At dawn, on the 19th of October, the enemy attacked and turned the left flank of our army. Their attack was so sudden and unexpected that our troops were thrown into confusion, and it was not until we had fallen back four miles that another line of battle was established and confidence restored. In the early part of the action the Nineteenth Corps lost all its medicine and army wagons, loaded with medical supplies and hospital tents, and thirty ambulances, but the latter were recaptured by the cavalry in the afternoon. The other ambulances and wagons had been ordered to the rear and were out of reach. Before the second line of battle was formed but few of the wounded got off the field; those who did were such as were able to walk, and a few who were carried in the ambulances of the cavalry or in blankets slung on muskets. Division field hospitals were now established in and near Newtown, six miles from the original line of battle and two from the second. The wagons and medical supplies arriving from the rear, the medical officers of the Sixth Corps promptly pitched their tents; before this, however, each division formed a temporary hospital in rear of the line of battle, and up to this time had performed a few capital and a large number of minor operations. The medical officers of the Nineteenth Corps took possession of the churches and several houses in Newtown and prepared them for the reception of the wounded, as all their tents had been captured. The cavalry had only a comparatively small number of casualties, and, for this reason, were enabled to care for their won wounded in ambulances until a favorable opportunity offered to send them to the rear.
On the morning of the 20th, there being no immediate prospect of hostilities, but a military necessity for removing the wounded farther to the rear, all the ambulances of the army and a large train of army wagons, properly bedded with straw, were loaded with wounded. The ambulances were used for the most severe cases and the army wagons for those of a less grave nature. Knowing that the hospitals at Winchester were unable to accommodate the large number of wounded to be disposed of, the chief medical office of that place was instructed to be disposed of, the chief medical officer of that place was instructed to retain only those who would be injured by further transportation, and to feed, dress, and furnish the remainder with all things needed, and send them on to Martinsburg. By the afternoon of the 21st the whole number of wounded, with the exception of fifteen mortal cases, had been removed from Newtown. All the corps were amply supplied for this emergency, with the exception of the Nineteenth, but its urgent wants were relieved by the others, until several wagons, loaded with medical stores, which had been kept at army headquarters to meet accidents of this kind could be brought from Winchester, whither they had gone in the morning to prevent capture. Too much praise cannot be awarded the medical officers for their energetic efforts to care for and protect the wounded on this trying occasion, the result of a temporary reverse to our arms.
The general commanding not wishing that even a temporary hospital should be established at Martinsburg, the wounded had to be placed in the cars immediately on their arrival. Owing to a deficiency of transportation, as well as to the difficulties of loading a number of cars in the confined depot at that place, a portion of the wounded of each train were placed in the churches, which were fitted up as field hospitals. Doctor Du Bois, who had been sent with orders to take such means as might be necessary to prevent any accumulation of wounded, reported that the trains generally arrived in excellent condition, few cases of neglect being observed, and most of these owing to the excessive