War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0366 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Medical officer - Surg. T. Woodbridge, Hoffman's Battalion, present since February, 1862, is evidently a skillful practitioner of medicine, but is not well informed as to his military duties. He delegates too much of his authority to his subordinates, nurses, &c., and consequently much of the duty is carelessly performed, or not at all. Hospital steward - E. S. Keith, U. S. Army.

Lieutenant - Colonel Pierson informs me, in answer to the question as to how the prison hospital fund, as well as the articles purchased from it, is accounted for, that no hospital fund is kept district from the general prison fund. The articles purchased are the usual articles of diet for the sick, underclothing, table furniture, straw for bedding, lumber for repairs to hospital, lime for whitewashing and disinfecting purposes, stoves, &c. Of the less perishable articles an accurate list is kept, that the exact quality on hand may be always known and accounted for. The police of the whole camp, excepting the officers' quarters, and to a certain extent the guard barracks and hospital, is most inexcusably neglected. Some of the beds in the prisoners' hospital are in a horribly filthy condition; the bed pans not properly attended to; the floors show no evidence of ever having been cleansed.

All this, with the crowded state of the wards (but two being occupied, the other two requiring repairs), the utter absence of ventilation, and the insufficient use of disinfectant, creates such a vitiated state of the atmosphere as to render the wards until for occupation. There is a deficiency of hospital underclothing, and this with the bedding is not properly washed. The nurses (prisoners) are not kept up to their duties with sufficient strictness. The latrines are not properly attended to, or their location charged sufficiently often, and consequently are in filthy condition. Much of the fault undoubtedly lies with the prisoners themselves, but were deficiencies once supplied and strict discipline enforced a much better condition of things would soon ensue. The facilities for obtaining water for laundry and other purposes is very deficient, one pump being the only present available means. Receptacles for garbage and other offal from the cook - house and barracks should be provided. Lime or some more powerful disinfecting agent should be used much more freely. The prisoners' barracks should be thoroughly policed every day, instead of once a week, I understand to be the case at present. I observed several chamber utensils in the barracks. These should only be allowed in the hospital. Increased hospital accommodation is needed. Room should be provided for at least 120 prisoners and 20 troops. At present there is room for but sixty prisoners, even were the wards in repair. The rooms used as a post hospital will accommodate but twelve. More medical officers are urgently required at this post. It is utterly impossible for one officer to properly discharge all the duties required of him. At least two more medical officers should be stationed here.

With the above exceptions, the requirements of the circular, office Commissary - General of Prisoners, July 7, 1862, are, so far as I could ascertain, well carried out.


Surgeon and acting Medical Inspector Prisoners of War.

[OCTOBER 10, 1863, - For General Orders, Numbers 17, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, directing execution of David M. Wright on October 16, 1863, see Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part II, p. 322.]