Along the line of battle previously referred to the engagement had commenced, and the wounded were being rapidly removed from the field and conveyed to the hospitals.
When it was discovered at Crawfish Spring that the fighting bore toward the left, an attempt was made to move the Fourth Division hospital nearer to the line of battle. The troops on the right, however, began to fall back, planting a battery in the vicinity of the new site for this hospital, and consequently compelling the surgeons to remove again to Crawfish Spring.
The hospital of the First Division was established on the morning of the 19th at Dyer's house, which at that time was located in the rear of the right of this corps. A fine spring, a number of outbuildings, and plenty of straw near by rendered this a desirable locality for hospital purposes. Shortly before noon it was found necessary, on account of the large number of wounded at this place, to pitch the hospital tents. Everything went on quite well until about 5 p.m., when our troops began to retire in that direction, and soon the "enemy's grape and canister were being thrown in and around the hospital, making the locality entirely unsafe for the wounded." Orders were received from Surg. G. Perin, medical director of the department, to send the wounded to Crawfish. Our forces having repulsed the enemy from Dyer's house the surgeons were enabled to return to their duty.
On the morning of the 20th about 40 wounded were still at this house, which it now became necessary to abandon. Surgeon Reeve, who had been placed in charge of this hospital, succeeded, with the medical officers under him, in removing all the wounded and property, except the hospital tent of the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania. By 10 o'clock they were on the road to Chattanooga.
The Third Division became engaged with the enemy early on the 19th. The hospital was located on the grounds at Cloud's house, in the rear, and between 1 and 2 miles to the left of the point where the fighting first commenced, and on the direct road to Rossville.
The wounded from various divisions, including a large number of those of the enemy, were accumulating at this hospital, and before night the number reached near 1,000. Straw was brought for bedding, hot coffee and soup served, and fires built as near as practicable to the wounded, for their protection from the cold of the night air. I remained here until the next morning, and continued operating with the medical officers present on such cases as imperatively demanded it, until the lowness of the temperature caused us to discontinue for the night. During the next morning I returned to headquarters in the field, and while there this hospital became cut off by the enemy. I was unable either to reach it myself or to get a messenger through.
Surgeon Tollman, the division director, reports that while on that forenoon the medical officers were engaged with wounded, a furious cannonade opened upon them, slightly injuring several men and killing a wounded officer. Those who were able to walk were started on foot, and all available ambulances, and wagons were loaded with wounded and started for Rossville, distant about 4 miles to the left and toward Chattanooga. About 60 non-transportable cases were left, and as in all probability more of our wounded would subsequently reach this point, 3 medical officers were detailed to remain. The regimental hospital tents of the medical officers of this division, together with a portion of the regimental supplies, fell into the hands of the enemy.