War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0694 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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Corps, since I took charge of the same as surgeon in chief, relieving Surg. F. Meacham, U. S. Volunteers, June 17, 1864:

The aggregate number present at this date was near 8,000, three regiments of the First Division, new troops, having just been added; and they had, with the rest of the army, been through the early part of the campaign, including the battles of Rocky Face Ridge and Resaca, where their loss was heavy; but the general condition of the troops was good, and in all respects they were well prepared for such a campaign as was then prospectively before us. Of the battles mentioned, and other matters of importance connected with the division prior to June 17, I can, of course, say nothing, as I have no material from which to draw any facts. From this date (June 17) until the present time, the troops have been in one position for but few days at a time, and hence all our hospital arrangements were necessarily of a migratory character; but the organization of the department was so satisfactorily completed and so well carried out that we can look back with pleasure to every spot of ground that has been occupied by our hospital. The division hospital is organized under charge of Surg. J. S. Sparks, Eighth Tennessee, with a sufficient number of assistants to meet all emergencies. The operating staff, when occasion permitted, performed the duties of hospital surgeons. The attendants have been remarkably faithful and energetic, and but few changes have been made since the organization was completed, and I here beg leave to state that to the able superintendence of Surgeon Sparks is due whatever credit may be given to the division hospital.

The opportunities for making medical researches have not been good with us, for of necessity ours has been to some extent a receiving and forwarding hospital, though on a few occasions we were able to retain the cases for some time, so that considerable numbers were returned to duty. The character of the diseases manifested in the division has been singularly uniform throughout, although the producing causes have varied to a considerable extent. Diarrhoea has persistently followed us, and has disqualified more from active duty than all other diseases together. The cause seems to have been scorbutic to a great extent, though in the month of June and early July there were many complaints in regard to the quality of the fresh beef furnished the troops. Many of the more healthy ones, after eating freely of it, were attacked with diarrhoea of a severe form, attended with a marked degree of prostration, yielding, however, in from seven to ten days to rest, diet, and mild treatment; but many of the cases, especially among the new troops, had to be sent to the rear for want of transportation. During this period mentioned there was a great scarcity of forage for the animals, and such as they had contained but little nutrition, which may account for the deleterious qualities of the beef; certainly salt meat would have been preferable. This difficulty disappeared as soon as forage became more abundant and of better quality, but as the campaign advanced evident signs of scorbutus were manifested, and these, acting as a producing or predisposing cause, kept the usual number of cases of diarrhoea on our sick report. Nor could this cause be removed for some time, owing to the difficulty of obtaining supplies of vegetables, &c., but as soon as the berries were sufficiently ripened, and fruit in a condition to cook, large quantities were consumed, and the scorbutic symptoms rapidly diminished until the present time, when no complaints are made and but few indications of the disease can be found.