Moore, S. P. "Resources of the C. S. Medical Dept. in February 1865." Southern Historical Society Papers 2 (1876), pp. 125-128.
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, February 9th, 1865.
Sir-In reply to the circular of the 7th instant, from your office, I have the honor to submit the following report:
By recent instructions, the Superintendent of Conscription has (on the authority of the War Department) directed that all disabled men detailed from the Army of Northern Virginia, should be returned for such duty as they may be able to perform in the field.
Objections cannot reasonably be made to this, provided the men not found equal to any duty in the field be returned to the same hospital from which they have been taken. But by Circular No. 35,
PAGE 126 Southern Historical Society Papers.
of December 2, 1864, from the Bureau of Conscription, generals of reserves are directed (on the authority of the War Department) to organize for certain local service "all men found for light duty and not otherwise assigned and actually employed," which deprives the Medical Department of the opportunity to replace with conscripts found for light duty the detailed men relieved in the manner above stated, or to fill the requirements arising from time to time for hospital attendants. The hospitals cannot be properly conducted without a liberal allowance of white male attendants, and it is recommended that Circular No. 35, of 1864, form the Bureau of Conscription, be modified so as to permit either conscripts found for light duty, or reserves over forty-five years of age, to be assigned as hospital attendants.
Under the authority of law (embodied in General Orders No. 69, of 1863, and No. 25, of 1864), soldiers sick or wounded, and likely to remain unfit for military duty for sixty days, are furloughed.
It is undoubtedly humane to furlough these men, but the practice is wholly inconsistent with preserving and maintaining an army. Many of the men are lost sight of, and never return. It is recommended that the law be repealed. Furloughs should only be authorized by orders to be granted as circumstances may demand.
Foreseeing the many and great difficulties to be encountered in procuring medical supplies from foreign countries through the blockade, attention was given at an early day to the establishment of medical laboratories, and the manufacture of medicines at Lincolnton, North Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, Macon and Atlanta, Georgia, and Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama. While these laboratories have been engaged more especially in the manufacture of medicines, heretofore universally procured from abroad, great attention has been given to the manufacture of indigenous remedies, which are now administered by medical officers, in lieu of medicines of foreign origin, with favorable results.
In the beginning of the war, the Department was compelled to depend entirely upon purchasing agents, and contracts awarded to individuals for a supply of hospital furniture, bedding, &c., and which contracts in a majority of cases were never filled. It was then determined to assume direct control of the manufacture of these articles and artisans were detailed from the ranks of the army, and, when practicable, disabled soldiers were employed.
These employees of the laboratories, purveying depots and distilleries, are in a great measure expert chemists, druggists and distillers and men of professional skill, whose services are absolutely indispensable for the manufacture of medicines, hospital furniture and alcoholic stimulants. It is therefore hoped that the Honorable Secretary will see the necessity of these men being permanently attached to the Medical Department, as the practice of constantly changing these employees is productive of delay and embarrassment to the Department. It is also important that they should be
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exempt form all military duty, for if called out in an emergency, when the Purveyor is called on to fill requisitions for the wounded, it is evident that suffering must ensue in consequence of their absence. Medical supplies can only be prepared and put up by skilled druggists.
For the supply of alcoholic stimulants, the Department has been until recently dependent upon contracts with individuals. It was ascertained that this mode by supply was susceptible of gross fraud, for although expressly forbidden by the terms of the contract, the contractors not only manufactured an excess over the quantity called for by the contract, but frequently manufactured so indifferent and spurious an article that the Department was obliged to reject it, thus leaving large quantities of whiskey in their hands, which they readily disposed of at prices largely in advance of Government rates. At the suggestion of this bureau, Congress at its last session granted authority to the Surgeon-General to establish distilleries for the manufacture of alcoholic stimulants. Accordingly they have been established at Salisbury, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, Macon, Georgia, and in Wilcox county, Alabama. The distilleries at Salisbury and Columbia are manufacturing from two to five hundred gallons each of whisky and alcohol per day. Those at Macon and in Wilcox county, Alabama, will be ready to commence operations in two or three months, when all contracts for stimulants throughout the country will be cancelled.
A large portion of the grain consumed by these distilleries is rendered useless for other purposes, being damaged in transportation or from insecure storage, and turned over by the Quartermasters to this Department. Thousands of bushels of grain are thus saved to the Government and made available for army purposes. Arrangements have been perfected with the Quartermaster's Department to supply the distillery at Salisbury with grain, thus avoiding competition between the agents of the two Departments in the market. It is contemplated to make similar arrangements with the Quartermaster-General to supply the distilleries in Georgia and Alabama, so soon as they are ready to commence operations, and it is recommended that instructions be given that officers to furnish the necessary grain when notified by the Surgeon-General that he is ready to receive it.
The late Secretary of War gave orders to the Quartermaster's Department to furnish all the bureaux of the War Department with cotton good sufficient to supply their wants. Estimates were accordingly forwarded to the Quartermaster-General by this bureau, but as yet not a yard has been furnished, and there seems to be no probability of obtaining a supply from this source. Arrangements are now being perfected with a company in South Carolina to sell to the Medical Department, on liberal terms, the entire product of their factory.
There is another subject of great importance, to which the atten-
PAGE 128 Southern Historical Society Papers.
tion of the Secretary of War is earnestly invited. The sick and wounded in the large hospitals in or about the city, and at certain other places, are now subjected to intense suffering, in consequence of the failure of the Quartermaster's Department to furnish fuel.
At one of these hospitals (Chimborazo) the surgeon in charge for two years furnished his own wood, during which time there was an ample supply. The Quartermaster declined to permit this arrangement to continue, and each winter since this hospital has been inadequately supplied.
The surgeon in charge of Jackson hospital has the offer of a contract for wood to be supplied the hospital; the Quartermaster refused to make the contract, stating that he had made ample provision. At Winder hospital the surgeon in charge during the past summer or fall offered, if he was provided with a small number of teams (two), to supply his own fuel; the Quartermaster refused, asserting that he could supply the hospital with the wood required. These cases are mentioned to show that the fuel could have been provided.
A serious difficulty in conducting the hospitals arises from the failure of the Commissary Department to furnish the hospital funds. Very general complaint has been made on this subject - one of importance, as without the hospital fund, it is impossible to supply the sick and wounded with the necessary supplies. The hospitals have also been embarrassed by the non-payment of the hospital attendants by the Quartermaster's Department.
Attention has been given recently to the importation of supplies through our lines on the Mississippi river, and the gulf border of Mississippi and Alabama. Cotton is exchanged for medical supplies, and in consequence of the recent disaster at Wilmington, it is believed that this trade will constitute the chief source of supply. This Department had obtained medicines in this manner through the energy of Surgeon Richard Potts, who has had exclusive control of the importation of such articles as are most needed, until recent orders from the War Department, taking entire control of transactions of this nature, has impaired his usefulness, and put a stop in a measure to the supply. The Honorable Secretary's attention is earnestly invited to the necessity of allowing Surgeon Potts (located at Montgomery, Alabama), ample means for obtaining medical supplies in the manner indicated.
The department had on hand, of some articles, a twelve months' supply, of others a limited supply, but it allowed to retain its skilled employees at the various laboratories, purveying depots and distilleries, and to import medicines freely through our lines in Mississippi and Alabama, no fear need be entertained that the sick and wounded of the army will suffer for the want of any of the essential articles of the supply table.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. P. MOORE,
Surgeon-General C. S. A.