No. 92. Report of Surg. T. Rush Spencer, U. S. Army, Medical Director, of operations February 5-April 30.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
MEDICAL DIRECTOR'S OFFICE,
April 30, 1865.
On the 5th of February we were again ordered to move with our flying hospital, leaving the balance of the hospital train, &c., behind. On reaching Rowanty Creek the enemy made a sharp and determined resistance to our crossing. We had some fifteen wounded. These were immediately sent back to our hospital, left at Parke's Station. Effecting a crossing, building bridges, &c., consumed some hours. Evening found us at the Quaker road, down which we marched during the night (to reach Hatcher's Run early in the morning), after a day and a night without rest of officers and men.
The cold was the most intense encountered in any movement during the winter. The men had hardly time to prepare a hasty dish of coffee when they were ordered forward to attack the enemy, with varying fortune. Night left much of the field of battle of the 6th in possession of the enemy. So promptly and so thoroughly had the wounded been removed from the field that when recovered next morning very few were found to have been left unsecured or in the hands of the enemy. The hospitals of the corps were promptly established at the Cumming's house, a mile to the rear of the run. Here every attention was rendered, the medical officers never resting until every man was fed, dressed, or operated on, as the case required, and loaded into the ambulances. They were at once conveyed to the railroad at Patrick's Station, numbering 502.
The battle of the 7th, a brief one, resulted favorably to our arms. Promptly the wounded were aging placed in the hands of the untiring surgeons; again and again the field and woods were gleaned by the faithful stretcher-bearers, until all were cared for.
Another night and morning of unremitting labor, and 184 wounded were on their way to the depot hospital.
The corps went into camp in the immediate vicinity, on a high, dry, and rolling surface, with good water and plenty of wood. The benefit of the improved site of our camps was immediately visible in the prompt disappearance of intermittent and kindred diseases.
The hospital were all removed from Parke's Station and each placed in the more immediate vicinity of its own division. They soon vied with each other in increased comforts for their sick and in external ornamentation. Again a period of rest, under favorable sanitary conditions, prepared the troops for that short, sharp, and decisive campaign which was in fact to finish, not only the great, but the greatest rebellion. During this period of rest all reports were brought up, property unfit for further use, or in excess, turned in, and all deficiencies supplied. The ambulance and hospital train was also put in complete order for the spring campaign. After the maximum of supplies had been laid in, an order reducing the transportation left no alternative to the overburdened wagons, in our hurried marches over the worst of roads, but to abandon more or less of the supplies deemed necessary
*For portion of this report here omitted, see Vol. XLII, Par I, p.451.