War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0452 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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in number and one for the Artillery Brigade, each division hospital being an aggregation of regimental hospitals, which latter are entirely dispensed with. Each division hospital remains with its division, or all the hospitals are aggregated together, as rendered necessary or expeditious by the position of the troops, whether in camp or in battle. The hospitals were all well organized with their surgeons-in-charge, recorders, ward surgeons, commissaries, stewards, attendants, police parties, &c. The capacities of each hospital varied with the necessities of the case, though the average number of sick to be retained was expected to be limited to about 100. When exceeding that number, or cases of a protracted nature presented themselves, they were promptly sent to the depot field hospital at City Point. Whenever active operations were about to take place all sick were sent to the rear. So perfect were the arrangements that a few hours less time than it would take to ration the troops sufficed to clear the wards and have everything on wheels ready for a move. Hospital and medical supplies of all kinds were always promptly supplied upon requisition upon the medical purveyor, Army of the Potomac, in this respect affording a most agreeable contrast with the vexations of medical officers and the sufferings of the sick during the earlier campaigns of the war, where sometimes days and even weeks elapsed without even the most necessary articles being supplied.

The ambulance department, with all its invaluable aids in the care of the sick and wounded, was thoroughly organized and in excellent condition. During the winter the animals of the train were protected by excellent stables, which they continued to occupy until the movement began in March.

The building of tents for the men commenced early in the fall, and ere cold weather set in they were well sheltered. The command continued stationary until December 6, when, leaving its comfortable quarters, the corps started upon its mission of destruction to the Weldon railroad south as far as Belfield. Half the quota of ambulances, having the usual battle supplies, hospital stores, &c., and a hospital tent-fly in each, accompanied the troops. The weather upon this march varied from a gentle, sifting, warm rain on the first day to cold rain with sleet and high winds, ending in bitter, biting cold. The first day's march was long and through mud, but so mild that many threw away blankets and overcoats and many were left behind. The marches were long and the labor of tearing up the road quite severe, and upon the setting in of those bitter nights of sleet, frost, and winds, the troops suffered extremely for want of shelter, blankets, and over-coats. The ambulances were all filled with the sick and foot-sore. No action of the infantry of the expedition having occurred, there were no wounded. Returning on the 12th, the corps went into camp between the Jerusalem plank road and Halifax road, in reserve. The hospital and ambulance department rejoined those portions left behind. Considerable increase of sickness, especially involving the chest, followed the exposure of this movement and the delay in retreating. Two of the divisions were on their return encamped upon low, marshy ground, which at every effort at its drainage seemed only to increase diseases of a malarious type by disturbing the decaying vegetable mold of the timber in which they were encamped. The medical department, by inspections, reports, and recommendations, made every effort to correct these evils. They were only remedied, however, by a complete change of camp, following the battle of Hatcher's Run, the first week in February. During the period from December 12 until February a number