From the Richmond Enquirer, 9/29/1862
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON HOSPITALS.
We present below the report of the Senate Committee on Hospitals, to which we alluded in Thursday's issue. The printers made us say on that occasion that the report was then presented; but the reader readily saw that it was the bill, as passed by the Senate, which then appeared.
We publish this report, not only for its interest, but because of the deep feeling which the subject of hospitals has excited throughout the Confederacy. This report will disabuse the public mind in many particulars and instruct it in others: Report of the Select Committee appointed by the Senate of the Confederate States to examine into the condition of Hospitals, and report by bill or otherwise.
The Select Committee appointed by the Senate to investigate the complaints of the sick and wounded in the hospitals, and to inspect the same, ask leave to submit the following report:
THE CONDITION OF THE HOSPITALS, &C.
The numerous complaints made throughout the country, and through the public press, in reference to the condition of the Army Hospitals, and the treatment there received by the sick and wounded, made the subject one of deep and earnest solicitude on the part of Congress and the public generally. Some member of the Committee, has visited in person, all the public hospitals located in and near the city of Petersburg, and all the principal hospital in and near the city of Richmond, making a most thorough examination into their several conditions, as it related to their cleanliness, the attention and care bestowed upon the sick, the condition of the beds and bedding, the food and diet allowed and provided, and the general wants, defects and necessities of the same. In undertaking to discharge the duties assigned them by the Senate, it was the purpose of the Committee to make their examination thorough and complete. To this end they availed themselves of all the information they could obtain by conversing with the sick and the surgeons in charge, with the determination of submitting to Congress the whole truth, whether painful or agreeable, and now, after having made this examination, realize the most agreeable satisfaction in reporting, that though many of the complaints made by the sick, are well founded in fact, yet they are in no manner attributable to the inattention or neglect of the surgeons in charge.
All these complaints relate to causes over which the Medical Department have no control, under existing laws, and therefore can afford no remedy.
They principally relate to a want of proper food or diet, to proper clothing and nursing. As it regards the condition of the hospitals, their appearance generally is that of institutions well conducted, indeed, in most cases, excellently conducted, when we take into consideration the attendant circumstances. - The beds and bedding were generally clean, the room well ventilated, the floors, dining rooms and culinary departments all neat and in good order; the patients, in most instances, comfortable and cheerful; especially was this the case in all hospitals visited, or in any manner superintended by ladies. In making this report the committee do not intend to be understood as conveying the idea that all our hospitals are equally well managed, and that all present the same appearance of neatness, comfort and order. They do not. There was not only a difference in the mere appearance of the hospitals themselves, but a very striking difference in the appearance and cheerfulness of their inmates. Those presenting an appearance less neat, however, for them exception to the general character of the whole. Having said this much, it would appear as a matter of justice to those not embraced within the exceptional class as above defined, that specifications should be made. - In attempting to do this the committee feel that they might still do a greater wrong not because this exceptional class have succeeded so well in their undertaking, or perhaps exercised as much taste and vigilance in the discharge of their duties, but rather because they seem to have done, and still seem anxious to do, all they can under the circumstances.
The man who strives with a zeal worthy of success, and who yet fails to succeed so completely and perfectly as another ought not hastily to be condemned. He should rather be upheld and strengthened in his efforts, because integrity of purpose and sleepless vigilance will finally prevail. Your Committee feel assured that it is the universal desire of all those having in charge the hospitals visited by them, to render to our sick and wounded all the aid and assistance they can. They urge anxiously, every reform in the whole system that promises this result, and your Committee are equally anxious that the Congress should perform promptly and availably its duty in the premises. The number of sick and wounded, now in the hospitals, is not so large as heretofore. The number dangerously ill is comparatively small. A large majority now in the hospitals, being soldiers, who from general debility, resulting from exposure in camps, the heat of summer and long marches, have been unable to remain with their regiments on the march, and therefore have been sent to the hospitals to rest and recruit. This large class, in a few weeks, are generally sufficiently restored in health to rejoin their regiments.
A majority of those dangerously ill, were laboring under attacks of Typhoid Fever, Typhoid Pneumonia, Erysipelas, and Chronic Diarrhea.
As before stated, the general complaints made by the sick, relate to a want of proper food, both in quantity and quality; a proper preparation of it, additional clothing and competent and skillful nurses. It is not, under existing laws and regulations, in the power of surgeons in charge to remove these grounds of complaint. They grow out of the imperfection of the system itself, and can only be remedied by Congress.
The supplies furnished, are not of a quality suitable for the sick. This was the universal opinion upon the subject. The Surgeons cannot obtain suitable supplies of food, because the hospital fund is not sufficient for the purpose, and they have no other means at their disposal.
They now have the greatest difficulty in obtaining the limited supply of poultry, vegetables, &c., now used in the hospitals, and are compelled to pay the most exorbitant prices for them. The quantity they do obtain is not sufficient for the necessities of the sick.
After having exhausted the hospital fund, they can buy no more, and are then compelled to take whatever supplies the commissary may furnish, whether suitable or not. For this very serious cause of complaint there is one remedy in the power of Congress, and that remedy may be made complete and efficacious, and that is, to increase the hospital fund. Under existing regulations this fund is formed in the hands of the commissary, by the Government allowing for each ration not drawn for the use of the sick the sum of thirty cents. This fund or amount rather, may be drawn by the Surgeon, and be expended for such articles are not furnished by the commissary. The ration that the sick soldier does not draw, at present prices, costs the Government about one dollar. It ought certainly to be worth as much when purchased by the Government from a sick soldier in the army, as when purchased from another person not in the army. Let the Government, then, pay as much for it, and in doing this it will be doing only even handed justice to all parties. To enlarge this hospital fund, so as to make it sufficient for all purposes, let the Government allow for each ration not drawn the sum of one dollar, instead of thirty cents, as now allowed. Should it be urged in opposition to this, that this fund might become too large, and be liable to waste or embezzlement, it may be replied that the fund never passes into the surgeon's hands until required, but remains in the hands of the commissary, who is a bonded officer of the Government. To guard against all chances of fraud, the act enlarging the fund can provide that when the fund shall exceed a certain amount, the excess shall be placed in the public treasury to the credit of the hospital, and alone subject to the order of Congress. Should this fund be increased in the manner as above stated, great economy may be practised in procuring supplies for the hospitals, by allowing surgeons in charge to appoint one or more agents, to proceed to the country, and there make such purchases as may be needed. The sick, above all things, desire and require a change of diet. The food they require is generally simple, such as buttermilk, vegetables, poultry, &c., but this they ought to have. To make the whole matter complete, when the fund is enlarged and the agent appointed, let the Government provide him with a general transportation ticket upon all railroads and canals, when in the service of the hospital, and let all railroad agents, and agents and officers of canal boats be compelled promptly and without delay to transport all such articles as may be purchased for the use of hospitals, to the place or places required: and to guard against all fraud on the part of this agent, let him be required every week or two weeks to render an account, sworn to and verified by vouchers. Unless some such system be adopted, the sick in the hospitals will continue to complain and continue to suffer.
When winter approaches the difficulties will increase. If Congress will perform its duty, all this may be averted, and their action in the premises will meet the approval of all good men. Worst in the series of complaints is the want of additional clothing, a proper preparation of the food, and better and more competent nurses.
These are serious causes of complaint, but can be easily removed without much difficulty or expense. In most instances, when the sick soldier enters the hospital he has but one suit of clothing, and that upon his back, and generally all soiled and stiff with dirt. The surgeon in charge cannot furnish more suitable clothing, because he has none to furnish. They are evidently necessary for more purposes than one, and should be had if possible, because cleanliness is not only necessary to general health, but is essentially so in a hospital. To remedy this difficulty, each surgeon in charge of a hospital can be authorized to draw from the quartermaster a number of suits of clothing, especially pants, shirts and drawers, equal to the number of beds in his hospital, to be denominated and kept as hospital clothing, to be used alone by the sick, and turned over to the hospital steward when the soldier recovers, and leaves the hospital to rejoin his regiment.
HOSPITAL NURSES AND WARD MATRONS.
The nurses and ward matrons now acting in the hospitals are generally selected and chosen from the convalescent soldiers, who in most cases are without experience, and hence know but little of the very delicate and important duties they are required to perform. In addition to this, it may be asserted with truth, that as a general thing, soldiers in most instances are less qualified, and therefore make the most indifferent and careless nurses that could be selected.
Familiar with hardships and suffering, they become, to some extent, callous and indifferent. Under existing regulations, should one now and then display qualities that render him efficient and competent for these duties, it is not in the power of the surgeons in charge to retain him. He is liable at any time to be ordered to duty in the field, and hence his place must then be supplied by another without experience. This system of constant change, fills your hospitals with awkward and the inefficient nurses and ward-masters. And, too, it is well known to all persons of observation that nursing and attending upon the sick, is, to some extent, a talent or gift not possessed by all men. A good nurse must not only be active and attentive, he must also be kind, patient and sympathetic. But few men possess these qualities in a very high degree, when required to display them in a sick chamber, where during each minute and hour for days, weeks and months they are constantly taxed and called into requisition. Hence, when such qualities are evinced, it should be in the power of the surgeon, upon requisition, to have such men permanently detailed for this duty, and only to be removable by him for inattention or neglect. - This will give you competent ward-masters and nurses for your hospitals, as far as the necessities of the hospitals, may make their services important. And for certain purposes they are important and cannot be dispensed with. It is also well known that men generally have but little capacity in preparing delicacies, suitable to the taste of the sick, and yet this is of the highest importance. A sick man not only requires a suitable diet, suitably prepared, but he also requires a comfortable bed, a quiet chamber, and tender and faithful nursing. To secure these important results, your committee recommend, that each surgeon of a hospital, or the division of a hospital, be required to substitute in all cases where it may be done with propriety, competent female nurses, to the extent of the number now allowed by law, and that such female nurses be of good character, and each be allowed and paid the sum of twenty-five dollars per month, and in addition to the female nurses, above named, that two females of good character be employed for each ward of the hospital to act as ward matrons, whose duty it shall be to exercise a general superintendence over the cleanliness of their respective wards, to see that the beds and bedding are kept neat and clean, the food for the sick properly prepared, and the medicine properly administered and that patients very ill are properly nursed and cared for, and all other matters relating to the domestic comfort and order of such ward, and that they be allowed and paid each the sum of thirty dollars per month. - And in addition to the nurses and ward matrons above named, that for each hospital two females of good character, with domestic experience, be employed to act as chief matrons of the hospital, to exercise a general superintendence over all the wards, and ward nurses and ward matrons, to receive and take charge of all delicacies provided for the sick, to distribute them when necessary, and to see that everything relating to the domestic economy of the hospital is kept in perfect order, and that they be allowed and paid each, the sum of forty dollars per month. And in addition to these, that two females be employed for each hospital, to act as laundresses, whose duty it shall be to take charge of all beds and bedding, and all clothing used by the sick, to see that all are kept properly washed and in good order, and that they each be paid the sum of thirty dollars per month.
Should these recommendations be carried into effect, your committee are confident that an entire reformation and improvement will have been made, not only in the domestic comfort and order of your hospitals, but in a moral point of view its results will be of incalculable benefit. It is not alone necessary to sustain the physical being of a man by food and drink. His sympathies, his social and moral nature are of an importance, equally high, and exercise not only a controlling influence over his happiness, but, in many instances over his health. In all the qualities essential to insure these important results, it will require no power of logic in this practical and sensible age to prove that woman is greatly man's superior. Her sympathies not only soothe the afflicted, but her tenderness and kindness often afford relief. With less physical courage to resist, she yet has higher moral courage to endure, and hence, never falters or grows weary in doing good. With more heart she is necessarily more constant, more generous, more devoted and patient. - Always responsive when her humanity is appealed to, she has sympathies warmer, more religious, more earnest and refined. Her very presence is a rebuke to every impropriety, and when permanently introduced into your hospitals, will shed a gleam of neatness, cheerfulness, comfort and moral excellence around and about them not yet realized. - To the sick soldier surely nothing could be more grateful than this. In this manner, during hours of suffering, he will, to some extent, realize those pure joys, which make home and wife so dear to every manly heart, while the brave boy, separated from friends, and prostrate upon a bed disease, will again be reminded of her whose motherly love was the first recollection of his childhood, and whose earnest prayers were the first to direct his young heart to the throne of Grace. In all the hospitals visited by your Committee it required no effort to detect evidences of her presence, where from the unselfish motive of doing good, she had voluntarily gone. In all such hospitals there was an air of neatness, cheerfulness and comfort no where else to be seen. In these recommendations your Committee are sustained by the almost universal opinion of the Surgeons in charge of your hospitals. These opinions, in writing, accompany this report. In these opinions will be found the names of Miss S. Tompkins and her assistants of Robertson Hospital; Mrs. Clopton and her assistants, Clopton Hospital; Mrs. Randolph, Miss Nicholas, Miss Mitchell, Miss Campbell, Miss King and others, Winder Hospital; Mrs. Hopkins, 2d Alabama Hospital; The Sisters of Charity, Louisiana Hospital; Mrs. E. E. Mayo, Samaritan Hospital; Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Jenkins, Soldiers' Home Hospital; the Sisters of Charity, St. Francis Infirmary; Mrs. Gen. Henningsen, Henningsen Hospital. Your Committee know with what innate delicacy and modesty ladies shrink from public notoriety, yet in these instances they feel that those whose noble deeds of charity and benevolence, so delicately and patriotically displayed, should be known to the mothers, wives and sisters of the Confederacy whose noblest virtues they have illustrated in watching patiently by the dying couch of many a brave soldier so dear to their hearts.
A REORGANIZATION OF HOSPITALS.
From inspection and earnest inquiry into all the facts connected with the subject, the committee are of opinion, and submit the recommendation that our whole hospital system be so reorganized as to represent, to some extent, State institutions by requiring the sick and wounded of the different States to be sent to the hospital or hospitals representing that particular State. Should this be done it will greatly add to the comfort of your hospitals, as well as give especial satisfaction and pleasure to the sick by placing acquaintances and friends together.
In another point of view, it will be highly beneficial in obtaining supplies. The donations made by different States and individuals to hospitals where their sick were located must not be underrated. Should this be done the citizens of the different States will continue to contribute much for the use of such hospitals in the way of delicacies, &c. This has been the history of all such hospitals as have been regarded by the public as State institutions. It will also enable persons in search of their friends and relatives to find them with less difficulty. At present this is almost impossible. If, however, the present tendency of the system is to progress until all are merged into one general system, it will be impossible for friends at home to know where their kindred and acquaintances are located; and hence, as they become the more doubtful upon the subject, their interest in, and their donations to hospitals will gradually disappear, and finally cease altogether.
Indeed, to our regret, we learn from those having in charge hospitals which were at one time regarded as State institutions, but now as general hospitals, that but few donations were now received compare with those made before the special and local character of the institution was lost. No one can estimate the value of those contributions heretofore made, and if the present system should so operate as to cause them to cease altogether, its effect must be seriously felt by the sick and wounded. Charity is beautiful; and that disinterested charity which inspires a love for the whole human race, the sake of doing good, is unquestionably one of the noblest virtues. There are many such, but still the great mass are but human beings, influenced, to some extent, by personal prejudices and partialities. In attempting to legislate, it is certainly wise to remember this. - All such feel a more direct interest in, and regard for, those whom they esteem as their kindred and friends, than for any one else. - To them they will give more than to strangers. This being so, we believe it will be wise so to organize our system as to make it respond in character to the wishes and partialities of the public. In this way we will stimulate their feelings and create direct claims upon them.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF SURGEONS.
Your committee believe, could a more direct personal responsibility be created upon hospital surgeons, by a judicious change or modification of the system to that extent, it would produce the most desirable results. - In that event, when the sick complain of inattention or neglect or improper diet, there can be no escape under the plea that his requisitions were not regarded, or that the Commissary or Quartermaster would not furnish the articles desired. A surgeon thus situated will have higher inducements to stimulate and energize his actions. It will inspire a higher desire for success and distinction, and create the most honorable and praiseworthy emulation. Should this be done the sick soldier will know exactly to whom he is to look for all care and attention, and the surgeon will know that he cannot escape public reprehension, by charging the blame upon some one else. In creating this more direct individual responsibility upon surgeons, it need in no manner interfere with proper subordination in the Medical Department. Let each hospital surgeon be required to control the entire domestic economy of his hospital. Let him appoint his own stewards and agents to obtain supplies, and be held responsible for their faithful performance of duty. Let him employ his female matrons and nurses and all ward masters and nurses. Let him be the sole judge of the beds and bedding necessary for the sick under his charge, and the quantity and quality of the provisions to be used. Let him use his election whether he will accept or draw hospital stores from the Commissary, or commute the same and draw the money.
Such a reform, your committee believe, would result in incalculable benefit to the hospitals, and they, therefore, make the recommendation.
THE PAY OF SICK SOLDIERS AND THE GRANTING THEM FURLOUGHS.
The refusal of Quartermasters to pay sick or wounded soldiers, separated from their regiments, who are without descriptive lists, has occasioned great inconvenience, and done great injustice to this large class of our army. This injustice has resulted more from a want of foresight, (if not cold neglect,) on the part of Government officials, than from any defects in existing laws. An order has now been issued by the Adjutant General, which will remove this cause of complaint, in part, while the act reported by the Medical Committee in the House of Representatives will make the remedy complete and effectual.
The same may be said in reference to the power of hospital surgeons, to grant furloughs to the sick and wounded. At this time, no such power exists. It is confined exclusively to an Examining Board appointed for that purpose.
That a sick soldier should desire to go home, is but natural, and this makes it more painful and embarrassing for the Government to deny, in most cases, their request. In opposition to the propriety of transferring, or rather vesting the sole power of granting furloughs in this Board of Examiners, it is urged that it is an unnecessary embarrassment, and a restriction that virtually destroys the right of furlough to a great extent, in practical operation. Nor is this power unrestricted in the Board of Examiners. They, acting under instructions, have no power of grant a furlough, except upon one condition, and that condition is, that the furlough is absolutely necessary to the recovery of the soldier's health. This, of course, extends the benefit of the system to but few. It is also contended that the hospital surgeon is more familiar with the condition of the applicant, than the Board of Examiners, and therefore it is the better judge of his necessities, and hence, the Board of Examiners should have no power to overrule his opinion. In reference to the mere question of fact, here presented, the committee are inclined to concur with them, who urge the objection in favor the opinion of the hospital surgeon. Whether he is the better judge of the sick man's necessities or not, he certainly ought to be, if correct knowledge can be derived from attention to, and direct contact with the patient, during his illness for days and weeks. On the other hand, it is urged that the hospital surgeon, for this very reason, will be more liable to abuse this power, not from intention to do so, but from sympathy with the sick. Nevertheless, your committee believe it is better, in all such cases, to err on the side of humanity, and, in the long run, it will be the wiser policy that will now and then suffer a sick soldier to obtain a furlough who would have regained his health without it, than by a stringent rule, retain one in the hospital to die, who might have recovered had he been permitted to return home.
Your Committee can appreciate the great injury that might be done to the service by allowing too much latitude in an unrestricted exercise of this power by hospital surgeons. Still, if the Examining Board act under restrictions, there can be now great abuse by requiring hospital surgeons to act under the same.
To what extent it may be wise for Congress to undertake to perfect some system for granting furloughs, in a manner agreeable and beneficial to the sick, and without injury to our army, is a question that will justify your consideration. Could this be done without prejudice to the service, it would meet the heartfelt approval of all classes. It would save to the Government a large expenditure of money and perhaps preserve many valuable lives. It will be seen by the report, herewith accompanying, that under existing regulations, but few sick soldiers, comparatively, obtain furloughs. Your Committee are fearful that the Government, in undertaking to prescribe a rule upon the subject, has, in too great caution, embarrassed the whole proceedings with such restrictions as to defeat, to a very great extent, the beneficient purpose for which this right is recognised at all. The serious obstacle in the way of a more liberal policy in furloughing sick soldiers is that in a majority of cases, they do not promptly report for duty at the expiration of their furlough. This might be remedied by transmitting to each Sheriff of the various counties of the Confederacy the name and locality of each furloughed soldier, and the time for which he is furloughed, and require such Sheriff to see that the soldier returns promptly to duty at the proper time. The subject being one of great interest to the sick, your Committee feel that it is incumbent upon them to call the attention of Congress to it.
Your committee having reviewed to some extent, the causes of complaint and the defects of our system, immediately connected with the comfort and proper care of the sick, beg leave to call the attention of the Senate to other legislation, necessary to correct evils more remotely connected with the system.
RAILROADS AND RAILROAD AGENTS AND CONDUCTORS.
The great inconvenience experienced by the sick and wounded in obtaining seats in railroad cars, and the cruel discomforts they are compelled to endure when the trains are moving, make it, in the opinion of the committee, imperative upon Congress to apply some essential corrective. Under existing regulations, no seats are reserved for the sick and wounded. When they reach the depot they are compelled in many instances to take their chances with the crowd. The result is that the stout, active, well man, pushes the sick or wounded soldier aside, thereby obtaining the best and most agreeable seats. If the number of passengers be greater than the number of seats, and any one is to be left behind, upon the platform, of course it is the sick and feeble soldier - who in some instances is without money and without friends. If he chance to get upon the train, he is liable to be jostled by the crowd, and not unfrequently, to sit or lie upon the floor. Upon many of the railroad trains, no water is provided for the benefit of passengers, whether sick or well. This is a source of great suffering to the sick and disabled, who cannot avail themselves of such chances as may be offered upon the route, to obtain water. From this cause, they are often for hours, compelled to do without it. This is all wrong, and to say the least of it, is not very complimentary to the humanity and diligence of railroad mangers, agents and conductors. Your Committee, therefore, recommend, that all railroad agents and conductors shall be required to reserve the seats in one or more cars, as the necessities of the case may be, for the benefit of the sick and wounded, and that no person not sick or wounded shall be permitted to enter the car or cars so reserved, until the sick and wounded and their friends and attendants if any, shall first have obtained seats in the same, and in no case shall said car or cars be crowded by persons, to the annoyance and discomfort of the sick and wounded - and that all railroad agents and conductors shall be required to observe this regulation under penalties to be prescribed by law.
SUPERNUMERARY SURGEONS - FIELD AMBULANCES OR PROVISIONAL HOSPITALS.
The necessity for some additional legislation upon this subject becomes daily more apparent. The rapid movements of our armies in the field, and the sudden and bloody engagements with the enemy which so frequently occur, render the organization of such corps and hospitals absolutely necessary. No such corps being provided, and no such hospitals established at this time, the sick and wounded of the army, after the late glorious victory of Manassas, were left necessarily upon the cold ground and to the mercy of the elements for days and even weeks. Surely the Government of the Confederate States do not thus desire to requite the services of the brave men now fighting its battles. All that can be done for their relief and comfort should be done, and must be done, without regard to cost or trouble. - The life of one brave soldier should be deemed more precious in the estimation of our whole country than all the dollars and cents that can be hoarded in the public treasury.
Let the Government signalize its conduct towards our army by a generous and even watchful policy - a policy that looks to the preservation of valuable lives, and to a mitigation of those terrible misfortunes and suffering which are incident to every bloody war. By doing this, they will strengthen the arms of our brave men in the field, and if perchance they are compelled by disease or wounds to fall out of the ranks, they will know that a grateful country is ever mindful of their wants and necessities. These hospitals, when established, are designed as temporary receptacles of the sick and wounded after an engagement with the enemy, or when the army advances or falls back from one camp to another. Of course the length of time the sick and wounded will be required to remain in these hospitals, will depend in a great measure upon circumstances.
Auxiliary to the establishment of provisional hospitals, it will be necessary to authorize the appointment of additional surgeons and assistant surgeons to take charge of the hospitals, and to render upon the field that prompt assistance to the sick and wounded their condition may require. A regimental surgeon and his assistant are expected, when on duty, at all times to remain with their regiments. When his regiment moves, he cannot remain behind to take charge of the sick and wounded. If he do, then those in the regiment who may require his services must suffer. If he do not, then those left behind must suffer in the event no other surgeons are provided to take charge of them. All of this difficulty can be obviated by the appointment of supernumerary surgeons and assistant surgeons in sufficient number to take charge of such sick and wounded as may not be able to advance with the army. The regimental surgeons can then remain with their regiments, and in this way alone will be neglected.
In conclusion, your committee beg leave to call the attention of the Senate to the following interesting statistics connected with our hospital system. Within and near the cities of Richmond and Petersburg, there are forty-nine hospitals, public and private, affording shelter and protection to the sick and disabled of our army. Chimborazo and Winder hospitals, included in the above number, each consist of five separate divisions, with a surgeon and two assistant surgeons in each division, which several may be regarded as separate and distinct hospitals, and should they be so estimated, would make the whole number fifty-eight. In all the hospitals in and near the city of Richmond, since their organization, there have been received ninety-nine thousand five hundred and eight (99,508) sick and wounded soldiers and officers of our army. Of this number, nine thousand seven hundred and seventy-four (9,774) have received furloughs; two thousand three hundred and forty-one (2,341) have been discharged, and seven thousand six hundred and three (7,603) have died. At this time there remains in all these hospitals ten thousand seven hundred and twenty (10,720).
In all the hospitals in and near the city of Petersburg, since their organization, there have been received eleven thousand one hundred and seventy (11,170) sick and wounded officers and soldiers of the army. Of this number, eight hundred and twenty-eight (828) have received furloughs. One hundred and fifty-seven (157) have been discharged, and seven hundred and ninety-seven (797) have died.
At this time the sick and wounded now in the hospitals at Petersburg will not exceed one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two (1,892).
From these figures it will appear that the hospitals in these two cities alone since the commencement of our present struggle for independence, have afforded protection and shelter to one hundred and ten thousand six hundred and seventy-eight (110,678) of the brave and gallant soldiers of our army. These figures but embrace the inmates heretofore received into the hospitals of only two cities within the limits of the Confederacy. Our great armies of the West and the South likewise, have their hospitals, and their inmates of which no report can now be made. But these figures are enough to impress Congress, and the whole country with the vast importance of our hospital system, and the high and solemn responsibilities that devolve upon them, and not only upon them, but more solemnly, if possible, upon the Surgeon in chief, and in charge, who hold in their hands the lives and health of a multitude so vast, yet so helpless and dependent. How important then is it that our system should be the wisest and best our moans will authorize, and how doubly important is it, that Congress with a generous hand, and an earnest sympathy should facilitate, strengthen and uphold every effort of the medical department to discharge faithfully and efficiently their high and sacred responsibilities. If they fail to do this the cry of orphanage, and the mourn of many a widowed wife will be heard in rebuke and condemnation against them.
W. E. SIMMS, Chairman,
JOHN W. LEWIS,
CHAS. B. MITCHELL.