War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0567 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

The enemy entered the camp of the Cloud farm hospital at 12 o'clock on Sunday, the second day of the battle, when some plundering was done, but subsequently, on the approach of re-enforcements under General Grander, fell back and did not enter again until Monday morning, when the commands under Generals Forrest and Cheatham first entered. The commanders assured us that every protection and assistance should be afforded us in the discharge of our duties. Permission was asked to go on the field to collect and attend to those of our wounded who had received as yet no care. General Cheatham said that permission could not be granted immediately, but that in two or three days there would be no objections; moreover, that our wounded would be cared for as their own. Their frank and candid statements gave the impression that what reason and humanity should dictate would be done; but it was very soon learned that here, as in other instances when their promise was secured, all that could be hoped for had been obtained. A guard was left for our protection from General Forrest's command, but it proved in the end to be an unfortunate detail for us, for they depended principally on us for rations, which was a matter of some consideration in view of our reduced supplies. Our haversacks had been carefully gathered up for their now valuable contents and every scrap that could lengthen out our supply for the thousand wounded heroes who were depending on us for support. In spite of the guard constant thieving was carried on, often by officers. Moreover, when the guard was withdrawn the officer in command stated that his orders were to take all gum and oilcloth blankets; hence followed a general plunder of the camp. Blankets and clothing were taken from the wounded and dying, also money and other valuables, in spite of all remonstrance by the surgeon in charge and the appeals and prayers of the wounded. Then, also, most for our nurses who had been allowed to assist, being selected from the captured on the field, were taken away, so that the duties of nurse, sexton, and surgeon mostly devolved on the surgeon. The deprivation of blankets at that time was a great calamity, for the nights were so observed in the morning one-eighth of an inch thick in basins of standing water. The wounded on the field were scattered over an area of about ten square miles, some of whom were two and three miles from water and provided with food only in small quantities from collected haversacks or as our surgeons in their daily rounds could furnish from their meager supply. They were collected in squads of from 10 to 100 each and made as comfortable as possible, with well men or those more slightly wounded to give them care. It was desired to collect them at one of the hospitals where they could have a sufficiency of water at least, but the difficulty was how could they be taken; they were from two to five miles off, and all we had was the litter. Officials almost hourly rode up to the hospitals simply to inform the surgeon that a squad of men at such and such a point were suffering greatly for want of attention, without offering a suggestion or in the slightest manner a helping hand.

A petition was made for ambulances or wagons. An order was given by General Preston to take ambulances from any train that might be found, but there was either an understanding that such orders were not binding or else entire disregard was shown to them. Ambulances on the march, going directly past the hospitals, could not be induced when empty to take in wounded on the road and leave them as they passed, which could have detained them only a few minutes. Moreover, there seemed to be teams enough at leisure. Thus, in spite of all exertions and entreaties, the surgeons were obliged to provide as best they