Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. IV, pp. 773-774.

Richmond, June 14, 1862.

                      Hon. G. W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.

SIR: I have had the honor to receive the report of Surgeon Lane to the Secretary of War in relation to Camp Winder. It is no part of the duty of Surgeon Lane to make a report of anything connected with Camp Winder to the Secretary of War. On the contrary the regulations prohibit any direct correspondence on the part of officers directly with the War Department. The whole course of Surgeon Lane in the matter is irregular, improper and insubordinate, for which I shall immediately bring him to trial.

I will not follow Surgeon Lane through his long letter but shall touch upon some of the prominent points. It is but a very short time since when there were three companies at Camp Winder, viz, Captain Jones', Captain Bruce's and the Infirmary Company; that Surgeon Lane complained very much that unless there was an increase of guard the police of the camp could not be maintained. I represented the necessity for a commanding officer and guard, which was accordingly ordered by the War Department. The order was received at Camp Winder as soon as issued. The date is not material, as it was only operative from the time of its issue from the Adjutant-General's Office. A short time since I rode around the camp and could not find a single medical officer, not one being in camp that I could find. I found the public property scattered over the whole camp, lying exposed to the weather and to depredation. I found that hands that I had employed to work on a very important piece of work, upon the execution of which depended the possibility of occupying at least one-third if not one-half the camp, taken off and employed upon matters of very comparative unimportance.

I thought it was high time that military control should be exercised. It is no part of the duty of the surgeon to meddle with the buildings <ar117_774> nor with the property, except such property as exclusively belongs to the hospitals. It is the duty of the Quartermaster's Department to build, repair and keep in order all buildings and to take care of all property not specially in charge of other officers. A surgeon in charge of a hospital of that size has quite enough to do to attend to the duties growing out of it without aspiring to command troops.

As to the number of officers at the post I will remark--a captain, two lieutenants, one quartermaster, one commissary and three sergeants and one barrack master are none too much for a post containing some one hundred and eighty houses and covering a very large extent containing between three and four thousand men; besides which one of the subalterns is intended for Chimborazo as soon as a commander can be found. I have not the honor of knowing Mr. Chambliss, whose report is quoted, nor have I seen the report.

I will close by remarking that Surgeon Lane, in my office, while speaking on this subject used highly improper and insubordinate language, for which I was obliged to rebuke him and warn him that a repetition would cause his arrest.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Go to top