[Inclosure Numbers 4.]
GENERAL HOSPITAL, Numbers 21,
Richmond, Va., November 17, 1863.
Major ISAAC H. CARRINGTON:
SIR: Agreeable to your request, I have the honor to submit the following report of the C. S. prison hospitals under my charge in this city. At present they are three in number, exclusive of one ward in the Libby Prison building, which is used as an "office hospital. " They are large and well ventilated, and until recently have been used as Confederate hospitals. The largest of them was turned over to me with all its appointments and effects, and the Confederate patients sent to another hospital. The supply of beds, bedding, and medicines is drawn from the medical purveyor, and no discrimination is made between the Confederate sick and wounded and those of the enemy. My instructions from the medical department have invariably been to treat the prisoners with kindness. They have repeatedly expressed their surprise and gratitude for the kind treatment they have received from every one connected with the hospitals, which was entirely at variance with their preconceived ideas of the treatment they might expect. The medical purveyor furnishes me with an abundance of medicines and instruments of the finest quality, also with bedding and all other articles necessary for the comfort of the sick, including tea and spirits. Federal surgeons who have visited our dispensary have expressed their surprise at the fine quality and abundance of medicines and instruments, which in spite of the rigorous blockade, the Confederate Government is able to furnish to the sick and wounded of that Government which has endeavored so strenuously to deprive us of a supply for even our own men. I am assisted in the discharge of my duties by a medical corps of fourteen assistant surgeons, who are skilled in their profession and attentive toe very want of the sick confided to their care.
The ration issued to the hospital has been, until the last few days, one pound of fresh beef and eighteen ounces of wheat bread daily to each patient, taking my morning report as a guide as to the number. In addition to the above, Captain J. Warner, acting commissary of subsistence, C. S. prison, furnishes me in bulk, to be used at discretion, sugar, rice, vinegar, salt, flour, meal, sweet potatoes, and pease. The ration is frequently in excess and is almost invariably of good quality. The beef furnished is always the hind quarter, as is usually furnished to the Confederate hospitals. In addition to the above articles, I am authorized to purchase any delicacies that may be required for special cases. I frequently make purchases of chickens, eggs, &c. On the 4th of November there were in hospitals 632 patients; on the 5th, 760. On the 4th the hospital steward purchased $8 in cabbages, $7 in onions, $5 in eggs, and $30 in rye, a substitute for coffee. Four gallons of milk are purchased daily for the use of the sick.
The vegetables purchased on the 4th and 5th are purchased daily to season the soup, which is of excellent quality and well adapted to the use of the patients.
Nothing demonstrates more clearly the good treatment which they receive in hospital than the rapidity with which they recover from serious diseases and injuries and the small percentage of deaths.
Surgeon Libby Prison Post.