War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0197 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Surgeon [John] McNulty, medical director of that corps, reports that "it with extreme satisfaction that I can assure you that it enabled me to remove the wounded from the field, shelter, feed them, and dress their wounds within six hours after battle ended, and to have every capital operation performed within twenty-four hours after the injury was received. " I can I think, safely say that such would have been the result in other corps hat the same facilities been allowed-a result not to have been surpassed, if equaled, in any battle of magnitude that has ever taken place. A great difficulty always exist in having food for the wounded. By the exertions of Colonel [Henry F.] Clarke, chief commissary, 30, 000 rations were brought up on July 4 and distributed to the hospitals. Some of the hospitals were supplied by the commissaries of the corps to which they belonged. Arrangements were made by him to have supplies in abundance brought to Gettysburg for the wounded; he ordered them, and if the railroad could have transported them they would have been hand. Over 650 medical officers are reported as present for duty at that battle. These officers were engaged assiduously, day and night, with little rest, until the 6th, and in the Second Corps until July 7, in attendance upon the wounded. The labor performed by these officers was immense. Some of then fainted from the same cause. The skill and devotion shown by the medical officers of this army were worthy of all commendation; they could not be surpassed. Their conduct as officers and as professional men was admirable. Thirteen of them were wounded, one of whom (Asst. Surg. W. S. Moore, Sixty-first Ohio Volunteers, Eleventh Corps) died on July 6 from the effects of his wounds, received on the 3d. The idea, very prevalent, that medical officers are not exposed to fire, is thus shown to be wholly erroneous. The greater portion of the surgical labor was performed before the army left, The time for primary operations had passed, and what remained to be done was to attend to making the men comfortable, dress their wounds, and perform such secondary operations as from time to time might be necessary. One hundred and six medical officers were left behind when the army left; no more could be left, as it was expected that another battle would within three four days take place, and in all probability as many wounded thrown upon our hands as the battle of the 2nd and 3d, which had just occurred. No reliance can be placed on surgeons from civil life during or after a battle. They cannot or will not submit to the privations and discomforts which are necessary, and the great majority think more of their own of personal comfort than they do of the wounded. Little more can be said of those officers who have for a long period been in hospitals. I regret to make such a statement, but it is a fact and often a practical one. Dr. [Henry] Janes, who was left in charge of the hospitals at Gettysburg, reports that quite a number of surgeons came and volunteered their services, but "they were of little use. " This fact is so well known in this army that medical officers prefer to do the work rather than have them present, and the wounded men, too, are much better satisfied to be attended by their own surgeons. I, however, asked the Surgeon-General, July 7, to send 20 medical officers to report to Dr. Janes, hoping they might prove of some benefit, under the direction of the medical officers of this army who had been left behind. I cannot learn that they were ever sent.