United States Sanitary Commission.

Bulletin online

. (page 74 of 237)
Online LibraryUnited States Sanitary CommissionBulletin → online text (page 74 of 237)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Immediately after the first battle of Bull Run,
(July 2l8t, 1861,) a number of inspectors were
sent out to ascertain the condition of the troops
that took part therein, before, during, and After,
the engagement; and to investigate the causes
which gave rise to the sudden panic among the
men, wLich, it is believed, resulted in their de-
• feat. The facts thus collected were arranged
and tabulated in this ofiBcc, and a report of the
results deduced therefrom published (see appen-
dix Doc. 40).

CA»n» iNSPEcrroxs.

About the end of July, 1861, the Commission
adopted a system of Camp Inspections, for the
duties of which a number of Inspectors were

Among the subjects into which they were di-
rected to inquire, and to report thereon, were
the character of camp sites as to elevation, and
their liability to malarial influences; drainage
and policing of camp; ventilation of tents and
quarters; cleanliness of men; quality of food
and water; system of cooking generally em-
ployed; quality and sufficiency of clothing of
men; management of field hospitals; sufficiency
of medical supplies; sickness and mortality of
troops, &c., &c. In short everything that aflect-
ed the health and discipline, and consequently the
efficiency, of the men was to be noted, the atten-
tion Of. the officers directed thereto; and advice
offered, and suggestions made, whenever in the
opinion of the inspectors, the ignorance of the
officers, medical or otherwise, of sanitary laws,
rendered it necessary.

Of these inspections we have received up to
date 1,463 (representing 860 organizations).

Number received in 1861 ..555

" " 18G2 547

" " " 1863 ; 361

These returns are subjected to three processes
-of tabulation. First, on preliminary sheets, for
our own facility as office reference, and also to
enable us to give snch general information in re-
gard to the location and military status of each
regiment as may be proper.

Secondly, in a condensed form, where the con-
dition, individually and collectively, of twelve
regiments, in regard to the information required
by inspectors; (Doc. 19 a,) is seen at a glance;
and ihe information thus presented may be readi-
ly made use of as the Commission may see fit in
correcting such abuses as come within the ob-
servation of the Inspectors, and in improving and
ameliorating the condition of the soldier gen-

Thirdly, on a State register, where all the

Vol. I.— No. 13. 26

questions, embodied in Doc. 19 a, are arranged
under their respective heads, so as to give a
monthly summary of replies, t)btained thereto
by our Inspectors, of the regiments of each State,
visited by them ; these an again presented by
groups of States ; and finally, a grand aggregate,
showing the total number of replies, or items of
information, collected from all the organizations
in the U- S. service, visited by our Inspectors
during e'ach month.

There have been recorded on the State register
up to date about 700 returns, leaving still about
763 to be entered thereon.

The results to be obtained from the facts re-
corded in this register, will be of inestimable
value in determining and reducing to a scientific
basis, those general laws by which future mili-
tary operations shall be governed, in regard to
the economy of human life. Indeed this value
has already been recognized, from the favor
with which certain partial results, derived from
facts collected in the inspection of the fi^^t 200
regiments, and embodied in Doc. 40, were re-
ceived by statisticians and scientific men, not only
in the United States, but also in France and Eng-


In the summer of 1862, we copied from the
records of the Surgeor*General's Office, the con-
solidated reports of hospitals (including those of
a few general hospitals) of the different depart-
ment?, as far as they had been received. They
all possess more or less value, according to the
accuracy and consistency of each monthly re-
port, one with another, in determining the ave-
rage duration of treatment; ratio of deaths to 100
cases treated; ratio of sickness to 1,000 mean
strength, and numbers furloughed, discharged
and deserted. The reports of hospitals in the
West are a great deal more incomplete than
those In the East. The value of this data will
be of use in giving approximating estimates of
the number of men treated, in all the hospitals
of the United States, regimental and general or
otherwise, since the commencement of the war.


Another source for the collection of data is the
Adjutant General's Office.

The facts obtained there are of the first value,
whether we consider thnm with regard to their
vastness, or to the gradually increasing regular-
ity of their returns, by which previous error is
readily detected, and a greater accuracy se-

In the beginning of April, 1862, we set to
work to determine the sickness and morlality ot



Cofnmisswn Bu0.eiin.

the whole army, from the begianing of the war,
to the time the last leturns had been received in
the Adjutant General's Office. The rolls from
which these results were to be elicited, are the
returns of gain and loss of each regiment,
usaally made out by the Adjutant, and supposed
to be forwarded monthly to the Office of the Ad-
jutant General. At first they were irregular and
incomplete; but as time elapsed, and their
length of service increased, the officers gradually
awakened to a sense of their duties, and the re-
turns came in more and more regularly; until
now irregularity in their transmission is perhaps
rather the exception than the' rule.

Commencing with June, 1861, we exhausted
all the rolls received in the office from that time
up to, and including August, 1862— a period of
fifteen months — and comprises over 2,400 reports
from the different organizations in the service.

The collection of this vast quantity of facts ;
their arrangement by States, and by groups of
States; and their classification by months and
seasous; together with a large number of other
combinations, which are always suggested to the
inquiring mind of the statistician, required the
constant services of one clerk for over six
month^!. It has been estimated that the deduc-
ons thus obtained, involved over one million

The results elicited from the above, in relation
to the first nine months of the war, (June, 1861,
to March, 1862,) have been published, with illus-
trative diagrams [Doq. 46].

In this pamphlet are ^iven the annual mortal-
ity rates of the volunteer army by seasons and
by rank, and by location whence recruited ; the
constant sickness rates of the army East and
West; and also comparisons between the si&k-
ness and mortality of the troops in the East and
those in the West. , Elaborate comparisons are
likewise instituted between the sickness and mor-
tality of the present volunteer army, and our
army at different other periods of our history —
particularly that engaged in the Mexican cam-
paign; and also with .the British army at va-
rious periods — and more especially during the
Peninsular and Crimean campaigns.

It has also elaborate calculations, based on
these returns, showing the rate o' recruiting ne-
cessary to supply given losses from mortality,
discharges, desertions, and other causes; and also
showing the number of men required to keep up
a given constant force of effective men, when a
given per centage of mca are constantly sick.


In January, 1863, we commenced the social and
pl^ysiological examinations of soldiers; and since
ihea have been constantly receiving, and con-

tinue to receive, these returns from our agents,
Messrs. Buckley and Fairchild. The former hag
confined himself exclusively to the examination
and measurement of Union soldiers, and the lat-
ter has been similarly employed on rebel soldiers
at Point Lookout. Tl:e number of individual
examination returns received up to date is, of
Union soldiers, 4,078, and of rebels, 1,970 — mak-
ing in all 6,048 returns.

These we tabulate as they come in, distinguish- '
ing those in usual good health from those suffer-
ing from disease, exhaustion or otherwise.

Being fully impressed with the great value of
this work in establishing comparisons between
the physical, social, and moral condition of
northern soldiers, with those of the south; and
between both and those of European armies, we
have succeeded in placing the aggregate facts in
as forward a state as passible, so that results
may be deduced therefrom with comparatively
little delay and trouble.


Another subject of investigation is to ascertain
the average age of the soldiers of the volunteer
service, by States; to find out what ages predom-
inate in the national army; and through these
means, by connecting them with other facts, to
determine the relative efficiency of men in active
military life, at different ages.

With regard to the average age of the volun-
teers, we are now engaged in collecting all the
available data in the Adjutant General's Office
on this point, and have completed that of
the soldiers of the following thirteen States,
namely :

Maine, New Jersey,

New Hampshire, Pennsylvania,
Vermont, Maryland,

Rhode Island, Illinois,

Massachusetts Iowa,

Connecticut, and

New York, California.

We have thus far investigated the records of
about 900 organizations or bodies of troops, in-
volving the examination of 10,000 muster rolls —
representing an aggregate force of nearly
800,000 men.

There yet remain to be examined, in order
that each State may be represented, the rolls of
sixteen States and Territories, beside the differ-
ent State and United States' organizations of co-
lored troops.

In regard to the question, as to the relative ef-
ficiency of men' in active service at different
ages, the difficulty of obtaining data for its dis-
cussion, makes it not an easy matter to couclu-

The Sdrdiary Commismm BiMdm.


sively determine. The only available informa-
tion, likely to throw light on this subject, was^
derived from records of deaths and burials, now
being collected and recorded, under the official
management of Brigadier-General Rucker. As
these records are received, entries are made on
a large register, of the name of the deceased sol-
dier, his age, regiment, and cause of death; to-
gether with such other information as will ren-
der it not only a means of future identification,
bub also a document of considerable historic

Having obtained permission to make such use
of the facts contained thereifi as we saw fit, we
exhausted all the infdrmation relating to the
age of the soldier, and the cause of death.
Somewhat over 2,000 deaths were recorded.

The results seemed to indicate that the mor-
tality was less between the ages of eighteen and
twenty, than between twenty and twenty-five,
but greater than among those of twenty-flve
and thirty-five.

Whether the facts obtained from the records
of 2,000 men are sufficient to establish a question
of such scientific importance, it is difficult to
say; we understand, however, that they have
been considerably iucrsased since then. We know,
also, that Mr. Elliot, previous to his departure
for Europe, was about to make arrangements for
the collection of data from other sources, and in
sufficient quantity, to enable us to arrive at con-
clusive results on this point.

We have likewise collected from time to time ,
such other statistics of the volunteers, as were
afforded by the rolls in the Adjutant General's
Office, such as, nativities, occupations, heights,
complexion, color of hair, eyes, &c. , The number
of men of whom we have obtained such descrip-
tions is 69,000— of whom 18,000 are drafted men
and substitutes; and the number of rolls ex-
amined, to get at this information, was at least
6,000. In these descriptions are comprised sol-
diers of the following States, namely:
Maine, New Jersey,

New Hampshire, Pdnnsylvania,



Ehode Island,





Indiana, apd

New York,


As the rolls from which these facts are de-
rived, are constantly being received, the work of
collecting them may be prolonged indefinitely.


Soon after the battles Of Gettysburg, another

subject of investigation was entered upon. This
was to ascertain the effect of long marches and
improper or insufficient food, on the health of
the men who took part in the engagement.

For the purpose of collecting the necessary
facts to aid in its discussion, forms (3, }\ &
J2) were prepared, and given to Inspectors with
such instructions, in relation to their collection,
as should render the information to be obtained
of greater value.

We have received up to date 141 of these re-
turns, (Dr. Swalm 50, Dr. Win ilow 69, and Dr.
Fairchild 25,) which we have arranged, classi-
fied and tabulated; and which await scientific
analysis, to elicit just and correct conclusions ia
relation to the subjects under discus ilon.



S. S , a Massachusetts Sergeant, worn

out with heavy marches, wounds and camp

disease, died in General Hospital, in

November, 1863, in "perfect peace." Some
who witnessed daily his wonderful sweet
patience and content, through great languor
and weariness, fancied sometimes they
"could already see the brilliant par-tiolea:
of a halo in the air about his head."

I lay me down to sleep,

With little thought or care,
■Whether my waking find

Me here — or Thbee !

A bowing, burdened head,
,y That only asks to rest,

Unquestioning, upon -
A loving Breast. • '

My- good right-hand forgets

Its cunning now —
To march tlfb weary march

I know not how.

I am not eager, bold.
Nor strong — all that ia past:

I am ready not to do
At last — at last!

My half- day's work is done,

And this is all my part;
I give a patient God ^

My patient heart.

And grasp his banner still.

Though all its blu% be dim;
These stripes, no less than starts

Lead after Him.

The following was found in a pair of sani-
tary socks Recently :

The fortunate owner of these socks is secreBy
informed, that they are the one hundrecUh ana
ninety-first pair knit for our ' Brave Boys' by
Mr^. Abuer Bartlett, of Medford, Mass., now
aged 85 years. January, 1864.


7%e Sanitary Commission BvUetin.



Since my connection -with the United
Btates Sanitary Commission as hospital
■visitor, Mr. Ingraliam and myself have
visited the general hospitals in Nashville
as often as once a week. In these visits I
have endeavored to make myself fully ac-
quainted with the wants Of the sick and
wounded soldiers in the various hospitals,
*nd to furnish supplies to relieve their
wants, to the full extent of their claims
npon the aid of the Commission.

No case has presented itself, within my
knowledge, that has been passed by with-
out proper attention and relief. The af-
fairs of the^e hospitals appear to be ad-
ministered with care and ability by the
Burgeons in charge. Neatness, cleanliness,
and order characterize all their depart- ,
ments. I have discovered no want of at-
tention to the wants of the patients. They
have~wholesome food and suitable clothing.
As a general thing, the wards are well
ventilated,- and kept at a proper tempera-

Strangers have often visited the hospitals
with me, and in every instance have ex-
pressed gratification at the excellent man-
ner in which they are provided, and the
healthful condition in which they are kept.
Not long ago, a father came here to visit
his son, who was a wounded soldier in one
of the hospitals. He came with the inten-
tion of taking his son home with him.
After spending two days at the hospital,
lie said to me that he should leave his son
there, for he was satisfied, from what he
had seen, that his son was better cared for
there than he could be at home.

That you may have a correct general
idea of the work done by the Commission
m these hospitals, I will Enumerate the
various articles that have been distributed
in them during the months of January and
February. The amount distributed in the
month of March will be ascertained and
included in the next report. I will also
state the number ojE patients in each hos-
pital for the same time, and from what
States of the Union they have come.

This will be instructive, and serve to
illustrate the necessity of such an organ-
iza^on as the United States Bonitary Com-

During the months of Jamiary and Feb-
ruary, there were distributed to Hospital
No. t, 321 shirts, 105 pairs of drawers, 107
towel*, 52 pairs of socks, 11 pairs of slip-
pers, 95 cans of fruit, 8 cans of condensed
beef, 1,760 poui^ds of dri; d fruit, 24'8
pounds of groceries, 54 bottlrs of wine and
spirits, 30 cans of condensed milk, 30 gal-
lons of apple butter, 162 gallons of pickles,
360 gallons of krout, 804 bu^ hels of pota-
toes, 62 bushels of onions, 63 gallons of

ale, 15 bushels of green apples, 265 pounds
of crackers, 41 pounds of codfish, 124 band-
ages, 48 pUlow cases, and other small
articles. This distribution was made, for
the most part, under the immediate super-
vision of Mr. Ingraham and myself, and
the soldiers in the hospital received the
full benefit of it. I have not the slightest
idea or suspicion that a single article was
inisapplied or wasted.

In a conversation I had last week with
Dr. Horner, the surgeon in charge, he said
publicly, in the presence of a number of
ladies and gentlemen, that the United
States Sanitaiy Commission had rendered
the greatest possible service to Hospital
No. 1; that it saved, if^ last winter from
going down; that he found it greatly in
debt, and was only able to sustain it by the
aid received from the Commission; and that
it was now but of debt, and able to take
care of itself. To show how highly he ap-
preciated the service rendered, he directed
a number of his assistants to procure a
letter of thanks from the inmates of the
hospital to the Commission, for the sup-
plies received at their hands. That letter
has been forwarded to you.

The number of sick and wounded sol-
diers in this hospital, who participated in
the supplies above mentioned in the months
of January and February, and the States
from which they were mustered into the
Federal service, will be found in the fol-
lowing table, furnished by the hospital


U. S. A., GENEBAti Hospital No. 1,

Nashville, Tenn., March 26, 1864.

Number of patients from the different States in hospital^
January 1st, 1864, also the number received in January
and February:









Minnesota . . .



Pennsylvania .

New York

New Jersey . . .




January 1,


Received i


in Jan.

in Feb. ,

































































' 37






From this eshibit it will be readily per-
ceived, that no mere State agency would be
adequate to supply the wants of the soldiers
in this hospital; neither would it be ade-
quate for any army hospital, for a similar
state of facts exists in all. Here are fifteen
hundred and seventy soldiers, from fifteen
different States of the Union, brought to-
gether, by the casualties of war, in the same

The Sanitary Commission, Butletin.


They are all United States soldiers, and
were fighting under the same flftg when
founded or disabled. Surely a Commis-
sion must be national in its character, and
"not hemmed in by State lines," to pieet
the wants of such a case. In the struggffi
that exists, the political, social, and indi-
vidual interests of the whole people are at
stake; and it should make no difference
with patriotic citizens from what State the
heroes come who fight their battles for
them; and, when su^ering, there should
be no partiality in the relief that is extend-
ed to them.

The United States Sanitary Oommission
was founded upon this >broad and compre-
hensive principle of patriotism and bene-
volence; and the good it has done, and ia
doing, over the whole extent of the theatre
of war, fully vindicate the wisdom of its
organization. — Report of Hospital Visitor.


The following patterns have been adopted M
the best and most economical by the New Eng-
land Branch of the .Sanitary Commission, after
an experience of more than two years, diuinj;
which over 45,500 garments have been out

Half of Front



Ealf of Sleere.

Half of Back.

1 J^r""^



/S /ff.

Half of Collar.

20 w.

Required for each Shirt — 3 skeins linen thread,
5 black bone buttons, 7 stays, tape or silesia.

Directions for Maldng. — The dimensions given
above, are for flannel twenty-six inches wide.

The opening in the front should be fourteen
inches long, and should be faced on the, left
side with silesia, two and one-half inches wide.
There/should be two button-holes on this side.
A flap of silesia, two and one-half inches wide,
when doubled, should be put on. the right side
for the buttons, and stitched linder the left side
at the bottom of the opening. The colla^should

cover the flannel entirely on the left side, but
the silesia flap should project beyond it on the
right side. There should be one button and
button-hole in it. The shoulder seams should
be strengthened by a crosswise binding of sile-
sia, and stays should be put on at the flaps and
at the opening in the sleeve. The sleeve should
be faced at the wrist with silesia,_ three inbhes
wide, and fastened with one button. The open-
ing at the wrist should be. one finger long. The
flaps should be two fingers long.


The Sanitary Commission BvUetin.


One Leg of Draweis.


Half of Waistbana.


Bequired for' each pair of Drainers.

1 tape stay, one inch long, (for opening in

3 knots linen thread.

3 black bone buttons.

Narrow tape, for back of waistband (18 inches

Directions for Making. — If the flannel to be
used is less than thirty inches wide, put the
point at the back close to the edge of the flan-
nel and piece the fronts, as shown by the dot-
ted lines above.

The opening below the waistband in theb^ck
should be four inches long. The opening in
front should be seven inches long and faced
with flannel or silesia, two inches wide. Two
buttons should be put on the waistband in
front, and one on the opening below. There
should be four eyelet holes on eaqh side of the
waistband behind. Waistbands should be lined
with silesia. Drawers to be dosed to the ankle,
and finished with hem.

To cut a piece of flannel economically, draw-
ers and shirts should be out together.

Put the bottom of one leg against the bottom
of the other, and two long triangular pieces of
flannel will be left on each side, out of which,
with the other small pieces, cut the collars and
wrist-facings for shirt, and waistband for draw-
ers. In cutting the second pair of drawers, be
careful that the slanting line of the top meets

the slanting line left by. the first pair, and go on
as before. •

Begin to cut the shirts at the o,ther end o ftihe
piece of flannel, tearing off two yards for the
body of each shirt. One sleeve and a half can
be cut out of the width of the flannel, and in
■butting a number of sleeves, one may be made
to fadge into the other.

Pieces of flannel are usually from 45 to 52 or
53 yards long and 26 inches wide.

Cut by the above patterns, it will take about
5J yards for a shirt and pair of drawers. The
diagrams allow for seams.



HuMTSVlUiE, Ala., March 6, 18€4. j

Online LibraryUnited States Sanitary CommissionBulletin → online text (page 74 of 237)