Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion

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18[Appendix S1.]

Med. Director’s Office, Camp near New Bridge, Va., May 29, 1862.

Sir.: I have the honor to report that I have made contracts with nineteen physicians from Massachusetts and one from New Jersey, and that four others have reported, under contract, from Washington and New York. These have enabled me to supply the general hospitals at White House and at Yorktown, and to order to their regiments the medicalofficers who were left at those places with the sick. Should you be able to send me the others I have asked for I hope to be able to relieve this army from its present embarrassments in this respect. The bedding and hospital furniture ordered to York River have reached the purveyor. A considerable supply of stimulants has also come to hand (some of it, however, in bad order), but no quinine has yet arrived. We are desperately in want of this article. Unless the supplies ordered from Philadelphia were sent by a special agent there is no calculation to be made as to when they will reach the purveyor. They may be afloat somewhere upon the York River for weeks and no intimation of their whereabouts given to the purveyor.

[202] I think that this army is now occupying a better locality, and that we may look for an improvement in the health of the men. Still, rains are very frequent, and some of our camps are in consequence damp and wet. The excitement of being in presence of the enemy, and the daily expectation of a conflict and occasionally the actual occurrence of one, will tend to keep the men in better health and spirits. The rains keep the roads in shocking condition. We have great difficulty in getting up supplies. The railway is in working order to within from 3 to 15 miles of our several camps. This is of much assistance. Still, its capacity in rolling stock is very limited, and there are no suitable cars for carrying sick and wounded. I have used the covered freight cars for transporting sick, but could only take 100 at a time. The great difficulty, however, is in getting the men over the roads to the railroad station.

I had calculated that we should fight our great battle before Richmond, and, if successful, we should have the whole city, if necessary, for a hospital; but this anticipation has not been realized so far. We had a smart affair on our right the day before yesterday, in which we had near 200 wounded. The exact number is not yet reported to me. We are now bringing them here in ambulances, a distance of some 15 miles. I cannot send wounded men over the road to the station in its present condition, and so have to make temporary provisions for them here. This I find very difficult. If the number of wounded increase it will be a very serious matter. I have floating hospitals at White House for 2,000 men, but to get them down there is the great difficulty.

I have authorized and directed Mr. Olmstead, of the Sanitary Commission, to purchase a cargo of ice for distribut1on to the hospitals ashore and afloat in the York River. This has been done. I have also directed the medical purveyor to purchase one hundred cases of portable soup for distribution to the several regiments and independent commands of the army.

So many frauds have been practiced upon the service by malingerers that I have been reluctant to send any more of our sick to the North. We never get any back that have been sent there, and I know there are hundreds in New York who ought to be in the field. Still, I think I shall be compelled to send off another transport from White House with some 400 men. I infer from your last letter that they can be received in Washington, and will send them there.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Medical Director Army of the Potomac.

Brig. Gen. W. A. HAMMOND,


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Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.201-202

web page Rickard, J (25 October 2006)

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