The evil consequences of this state of affairs are clearly manifested in the severe mortality exhibited by their reports of surgeon in charge.
Ratio of deaths per 1,000 in January, 1864,188; ratio of deaths per 1,000 in February, 240; number of deaths in March to date (eleven days), 244. Stated in another form, the average number of deaths per day during the month of January was 10; during the month of February, 18; during the month of March to date; on the day previous to that of inspection the number was 26. The ratio, it will be observed, is rapidly increasing, and compared with that of the hospitals for our own sick and wounded, the mortality in which for the same period did not in any case exceed 20 per 1,000 and in some did not reach 10 per 1,000, is truly frightful. As further illustrative of this sad condition of things, it may be mentioned that in the month of February, of 337 cases of diarrhea admitted, 265 were fatal, a result ascribed in part by the medical officer to the want of flour, corn-meal alone being furnished. Of typhoid-fever cases admitted during the three months preceding March 1, 64 1/2 per cent. proved fatal. Doctor Wilkins, the surgeon in charge until very recently, an officer to whose ability and efficiency the medical director of hospitals bears written testimony in most complimentary terms, made to the proper authorities a report (see inclosure marked A), dated November 21, 1863, setting forth the capacity of the hospital buildings and the overcrowded state of his wards and urging the necessity for further accommodations, but it seems that his request was not complied with. He again, in a communication dated December 16, 1863 (see inclosure marked B), called attention tot he same subject, but so far, as it appears, with no effect. He further reports to the undersigned that the medical purveyor does not furnish a sufficiency of medicines, and that the commissary does not provide flour for the sick requiring its use.
The kitchen and laundries of two of the buildings are tolerably well arranged and well attended to; the latrines are badly located by well cared for. From the crowded condition of the wards it is impossible to preserve them from offensive effluvia. The officers and attendants (Confederate) attached to this hospital are, surgeons, 5; assistant surgeons, 9; acting assistant surgeons, 3; hospital stewards, 2; ward-masters, 4; total, 23. Nurses, cooks, washers, and clerks, 52 in number, are taken from the prisoners. The daily guard required for the hospital consists of commissioned officers, 3; non-commissioned officers and privates, 105; total, 108.
The ward at the Libby Prison appropriated to sick and wounded Federal officers is also objectionable, being on the ground floor and not well ventilated; but the mortality has been very slight, owing in a measure, it is thought by the surgeon in charge, to the fact that the patients generally have the means and privilege of purchasing better diet than can be furnished by the commissary. There are forty sick in this ward, which is its full capacity. The bedding of the hospital is in the main good, and considering the limited facilities, well taken care of. The books and records are neatly kept.
In conclusion the undersigned would respectfully urge that an enlargement or entire change of hospital is absolutely necessary to meet the varied wants of the sick and wounded of the enemy now in our hands.
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
T. G. RICHARDSON,
Surgeon, Provisional Army, C. S.