Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion

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[Appendix T.]

Medical Director’s Office, June 22, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that in obedience to your instructions I proceeded to White House on Friday afternoon (20th), and returned yesterday. I called upon Colonel Ingalls, and in company with him examined the house known as the White House, as well as the outbuildings, grounds, and spring. The house is two stories in height, with two small rooms on each floor, with a very small wing at each end on the lower floor, a cellar under the main building, and with no attic. The four rooms in the main building can each accommodate 5 patients. One of the wings can accommodate 3 or perhaps 4 patients; the other is a sort of pantry, and has on one side the opening for the stairway to descend into the cellar. This room is unfit for any other purpose than a dispensary or kitchen. The cellar is dark, damp, and foul, and, in my opinion, should of itself forbid the occupation of the house as a hospital. The greatest number of sick the house can accommodate is, then, 24, leaving no room for the nurses. The outbuildings are entirely unfit for hospital purposes.

The grounds consist of a lawn, shaded by locust trees, and a kitchen garden. The lawn affords room for about 25 hospital tents. The kitchen garden is of loose soil, parts of it rather low, and in wet weather would be muddy and uncomfortable. By ditching it might be drained. The spring is at the foot of the bank, near the dairy-house. [206] The water is good, similar to that of the other springs that have been prepared for the use of the men. The supply of water in the spring within the grounds is very scanty. The hospital steward told me he had abandoned it, because he found it required two hours and a half to till a barrel of water. The spring is inaccessible to wagons. It has always been at the service of the hospital. I inclose the order of Colonel Ingalls to this effect. If this house were used for hospital purposes it could only be made available for the quarters of the surgeons attached and for a dispensary. The sick would require hospital tents upon the lawn. If the grounds were occupied in this way, as they are altogether insufficient for the whole establishment, it would necessitate the organization of a separate administration—surgeons, cooks, stewards, &c.—an expenditure of personnel that we cannot very well afford. We have now 170 hospital tents pitched on the plantation, well arranged and well policed; the camp well drained; the administrition tents, the cooking apparatus, and the subsistence tents centrally located and convenient for all parties. Thirty-five more tents are on the ground, and are being pitched as the force at our disposal will allow.

Sixty-five of these tents have plank floors. The remaining 35 of the first 100 would have been floored if the lumber had been on hand. The delay in receiving this, however, has developed an interesting and important fact: The mortality in the floored tents has been very sensibly greater than in those without floors. I have directed the surgeon in charge to prepare tables showing the comparative rates of deaths in the two classes of tents for my information. If lumber is received, I will suspend the flooring of the remaining tents until these tables can be examined and the question set at rest. I must remark that although the whole of the tents occupied were in good police, and an air of comfort pervading them, still those without floors were decidedly superior in these respects to the others.

In relation to the relative advantages of hospital tents and buildings for hospital purposes, I think that among those at all familiar with the subject there is but one opinion—that the tents are decidedly the best.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Surgeon and Medical Director Army of the Potomac.

General R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff Army of the Potomac.

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Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.205-206

web page Rickard, J (25 October 2006)


  1. Macdoughall

    It is really surprising.

  2. Than

    the Sympathetic message

  3. Divyanshu

    Let's live.

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