CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA.,
April 21, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STONEMAN, Secretary of War:
I would respectfully call your attention to the inclosed extract published in the Washington Morning Chronicle of April 17, 1863, with the correspondence of the medical director of this army in regard to the same. Already all the arithmeticians in the army have figured up the strength of sick and well, as shown in this published extract, as belonging to this army. Its complete organization is given,and in the case of two corps the number of regiments. The chief of my secret service department would have willingly paid $1,000 for such information in regal to the enemy at the commencement of his operations, and even would give that sum for it to verify the statements which he has been at great labor and trouble to collect and systemize.
By the inclosed correspondence it will be seen that it was not published from this army. I trust that the matter may receive attention and investigation at your hands.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Letter from Medical Director Letterman to General Hooker.
The following are extract from a letter addressed to General Hooker by Dr. J. Letterman, medical director, Army of the Potomac, showing the sanitary condition of that army:
I have the honor to submit for the information of the commanding general the inclosed report on the sickness of this army. The paper marked A+ shows the whole number of sick in this army to be, on the 28th of March ultimo, 10,777. The corps exhibiting the greatest ratio of sick are those in which there is the greatest number of new regiments. Thus, the First Corps, having a ratio of 90.02 per 1,000, has according to the data in this office, eighteen new and twenty-one old regiments.
The Sixth Corps, with a ratio of 46.16 per 1,000, has only four new regiments and thirty old regiments. The ratio of sick for the whole army s=is 67.64 per 1,000. When it is considered that since the 1st of February less than 800 sick have been sent beyond the lines of the army (excepting those belonging to the Ninth Corps, which was ordered away), the ratio of sick is small.
The paper marched B, +taken from the monthly sick reports for January and February, affords more explicate information regarding the health of the army.
It shows that all the more serious diseases to which troops in camp are liable, and especially those which depend upon neglect of sanitary precautions and bad diet, have decreased in a marked degree during the mouth of February. This paper shows that during this mouth typhoid fevers decreased 28 per cent., and diarrhea 32 per cent.; and I have reason to expect that the reports for March (which have not yet been received) will exhibit a continued decrease.
Numberous reports made to this office refer to the general improvement in the health, tone, and vigor of those who are not report sick; an improvement which figures will not exhibit, but which is apparent to officers whose attention is directed to the health of the men. This favorable state of the health of the army, and the decrease in the severity of the cases of disease, is in a great measure to be attributed to the improvement in the diet of the men, commenced about the 1st of February by the issue of fresh bread and fresh vegetables, with has caused the disappearance of the symptoms of scurvy that in January began to assume a serious aspect throughout the army; to the increased attention to sanitary regulations both in camp and hospitals; to the more general practice of cooking by companies, and to the zeal and energy displayed by the medical directors of corps, and the medical officers of this army generally, inculcating the absolute necessity of cleanliness and attention to the
* See Lee to Seddon, May 10, Confederate Correspondence, p. 790.