarters, and the dead. These go to the War Department regularly every ten days, and can there be compared with the statistics of other armies similarly composed and exposed. You may safely challenge a comparison.
Our army is admirably supplied in all respects, and no one deplores more than I do the spirit of falsehood and calumny that harrows the minds of our people at home, and has led to your visit to our camps. In war we must expect sickness and death, but so far as your depart-