War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0269 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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No. 8. Report of Surg. Edward B. Dalton, U. S. Army, Chief Medical Officer of Depot Field Hospital, including operations June 14-December 31, 1864.


City Point, Va., December [31], 1864.

SIR: *

On the morning of the 14th [June] a large proportion of the medical officers, the commissary, and the quartermaster, together with the purveying department and most of the hospital property, started down the Pamunkey en route from Jamestown Island, in the James River, which had been designated in your letter of the 12th as the probable rendezvous until further orders. A temporary delay was occasioned at Yorktown by the great reluctance of the captains of the purveying steamers Planter, Farmer, and Hugh Jenkins to proceed. Their objections were, however, overruled and we reached Jamestown Island on the afternoon of the 15th. Here orders were received through you to proceed to City Point and there establish the hospital depot.

On the 16th, upon reaching the pontoon bridge near Fort Powhatan, we were delayed, succeeded in getting above the bridge by means of a small boat and thence by tug to City Point on the 18th, just as a train of ambulances arrived, loaded with wounded from the assault upon Petersburg. These were at once attended to, and transportation to Washington procured for them, hospital transports being loaded for the purpose by Surgeon McCormick, U. S. Army, medical director of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. The hospital property was at once unloaded and conveyed to the site selected and there put in readiness as rapidly as possible for the reception of wounded, who still continued to come in large numbers. This site, which is the one still occupied, is located to the south of the James River, one mile from City Point toward Petersburg. It is situated upon a broad plain extending from the Petersburg pike to the high bluffs overlooking the basin of the Appomattox, just at the junction of the latter river with the James. The plan of the encampment, which still remains essentially unaltered, was mainly devised by Doctor Phelps. Some irregularities occurred in its execution, in consequence of the embarrassment of laying out the camp and erecting tents at the same time that the presence of wounded called constantly for professional labor. By means of pontoons two temporary wharves were soon constructed at a convenient point a short distance up the Appomattox. These were for the exclusive use of the hospital, and were used respectively for the landing and issuing of supplies and for transferring wounded to the hospital transports. The services of the transports were immediately, and for a time, constantly in demand. Two of these, the Connecticut and State of Maine, were of sufficiently light draught to be able to come alongside the wharf. The De Molay could reach the mouth of the Appomattox and was there loaded by means of lighters. The Atlantic, Baltic, and Western Metropolis came no farther than Fort Monroe or Newport News and were there loaded by transfer from the Connecticut and State


*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 7 to June 13, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.269.