cabin, which is used as quarters for the officers of the boat, and though which it is reached from the main deck by a broad stairway.
Acting Assistant Surgeon Carey is the medical officer in charge, assisted by an acting hospital steward, two nurses, and two negroes for police duty, &c. These, Doctor Carey states, are sufficient, for in every load of prisoners there are many who are able and willing to act as nurses. Through Doctor Carey I ascertained there are on board 600 blankets, 40 cots, 160 bed sacks, all filed with straw except 15, a sufficient supply of urinals and chamber utensils, and a sufficiency of table furniture. These are all in tolerably good order, except, that, as I am informed, the blankets are not, as they should be, washed after each trip. There is no difficulty in obtaining abundant supplies of medicines and materials for dressing, as well as prepared coffee and beef tea from the medical purveyor. The coffee and beef tea are prepared for the use of the sick by means of a steam apparatus. In cases of necessity, the doctor says, the captain's wife is very kind in preparing cornstarch and other delicacies. The cooking-stove on the forward deck is also used for the hospital when necessary. The hospital is clean, though not in very good order. Chloride of lime is plentifully used as a disinfectant. I would suggest that a supply of the Ridgewood disinfectant powder be ordered for use on board the boat.
I suggested to Major Mulford that in view of its superior facilities the upper cabin should be used as a hospital instead of the lower cabin. He stated that it was not for the following reasons: The average number of prisoners carried at each trip, except in the case of the last two trips, is 600. Of these the average number of sick requiring hospital treatment is 5 per cent., or about thirty per trip. By occupying the upper cabin as a hospital for the benefit of this small number, some 150 well men, who would otherwise be accommodated here, would have to be placed elsewhere, and there is not sufficient room in the lower cabin to compensate for the loss of this. The last two trips were exceptional ones. In each about 350 men were received, and of these about 200 in each required hospital care, and, of course, had to be accommodated in the best way at command. Again, the passage from City Point to Annapolis only occupies from sixteen to twenty hours, the men spending but one night on board. I do not think that these objections are valid. Let the sick occupy as much room in the upper cabin as may be necessary, and let the well men occupy the remainder if they cannot be comfortably placed elsewhere. As to the short duration of the passage, that can be no reason why the poor fellows should not be made as comfortable as possible while it lasts.
In reference to the rations for the prisoners generally, I think that a supply of good vegetable and been soup would be very much better for men in their condition than the cold boiled beef now issued. It has been suggested to me that the men should have facilities for bathing, and be furnished with clean clothes on board the boat. If she was a regular hospital boat, or if the any great length, this should certainly be done, but in view of the present circumstances of the case I do not see the necessity of it. There are much better facilities for doing this at the hospital than could possibly be provided on board the boat. During the cold weather I would suggest that the boat carry a sufficient supply of blankets to furnish each prisoner with at least two during his stay on the boat, instead of but one, as at present. With the above-mentioned exceptions, I think the flag-of-truce boat is sufficiently provided for her ordinary trips. When a load of sick and wounded prisoners are expected, I would suggest that a
38 R R-SERIES II, VOL VI