War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0225 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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of some modifications and changes in the system of organization as connected with the hygiene and comforts of the soldiers, more particularly in relation to the class of men who, actuated by patriotism, have repaired with unexampled promptness to the defense of the institutions and laws of the country. The pressure upon the Medical Burreau has been very great and urgent, and though all the means at its disposal have been industriously used, much remains to accomplish by directing the intelligent mind of the country to practical results connected with the comforts of the soldier by preventive and sanitary measures. The Medical Bureau would in my judgment derive important and useful aid from the counsels and well-directed efforts of an intelligent and scientific commission, to be styled "a commission of inquiry and advice in respect of the sanitary interests of the U. S. forces," and acting in co-operation with the Bureau in elaborating and applying such facts as might be elicited from the experience and more extended observation of those connected with armies with reference to the diet and hygiene of troops and the organization of military hospitals, &c.

This commission is not intended to interfere with, but to strengthen the present organization, introducing and elaborating such improvements as the advanced stage of medical science might suggest-more particularly as regards the class of men who in this war of sections may be called to abandon the comforts of home and be subject to the privations and casualties of war.

The views of this office were expressed in a communication of May 18, 1861, in a crude and hasty manner as to the examination of recruits, the proposed organization of cooks, nurses, &c., to which I beg leave to refer.* The selection of this board is of the greatest importance. In connection with those gentlemen who originated this investigation, with many others, I would suggest the following members, not to exceed five to convene in Washington, who should have power to fill vacancies and appoint a competent secretary:

(1) Rev. Henry W. Bellows, D. D.

(2) Prof. Alexander Dallas Bache, LL. D.

(3) Prof. Wolcott Gibbs, M. D.

(4) Jeffries Wyman, M. D.

(5) W. H. Van Buren, M. D.

It would be proper also to associate with this board an officer of the medical staff of the Army, to be selected by the Secretary of War, familiar with the organization of military hospitals and the detail of field service.

Respectfully submitted.


Acting Surgeon-General.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND., May 22, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM McKEE DUNN, or


Washington, D. C.:

(Care of J. D. Defrees.)

I wish you to go to the War Department and to the President and tender the six regiments of three-months' men for three years. They are in fine condition, well uniformed and disciplined. Urge their immediate acceptance and instructions to muster into service.