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Full text of "The Western Sanitary Commission, a sketch of its origin, history, labors for the sick and wounded of the Western armies, and aid given to freedmen and Union refugees, with incidents of hospital life"

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A SKETCH 



OF ITS ORIGIN, HISTORY, LABORS FOR THE SICK AND 

WOUNDED OF THE WESTERN ARMIES, AND AIT) 

GIVEN TO FREEDMEN AND UNION REFU- 

GEES, WITH INCIDENTS OF 

HOSPITAL LIFE. 



With the respects of the author, 

J. G. FOKMAX. 



ST. LOUIS: 

PUBLISHED FOR THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY SANITARY FAIR. 

R. P. STUDLEY A CO. 

1864. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I . 

Origin of Sanitary Commissions How the Western Commission came to be organized 
The Early Battles in Missouri Want of Preparation for taking care of the Wounded 
Order of Maj. Gen. Fremont constituting a Sanitary Commission Establishment, of 
Military Hospitals in St. Louis Hospital Cars fitted up on the Pacific II. R. Voluntary 
Contributions from New England and the Northwestern States Loyal Sympathies and 
Patriotism of the Women of the Country Incidents pp . 3 12 

CHAPTER II. 

Change of Department Commanders in the West Gen. Halleck Large Increase of Troops- 
Hospitals filled New Hospitals opened Prevalence of Measles, Pneumonia, Typhoid 
Fever and Diarrhea during the fall and winter of 1861-2 Large Arrivals and Distributions 
of Sanitary Stores Inspection of Hospitals Secretaryship of the Commission Medical 
Director, J. J. B. Wright Deficiency of the Medical Supply Table The Labors of the 
Loyal and Patriotic Women of St Louis in, the Hospitals The Employment of Female 
Nurses Their Heroism and Self-sacrifice pp. 13 22 

CHAPTER III. 

The Battle of Fort Donelson Activity of the Western Sanitary Commission Steamers em 
ployed to bring the Wounded_ to the St. Louis Hospitals A Delegation from the 
Commission and the Ladies L nion Aid Society return with a load of the Wounded 
Attentions to the Sick The first Suggestion of Hospital Steamers The Western Sanitary 
Commission immediately acted on the Suggestion The "City of Louisiana" fitted up 
for this Sen-ice First trip to Island No. 10 Value and usefulness of Hospital Steamers 
proved by subsequent Experience Assistant Surgeon General R. C. Wood Great De 
mand for Surgeons and Nurses James M* Barnard, Esq., of Boston Battle of Pea 
Ridge Destitute Condition of the Sick and Wounded The Hospitals at Cassville A. W. 
Plattenburg sent by the Commission with Sanitary Stores Interesting Account of his 
Journey and of the good accomplished by it The Agency Continued His Future Labors 
Testimonials of his Usefulness Heroism of Mrs. Phelps at Pea Ridge PP. 2334 



216595 



11 

C H A P T E It J V . 

Soldiers Home Established at St. Louis Premiums Awarded to the Stewards and Ward- 
masters of the best Hospitals, and to the most Faithful Nurses The Rattle of Pittsburg 
Landing Large Number of Wounded Additional Hospital Steamers furnished Volun 
teer Surgeons and Nurses Additional Hospitals fitted up at St. Louis Demand for 
Surgeons Number of Sick and Wounded in the St. Louis Hospitals Report of the Com 
mission PP . 3548 

C H A P T E R V . 

Letter of the Commission to the Surgeon General Scollay s Deodorizing Burial Case- 
Capture of Fort Pillow and Memphis Opening of the Mississippi River to Vicksburg 
Fitting out of the Naval Hospital Boat " Red Rover"- Arrival of Gen. Curtis Army at 
Helena -Its Destitute Condition Sickness of the Army at Helena -Sanitary Depot Estab 
lished there Overton Hospital at Memphis Sick from the Army in Tennessee -Hospitals 
and Regiments Supplied -The Navy Letter from Commodore Davis An Earnest Appeal 
from the Commission Generous Response from New England PP. 49-59 

CHAPTER VI. 

Army of the Frontier Agent sent to Springfield, Mo. , with stores Battles at Cross Hol 
lows, Cane Hill, and Prairie Grove Arrival of Rev. Mr. Newell at Fayetteville with am 
bulances and sanitary goods His useful services His death at a later period Notice of 
his character Flying hospitals Additional hospitals at St. Louis The Marine, Jefferson 
Barracks, and Lawson Hospitals The diminishing per centage of deaths The hopeful 
condition of the armies of the Union The sympathy of the people with the soldiers Pros 
pects of ultimate victory PP . 6007 

CHAPTER VII. 

Gen. Sherman s first attack on Vicksburgh Works assaulted Severe losses to the Union 
arms Hospital steamers bring the wounded to Memphis and St. Louis Battle of Arkan 
sas Post More wounded brought to St. Louis Delegation of the Ladies Union Aid So 
ciety of St. Louis Iowa State agent Renewal of the expedition against Vicksburg, by 
Gen. Grant Increased hospital accommodations required Visit of Mr. Yeatman to Gen. 
Grant s army His letter Benton Barracks hospital, St. Louis Additional hospitals at 
Memphis The floating hospital, "City of Alton," the " Ruth, " and "Glasgow" 
Second visit of Mr. Yeatman to Gen. Grant s army His report Sanitary stores sent 
to Gen . Grant s army Fall of Vicksburg Its untitled heroes pp . 6879 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Soldiers Homes at Columbus, Ky., Memphis, Vicksburg, and Helena Over 150,000 soldier 
guests entertained Further account of the St. Louis hospitals Whole number of patients 
treated Number of deaths Per centage of deaths The military prisons at St. Louis and 
Alton, Illinois Humane treatment of sick prisoners pp. 80 99 



CHAPTER IX. 

Sanitary stores sent to the army of Gen. Davidson, at Bloomllcld, Missouri Part of them 
captured by Guerrillas Narrow escape of the Agent Stores sent to the army of General 
Steele, at Du vail s Bluff and Little Rock Agency established at Little Rock Acknow 
ledgements Stores sent to Foi-t Blunt, Cherokee Nation AcknowledgmentStores sent 
to colored troops at Miliken s Bend, Goodrich s Lending, and Yicksburg Letters of 
Rev. Dr. Eliot and Mr. Yeatman Books and instruction furnished to colored troops at 
Benton Barracks Letter from Colonel A. Watson Webber Stores sent to Nashville and 
Murfreesboro, Tenn. Agency at Hunlsville, Ala. Stores sent to the Naval Flotilla 
Veteran Regiments entertained at St. Louis Stores to the 33d Ills, infantry Acknowledg 
ment Stores to Banks army on Red River Several important questions answered Do 
the Soldiers get any of the Sanitary stores? Illustration Accountability of Agents 
Hospitals, regiments, hospital steamers and gunboats supplied with Sanitary stores List 
of Female Nurses who have proved their worth in the hospitals of St. Louis PP. 91 109 

C II A P T E R X . 

The Freedmen of the Mississippi Fii-st efforts for their relief at Helena Miss Maria R. 
Mann Mr. Yeatman s visits to the freedmen, from Island No. 10, to Natchez Chaplain 
H. D. Fisher detailed as an Agent of the Commission, to make an appeal for aid, in New 
England Generous contributions received Mr. Yeatman s Report Condition of the 
freedmen The subject presented to the attention of the Government Mr. AV. P. Mellen 
and Mr. Yeatman return to carry into effect an improved system of leasing the abandon 
ed plantations, and of securing better wages to the laborers Second visit to Washington 
Military protection given National and other Freedmen s Relief Associations Messrs. 
Marsh and Foster go to Vicksburg as agents Teachers sent Death of one of the num 
ber 4,500 freedmen arrive with the return of Gen. Sherman s army from Meridian Their 
condition Aid given Union refugees of the Mississippi Valley Refugee. Home at St . 
Louis Refugees at Pilot Knob Labors of Sup t. A. Wright Refugee Home at Vicks 
burg School for refugee children pp . 110- 128 

CHAPTER XI. 

Resources of the Western Sanitary Commission Appropriations by the Governor and Legis 
lature of Missouri Liberality of St. Louis Donations from Massachusetts and California 
Gifts of the Peaple Contributions from the Women of the Loyal States Distributions 
by the Commission Number of Articles given Estimated value one and a half millions 
of dollars -Expenses of the Commission for Salaries of Agents, Rents, and Distribu 
tion of Stores less than one per cent. Friendship of Major Generals Fremont, Halleck , 
Curtis, Scholield, Rosecrans, Sherman, and Lieut. Gen. Grant for the Commission- 
Also, of Assistant Surgeon General Wood, Gen. Allen, Colonels Parsons, Myers, 
Haines, and Maj. Smith -Ladies Union Aid Society of St. Louis -Its Work Receipt s 
and Disbursements -Freedmen s Relief Society of St. Louis -Its Work Receipts and 
Disbursements-Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair Conclusion PP. 12!> IJjS 



THE 




0mmjss0n 



CHAPTER I. 

ORIGIN OF SANITARY COMMISSIONS How THE WESTERN COMMISSION CAME TO BE 
ORGANIZED THE EARLY BATTLES IN MISSOURI WANT OF PREPARATION FOR 
TAKING CARE OF THE WOUNDED ORDER OF MAJ. GEN. FREMONT CONSTITUTING A 
SANITARY COMMISSION ESTABLISHMENT OF MILITARY HOSPITALS IN ST. Louis 
HOSPITAL CARS FITTED UP ON THE PACIFIC R. R. VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS 
FROM NEW ENGLAND AND THE NORTH-WESTERN STATES LOYAL SYMPATHIES AND 
PATRIOTISM OF THE WOMEN OF THE COUNTRY INCIDENTS. 



THE first organized attempt to mitigate the horrors of war, to pre 
vent disease and save the lives of those engaged in military service. 
by sanitary measures and a more careful nursing of the sick and 
wounded, was made by a commission appointed by the British Gov 
ernment during the Crimean war, to inquire into the terrible mortality 
from disease that attended the British army at Sebastopol, and to apply 
the needed remedies. It was as a part of this great work that the 
heroic young Englishwoman, Florence Nightingale, with her army of 
nurses, went to the Crimea to care for the sick and wounded soldier, 
to minister in hospitals, and to alleviate suffering and pain, with a self- 
sacrifice and devotion that has made her name a household word, 
wherever the English language is spoken. In the armies of France the 
Sisters of Charity had rendered similar services, and even ministered 
to the wounded on the battle field; but their labors were a work of 
religious charity and not an organized sanitary movement. 



The experience of armies having shown that not less than five sol 
diers die of disease to every one killed in battle, it became a problem, 
whether this immense loss could not be greatly diminished by sani 
tary means, and the military strength of a people be proportionally 
increased by a greater economy of life, and the superior health, vigor, 
and aggressive power of its armies. To this consideration was also 
added the Christian duty of a people to minister to the comfort and 
health of men engaged in so perilous a service, leaving their homes 
and families and kindred to encounter sickness, wounds, and death, 
for the sake of country and liberty. 

The result of the enquiries of the British Commission, and of the 
researches of medical science has clearly established the fact that the 
" efficiency of an army must ever depend upon the state of health of 
the corps which compose it;" and that "the history of war can 110 
longer be confined to bare details of the plans of battles and the 
manoeuvres of armies," but that "w^e must refer to other elements, 
and principally to the sanitary condition of troops as the causes of 
our victories, or the reasons for our disasters." * 

The idea of an organization of civilians to look after the health of 
the armies of the United States, on the breaking out of the present war, 
and to minister to the sick and wounded, when the great battles should 
be fought, which it was foreseen must be the inevitable results of the 
conflict, originated in the minds of humane and patriotic men, who had 
the welfare of the country, and its noble defenders, at heart, and took 
form in the summer and autumn of 1861, in the formation of the United 
States Sanitary Commission, with its centre of operations at Washing 
ton, and of the Western Sanitary Commission, with its field of service 
at St. Louis, and in the armies, the navy and the hospitals of the west. 

The noble labors of the U. S. Commission and its subordinate 



* The British Army and Miss Nightingale . By Charles Shrimpton , M . D . , late Surgeon 
Major in the French Army, London: Bailliere Brothers, 18G4. Quoted in North American 
Review, April, 1864. 



branches having been already recorded in a valuable history,* and 
in various publications, it is proposed in the present publication to 
give a sketch of the "Western Commission, its modes of operation, 
its agencies and labors in the western armies and hospitals, its inci 
dental work for the Freedmaii and Union refugees, and its plans of 
usefulness for the future of the war. 

The organization of the Western Sanitary Commission was the 
result of circumstances growing out of the war in Missouri ; the 
necessity for it was both sudden and unexpected, and its earliest 
labors were entirely spontaneous and unpremeditated. The city of 
Saint Louis had become the Headquarters of the Military Depart 
ment of the West. During the summer of 1861 the battles of 
Boonville, Dug Spring, Carthage, and Wilson s Creek, were fought in 
Missouri, the last on the 10th of August, twelve miles south of Spring- 
field, near the Fayetteville road. This was one of the most desperately 
fought engagements of the war, and the number of killed and 
wounded was very great. The wounded, numbering 721, were 
brought all the way from Springfield to Rolla in ambulances and 
army wagons, and thence by cars to Saint Louis, and so little 
preparation had then been made for such an event that there were 
not additional hospital accommodations for so many in the whole 
city. The "Ke\v House of Refuge Hospital," situated two miles 
south of St. Louis, had only been opened on the 6th of the same 
month, by Medical Director De Camp, with Dr. Bailley in charge, 
two excellent and humane surgeons of the regular army, and was as 
yet unfinished and unprovided with the requisites of a good hospital. 
Its condition at the time is thus described in an article in the North 
American Review for April, 1864, entitled "Loyal Work in Missouri." 
It had neither stoves, nor bedsteads, nor beds, nor bedding, nor 
food, nor nurses, nor any thing prepared. The first hundred arrived 



*The United States Sanitary Commission, Boston; Little, Brown Company, 1863. 



6 

at night. They had been brought in wagons a hundred and twenty 
miles, over a rough road, by hurried marches, suffering for food 
and water, from Springfield to Holla, and thence by rail to Saint 
Louis to the station on Fourteenth Street. There, having had 
nothing to eat for ten hours, they were put into furniture carts 
(much better than those instruments of torture called ambulances) 
and carried the remaining three miles. Bare walls, bare floors, and 
an empty kitchen received them ; but the kind-hearted surgeon, 
Bailley, did all he could to make kindness take the place of good 
fare. He obtained from the neighbors cooked food for their supper, 
and lost no time in getting together the various means of comfort. 
The poor fellows were so shattered and travel-worn that they were 
thankful enough to get eatable food, with the hard boards to sleep 
upon, and no word of complaint did we ever hear one of them 
utter. In the course of the week three or four hundred more were 
brought in, the condition of things meanwhile rapidly improving ; 
but so great was the difficulty of obtaining anything that was 
wanted, that many of the badly wounded men lay there in the 
same unchanged garments in w T hich they had been brought from the 
battle-field three weeks before. Every day, however, made things 
better, and by the end of a month from the first arrivals Dr. Bailley 
began to say that it was not yet what he called a good hospital, 
but that the men were all comfortable. " 

Arrivals of sick and wounded continued and other accommodations 
had to be obtained without delay. All the available wards of the 
Saint Louis Hospital, kept by the Sisters of Charity, and of the 
City Hospital were immediately taken and filled, and still there 
was need of more hospitals. The sad and neglected condition of 
those who were brought from Springfield excited the benevolent and 
patriotic sympathies of all who loved their country and its brave 
defenders. The wounds of many had not been dressed since their 
first dressing after the battle ; others were still suffering from 



unextracted bullets and pieces of shell, and the hospitals were 
unprovided with the necessary hospital clothing to substitute for 
the soiled clothing of the men, which in many instances were 
saturated with the blood of their wounds. 

It was at this juncture that the Western Sanitary Commission was 
suddenly called into existence. Miss D. L. Dix, the philanthropist, 
was then in Saint Louis, and in communication with the new Com 
mander of the Department, Major General Fremont ; Mrs. Fremont 
was also deeply interested in every thing relating to the welfare 
of the sick and wounded soldier ; other persons of humane and 
patriotic motives and sentiments were personally known to General 
Fremont, and the suggestion of a Sanitary Commission at Saint 
Louis, to be subordinate to and act in aid of the Medical Depart 
ment, coming from such sources, was favorably regarded and carried 
into immediate effect. An order was issued by him on the 5th 
of September, appointing the Western Sanitary Commission, in which 
its duties and sphere of action were thus defined : 

"Its general object shall be to carry out, under the properly con 
stituted military authorities, and in compliance with their orders, 
such sanitary regulations and reforms as the well-being of the soldiers 
demand. 

"This Commission shall have authority under the directions of 
the Medical Director to select, fit up and furnish suitable buildings 
for Army and Brigade Hospitals, in such places and in such manner 
as circumstances require. It will attend to the selection and appoint 
ment of women nurses, under the authority and by the direction 
of Miss D. L. Dix, General Superintendent of the Nurses of Mili 
tary Hospitals in the United States. It will co-operate with the 
surgeons of the several hospitals in providing male nurses, and in 
whatever manner practicable, and by their consent. It shall have 
authority to visit the different camps, to consult with the com 
manding officers, and the colonels and other officers of the several 



8 

regiments, with regard to the sanitary and general condition of the 
troops, and aid them in providing proper means for the preserva 
tion of health and prevention of sickness, by supply of wholesome 
and well cooked food, by good systems of drainage, and other 
practicable methods. It will obtain from the community at large 
such additional means of increasing the comfort and promoting the 
moral and social welfare of the men, in camp and hospital, as may 
be needed, and cannot be furnished by Government Regulations. 
It will, from time to time, report directly to the Commander-in-Chief 
of the Department the condition of the camps and hospitals, with 
such suggestions as can properly be made by a Sanitary Board. 

" This Commission is not intended in any way to interfere with 
the Medical Staff, or other officers of the army, but to co-operate 
\\ilh them, and aid them in the discharge of their present arduous 
and extraordinary duties. It will be treated by all officers of the 
army, both regular and volunteer, in this Department, with the 
respect due to the humane and patriotic motives of the members, 
and to the authoiity of the Oommander-in-Chief. 

" This Sanitary Commission will, for the present, consist of James 
E. Yeatman, Esq.; C. S. Greeley, Esq.; J. B. Johnson, M. D. ; 
George Partridge, Esq., and the Rev. Win. G. Eliot, D. D." 

As soon as this order was issued the gentlemen named in it, 
acting as a Sanitary Commission, commenced their labors in con 
nection with the Medical Department. Their first important work 
was the fitting up of a new hospital sufficiently large to accommodate 
at least five hundred patients. Negotiations were opened for renting 
the large five story marble-fronted building, corner of Fifth and 
Chesnut streets, which was secured at a reasonable rent. Necessary 
alterations were made, arrangements for bathing introduced, special 
diet-kitchens were fitted up, and the whole building furnished with 
beds and bedding. On the 10th of September it was opened for 
the reception of patients, under the charge of Surgeon John T. 



9 

Ilodgen, U. 8. V., with a competent corps of Assistant Surgeons, 
apothecary, steward, ward masters, nurses, &c., under the title of 
the "City General Hospital.* 

It was rapidly filled with patients and continued as a military 
hospital until the autumn of 1863, under the charge of Dr. Hodgen, 
whose able and faithful services and great surgical skill were fully 
recognized and appreciated by the Medical Department and by the 
Western Sanitary Commission, with whom his relations have always 
been most intimate, and whose members have ever found in him 
a willing co-worker and friend. 

Being located in a central part of the city, convenient to the 
rail road depots and the river, it was the place of reception of 
nearly all the severely wounded and the hopelessly sick on their 
arrival, for which reasons its per centage of deaths was large, being 
144 for a period of nearly two years ; but it was one of the best 
conducted and well managed hospitals in the west. 

It was in this building the Wesiern Sanitary Commission com 
menced its useful and arduous labors, having its office in a small 
room at the left of the entrance, in the second story, and a store 
room for sanitary goods in the basement, its members meeting every 
day for consultation and action; its President, Jas. E. Yeatman, giv 
ing his whole time to the work, and having only one man to act 
as store keeper, porter and clerk, at tlie small salary of thirty dollars 
a month ; and yet the work went on, each member of the Commis 
sion lending a helping hand, boxes of sanitary stores arriving from 
New England, and from the various towns and cities of the West, 
prepared and forwarded by the willing hands of the wives and 
mothers and daughters of the land, and being distributed as needed 
to the hospitals and camps, and regiments m and around St. Louis, 
and at more distant posts in the interior of the State. 

From September 12th to September 21st, occurred the seige, the bat 
tle, and surrender of Lexington, Mo., which threw some three hundred 




10 

more wounded men upon the hospitals of St. Louis. During the two 
months in which these events happened, besides the hospitals already 
named, five more were added, the Good Samaritan, the Fourth Street 
or Eliot Hospital, the Pacific, the Post and the Convalescent Hospitals 
at Bentoii Barracks. 

During the month of October, Maj. Gen. Fremont took the field in 
person, with an army of twenty thousand troops, and went in pursuit 
of the rebel Gen. Price, who had retreated from Lexington. This 
pursuit was continued to Springfield, Mo., under forced marches, and 
on Gen. Fremont s removal from the command, November 5th, the 
army was ordered back again by the new commander, Maj. Gen. Hun 
ter. By this long and toilsome march and counter march, many of the 
troops were broken down, and were transferred to the hospitals. 

One of the last acts that Gen. Fremont performed, on leaving St 
Louis on this expedition, was an order, alike creditable to Ins judg 
ment and his humanity, directed to the Western Sanitary Commission, 
to fit up two hospital cars on the Pacific Railroad, with berths, nurses, 
cooking arrangements, etc., for the transportation of the sick and 
wounded, which was done. These were probably the first hospital 
cars prepared and furnished as such in the United States, and for 
several months they proved exceedingly useful. 

Through all these exciting months the members of the Western Sani 
tary Commission continued their voluntary labors without abatement, 
and the fitting up of all these hospitals was left mainly to them by the 
then acting Medical Director. As sanitary stores were needed, appeals 
were made through the newspapers and generously responded to by 
the people of St. Louis. Gradually the work of the Commission be 
came more widely known ; some of its members having a large acquain 
tance in New England, an interest was excited there, and contributions 
of hospital clothing, bandages, lint, dried and canned fruits, jellies and 
other delicacies for the sick, began to arrive from that source, and from 
Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and other Western States. From 



11 

the principal cities and towns of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and 
Rhode Island ; from Boston, Providence and Portsmouth; from Salem, 
New Bedford, Worcester, Springfield, Cambridge, Cambridgeport, 
Roxbury, Newton, and many other towns, boxes came filled with new 
blankets, sheets, comforters, pillows, towels, socks, mittens, bandages, 
lint, and many little articles of convenience for the soldier s private 
use, such as needle books, pin cushions, handkerchiefs, games for 
amusement, little boxes of salve for sores and wounds, all showing 
the thoughtful sympathy and affection of the noble women of the 
country for those who had taken up arms to vindicate the majesty 01 
the Government against a most unholy rebellion a cause in which 
their own fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons had enlisted that they 
might preserve the institutions of liberty to themselves and coming 
generations. 

It was au interesting spectacle to see these boxes opened in the store 
rooms of the Commission, and on examination to find in. the socks and 
mittens (of which there were many thousand pairs, in anticipation 
of the needs of the winter,) tracts and manuscript letters, full of words 
of advice, encouragement and sympathy. Sometimes there would be 
found in the toe of a sock a letter addressed, " To the soldier who shall 
wear these socks : Be of good cheer ! may these socks keep your feet 
warm, while you stand on your post, or march on to battle and 
victory!" "May the rebellion soon be subdued, and you have the 
satisfaction of having aided in the glorious work." Sometimes quite 
lengthy epistles would be folded up in these presents, with the names 
and address of the writers given, and we have known some very 
pleasant correspondence to follow from these friendly missives to the 
soldiers. In one instance a pocket bible was contained among the 
sanitary stores, having the name and address of the giver, and was 
given to an intelligent and faithful soldier at Rolla, who wrote the lady 
an acknowledgment of the gift, and a very interesting and profitable 
correspondence resulted. 



Sometimes these presents would contain a slip of paper, on which 
would be written, " Knit by a little girl, eight years of age," and some 
times another would be written, " Knit by E F , aged seventy- 
six years," showing that from childhood to age the women of the 
country, were heart and hand with their country s defenders, in the 
war for the preservation of the Union. 

From the Northwestern States contributions also came in freely, 
especially from Wisconsin, where the Rev. H. A. lieid, and his wife, 
devoted themselves, with a truly Christian zeal, to the work of soliciting 
supplies. Illinois and Iowa, and Michigan also did their part nobly, 
and a few gifts were sent from Ohio, though the contributions from 
that State went mostly to the U. S. Sanitary Commission. The sup 
plies sent from these Western States were largely of canned and dried 
fruits, jellies, butter, etc., for the use of the sick. In this connection the 
City of Madison, and all the smaller towns in Wisconsin, the cities of 
Chicago, Quincy, Alton, Peoria, and the smaller towns in Illinois ; the 
cities of Detroit, Ypsilaiiti, Marshall, Battle Creek, and other places 
in Michigan, the cities of Davenport, Dubuque, Keokuk, and the towns 
of Iowa will be long and gratefully remembered. 






C H A P T E li II. 
CHANGE OK DEPARTMENT COMMANDERS IN THE WEST GENERAL HALLECK LARGE 

INCREASE OF TROOPS-HOSPITALS FILLED NEW HOSPITALS OPENED PREVALENCE 

OF MEASLES, PNEUMONIA, TYPHOID FEVER AND DIARRHEA DURING THE FALL 
AND WINTER OF 1861-2 LARGE ARRIVALS AND DISTRIBUTIONS OF SANITARY STORES 
INSPECTION OF HOSPITALS SECRETARYSHIP OF THE COMMISSION MEDICAL DI 
RECTOR, J. J. B. WRIGHT DEFICIENCY OF THE MEDICAL SUPPLY TABLE THE 
LABORS OF THE LOYAL AND PATRIOTIC WOMEN OF ST. Louis IN THE HOSPITALS 
THE EMPLOYMENT OF FEMALE NURSES THEIR HEROISM AND SELF-SACRIFICE. 



On the removal of Maj. Gen. Fremont, his successor continued in 
command but sixteen days, when he was superseded by the appoint 
ment of Maj. Gen. Halleck on the 21st of November. The business 
of recruiting, which had suffered on account of these changes, was 
now revived and carried forward successfully, until there were en 
camped at Benton Barracks, during the months of December and 
January, 1861- ? 62, over twenty thousand troops, infantry, cavalry, and 
artillery, from nearly all the Western States. The extensive grounds 
and barracks prepared by General Fremont were entirely occupied, 
and the work of military instruction went forward with zeal and 
energy. 

The presence of so many troops in one great encampment, the 
crowded condition of the barracks, the inexperience of the soldiers in 
their first encounter with exposure and hardship, the inclemency of 
the winter months, and the inability of the department to do all that 
was required, occasioned a large amount of sickness among the dif 
ferent regiments. The most prevalent diseases were measles, pneu. 
monia, typhoid fever, and diarrhea. In one instance, it happened that 
three hundred, in a single regiment of cavalry, were sick, mostly 
taken down with measles. In another, the surgeon reported one 
thousand out of thirteen hundred men, suffering from coughs and 



14 

colds. The barracks being rough buildings, with many open cracks, 
and floors without any space beneath, were far from comfortable, and 
the regimental hospitals were not well warmed, nor kept at an even 
temperature, nor properly ventilated. The consequence was that many 
of the measle patients were afterwards attacked with pneumonia, and 
died. The small-pox also broke out, and the hospital established on 
Duncan s Island, (opposite the arsenal, in the Mississippi river,) for 
this class of patients, was filled and required additional accommoda 
tions. 

During the months of December and January, the number of sick 
and wounded in all the hospitals of Saint Louis and vicinity had 
reached over 2,000, and the labors of the Sanitary Commission were 
greatly increased. Meetings were held every few days ; frequent 
inspections were made of all the hospitals and camps ; reports were 
prepared and submitted to the commanding general; improvements 
were introduced; and supplies were forwarded wherever needed. 

Besides the hospitals and camps in and around Saint Louis, there 
were large bodies of troops at Kolla, the terminus of the south-west 
branch of the Pacific railroad, a point of great strategic importance, 
and at Tipton and Sedalia, two other important points, and at Ironton, 
the southern terminus of the Iron Mountain railroad, and at Jefferson 
City, the capital of the State, where they were encamped for the winter. 
At these places there was a large amount of sickness and great mor 
tality. The tents and huts in which the soldiers had gone into win 
ter quarters, were poorly ventilated ; the hospitals were generally log 
buildings, very much crowded, badly ventilated, and yet allowing the 
entrance of draughts of cold air, having also bad floors, through which 
the dampness ascended from the ground. The soldiers were not yet in 
ured to hardship, and were inexperienced in taking proper care of 
themselves, and in attending to sanitary and police regulations, and 
the consequence was a melancholy state of disease and death at 
those military posts. The writer of this sketch has a sad remern- 



16 

brance of the new-made graves at Holla, which he found there in the 
spring of 1862, where so many of the Iowa, and Illinois and Missouri 
troops spent the fall and early part of winter before they went 011 
their victorious march, under General Curtis, through Springfield to 
Pea Ridge, recovering the ground relinquished by Gen. Hunter, after 
the removal of Fremont, and driving the rebels from Missouri beyond 
the Boston Mountains. 

But before this march was undertaken, and while the troops lay 
in their winter encampments, the demands for sanitary stores were 
incessant, and the supply was always equal to the emergency. From 
regimental surgeons there was a constant application for additional 
medicines beyond the allowance afforded by the Medical Depart 
ment. The old medical supply table was found utterly inadequate 
to the emergency. Expectorants and other important remedies were 
in constant demand, and large additions were furnished by the 
Sanitary Commission. The request was equally urgent for hospital 
clothing and delicate food for the sick. Large issues were made 
of blankets, sheets, pillows, pillow slips, comforters, slippers-, socks, 
wrappers, shirts, drawers, bandages, lint, and supplies of farina, jellies, 
canned and dried fruits, stimulants, &c. Surgeons came into the 
Sanitary Rooms personally to present their requests, and voluntary 
agents from Holla, Jefferson City, Tipton, Sedalia, and Ironton al so 
came, and represented the condition of the .hospitals at those posts, 
to all of which liberal responses were made, goods forwarded, visits 
made in person by the President and members of the Commission, 
and members of the Ladies Union Aid Society, and every thing 
done that was possible to alleviate suffering and diminish disease. 

In these labors the "Western Commission received the hearty and 
cordial support of Major General Halleck, the new commander of the 
Western Department, and was often favored with the presence at 
its meetings of his Chief of Staff, Brigadier General George W. 
Cullum, U. S. A., whose experience and excellent suggestions were 
of great value. 



16 

Up to this period, January, 1862, the Commission had received 
over live hundred and twenty-five boxes of goods, and distributed 
over fifteen thousand articles, consisting of hospital clothing, and 
delicate preparations of food for the sick, besides aiding to furnish 
many of the general hospitals and supplying 1 the deficiencies of 
medicine to the regiments. 

The work of the Commission during the months of December 
and January had consisted largely in the visitation and inspection of 
the camps and hospitals in and around Saint Louis, in efforts for 
their improvement, in the reception and distribution of sanitary 
stores, in the employment of female nurses, and in correspondence 
with the military authorities and the friends of the Union cause 
in different parts of the country. 

In the enlargement of its work it became necessary to procure 
additional store room for goods, and to employ a Secretary. For a 
period of three months this position was filled by Kev. J. G. For- 
man, of Alton, 111., who resigned it to enter upon his duties as 
Chaplain of the 3d Missouri volunteers, and Mr. L. B. Ripley suc 
ceeded him for several months, when he also resigned and became 
the Quartermaster of the 33d Missouri volunteers. In May, 1863, 
Kev. Mr. Forman again became permanently Secretary of the Com 
mission. 

In February, 1862, the small room in the Fifth Street Hospital 
was vacated for the larger rooms, No. 10, North Fifth Street, still 
occupied by the Commission. 

In the month of December the excellent Medical Director, Sur 
geon De Camp, with whom the Commission had labored in estab 
lishing and fitting up the new military hospitals, was superseded 
by Dr. J. J. B. Wright, U. S. A., and it was some time before 
the relations of the Commission became entirely harmonious with 
this officer. Like many of the old army surgeons he was sensi 
tive of any imaginary interference with the Medical Department, 



17 

considered it fully competent to manage every thing relating to the 
health of the army, and had an evident dislike of sanitary commis 
sions, and a disposition to decline all aid from this source. He 
was in the habit of remarking that the old army had never re 
ceived any such assistance, and that he saw no reason why the 
volunteers should have this partiality shown to them. But the 
Sanitary Commission showed no partialities, and all soldiers of the 
United States, whether regulars or volunteers, were treated by it 
precisely alike. The prejudice existing in the minds of the surgeons 
of the regular army towards the Sanitary Commissions and the 
surgeons of the volunteer forces has been frequently manifested, and 
is to be greatly deplored, preventing harmony of action and result 
ing in much injury to the service. 

In the present instance there was great complaint from the surgeons 
of the volunteer regiments of the deficiency of the medical supply table, 
and constant applications were made to the Commission for additional 
medicines. The regimental surgeons stated that they could not get 
their requisitions answered at the medical purveyor s office; that the 
articles they most needed were stricken oft , the quantities reduced 
in others, and that their patients could not be properly treated and 
were dying for want of proper medicines. The difficulty was repre 
sented to Maj. Gen. Hallcck by the Commission, and he issued an 
order on the Medical Department to increase its allowances, which 
order the Medical Director refused to comply with. The matter was 
referred by Gen. Halleck to "Washington, and the result was that in 
the end the medical supply table for regiments in the field was con 
siderably enlarged. The relations of the Commission afterwards 
became more harmonious with Medical Director Wright, as he found 
its services to be really useful and necessary; but, although invited, he 
never attended its meetings, and always maintained a distant and 
merely official intercourse with its members. 

While the Commission was thus engaged the loyal and patriotic 



18 

women of the city were not less active, in works of love for the sick 
and wounded, and in expressions of encouragement and sympathy for 
the soldiers in the field. In them the Commission found most ener 
getic and faithful co-workers. At the rooms of the Ladies Union Aid 
and of the Fremont Relief Societies, they met daily and cut out hospital 
garments, employed sewing machines in the making of them, gave 
occupation and assistance to soldiers wives and families, received 
and distributed sanitary stores, visited the sick, carrying with them 
delicately prepared food and cordials, good religious books, and other 
reading matter to cheer and comfort them, conversed at their bedsides, 
gave them consolation and sympathy, and in many instances gave hope 
in Christ and confidence in God and heaven to the departing spirit. 
The labors thus cheerfully performed will not only find an honorable 
record on earth, but are already registered in heaven. 

It would be a grateful task to the writer to name many of those 
whom he often met in these visitations of mercy in the hospitals, but 
the fear of wounding by giving publicity to deeds that were not done 
to secure the world s applauses, and making omissions that would 
seem like an unjust discrimination, induces him to refrain from the 
attempt. Some of them were the wives of our best and most loyal 
citizens, persons of wealth, culture and refinement, who used to sit 
for hours by the bed-side of the sick and wounded, fanning the 
fevered brow, reading from sonic good book, and speaking so hope, 
fully, that their gentle influence was always visible in its effects upon 
the countenances of those who were the objects of their tender soli 
citude and care. In one instance, a youth, hardly yet more than a 
boy, who had been often visited, as his spirit was sinking away from 
earth, asked one of these goodly women to kiss him for his mother; 
and the farewell kiss was given, and the spirit of the boy departed, 
leaving the smile of peace on his fair young face, which his own 
dear mother could never kiss again. 

Among those who thus passed from room to room through the hos- 



19 

pitals, giving to one a testament, to another a soldier s prayer-book, 
to a third a volume of pleasant reading, accompanied always by an 
expression of friendly interest and sympathy, two sisters from Phil 
adelphia are warmly remembered, who came all the way to Saint 
Louis, and spent the winter in these holy ministries of love, whose 
names, like the true sisters of humanity of our own city, I leave un- 
mentioned here, feeling assured that they are all recorded in the 
Lamb s Book of Life, and written on the tablet of many a soldier s 
heart. 

The following lines, written by a private soldier, addressed to one 
who had thus ministered to him in sickness, are the fit expression of 
what was often conveyed in the pleased and grateful countenance 
of many a sick and dying soldier to the saintly souls of those who 
came to bless and comfort them in their hours of pain and lan 
guishing : 

" From old Saint Paul till now, 

Of honorable women, not a few 

Have left their golden ease in love to do 

The saintly work which Christ-like hearts pursue. 

"And such an one art thou! God s fair apostle, 
Bearing His love in war s horrific train : 
Thy blessed feet follow its ghastly pain 
And misery, and death, without disdain. 

" To one borne from the sullen battle s roar, 
Dearer the greeting of thy gentle eyes, 
"When he, aweary, torn and bleeding lies. 
Than all the glory that the victors prize ! 

" When peace shall come, and homes shall smile again, 

A thousand soldier-hearts in northern climes, 

Shall tell their little children in their rhymes, 

Of the sweet saints who blessed the old war times." 



20 

The employment of female nurses, and their assignment to duty in 
the hospitals, was another important service rendered by the Presi 
dent of the commission a delicate trust and one attended with 
many difficulties. The example of Florence Nightingale and her corps 
of female nurses in the Crimea, and the patriotic sympathies of the 
women of America with their brothers in arms, led large numbers of 
them to offer themselves for this service. The natural superiority of 
women, as nurses, was felt by all, and the government, therefore, 
determined to make room for a certain proportion of female nurses 
in the hospitals. Miss D. L. Dix, a lady widely and favorably known 
by her humanitary labors for prisoners and the insane, was appointed 
" Superintendent of Women Nurses, 7 to determine upon their qualifi 
cations, and grant certificates ; and only those who had received such 
certificates, either from her or her agents, were to be employed by 
the surgeons in charge of general hospitals. The President of the 
Western Sanitary Commission was made the agent of Miss Dix for the 
Western Department, and on him the duty devolved of receiving all 
applications for this branch of the service, determining the qualifica 
tions of the applicants, granting the certificates of appointment, and 
assigning them to duty in the hospitals, on the request of the sur 
geons in charge for the number required. 

The qualifications of women nurses were, that the applicants should 
be of suitable age, (from 25 to 50 years,) that they should be per 
sons in good health, with sound constitutions, capable of bearing 
fatigue; that they should be free from levity and frivolity, of an 
earnest but cheerful spirit; that they should dress in plain colors, 
and in a manner convenient for their work; that they should be per 
sons of good education ; and, that they should be recommended by 
at least two responsible persons, (their clergyman and physician being 
preferred,) as to their fitness for this service. 

At a later period Surgeon General Wm. A. Hammond issued an order 
regulating the number of women nurses to be employed in the general 



Jl 

hospitals to one for every twenty beds, afterwards modified to one for 
every thirty beds, and requiring that no nurses should be employed with 
out the certificate of Miss Dix, or her agents, except on emergencies. 

Under these regulations a large number of women nurses were 
employed in the hospitals of the Western Department, and were 
allowed a compensation of $12 per month and transportation from 
their place of residence, and to it again on their being relieved 
from duty, with quarters and a ration (or board) in the hospitals. 
The full number allowed was seldom called for by the surgeons, 
and in some of the more distant hospitals the regulations were 
not always complied with, the surgeons in charge often employing 
persons selected by themselves, and not always such as would have 
been approved. This practice has recently been prevented by an 
order from the War Department, prohibiting the payment of all who 
have not received the proper certificates of approval from Miss 
Dix, or from those acting with her authority. 

The nurses commissioned by the President of the Western Sanitary 
Commission have generally been such as to do honor to the service, 
and by their devotion to the sick and wounded soldier, their attention 
to his diet, their oversight of his welfare, their watchings by his bed 
side, their kindly presence and cheering influence, they have often 
turned the balance when poised between life and death, and saved 
many a soldier and hero to his country and his friends. 

The number employed in the hospitals of the Western Depart 
ment up to the present date, (May, 1864,) holding their certificates 
from the President of the Western Commission, is two hundred and 
seventy-three.* A few instances of unworthiness have occurred, and 

* In giving this account of women nurses it is proper to state that an order was issued 
from the Medical Department in October, 1803, directing that certificates should be granted 
to those nux-ses who had been for some time in the service, on the recommendation of the 
surgeons in charge. Under this order about one hundred certificates were sent by mail in 
answer to such recommendations. It has been since ascertained that some of those for 
whom certificates were thus obtained were cooks and laundresses, the surgeons in these 
cases taking the responsibility as to the character of those whom they recommended. 



some have failed to meet the requirements of the situation, but gen 
erally they have been persons of intelligence, /good education, and a 
credit to humanity, the noblest types " of good, heroic womanhood." 
Many of them have left homes of comfort and refinement, and the 
pleasant associations of honored friends and kindred, to engage in 
this work of self-sacrifice ; some have been closely related to the 
best and noblest families in the nation, and left all to minister in 
hospitals for the sake of those who have fought and bled in the 
sacred cause of human liberty. Others again, have laid down their 
lives in this holy service, dying of disease incurred in the infected 
air of the hospital, and passing onward with our departed heroes 
and martyrs to that higher life where the sounds of war and con 
flict are hushed in eternal peace. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE BATTLE OF FORT DONELSON ACTIVITY OF THE WESTERN SANITARY COMMISSION 
STEAMERS EMPLOYED TO BRING THE WOUNDED TO THE SAINT Louis HOSPITALS 
A DELEGATION FROM THE COMMISSION AND THE LADIES UNION AID SOCIETY 

RETURN WITH A LOAD OF THE WOUNDED ATTENTIONS TO THE SlCK THE FIRST 
SUGGESTION OF HOSPITAL STEAMERS THE WESTERN SANITARY COMMISSION IMME 
DIATELY ACTED ON THE SUGGESTION THE " ClTY OF LOUISIANA" FITTED UP FOR 
THIS SERVICE FIRST TRIP TO ISLAND No . 10 VALUE AND USEFULNESS OF HOSPITAL 

STEAMERS PROVED BY SUBSEQUENT EXPERIENCE ASSISTANT SURGEON-GENERAL R. 
C. WOOD GREAT DEMAND FOR SURGEONS AND NURSES JAMES M. BARNARD, ESQ., 
OF BOSTON BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE DESTITUTE CONDITION OF THE SICK AND 
WOUNDED THE HOSPITALS AT CASSVILLE A. W. PLATTENBURG SENT BY THE 
COMMISSION WITH SANITARY STORES INTERESTING ACCOUNT OF HIS JOURNEY AND 
OF THE GOOD ACCOMPLISHED BY IT THE AGENCY CONTINUED His FUTURE LABORS 
TESTIMONIALS OF HIS USEFULNESS HEROISM OF MRS. PHELPS AT PEA RIDGE. 



On the 13th, 14th, and loth of February, 1862, was fought the 
battle of Fort Doiielson, on the Cumberland River in, West Ten 
nessee, in which the United States forces under General U. S. 
Grant, were victorious, compelling the surrender of the Fort, and 
taking- 10,000 prisoners of war under the rebel Brig. Gen. S. B. 
Buckner. In this battle there were 231 killed and 1,007 wounded 
of the Confederate forces, and the loss on our own side was much 
greater, as the rebels fought within their entrenchments and our 
troops in the open field, where for three nights they lay upon the 
bare ground in a driving storm of snow and sleet, and renewed 
the battle from day to day, till victory crowned their arms. 

On the news of this battle reaching St. Louis the Western Sani 
tary Commission made every preparation to assist the Medical 
Department in the care of the sick and wounded. A member of 
the Commission, accompanied by a delegation of physicians, nurses, 
and members of the Ladies Union Aid Society, and by Surgeon J. 
II. Grove, U. S. V., proceeded immediately to Cairo by rail, and 
thence by steamer to Paducah, Ky., at the mouth of the Cumber- 



24 

land river, with sanitary stores, to which place the wounded had 
been brought, where they were most courteously received by Medi 
cal Director Simmons, who placed the steamer "Ben Franklin" at 
their service, and ordered a load of the wounded to be put in their 
charge to bring to St. Louis. 

While the boat was being made ready, the ladies of the delega 
tion went on board the various steamers at the landing and gave 
their kind attentions to the wounded, assisting to wash them, and 
to promote their comfort in every possible way. 

The following account of the return trip is from the report made 
to the Commission at the time : " Furnished with the order of 
the Medical Director we visited the various hospitals in Paducah, 
and selected as many of the wounded as we could safely and com 
fortably transport to St. Louis. It required twenty-four hours to 
get 155 patients on board. 

"As soon as we got under way, the ladies set to work to wash and 
cleanse, and comb the hair of the sick and wounded. Warm water, 
soap, sponge, and flesh brushes were brought in requisition. Not only 
the face and neck, but the hands and feet, and other parts of the body 
had to undergo this purifying process. After this, the surgeons, Drs. 
Grove, Alleyne, and myself, proceeded to dress the wounds and other 
severe injuries of our patients, in which again we were materially 
aided by the ladies and gentlemen of our delegation. This process 
required from three to four hours daily. 

" The following was the daily routine : Early in the morning the ladies 
attended to the ablutions and cleansing of the patients. Breakfast was 
then served them, after which, a careful surgical and medical examina 
tion was gone through. Then came dinner, when they were waited on 
by all on board who could be spared from duty. After dinner, they 
were read to, and entertained by conversation. At supper again they 
had the attentions of all on board. After which we had singing of 
sacred or national hymns, reading the Scriptures, and prayer," 



25 

On arriving at St. Louis the wounded were at once taken in charge 
by medical officers, acting under the Medical Director, and transferred 
to the various hospitals. 

From this time, general hospitals were established at Paducah and 
Mound City, and the Western Commission directed a portion of its 
supplies to those points, and many sanitary stores were also sent 
directly from the towns and cities of Illinois, accompanied by friends 
and relatives, and other humane persons, who went to tender their 
services as nurses, or in any capacity in which they could be useful. 

It was during the trip of the St. Louis Sanitary delegation to Padu 
cah, that the idea of hospital steamers was suggested by Dr. Simmons, 
the Medical Director, and embodied in the report to the Western Com 
mission. He thought it would be wise to procure several good sized 
steamers and to fit them up as floating hospitals, properly organized 
with a chief surgeon, assistant surgeons, stewards, nurses, medical and 
sanitary stores, to accompany the progress of our arms along the west 
ern rivers, and to be always ready to receive the sick and wounded, 
on the occurrence of great battles, and convey them to the general 
hospitals, already provided farther north. The trip of the "Ben. 
Franklin " was itself a recommendation of the plan, and it was speedily 
acted upon by the Commission. 

At the same meeting at which the above report and suggestions were 
made, Rev. "Wm. G. Eliot, D.D., was requested to address a letter to 
Maj. Gen. Halleck, setting forth the proposed plan for one or more 
Floating Hospitals, pledging that the Commission, if the suggestion 
met with his approbation, would take the whole care and labor of 
carrying it into execution. 

The plan was highly approved by the General commanding, and an 
order was issued to the chief quartermaster to purchase a steamer 
suited to the purpose, who, in connection with the Commission, finally 
selected and chartered the " City of Louisiana." On the 20th of 
March she had been thoroughly furnished as a hospital boat, the Gov- 




26 

ernmeiit supplying her with beds and commissary stores, and the 
Western Sanitary Commission completing her outfit at an expense 
of $3000. In addition to this the Commission also provided the assis 
tant surgeons, the apothecary, the male and female nurses, and fur 
nished a full supply of sanitary stores. Her first trip was made to Island 
No. 10, to await the conflict there, but the place was taken at last by 
a flank movement of Gen. Pope on New Madrid, without loss of life, 
and there was no occasion for her service at that time. But it was 
not long till ample opportunity of usefulness occurred at Pittsburg 
Landing. On this first trip the President of the Western Sanitary 
Commission went also, sharing in the general expectation of a terrible 
battle at Island No. 10. 

After the battle of Pittsburg Landing this boat conveyed 3,389 
patients to northern hospitals, and was in the spring of 1863, purchased 
by the Government, remodeled for a permanent floating hospital, with 
accommodations for five hundred beds, and named the U R. C. Wood," 
in honor of the Assistant Surgeon General of the United States Army, 
who was the first of the leading surgeons of the regular army to give 
his sanction and approval to the plan of a Sanitary Commission, and 
has always given his influence, encouragement, and aid to its beneficent 
labors, counselled with its members, and carried into effect, in his 
department, every valuable suggestion it has made. 

The "JR. C. Wood" is a vessel of great speed, and of large dimen 
sions. Her state rooms have been removed, and the whole upper deck 
made into one large ward, with abundant light admitted, and having 
excellent means of ventilation, with ample provision of bath rooms, 
hot and cold water, cooking apartments, nurses rooms, medical dis 
pensary, laundry, and many other conveniences. With all the requi 
sites of a good hospital on shore, it has the advantage of the fresh 
breezes and currents of air that are common to the river ; and in the 
heat of summer, by moving on the stream, a delightful ventilation and 
refreshing breeze are obtained, passing through the sick ward, and 



27 

cooling- the fevered brows and pulses of the patients on board. Dur 
ing the summer of 1863 this boat made constant trips from the army 
at Vicksburg, bringing: the wounded and sick to the St. Louis hos 
pitals. During her first period of service she was in charge of Dr. 
Wagener, and is now in charge of Surgeon Thomas F. Azpell, U. S. V. 
The great utility and valuable service of floating hospitals was soon 
established and led to the fitting out of several others by the Gov 
ernment. 

During the month of February, 1802, the "Western Commission dis 
tributed 13,250 articles of hospital clothing, food for the sick, bottles 
of cordials and stimulants, packages of bandages and lint, crutches, 
back-rests for supporting the head and shoulders, splints, towels, ban 
dages, socks, slippers, books, and packages of reading matter ; and the 
labors of its members were constant and unceasing, frequently occu 
pying the night as well as the day. 

The demand for nurses was at this time very great. From the Mound 
City Hospital, near Cairo, 111., in charge of Surgeon E, C. Franklin, 
U. S. V., there was a request at one time for forty nurses, of which 
only fourteen could be immediately sent. Several surgeons were pro- 
procured from Boston, Mass., to come out and enter the hospital ser 
vice, in which the commission had the valuable aid and recommenda 
tions of James M. Barnard, Esq., of that city, who has, in a thousand 
ways, assisted in its work, aided its contributions and given it his 
best influence and counsel. 

On the 7th and 8th of March, 1862, another great battle was fought 
at Pea Ridge, Ark., in which our forces under Maj. Gen. S. E. Cur 
tis, were victorious over a force of the enemy, three times our num 
ber, commanded by Generals Van Dorii, Price, McCulloch and Mcln- 
tosh. Our killed and wounded numbered one thousand; the loss of 
the enemy was still greater. The great distance of this battle-field 
from St. Louis, being two hundred and fifty miles beyond Rolla, the 
terminus of the South- West Branch of the Pacific railroad, and the 



28 

roads being of the very worst description, through a country only 
halt-civilized, mountainous, without bridges, and without hotel accom 
modations, stripped by the passage of armies of forage for teams 
and of food for men, subject to raids and murders by guerrilla bands, 
it was utterly impossible to bring the wounded of Gen. Curtis army 
to the hospitals of St. Louis. And what was still worse, the march 
through the south-west had been undertaken in the winter, over bad 
roads, with deficient transportation, and the medical department was 
most miserably provided with the means of taking care of so many 
wounded. The surgeons were without hospital clothing, without 
stimulants, so necessary in surgical operations, without bedding for 
the wounded, and their supply of medicines was exceedingly limited. 

The desperate character of the battle had suddenly thrown upon 
their hands nearly a thousand badly wounded men, in a country thinly 
settled by a people living mostly in log houses, and having few of the 
necessaries of life. The court house at Cassville, and all the principal 
dwellings there was not a church in the place were filled, and 
many wounded were also housed in the same way at Keitsville, so 
that on approaching these villages every other dwelling seemed to be a 
hospital, having a red flag floating over it. 

In a few instances, wounded officers were conveyed in ambulances 
all the way to Holla, and taken home to their friends; and those of 
our brave troops who were less severely wounded were transported 
to Springfield, Mo., w^here the churches and public buildings were 
converted into hospitals for their use. Passing onward from Holla to 
the Army of the South-west, soon after the battle, with the Lyon 
regiment, to reinforce Gen. Curtis, it was a painful scene to witness 
Avounded men lying in the bottom of open wagons on beds of straw, 
jolted over the rough ground, on their way to friends living along 
the route; for among the regiments that fought most bravely and 
suffered most severely, was Phelps Missouri six months volunteers, 
composed of the sons of loyal families, who had lived and suffered in 



29 

South-west Missouri from the persecutions of the rebels, many of 
them having been driven to Holla as a place of refuge and enlisted 
there, and such of them as now were wounded were being conveyed 
to their own homes, or to Springfield, where better hospital accom 
modations existed. In this city, as we marched through, we found 
the hospital buildings filled with the wounded from Pea Eidge; and 
at Cassville, when we reached there, it was a touching sight to be 
hold, as we did, in one room, a row of young men, in the freshness 
of youth, lying on beds, each having lost a leg, while in other 
buildings were those who had received all manner of hurts, wounds 
from pieces of shell, bullet wounds, arms torn and afterwards ampu 
tated, and legs taken off, and all bound up, awaiting the dreadful 
issue of life or death. 

But it was with peculiar satisfaction we found that the stores of 
the Western Sanitary Commission had been received there some days 
before our arrival, and that the wounded men were lying in clean 
beds, and clothed with shirts and drawers, instead of the blood 
stained garments in which they came from the battle-field. The large 
supplies, forwarded by the commission, had reached the medical 
director, Dr. Otterson, and had been put to immediate use; his sup 
ply of stimulants had been largely increased, and his sick and 
wounded were in a comfortable condition . 

On the news of this battle reaching St. Louis, the members of the 
Sanitaiy Commission worked day and night, packing up sanitary 
stores, and sent forward Mr. A. "W. Platteiiburg in charge of hospital 
supplies, on the llth of March, who was followed immediately after 
by another supply of as many more. In this undertaking, Maj. Gen. 
Halleck furnished every facility in his power, giving to Mr. Platteii 
burg an order, over his own signature, addressed " to all quartermas 
ters and other officers between St. Louis and Sugar Creek, Ark., 
directing them "to furnish every reasonable facility in their * power, 
to forward, with all possible dispatch, consistent with safety, the 



bearer, Mr. A. "W. Plattenburg, and the hospital stores under his care, 
destined for the wounded in the late battle at Sugar Springs "after 
wards named Pea Ridge. 

In his report of his journey and arrival at Cassville with his 
stores Mr. Plattenburg says : 

;; I arrived at Holla, Mo., at four o clock, r. M., of the same day 
and was furnished with a horse and transportation for sanitary 
stores. The first day we proceeded fifteen miles over a road that 
was as bad as it could be. The day following I rode forty miles 
and stopped at night "with a Union man, who had been robbed of 
almost everything movable. He had two sons in Phelps Missouri 
regiment, one of whom had just died in the Springfield hospital. 
Oil Sunday morning I reached Springfield at 10 A. M. The Quar 
termaster was ordered to furnish transportation by the first train. 
The wounded from the recent battle were coming in, as well as 
some rebel prisoners. I visited the post hospital, accompanied by 
Dr. Ebert. There were one hundred sick and wounded, mostly 
from Pea Ridge. I examined the hospital very carefully ; found 
a part of the men on the floor, destitute of all comforts. They 
had neither bed sacks, blankets nor sheets, not even tin cups or a 
teapot. They were, however, very cheerful. Dr. Ebert, a very 
kind and attentive surgeon, requested me to procure a wardmaster 
and matron. I made a requisition upon your Commission for them, 
as also for a large number of supplies for the hospital, enough to 
make all the patients as comfortable as possible. 

" The train with your stores reached Springfield on Wednesday 
following, and on Friday were sent forward. Transportation was 

so insufficient that this delay was unavoidable. The next day, 
/ 

25th, I arrived at Cassville. Here I found two large tents, six 
buildings, ( among them the court house, ) and the tavern, used 
as hospitals. The patients were lying on the floors, with a little 
straw under them, and with knapsacks or blankets under their 



31 

heads for pillows. They had no comforts of any kind, no change 
of clothes, but were lying in the clothes they fought in, stiff 
and dirty with blood and soil. There were four hundred federal 
wounded here. There was a great deficiency of nurses, detailed 
men not answering the purpose well. Their sheets had been 
torn up for bandages, and until Dr. Otterson reached there with 
his supplies they were poorly furnished with medicines. Stimu 
lants were very much needed to sustain the sinking men, but none 
were to be had. There were no brooms to sw^eep with and no 
mops to wash the rooms. Your stores were here turned over to 
the brigade surgeon, who opened and distributed them to the dif 
ferent hospitals. Never was a provision train more joyously greeted 
by starving men than was this ample supply of hospital stores by 
these sick and suffering soldiers. 

" On the next day I went forward to the army, reporting my 
self to Gen. Curtis, introduced by your letters. I found him in 
an ordinary tent, without furniture, except a stool and a small cross- 
legged pine table. The floor was covered with straw, and a roll 
of blankets constituted his bedding. Being invited, I dined with 
him upon plain army fare. I then proceeded to Gen. Davis posi 
tion, within one and a half miles of Elk Horn Tavern, where the 
heaviest fighting* was done. I visited the battle-ground, and was 
filled with astonishment when I saw the strength of the positions 
out of w T hich our gallant little army had driven the great force 
opposed to it. Meeting two rebel surgeons one of them said : 
We are Texans ; our army has treated us shamefully ; they stam 
peded, and left us here with our sick and wounded men, and, I 
will tell you, sir, that for two days we had nothing to give our 
poor fellows but parched corn and water. Every federal officer and 
man has treated us like gentlemen, and Gen. Curtis told me that 
so long as he had a loaf of bread, we should have half it. This 



32 

was tlic field where McCulloch and Mclntosh were killed while 
endeavoring to flank the Peoria batter) . 

"I visited with these surgeons the hospitals at Piiieville. No 
provision whatever had been made by Price, and our scanty sup 
plies had been shared with them. For twenty-live miles around 
every house was a rebel hospital. We also had three federal hospi 
tals at Piiieville, but not to exceed forty patients. At this point 
there was a total absence of stimulants, and men were dying for 
want of them. In one place are forty graves of the Iowa Third 
Cavalry. All the dead of both armies were buried. 

" On my return I called on Gen. Curtis at Keitsville, and promised 
to urge forward the remaining supplies, which would be sufficient 
to meet all immediate wants. They were duly forwarded, and 
reached the command in good time. At Cassville I found that Dr. 
McGugin, of Iowa, who had been working very faithfully among 
our suffering men, was completely exhausted. At Springfield I 
found additional supplies, which had been forwarded by your coin- 
mission. I was assured that they would go forward on the fol 
lowing morning, and they were rolled out to load up before I left. 
I am fully convinced that no army was (so far as provision 
for the wounded was concerned,) ever sent into the field in such 
destitute condition as ours, except the one that it fought and con 
quered. Our preparations were wholly inadequate ; the enemy had. 
apparently, made none at all. 

"The labors of your commission are most highly appreciated by 
both officers and men. But for the promptness with which your 
supplies were sent forward, for which you are greatly indebted to 
the Commanding General, great suffering must have unavoidably 
occurred. Could the kind and sympathizing men and women of 
our loyal States, who place these abundant contributions at your 
command, but see and realize the thrill of joy with which they 
were received by the suffering ones, who have so bravely and gladly 



33 

shed their blood to restore to us a united nation, and to vindicate 
the majesty of our trampled laws, they would rejoice that they 
had made the slight sacrifice required to achieve so great a good, 
and seek, 1 am sure, to enable you to anticipate rather than to 
supply, such wants in future. 

"Many of these poor sufferers have left distant homes and loving 
friends ; have been accustomed to receive the tenderest cares and 
the most watchful sympathy during the slightest indisposition. Now 
they meet death and grievous wounds, and wasting sickness, in a 
remote, semi-hostile and thinly settled country, surrounded generally 
by comparative strangers. And tliis great sacrifice is most cheer 
fully made. Xo word of repining or regret did I hear, but every 
where our gallant men were sustained by an abiding faith that 
they had suffered and would die, if need be, in a most just and 
righteous cause." 

Mr. Plattenburg s efficiency and usefulness were so satisfactory to 
the commission, that he was employed from that time as an agent to 
continue with the Army of the South-west, which he did till the 
spring of 1863, accompanying it through all its toilsome march from 
Cassville to Forsyth, returning to St. Louis for sanitary stores, going 
back to it again overland, and arriving with it at Helena on the 
following July. 

In March, 1863, he proceeded to the vicinity of Vicksburg, with 
the army of Gen. Grant, remained there in charge of a sanitary 
boat loaded with stores, and, with his assistants, distributed to the 
army during the seige of Vicksburg, and after its capture, until the 
Fall of 1863, when he was sent to the Army of the Cumberland with 
Gen. Sherman s 15th army corps, and established an agency at Hunts- 
ville, Ala., remaining in charge of it till April, 1864, when he re 
signed his position to attend to interests of his own. During his 
two years of faithful service, he gained the esteem of the officers 
of the army, received many testimonials of his great efficiency and 
c 



34 

usefulness, and always enjoyed the full confidence and support of 
the Commission. 

In December, 1862, the surgeons of the Army of the South-west 
united in a testimonial in which they say: " The agent of the 
Commission, Mr. A. "W. Plattenburg has always cheerfully furnished 
for the use of the sick and the wounded, every thing* in his pos 
session. Joining this army just after the battle of Pea llidge, he 
came with his abundant stores most providentially, and through all 
dangers, trials, and vicissitudes he has remained constantly with us, 
and ever faithful to his mission." 

In a letter of Maj. Gen. Curtis, dated March 1st, 1863, he says : 
"Among the pleasant and grateful recollections of the campaign 
of the South-west was the arrival of Mr. A. "\V. Plattenburg, the 
agent of this noble Commission, just after the battle of Pea Ridge 
(where the wounded were so unprovided for), with his abundant 
sanitary stores and supplies of stimulants. In the destitute condi 
tion of our hospitals it seemed like a providential interposition in 
our behalf." 

Among the incidents at the battle of Pea llidge worthy of men 
tion in this connection, were the labors of Mrs. Phelps, w^ho had 
accompanied her husband, Col. John S. Phelps, with his regiment to 
the battle-field. While the battle was yet raging, this heroic woman 
assisted in the care of the wounded ; tore up her own garments 
for bandages, dressed their wounds, cooked food and made soup 
and broth for them to eat with her own hands, remaining with 
them as long as there was any thing she could do, and giving 
not only words but deeds of substantial kindness and sympathy. 
And wherever the cause of our national Union and its perils shall 
hereafter be known, " this that this woman hath done shall be re 
membered as a memorial of her." 



CHAPTER IV . 

SOLDIERS HOME ESTABLISHED AT ST. Louis PREMIUMS AWARDED TO THE STEWARDS 
AND WARDMASTERS OF THE BEST HOSPITALS, AND TO THE MOST FAITHFUL NURSES 
THE BATTLE OF PITTSBURG LANDING LARGE NUMBER OF WOUNDED ADDITIONAL 
HOSPITAL STEAMERS FURNISHED VOLUNTEER SURGEONS AND NURSES ADDITIONAL 
HOSPITALS FITTED up AT SAINT Louis DEMAND FOR SURGEONS NUMBER OF SICK 
AND WOUNDED IN THE ST. Louis HOSPITALS REPORT OF THE COMMISSION. 



On the 13th of March, 1862, a Soldier s Home for discharged and 
ftirloughed soldiers passing through the city, was established by the 
Western Commission, at 29 South Fourth Street, St. Louis, capable 
of accommodating from fifty to one hundred soldiers daily. It was 
placed in charge of Rev. Charles Peabody as Superintendent, with 
Miss A. L. Ostram for Matron, and has afforded many a poor, 
penniless, and invalid soldier food and lodgings, saved others from 
the sharpers that lie in wait to impose on the unwary, from ex 
orbitant hotel charges, and from the bad associations and influences 
of the lower class of hotels ; it has been an asylum to many who 
left the hospitals to go home, not yet fully recovered some of 
them returning to their families to die where on their way they 
could enjoy a few days of quiet rest, have the aid of the Super 
intendent in getting their pay and bounty, and the kind attentions 
of the matron to nurse them and bind up their wounds. 

During the first year of its existence, the Soldiers Home at St. 
Louis entertained with meals and lodgings, twelve thousand four 
hundred and ten (12,410) soldier guests, most of them invalids par 
tially restored to health, passing on furlough to their homes, or 
returning to their regiments. 

During its second year to March 12th, 1864, it has entertained 
eight thousand four hundred and thirty-six (8,436) enlisted men, 



36 

making a total of twenty thousand eight hundred and forty-six 
(20,846) soldiers who have enjoyed the hospitality of this Home in 
a period of two years. And yet compared with four others after 
wards established by the Commission at Columbus, Ky., Memphis, 
Tenn., Helena, Ark., and Vicksburg, Mississippi, the average num 
ber entertained has been much less than at those places. This has 
been partly owing to its smaller accommodations and partly to its 
greater distance from the seat of war, as our armies obtained pos 
session of the States bordering on the Mississippi Iliver. 

Of the 20,846 soldiers who have been the guests of this Home 
5,576 have been from Illinois, 4,615 from Iowa, 4,520 from Mis 
souri, 1,795 from Wisconsin, 1,221 from Indiana, 420 from Michigan, 
668 from Ohio, 342 from Minnesota, 136 from Kentucky, 359 from 
Kansas, 82 from Arkansas, 64 from the Marine Brigade, 111 from 
the U. S. Regulars, 73 from Nebraska, 576 from other States, and 
288 from the Invalid Corps. 

The number of meals furnished to soldiers for the two years ending 
March 12th, 1864, was eighty-five thousand nine hundred and ninety- 
two (85,992), and the number of lodgings for the same period was 
twenty-four thousand two hundred and ninety, (24,290). In 110 case 
has any charge been made to any of the guests. Besides these, many 
near relatives, fathers, mothers, and wives of sick or furloughed sol 
diers, accompanying them, have received the hospitality of the Home, 
of which no account has been made. 

The expense incurred by the Commission in maintaining this institu 
tion is about $3,000 a year, and the value of the rations and fuel fur 
nished by the Government is about $2,000 more. 

The conduct of the soldiers while staying at the Home has generally 
been respectful, and such as would become good citizens. The hos 
pitality and kind attention given have been almost uniformly received 
with gratitude. Many on leaving have come to the office and expressed 
their thanks to the superintendent, and often, although informed that 



37 

every thing- they had received was freely given, have insisted on 
bestowing something from their hard earnings to help sustain the 
institution. On being shown to their rooms at night it has been com 
mon to hear such expressions as these: " Oh, Jim, see here, this is a 
nice fat pillow, as sure as you are born, the first I have seen for six 
months," to which another would reply, "Yes, Sam, these are pillows, 
sure enough, and this is a clean soft bed. I tell you what, this makes 
me think of home. 

On Thanksgiving and Christmas and New-Years days it has been 
customary to provide some fowls and other extras ; and at all times, 
butter, vegetables, milk, dried and canned fruits and tomatoes have 
been furnished, in addition to the army ration. Very often expressions 
are heard at the table, or after meals, indicating- the grateful appre 
ciation of the soldier, who has been for months confined to hard bread, 
salt meat, and coffee, without rnilk, 011 finding so wholesome and 
palatable a change of diet. "AVell," says one, "I haven t had so good 
a meal for two years." " Yes," answers another, " this is pretty good 
fare; if we could only have such all the time we d get along first rate. 
But I expect Uncle Sam does the best he can for us. It s hard getting 
anything down among them Rebs. The sooner we can clean them 
out and come home the better." 

A reading room is provided at this as well as the other Homes, con 
taining several hundred volumes, and the daily papers and several 
religious journals are also furnished, so that the soldier is able to pass 
liis time pleasantly and profitabl) r during his short stay. He is thus 
kept from a desire to roam through the city in search of amusement, 
and goes on his way refreshed in body and mind. 

In the winter of 1863, Miss Ostram, the first matron, after nearly 
a year of faithful service, was transferred to the Home at Memphis, 
and the situation remained vacant, for a considerable period, during 
which Mr. John Gibbon acted as clerk and steward, which position 
he filled w,ith great fidelity. On his retiring, about six months ago, 



38 

it became necessary to fill the situation of matron, when Mrs. J. E. 
Rice, now performing the duties with satisfaction, was appointed, 

The institution has been conducted with eminent success by Mr. Pea- 
body, the Superintendent, who has shown great executive ability in 
its management, whose courtesy and kindness to the soldier have given 
him a place in their grateful remembrance, and whose intercourse 
with the military authorities, and the members of the commission, has 
always been such as to win their esteem and confidence. 

In his last annual report to the Commission (March 12th, 1864) Mr. 
Peabody very justly remarks upon the benefits to the country arising 
from sanitary labors, and from such institutions as the Soldiers Home : 

"Observing from the position I have occupied, the wrecks left 
behind the wake of armies, the conviction forces itself upon me 
that the labors of the Sanitary Commission, by the immense supple 
mental aid it has rendered in furnishing sanitary supplies and estab 
lishing Soldiers Homes, have contributed not a little to saving men 
for the service, as well as rescuing them from death. In prosecuting 
their wars the ancients had no hospital trains or medical staff in atten 
dance on their armies. In their military movements the sick and 
wounded soldiers were left behind to die. In these times, and in our 
unhappy struggle with a giant rebellion, the soldiers are tenderly 
cared for, not only by the medical department of the army, but by thou 
sands of patriotic hands, working systematically, through thoroughly 
organized channels, which often reach far beyond the routine of the 
service. The future historian of this great struggle will be able to 
show that the very small per cent of loss among our armies, as com 
pared with that of modem European wars is to be attributed largely 
to what the people themselves have done through organized voluntary 
labors in behalf of the soldiers. 

" Having aided, under your auspices, in the organization of the 
Soldiers Home, established in this city, and watched over it daily 
for two years, I cannot but express the conviction that for the amount 



39 

of money expended, this enterprise has brought back in substantial 
and lasting benefits to the soldiers quite as much as any of the noble 
undertakings in which your Commission has engaged. It has cheered 
the disheartened soldier in his toilsome duties. It has saved multitudes 
from imposition and exactions, and has aided them in securing prompt 
attention to their just rights. By the substantial comforts and kind 
attentions which it has afforded it has served to impress on the minds 
of those who fight our battles the fact that their toils are remembered 
and their heroic efforts appreciated. Standing in the face of death on 
the bloody field the recollection of such kind hospitality and attention 
has served to strengthen their arms and exalt their courage in the 
deadly conflict. By lending a helping hand to the weak and faltering 
as they return homewards from their exposures, it has served to assure 
their friends and the loyal public that the opinion, too current through 
the land, that the common soldier is always trod upon and abused, is 
a mistake. It has afforded kind nursing to hundreds of sick and suffer 
ing, and by a little care and attention, has saved many valuable lives. 
It has also afforded the opportunity of impressing moral and religious 
truth on the minds of the soldiers, and of ministering consolation to 
some who were just entering upon their last great conflict. In view 
of the good it has already accomplished, and its capacity for future 
usefulness to the soldiers and the service, it is warmly commended to 
your special consideration." 

In the early part of April, 1862, the "Western Sanitary Commission, 
wishing to encourage and stimulate a patriotic emulation among the 
stewards, ward masters, and nurses in the hospitals to excel in their 
several spheres of duty, and thereby promote the welfare of the sick 
and wounded, by securing the best possible attention, and the most 
favorable conditions for recovery, offered a series of premiums as fol 
lows, to be paid in gold on the 4th day of the following July : 

1. To the head steward of whichever one of the large hospitals 



40 

shall have been kept in the best condition, all tilings considered, and 
in which the comfort of the patients shall have been uniformly best 
cared for, in every way, through a term of three months, the sum of 

TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS. 

2. To the head steward of the best of the smaller hospitals, as above 
estimated, the sum of FIFTEEN DOLLARS. 

3. To the best assistant steward in every large hospital, who shall 
be the most punctual, attentive and diligent in the performance of his 
duties, the sum of TEN DOLLARS. 

4. To the best assistant steward, estimated as above, in all the small 
hospitals, the sum ot EIGHT DOLLARS. 

o. To the best ward master in each of the large hospitals, whose 
ward shall have been uniformly kept in the best and most perfect 
order, as to cleanliness of beds and bedding, the comfort of the patients, 
and in all other respects, the sum of TEN DOLLARS. 

6. To the best ward master in each of the small hospitals, estimated 
as above, the sum of EIGHT DOLLARS. 

7. To the best twenty nurses, in all the hospitals, who shall remain 
in service through the three months, and who shall prove themselves 
the most kind, faithful and attentive, in the discharge of all their 
duties to the sick, FIVE DOLLARS EACH. 

8. To the best culinary department, in all the hospitals that is, for 
the best and cleanest kitchen, the best and most wholesome cookery, 
with the smallest w^aste, the sum of TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS, the same 
to be divided between the head cook and assistants, in the hospital to 
\vliich the prize shall be awarded, in such proportions as may seem just. 

9. To the second best kitchen, etc., estimated as above, the sum of 

FIFTEEN DOLLARS. 

10. To every female nurse who shall remain in the service for three 
months, and shall have given full satisfaction, a certificate shall be 
awarded, with special vote of thanks. 



41 

11. To the best hospital, all things considered, a public expression 
of thanks shall be given, with the approval of the Medical Director 
and of the General commanding. 

To secure the just award of these premiums and testimonials, the 
Sanitary Commission will make weekly, or more frequent, visits of 
inspection to every hospital under direction of the Head Surgeon, and 
in consultation with him, and a careful record of each visit and its 
results will be kept. 

A monthly inspection will also be made, Avith the same view, by 
order of the General commanding. 

In offering these premiums, the " Western Sanitary Commission" are 
actuated by a desire to assist the medical staff in making the military 
hospitals of the " Department of the Mississippi," the most perfect in 
the United States. 

This undertaking had the sanction of the Commanding General of the 
Department, and of the Medical Director, and its influence was highly 
beneficial in stimulating the best endeavors of those who filled the 
stewardships in the hospitals, and had the immediate care of the sick 
and wounded not so much for the sake of the pecuniary rewards 
as from the consciousness that their labors were carefully noticed and 
appreciated, which gave an additional spur to their humane interest 
in the soldier, and excited a laudable and proper ambition to receive 
the award of well doing. 

The persons to whom these awards were finally made were as fol 
lows : To Mr. George Thomas, chief steward of the Fifth Street Hos 
pital, $25; to Mr. Kleuber, chief steward of Camp Benton Hospital, 
$15: to Mr. Matthews, assistant steward in the Fifth Street Hospital, 
$10; to Messrs. James McCrea, George Miran, and Henry Craw- 
shaw, ward masters in the Fifth Street Hospital each $10; to Messrs. 
Loar, Henry Sanders, and James Larkin, nurses in the Fifth Street 
Hospital, and to Mr. Charles Tising, nurse in the Good Samaritan 
Hospital, $5 ; to the chief cook and assistants in the culinary depart- 



42 

ment of the New House of Refuge Hospital, $25; to the chief cook 
and assistants in the culinary department of the Camp Benton Hos 
pital, $15; and to the following female nurses, with certificates and 
a vote of thanks, $5 each: Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Ballard, Mrs. Parker, 
Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Aldrich, Mrs. Honghton, Mrs. Brooks, Mrs. Ferris, 
Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Plummer, Miss McNair, Mrs. Colfax, Mrs. Bar 
ton, Miss Johnson, Miss Clark, Miss Cullom, Miss Ostram, Mrs. Starr, 
Mrs. Freeman. 

On the 6th and 7th of April, 1862, occurred the great battle of 
Pittsburg Landing, on the Tennessee river, between the Union forces 
under General Grant, and the rebel forces under General A. S. John 
son and General Beauregard. In this battle, the loss to the Union 
army was 1,735 killed, and 7,882 wounded; and to the rebels, 1,728 
killed, and 8,012 wounded, many of whom fell into our hands. 

The news of this terrible battle was brought to St. Louis by tele 
graph, and Maj. Gen. Halleck immediately addressed a note to the 
Western Sanitary Commission, requesting its co-operation with the 
medical and quartermaster s departments in sending steamers, prop 
erly fitted up, furnished with medical and sanitary supplies, and a 
requisite force of surgeons, wound-dressers and nurses to take care 
of the wounded, and return with them to St. Louis ; also in fitting 
up additional hospital accommodations in this city to receive them. 

The following note was received from the Chief Quartermaster: 

QUARTERMASTER S DEPARTMENT, OFFICE OK TRANSPORTATION, ) 

St. Louis, April 10th, 1862. I 

JAS. E. YEATMAN, Esq., 

President Western Sanitary Commission: 

DEAR SIR : I have arranged with the owners of the steamers 
" Continental" " Crescent City " and "Imperial" to remain on or 
go to the Tennessee river for the relief and use of the sick and 
wounded. In case you find it necessary or desirable, you will please 



43 

direct either of these boats to such points as you may deem best for 
these purposes, and I will settle for the time they are detained in 
the service, on your certificate. These boats, so taken, are not to 
be interfered with while in use for hospital purposes. 

Eespectfully, 

LEWIS B. PARSONS, 

Capt. and A. Q. M. 

The following , of the same date, was also directed to the captain 
of the steamer "Empress" from the same source: 

" You will at once proceed to Pittsburgh Term., unless otherwise 
ordered by James E. Yeatman, Esq., President Western Sanitary 
Commission, who will accompany you on the trip. * * You 

will return to this point as soon as you can consistently be dis 
charged from the duty on which you are sent, namely, for hospital 
purposes. " 

The hospital steamer " City of Louisiana" arrived on the 9th of 
April from Pittsburg Landing- with three hundred and fifty sick, 
having left there previous to the battle. On the receipt of the in 
telligence that a battle had been fought, she returned the next day, 
to the scene of conflict, with additional sanitary stores. 

The steamer " I). A. January" which had been purchased by 
the Government for a hospital steamer, fitted up by the Western 
Commission, and placed in charge of Surgeon A. H. Hoff, L T . S. 
V., was also sent to Pittsburg Landing. This boat from the date 
of this battle to the month of August, made eight trips, and con 
veyed 2,692 patients from ports on the Tennessee and Lower Missis 
sippi rivers to northern hospitals, mostly to the hospitals of Saint 
Louis. She has been remodeled, in accordance with plans of Sur 
geon Hoff, and continued in the service, having rendered incalcu 
lable benefits, accommodating five hundred patients, and bringing 
from Vicksburg, Helena, and elsewhere, many thousands of sick and 



44 

wounded to St. Louis and affording them the best possible treat 
ment on the way. 

On the evening of the 10th of April the steamer "Empress," 
being furnished by the "Western Sanitary Commission with a com 
plete outfit of medical and sanitary stores, with a corps of surgeons, 
wound-dressers, and nurses, both for herself and the large and splen 
did steamer " Imperial," (then on the Tennessee river,) started for 
Pittsburg Landing, in charge of the President of the Commission 
(Mr. Yeatman), where, on her arrival, the outfit for the "Imperial" 
was transferred to that boat, and all were loaded with the wounded 
with as much expedition as was possible. 

On this expedition there accompanied Mr. Yeatman Drs. Pollak, 
Grove, Azpell, May, Bixby, and Barnes, Surgeon Grove, U. S. V., 
taking charge of the "Imperial" on arriving at Pittsburg, with 
the requisite force of assistant surgeons, stewards, wound-dressers, 
nurses, etc. 

A delegation of noble women from St. Louis, members of the 
Ladies Union Aid Society, also accompanied this expedition as 
volunteer nurses, and rendered invaluable service. Among those now 
remembered who thus gave their timely aid was Mrs. Washington 
King, Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Perley Child, Mrs. J. E. D. Couzins, Mrs. 
C. B. Fisk, Mrs. J. Crawshaw, and Miss Patrick. 

On the return trip the steamer "Empress" was loaded with nine 
hundred wounded men, her guards, decks, and cabins being filled, and 
friend and foe alike provided for ; for many wounded prisoners fell into 
our hands on the second day of the battle. The "Imperial" also 
returned loaded in a similar manner, and continued to run for 
several months as a floating hospital in charge of Surgeon Grove. 
The " City of Louisiana" " D. A. January " and the " Crescent 
City" also returned with their cargoes of human lives, and the 
wounded were received into the hospitals of St. Louis. 

The crowded condition of the hospitals and want of room made 







45 



it necessary that additional hospital accommodations should be 
mediately provided. The Western Sanitary Commission proceeded 
at once to procure two large halls in Arnot s and Thornton s and 
Pierce s buildings on Chesnut and AValnut streets, and furnished 
them with beds and furniture and sanitary stores, and with the 
requisite number of nurses, for the accommodation of three hun 
dred and twenty sick and wounded men. 

During the midst of these labors Maj. Gen. Halleck telegraphed 
the Commission from Pittsburg Landing to send twenty surgeons 
to that place for duty there. Nine were procured and went for 
ward the same day, and afterwards an additional number. 

On the first of May the Commission made a report of its labors, 
from which the following particulars are selected as completing an 
outline of its history to this date : 

There were then fifteen military hospitals in and about St. Louis, 
affording accommodations for for 5,750 patients, and a reserve was 
constantly maintained in readiness by the Commission of 250 beds 
in addition, making a total of 6,000. The number of patients ad 
mitted to that date was 19,467, of whom 1,400 had died ; 15,717 
had been furloughed, discharged, or returned to their regiments, 
and 3,750 remained. There had been 162 additional deaths on float 
ing hospitals in transit, at McDowell s military prison, the St. Louis 
Arsenal, and at private houses. The number of patients on hand 
was unusually small, great numbers having been furloughed, in order 
to relieve the hospitals, pending the expected battle at Corinth. 

The Commission had fitted four floating hospitals, regularly em 
ployed for the transportation of the sick and wounded in the De 
partment of the Mississippi, the " City of Louisiana," Dr. Wagner, 
the " D. A. January," Dr. Huff, the "Imperial," Dr. Grove, and 
the " Empress," Dr. Azpell, all very large and fine steamers, altered 
and arranged for this purpose. They were capable of transporting 
two thousand sick or wounded men, and were fully provided with 



46 

experienced surgeons, assistant surgeons, apothecaries, stewards, 
dressers, and male and female nurses. They had every conven 
ience that experience could suggest, and were supplied with large 
reserves of hospital clothing, lint, bandages, delicacies, fruit, c., 
that they might be prepared to furnish temporary transports or 
field hospitals whenever and wherever needed. 

As these boats were constantly plying between St. Louis and 
the immediate vicinity of all probable battle fields, no better method 
of securing prompt relief wherever needed could have been devised 
or desired. 

The first two of these boats remained permanently in the service, 
to which others were added at a later period. 

The hospital steamer " City of Memphis, in charge of Surgeon W. 
D. Turner, U. S. A., had also been supplied with hospital furniture 
and stores by the Commission. 

There can be no doubt that these floating hospitals have saved hun 
dreds of priceless lives, by transporting the sick and wounded promptly 
from the field to well regulated hospitals, and by furnishing in transit 
good surgical attendance and nursing, and comfortable accommo 
dations. 

During the eight months the Commission had then existed it had 
received 985 cases of goods from eighteen States, viz : 

Massachusetts 223 New Hampshire 1G 

Illinois 132 i New Jersey 11 

Wisconsin 74 Minnesota ." 10 

Rhode Island 69 ; Indiana 9 

Pennsylvania 63 j Connecticut 7 

Missouri 61 Vermont 6 

Iowa 57 | Maine 5 

New York 51 i Delaware 4 

Michigan 40 I District of Columbia 3 

Ohio 12 I Not ascertained 137 

Besides these, it had also received large contributions in money 
and goods from the citizens of St. Louis and vicinity, not included 
in the above statement, for the reason that they had been received 



47 

in bulk, in many instances by the wagon load, and in thousands 
of small packages. 

The articles distributed by the Commission, to that date, numbered 
166,288, including 6,813 blankets, 8,065 sheets, 7,034 pillows, 11,545 
pillow-cases, 10,443 towels, 5,249 handkerchiefs, -21,577 shirts, 11,159 
pair drawers, 19,519 pair socks, 4,384 pair slippers, 1,841 dressing 
gowns, 1,032 articles of clothing, 18,196 books and pamphlets, 3,084 
pads, 981 bottles of domestic wines, 1,459 cans jelly, 2,340 pounds 
farina, 1,400 cans fruit, and 25,000 miscellaneous articles, such as 
mittens, games, crutches, work bags, bed pans, spit cups, picket caps, 
pin cushions, eye shades, slings, india rubber syringes, isinglass plas 
ters, remedies, etc. In addition to these the Commission purchased 
large numbers of articles for the complete outfit of the city and 
floating hospitals, and for armies in the field, embracing air and 
water beds, washing machines, implements of various kinds, barrels 
of stimulants, (of better quality and in larger supply than furnished 
by Government,) of eggs and chickens, cases of oranges and lem 
ons, hundreds of pairs of crutches, invalid chairs of novel construc 
tion, bedsteads, cots, mattresses, graduated back-rests, stands or stools 
for the bedside, sideboards for the proper security and arrangement 
of medicines, disinfectants, splints, and innumerable other articles. 
Seventy-four hospitals had then been supplied. The demand from 
every quarter rapidly increased and the distribution had reached 
the rate of 17,000 articles per week. 

Thus the labors of the Commission were greatly increased, and 
the work of ministering to the sick and wounded went forward night 
and day. Another great battle, it was expected, would soon occur 
at Corinth, and the hopes and anxieties of the loyal people of the 
country were raised to their highest degree of intensity. But the 
evacuation of that position by the rebel forces, and their escape 
under their arrogant and boastful commander, General Beauregard, 
in the presence of the powerful Union army that was arrayed 



48 

against them by Maj. Gen. Halleck, now commanding in person, 
disappointed the public expectation; and, notwithstanding the retreat 
of the rebels gave us some of the fruits of a decisive victory, yet 
they were enabled by this movement to get away without any sub 
stantial loss, to go and assist in the defense of Richmond, and to 
transfer the contest to Virginia, where the great battles of the 
Peninsula followed in the summer of 1862. In the West, it only 
remained to follow up our naval victories from Island No. 10 to 
Memphis and Helena, and to hold the ground already gained till 
another great campaign could be inaugurated in the fall of the same 
year. It now became necessary to attend to the sick, occasioned by 
the diseases of camp life, and the malaria of the southern climate, 
to look after the camps and hospitals in Arkansas and Tennessee, 
and to continue the supplies to the hospital steamers of the west 
ern rivers, and to the general hospitals established at various points 
from St. Lonis to Helena. The labors of the Commission during 
the summer of 1862 will form the subject of the next chapter. 



CHAPTER V . 

LETTER OF THE COMMISSION TO THE SURGEON-GENERAL SCOLLAY S DEODORIZING 
BURIAL, CASE CAPTURE OF FORT PILLOW AND MEMPHIS OPENING OF THE MISSIS 
SIPPI RIVER TO YICKSBURG FITTING OUT THE NAVAL HOSPITAL BOAT "RED 
ROVER" ARRIVAL OF GEN. CURTIS ARMY AT HELENA ITS DESTITUTE CON 
DITIONSICKNESS OF THE ARMY AT HELENA SANITARY DEPOT ESTABLISHED 
THERE OVERTON HOSPITAL AT MEMPHIS SlCK FROM THE ARMY IN TENNESSEE 
HOSPITALS AND REGIMENTS SUPPLIED THE XAVY LETTER FROM COMMODORE 
DAVIS AN EARNEST APPEAL FROM THE COMMISSION GENEROUS RESPONSE FROM 
NEW ENGLAND. 



THE intimate connection of the Western Sanitary Commission 
with the hospitals of St. Louis, and of the Department of the Mis 
sissippi, and the frequent inspections made by its members, had 
given opportunity to observe defects, and to suggest remedies. 
Among the evils that arrested attention was that of insufficient space 
and air to each patient, many of the hospitals being too much 
crowded, hindering and preventing the recovery of the sick, espe 
cially in cases of typhoid fever, erysipelas, and badly wounded men. 

On the 8th of May, the Commission addressed the following com 
munication to the Surgeon-General of the U. S. Army, at Washing 
ton: 

SAINT Louis, May 8th, 1862. 
Dr. WM. A. HAMMOND, 

Surgeon- General U.S.A.: 

SIR : The Western Sanitary Commission of the Department of the 
Mississippi, most respectfully suggest the importance and necessity 
of some rule or law regulating the amount of space allowed to every 
patient in hospital. In the absence of such a rule great mistakes 
are made, and in many hospitals, otherwise well conducted, the beds 
D 



50 

are so crowded together, and the number of cubic feet of air to each 
patient is so inadequate, that fatal consequences result. 

The members of the Commission having had large opportunities of 
observation, confidently express the opinion that not more than half 
the space necessary for the successful treatment of the sick, and 
especially of the wounded men, is usually allowed in the general 
and post hospitals. 

By actual measurement they find that the average of square feet 
on the floor, allowed in some of the best hospitals even, for typhoid 
and erysipelas and badly Avounded patients is only forty or fifty 
feet per bed, and sometimes less ; and of cubic feet of air only 
three hundred and fifty to eight hundred feet, little regard being 
paid to the height of the rooms occupied. 

They believe that 110 degree of cleanliness or care, or of professional 
skill can remove the evil effects of such over crowding, and that there 
is no way of preventing its continuance except by positive regulation. 

In making these suggestions the Commission has no design of 
complaint. The hospitals of this department are almost all well 
conducted and the patients well and skillfully treated, and the sur 
geons would undoubtedly be glad to have authority to correct the 
evils referred to. The near approach of warm weather makes the 
subject one of urgent importance, and it has already become of 
painful interest to the Commission, during a recent thorough in 
spection of hospitals, containing over four thousand sick and wounded 
men, many of whom are seriously suffering from the causes named. 

The Commission is of the opinion that the minimum space in 
well ventilated hospitals should be six hundred and forty cubic 
feet for each bed, and for typhoid cases, erysipelas, and severely 
wounded men, not less than twelve hundred feet. Larger space 
would be desirable, but practical difficulties of various kinds fre 
quently occur to make it unattainable consistently with the general 
interests of the service. 



51 

The Commission therefore respectfully and earnestly submit this 
matter to the consideration of the Surgeon General, and have the 
honor to remain, 

His obedient servants, 

JAMES E. YEATMAN, 
0. S. GREELEY, 
J. B. JOHNSOX, 
GEOKGE PARTRIDGE, 
WM. G. ELIOT. 

The subject submitted to the Surgeon General in this letter re 
ceived his favorable consideration, and in the hospitals afterwards 
established a sufficient and specified number of cubic feet of air 
was allowed to each bed. In the case of the Lawson Hospital on 
Broadway, the regulation has been carried out very thoroughly, and 
the prescribed number of cubic feret of air allowed to the beds, in 
the several wards, is lettered over the entrance ; the ward having 
the largest space containing 778 cubic feet to a bed, and the lowest 
allowance in any ward being 606 cubic feet to a bed. 

In the spring of this year a most useful invention was brought 
to the attention ol the Western Commission, designed to afford a 
safer, cheaper, and better method of preserving the remains of 
deceased persons without burial, for transportation to friends at a 
distance, an object greatly desired by those having relations killed 
in battle, or dying in the military hospitals. The invention bore 
the name of "Dr. Scollay s Deodorizing Coffin or Burial Case," 
and was submitted to a series of experiments before a committee 
of the Commission, consisting of Drs. S. Pollak, Chas. A. Pope, and 
J. B. Johnson, Rev. M. Schuyler, D. D., and R. R. Hazard, Jr., Esq. 
The burial case is thus described in the report of this committee: 
" Taking the ordinary wooden coffin he [Dr. Scollay] has so im 
proved it as to make it in all respects equal, and in many superior, 
to the iron, or any other case now in use. The coffin is made 



52 

effectually air-tight by a peculiar match joint and a coating- of ce 
ment, which not only renders it impervious to air and fluid under 
ordinary pressure, but must greatly preserve the wood from decay. 
To preserve the coffin from rupture under the extraordinary press 
ure of the gases arising from decomposition^ and to render the 
escape of such gases impossible, unless deodorized, a provision is 
made which constitutes the principal feature of the improvement. 
This consists of a deodorizing chamber, placed inside, at the foot 
of the coffin, of such size and so arranged as not to increase its 
bulk or alter its form. * * * This chamber is so arranged and 
divided that the escaping gases pass freely through apertures into 
the lower division, and thence into the middle apartment, which is 
filled with a deodorizing chemical compound. Through this they 
pass into the upper apartment, which is furnished with a self-adjust 
ing valve, which yields to a moderate pressure and permits their 
escape.- 

The experiments of the committee proved that bodies may be pre 
served in these burial cases without becoming offensive for many 
months, not the slightest smell being perceived, even in the warmest 
weather in one case after 150 days. In another instance, in which 
antiseptic agents were used before encasing, it was observed, after 
nearly two months, that decomposition had been very slight, and the 
body was quite natural in its appearance, and in a recognizable con 
dition. 

The committee concluded their report as follows : " The cases can be 
furnished at a trifling advance upon the ordinary wooden coffin in gen 
eral use. They are light for handling and transportation, not liable to 
explosion, and it is reasonable to believe from the tests already pre 
sented that bodies may be kept in them from thirty to fifty days, and 
perhaps longer, without becoming offensive, and the necessity of imme 
diate burial and a disagreeable interment be avoided." 

The subsequent use of these deodorizing coffins, by Mr. Smithers, 



53 

government undertaker of this city, has more than established the 
correctness of the foregoing conclusions. The deodorizing coffin was 
afterwards sent to Washington, and after a series of experiments there, 
was approved by the Surgeon General, and Mr. Smithers was con 
tracted with by Colonel Myers, A. Q. M., at St. Louis, to use it in the 
burial of all soldiers from the hospitals of this city, so that they might 
afterwards be more conveniently removed by their friends. But the 
Quartermaster General at Washington disapproved the contract, and 
it was never carried into effect. 

On the 12th of April the gunboats of the Mississippi Naval Squadron 
left New Madrid, just below Island No. 10, and proceeded down the 
river to Fort Pillow in Tennessee. An attack was made on the fort 
the next day, but was not attended with immediate success. On the 
4th of May a severe naval battle occurred at this point between our 
gunboats and a Confederate ram and gunboats from below, who came 
up and commenced the attack, in the hope of destroying or capturing 
our naval force, including the mortar boats. The result of the engage 
ment was disastrous to the rebels, one of their boats having been sunk 
and two others blown up, while their whole fleet was crippled, and 
withdrew down the river. One of our boats, the " Cincinnati," was 
disabled, and four of her crew wounded. 

On the 4th of June Forts Pillow and Kandolph were evacuated by 
the Confederates, and on the 5th our fleet arrived at Memphis, con 
sisting of the gunboats Benton, Cairo, Carondelet, Louisville, and St. 
Louis, and the four rams Monarch, Lancaster, No. 3, and the Queen of 
the West. On the 6th a great naval battle ensued, the Confederates 
bringing into the engagement the gunboats Beauregard, Little Rebel, 
General Price, General Bragg, General Lovell, General Van Dorn, 
Jeff. Thompson, and the Sumpter. The scene of the battle was in 
front of the city, viewed by thousands of spectators, and the result of 
an hour s fighting was the destruction of the entire Confederate fleet, 
which was either sunk, or run ashore, except the General Yan Dorn, a 



54 

swift vessel, which escaped down the river. By this victory Memphis 
was captured, and the Mississippi river opened as far down as Vicks- 
burg, against which some naval operations were undertaken, and 
an attempt made to change the current of the river by a canal, 
which were afterwards abandoned. 

By these events a new field of operations was opened to the Western 
Sanitary Commission. The naval squadron had now its own sick and 
wounded to be provided for, and general hospitals were immediately 
established at Memphis and Jackson, Tenn., and at Helena, Ark. 

At a meeting of the Commission held the 22d of May, the President 
reported that Capt. Wise of the gunboat flotilla had proposed that the 
steamer "Red Rover" a fine large boat, captured from the enemy at 
Island No. 10, should be fitted up by the Commission, as a floating hos 
pital, for the Mississippi Naval Squadron, towards which he would 
furnish $2000, of the expense. 

She was accordingly remodeled in her cabin arrangements, and a com 
plete outfit of beds, bedding, furniture, sanitary stores, medical dispen 
sary, etc., supplied by the Commission, the services of surgeons, an 
apothecary, steward and nurses were engaged, and the boat placed in 
charge of Dr. Geo. H. Bixby, surgeon, and Dr. Hopkins, assistant sur 
geon, two thoroughly educated and skillful young physicians who were 
sent out from Boston by that philanthropist and friend of the soldier, 
James M. Barnard. Their services were so highly appreciated that, in 
a few months, they received the unsolicited honor of a regular com 
mission in the U. S. Navy as assistant surgeons. Dr. Bixby has con 
tinued in charge of the "Red Rover" to the present date, and Dr. 
Hopkins also remains in the service, in which they have both acquired 
a high reputation and are greatly esteemed. The expense incurred 
by the Commission out of its own funds, in fitting up this boat, was 
$3,500, which was done with the greatest satisfaction for the brave 
men who had fought so nobly, and gained so many victories on our 
western waters. 



65 

On the 10th of .hily the Army of the South-west under Maj. 
Gen. Curtis, arrived at Helena in a condition of great destitution. 
The toilsome march from Batesville under the intense heats of 
summer, the want of provisions, the difficulty of finding water to 
drink, and what was procured being often muddy and stagnant, 
caused much sickness to follow the severe privation of the troops 
on that terrible march, in which the heroes of Pea Ridge fought 
their way through to a new base of supplies and a river communica 
tion with St. Louis. 

In midsummer, this army of ten thousand men pitched their tents 
on the bottom lands of the Mississippi, around, above and below 
Helena, and 011 the hill-sides and in the woods lying back of the 
town, and a more unhealthy location could scarcely have been found. 
But it was the only situation that could be occupied on the west side 
of the Mississippi below Memphis; its communication with Little 
Rock by the Clarendon road, its commercial advantages, -its excellent 
houses, its convenience for storage of commissary and ordnance stores 
all made it important that it should be held as a military post. 

The regiments suddenly changing their mode of life from the rug 
ged and toilsome marches to which they had been accustomed, to one 
of comparative inactivity, using water from the Mississippi, or from 
the poor springs and rivulets that were found along the margin of the 
stagnant cypress swamps that lie back of Helena, it was not surpris 
ing that many of these stalwart men were soon brought down with 
bilious, remittent, intermittent and typhoid fevers, and with diarrhea, 
so that during the autumn months, the regimental hospitals were 
filled, and the five churches of the town, with one exception, were 
all converted into hospitals. 

Mr. Plattenburg, the agent of the Commission, who had continued 
with this army from Pea Ridge through all its lengthy march over 
the Ozark Mountains and through the plains and bottom lands of 
Arkansas, by a circuitous route of nearly eight hundred miles, now 



56 

opened a depot at Helena, and received a full supply of sanitary 
stores, which he dispensed liberally to the regimental surgeons for 
their sick ; and to all the troops many articles of comfort were 
given, such as towels, handkerchiefs, combs, canned fruits, and 
vegetables, potatoes, onions, &c. These gifts were received with 
the strongest expressions of gratitude, after so much destitution, 
hardship and suffering, and did much to prevent disease and alle 
viate distress. 

At Memphis one of the largest and finest buildings in the city, 
intended orignally for a hotel, was taken for hospital purposes, 
and called "The Overton Hospital." To Surgeon Derby, who was 
placed in charge of it, frequent sliipments of sanitary stores were 
sent to meet the wants of the sick from the armies of Tennessee. 

At St. Louis the work of friendly inspection and oversight of 
hospitals went on through the summer and autumn of 1862, and 
large supplies of sanitary goods were sent to the hospitals and 
regiments, hospital steamers and gunboats, throughout the Depart 
ments of Missouri, the Tennessee, and the Mississippi. 

The gunboats and naval hospital boat of the Mississippi squadron 
had also been kept liberally supplied during this year. In September, 
the following letter was received from Commodore Davis, showing 
his high appreciation of the services rendered by the Commission : 



>ORT, 1 
J, 1862. J 



FLAGSHIP EASTPORT, 
HELENA. September 18, 

SIR : The present season is about drawing to a close, and upon the 
recommendation of Dr. Bixby, I have sent the hospital steamer Red 
Rover to St. Louis, to be properly fitted up for the winter. 

1 cannot let her return to your vicinity without expressing, in behalf 
of myself and the officers and crews of the vessels under my command, 
our heartfelt and grateful acknowledgments for your uniform kindness 
and attention to the wants of the sick of the squadron. 



5V 
. t 

I beg you to believe that your benevolent labors in our behalf have 
been fully appreciated. 
I have the honor to be, with the utmost respect, 

Your obedient servant and friend, 
(Signed,) C. H. DAVIS, 

Commodore Commanding Western Flotilla. 
JAMES E. YEATMAX, ESQ., 

President Western Santary Commission. 

Letters were also received from Acting Rear Admiral David D. 
Porter, and from the Surgeon in Chief of the Naval Flotilla, W. 
Whelan, in October, expressive of similar sentiments, and acknowl 
edging the receipt of sanitary stores. 

The resources of the Commission at this time had become very much 
reduced. The great battles in Virginia and Maryland, between Gen 
erals McClellan and Lee, commencing on the Peninsula, in May, 
continued before Richmond, and ending at Antietam, in November, 
had caused all voluntary contributions from New England and the 
Middle States, to flow in that direction, and the Western Commission 
had for months been thrown on its own resources and the aid of the 
citizens of St. Louis. Notwithstanding this diminution of its resources, 
the "Western Commission also responded to the call of the Surgeon 
General, and forwarded fifty boxes containing supplies of lint, band 
ages, &c., to Washington. 

It now became necessary, however, to issue an earnest appeal for 
a replenishment of its stores, from which an extract is here given, 
showing its wants, the extent of its opportunities, and the work to 
be done. 

" The demands upon this Commission are as great a.s at any previous 
time, and the field of its labors is daily enlarged. An army of not less 
than one hundred and fifty thousand men, in Tennessee, Kentucky, 
Arkansas and Missouri, and the gunboat flotilla, looks to St. Louis for 
nearly all its sanitary supplies, and must continue to do so through the 



58 

war, as the most convenient and accessible place at all seasons of the 
year. Heretofore the Commission has been able to meet all requisitions. 
It has never refused to send liberally and promptly to any point, what 
ever has been needed to alleviate suffering and to cure or prevent 
sickness. 

" In Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas, the demand for all kinds of 
hospital supplies is great, and increasing, for a war of unprecedented 
malignancy has begun to be waged, and exposures of our brave men 
both to disease and wounds are fearfully great. Those who are at a 
distance from the scene of action, can have no adequate idea of the pri 
vations and hardships of the service, or of the number of those broken 
down by it. The casualties of the battle-field are but a small item in 
the estimate. Forced inarches, the murderous rifle of an unseen and 
skulking enemy, who knows the work of the assassin better than that 
of the soldier, fill our hospitals, and thin our ranks. To such risks 
are our sons and kindred exposed from day to day, in defense of the 
country which we all love so well. Has money any value greater than 
to supply their need ? Ought we to become niggardly in gifts, or 
weary of work in such a cause ? Can the women of America enjoy or 
endure the luxury of peaceful homes, except on condition of giving 
the labor of their hands and the prayers o f their hearts to those who 

are defending them at such a cost ? 

********* 

" This appeal is most earnestly and affectionately made to all loyal and 
humane persons in the Union. They have already done much, but 
redoubled efforts in all departments of the war must now be made. 
The 600,000 new recruits will not be without their sick and w^ounded, 
and many a hard battle must yet be fought. Let the rich give of their 
abundance. Let the poor spare all they can. 

" Especially we appeal to LOYAL WOMEN, wherever they may be. They 
are the true " Home Guards" of the nation the ministering angels to 
sickness and suffering. Without them Sanitary Commissions can do 



59 

hut a small part of their work, and upon their efficient assistance we 
principally depend." 

This appeal was nobly responded to from New England, Boston alone 
sending $9,000 at this time, and a few months later contributing 
$50,000 more, for sanitary purposes in the western armies. One noble 
and patriotic woman in that city, Mrs. Thomas Lamb, has appro 
priated a room in her own house for the reception of sanitary goods, 
for the western soldiers, letting it be known to her friends, and the 
result has been that she has packed and forwarded to this Commission 
of her own and their contributions, over one hundred boxes of hospital 
supplies, garments, etc., besides generous sums of money, the boxes 
ranging in value from $150 to $200 each. Other humane and patriotic 
friends, among them Messrs. James M. Barnard and R. C. Greenleaf, 
have also labored most indefatigably in the same way, and endeared 
themselves forever to all who knew of their noble services to the 
soldiers in the armies of the west. When it is remembered that Massa 
chusetts has had her own sons, mainly in the armies of the Potomac, 
and in the Department of the South and of the Gulf, and that without 
neglecting her duty to them, she has made the most generous dona 
tions of any other State to our western troops, no one can fail to 
appreciate so noble an example of disinterested patriotism and benevo 
lence. 



CHAPTER VI. 

ARMY OF THE FRONTIER AGENT SENT TO SPRINGFIELD, Mo., WITH STORES BAT 
TLES AT CROSS HOLLOWS, CANE HILL, AND PRAIRIE GROVE ARRIVAL OF REV. MR. 
NEWELL AT FAYETTEVILLE WITH AMBULANCES AND SANITARY GOODS His USEFUL 
SERVICES His DEATH AT A LATER PERIOD NOTICE OF HIS CHARACTER FLYING 
HOSPITALS ADDITIONAL HOSPITALS AT ST. Louis THE MARINE, JEFFERSON BAR 
RACKS AND LAWSON HOSPITALS THE DIMINISHING PERCENTAGE OF DEATHS THE 

HOPEFUL CONDITION OF THE ARMIES OF THE UNION THE SYMPATHY OF THE PEO 
PLE WITH THE SOLDIERS PROSPECTS OF ULTIMATE VICTORY. 



Iii the Fall of 1862 Brig. Gen. Schofield took command of the Army 
of the Frontier, beyond Springfield, Mo., and on leaving St. Louis, 
expressed the desire that the Commission would forward a full supply 
of sanitary stores to that post. The suggestion was favorably regarded 
and acted upon, and an agent, Mr. J. E. Tefft, sent forward, furnished 
with every thing necessary as a supplement to the medical stores 
allowed to the surgeons in the field. 

Many supplies had been previously sent to Surgeon Melcher, Medical 
Director at Springfield, and the additions now made were forwarded 
in view of the probability of more active hostilities between the Union 
and rebel forces of the south-west. 

This anticipation proved to be well founded. Towards the end of 
October, in the north-west part of Arkansas, near the old battle-field 
of Pea Ridge, at Cross Hollows, Gen. Herron had a severe engage 
ment with the enemy; and again on the 28th of November, Gen. Blunt 
made an attack on Gen. Marmaduke, with about eight thousand men, 
at Cane Hill, forty-five miles north of Van Buren, in which the rebels 
were defeated, and retreated to that place. Again, on the 7th of 
December, the combined Confederate forces, under the command of 
Gen. Hindman, estimated at fifteen thousand men, attempted to cut 
off the reinforcements of Gen. Blunt, ten miles south of Fayetteville, 



01 

and made an attack on Gen. Herron before he had formed a junction 
with Gen. Blunt. Gen. Herron s forces, however, held their ground 
until Gen. Blunt, who was informed of the movement, came upon the 
rear of the rebel army, at Crawford s Prairie, when there occurred 
what has since been called the battle of Prairie Grove, in which the 
rebels were defeated, the loss in killed and wounded on both sides 
being very great. 

The wounded from this battle were removed to Fayetteville, and 
public buildings and private houses were taken for hospitals ; but there 
was a great deficiency of means to take proper care of the men, the 
town and the country around it having been greatly impoverished by 
the war, and the inhabitants being of the poorest class. There was 110 
adequate supply of bandages, lint, bedding, stimulants, nor means of 
fitting up the empty houses and making them comfortable, nor of 
cooking food. 

Previous to this battle the Commission had sent forward Rev. Fred 
erick E. Xewell to Springfield, to take the place of Mr. TefFt, with two 
ambulances and additional stores, and on hearing of this battle he 
proceeded on from Springfield to Fayetteville. His arrival was most 
timely, and, with an earnest devotion to duty, he turned over every 
thing he had to Surgeon Ira Russell, U. S. V., in charge, and Assistant 
Surgeon Carpenter, and went to work himself at whatever his hands 
could find to do. For a time he acted as carpenter, ambulance driver, 
nurse, wound-dresser, and general worker, and in the report afterwards 
made by the Surgeons, his services were spoken of in the highest terms 
of commendation. 

In the report of Surgeon Russell, he said: "My thanks are due to 
the Western Sanitary Commission for the valuable aid rendered to the 
wounded from the battle of Prairie Grove, by its agent, Mr. F. R. 
Newell." In Dr. Carpenter s report he said: "Mr. Newell s sanitary 
stores were a perfect God-send to our poor fellows, many of whom had 
lost nearly all their clothing on the battle field. He made a judicious 




62 

distribution of his shirts, drawers, and other articles, among the most 
needy. He also placed at our disposal two ambulances, without which 
we could hardly have carried on the hospital. Enough cannot be said 
of an institution which performs such deeds." 

As Mr. Newell has since been removed from his earthly labors to the 
heavenly life, it is proper that some further mention should here be 
made of him. After the battle of Prairie Grove he continued for seve 
ral months to act as the agent of the Western Commission at Springfield, 
Mo., and in May, 1863, returned to St. Louis, where he was, soon after, 
elected chaplain of the 1st Missouri State Militia, and assigned, by an 
order of Maj. Gen. Schofield, to the duty of superintendent of freed- 
meii in this city. For several months he attended to this work in a 
faithful and conscientious manner, interrupted occasionally by illness, 
when, on the 8th of January, 186-4, after a severe attack of inflammatory 
rheumatism, he died suddenly, at Benton Barracks, at his post. 

As a friend of the poor freedmen and their families, as a Christian 
minister and a citizen, as a man of amiable, forbearing, and Christ- 
like spirit, he will be long remembered by those who were associated 
with him in his labors, and who knew of his fidelity to the cause of his 
Divine Master. 

During the fall of 1863 the idea originated in the Western Sanitary 
Commission of a Flying Hospital, to accompany the army in the 
field, prepared for the emergencies of battle, with the means of 
immediately providing for wounded men. The President of the 
Commission was authorized to fit out three ambulances, with hos 
pital and shelter tents, cots, bedding, towels, sanitary stores, food, 
liquors, bandages, lint, sponges, vessels for supplying the wounded with 
water and stimulants, the whole to be in charge of a competent person, 
with a corps of male nurses and wound-dressers in attendance, to 
accompany the army, to be under the direction of the medical direc 
tor, and ready at all times to assist the surgeons when required. Two 
pannier mules were also to accompany each ambulance, with straps 



03 

and fixtures, by which kegs of water and stimulants, and other ar 
ticles of immediate utility on the battle field, could be carried on their 
backs, and be at hand when most needed. The plan was submitted 
to Assistant Surgeon General Wood, and met with his entire ap 
probation. 

The first of these Flying Hospitals was fitted up for Gen. Grant s 
army, then at Corinth, Miss., and a letter, endorsed by the Assistant 
Surgeon General, was addressed to Maj. Gen. Grant, asking per 
mission for it to accompany his movements. The Flying Hospital 
went forward to Lagrange, Tennessee, where the Medical Director, 
Surgeon "Wirtz, refused his sanction, and would not permit it to go 
any further. The letter to Gen. Grant probably never reached him, 
as no answer was ever received, and the opposition of his chief 
surgeon defeated an enterprize which was, in every respect, practicable 
and unobjectionable, having for its object the better care and prompt 
relief of our wounded soldiers on the field of battle. Some prejudice 
against Sanitary Commissions, or too great a readiness to regard 
their proffered assistance as an interference with official dignity and 
routine, or some failure of military etiquette, are supposed to have 
stood in the way of this beneficent project. The mules and ambulances 
were afterwards returned to the Soldiers Homes at Columbus and 
Memphis, where they did good service ; the stores were distributed 
to the sick, and the nurses and wound-dressers performed valuable 
services in the hospitals at LagTange and elsewhere. 

The outfit of Rev. Mr. Newell, as an agent of the Commission with 
Gen. Schofield s army, with his ambulances and stores, was similar in 
its character, and proved exceedingly useful, after the battle of Prairie 
Grove, though not arriving in time to be present at the battle. 

The difficulty of procuring the necessary sanction, and co-operation 
of the regular army surgeons to such an enterprize has prevented its 
renewal, although there is never a great battle where these Flying- 
Hospitals w^ould not be of the greatest utility and benefit, and save 



64 

many valuable lives. It is due, however, to Assistant Surgeon Gen 
eral AYood, whose humanity is always paramount to official etiquette, 
to mention the fact of his hearty approval, and that it was at his 
request that one of these hospitals was sent to the Army of the Fron 
tier, then at Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

During the present year three additional military hospitals were 
added to those already established in St. Louis, the Marine, the Jef 
ferson Barracks, and the Lawson Hospitals. The necessity for this 
arose from the large number of sick brought by the hospital steamers 
from the armies of the Frontier, the South-west, the Tennessee and 
the Mississippi. 

Thej_Marine Hospital was a government institution, originally in 
tended for persons engaged in the navigation of the Mississippi river. 
It is a four story stone and brick edifice, surrounded by extensive and 
well shaded grounds, a garden in which the convalescent patients per 
form a part of the labor, and has every convenience of a model hospitals. 

It was opened as a military hospital May the 4th, 1862, and then had 
accommodations for 150 patients. From that date till May 1st, 1864, 
it had received 1574 patients, and its per centage of death was 9. 
During the summer of 1863 its accommodations were enlarged for 100 
more patients by the addition of wooden barracks, in which a new and 
excellent mode of ventilation was introduced by Mr. Leeds of Phila 
delphia, by means of stoves, drawing fresh air through an air chamber, 
under the floor, and passing it through the heating chamber of the 
stoves into the wards. There being also a ridge ventilation at the 
top of the barracks, and a ventilating shaft in each ward, with open 
ings at the top and bottom of the rooms, no more perfect system of 
ventilation could possibly be devised, securing at the same time what 
ever temperature may be desired. 

The officers are Assistant Surgeon James H. Peabody, U. S. V., 
in charge, L. H. Galloway, M. D., Acting Assistant Surgeon, and 
Rev. James A. Page, Chaplain. 



-ryi i 

% JMT 

, 



***V 








Go 

Jefferson Barracks was formerly a military post at which United 
States troops were stationed, situated about twelve miles below St. 
Louis, on the west bank of the Mississippi river. It consists of long- 
rows of buildings, one and two stories high, with basement kitchens 
and dining-rooms, and wide piazzas, extending 011 three sides of a 
large plat of ground, in the form of a parallelogram, shaded with fine 
trees, the open end of the grounds being towards the river, with a 
high flag-staff on the bluff, from which the flag of the Union is always 
unfurled to the breeze. The old post hospital stands near on an 
adjoining eminence, and is two stories high, and the post chapel is 
situated several hundred yards back from the river, in a pleasantly 
shaded spot, retired from the barracks. 

In April, 1862, these buildings, except the post chapel, which is 
still reserved for worship, were converted into a large hospital, for 
which purpose they were admirably suited, the rooms being large, 
having numerous windows on both sides, opposite each other, and the 
piazzas and shaded walks, affording excellent opportunities for exercise. 

Beside the old buildings, the Government, during the summer of 
18G2, erected others on the ample grounds belonging to it, cii the west 
side, so as to afford accommodations for two thousand five hundred 
patients. These new buildings are one story high, in triple rows six 
hundred feet long, divided into wards of three hundred feet each. 
There are three groups or sets of these new hospitals, some distance 
apart, the entire grounds in every direction being beautifully shaded 
by large oak trees. They are so arranged that each group has the 
central row appropriated to a dining-room, and surgeons , nurses and 
stewards quarters, the outside rows being for sick wards. Besides 
these improvements, a system of water works has been introduced, 
with reservoir and pipes, by which the water of the Mississippi is 
carried through all the buildings. 

The institution is in charge of Surgeon J. F. Randolph, U. S. A., 
assisted by Dr. H. It. Tilton, U. S. A., and P. C. McLane, M. D.; A. 

E 



66 

L. Allen, M. D.; T. F. Rumbold, M. D.; Hiram Latham, M. D.; S. 
Leslie, M. D., and J. J. Marston, M. D. The Post Chaplain, Rev. J. 
F. Fisli, has been stationed here many years, and continues his ser 
vices, in connection with Rev. S. Pettigrew, Hospital Chaplain. 

The number of patients received and treated in this hospital in two 
years, ending April 30, 1864, is 11,434. The per centage of deaths the 
first year was eleven and a half, which was much increased by the 
large number brought to it in a dying condition. The per centage of 
deaths for the year just ended is nine and eight-tenths. 

The Lawson Hospital is situated on the corner of Broadway and 
Carr streets, and was fitted up during the latter part of the fall of 1802. 
The edifice was originally intended for a hotel, is seven stories high, 
and is divided into eight wards, besides office rooms, nurses quarters, 
linen room, kitchen, dining hall, and store rooms. It is well ventilated; 
an average number of seven hundred and fifty cubic feet is allowed 
to each bed ; and it is provided with a steam engine and elevator, 
furnished by the Western Sanitary Commission, at an expense of two 
thousand five hundred dollars. The institution is in charge of Surgeon 
C. T. Alexander, U. S. A., assisted by W. II. Bradley, M. D.; L. H. 
Bottomley, M. D., and Wm. Fritz, M. D. Rev. Phillip McKim is 
Hospital Chaplain. 

The hospital w T as opened January 17th, 1863, since which the whole 
number of patients received has been 3,021. For the first four months 
the per centage of deaths was very large, being twenty-five and nine- 
tenths, which was owing to the fact that during that period it received 
the wounded from the battles of Vicksburg and Arkansas Post, and 
the sick from Milliken s Bend and Helena, which were of the worst 
description, having many hopeless cases both of wounds and of chronic 
diarrhea, some of whom died as they were being brought into the 
hospital. The per centage of deaths for the last year, ending April 
30th, 1864, has been much less, being 7 8-10. 

The diminished per centage of deaths in the military hospitals during 



67 

the third year of the war, which the statistics of other hospitals will 
show, is evidence of a most gratifying improvement in the manage 
ment of these institutions, and in the care and treatment of the 
sick and wounded soldier. This result has been influenced also by 
the sifting out from our armies, by death and discharges from the 
service, during the first two years of the war, all those who were 
not able to endure its hardships and exposures, those who remain 
being mainly veteran troops. Xo war has ever been conducted in 
which the per cent of deaths from disease has been so small, and the 
health and vigor of the troops so well maintained ; nor one in which 
there has been so strong a current of sympathy and aid from the 
people at home towards the soldiers in the field, as in this war for 
the unity and national supremacy of the American Republic. Civilians, 
unable to bear arms, men of science and of letters, the orators and poets, 
and clergy of the land, and the noble and self-sacrificing women of our 
free commonwealths, have all vied with each other in their etforts to 
give help and sympathy to the soldier, and to inspire an interest in his 
welfare. With such an influence to encourage and cheer the armies 
of the Union, there is an explanation of the health, the spirit, and 
the unconquerable bravery of our troops, who, under their present 
tried and able commanders, are bearing the flag of freedom on to 
victory. May the spirit of liberty continue thus to animate all hearts, 
and welcome home our brave defenders when the last battle shall 
be fought, and our peace and prosperity be established on sure 
foundations. 



CHAPTER VII. 

GENERAL SHERMAN S FIRST ATTACK ON VICKSBURG WORKS ASSAULTED SEVERE 
LOSSES TO THE UNION ARMS HOSPITAL STEAMERS BRING THE WOUNDED TO 
MEMPHIS AND ST. Louis BATTLE OF ARKANSAS POST MORE WOUNDED BROUGHT 
TO ST. Louis DELEGATION OF THE LADIES UNION AID SOCIETY OF ST. Louis 
IOWA STATE AGENT RENEWAL OF THE EXPEDITION AGAINST A ICKSBURG BY 
GENERAL GRANT INCREASED HOSPITAL ACCOMMODATIONS REQUIRED VISIT OF 
MR. YEATMAN TO GEN. GRANT S ARMY His LETTER BENTON BARRACKS 
HOSPITAL, ST. Louis ADDITIONAL HOSPITALS AT MEMPHIS THE FLOATING 
HOSPITAL, "CITY OF ALTON," THE "RUTH," AND " GLASGOW" SECOND VISIT 
OF MR. YEATMAN TO GENERAL GRANT S ARMY His REPORT SANITARY STORES 
SENT TO GEN. GRANT S ARMY FALL OF VICKSBURG ITS UNTITLED HEROES. 



IN the latter part of December, 18G2, Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman 
embarked an army of twenty thousand troops on transports, at 
Memphis and Helena, and commenced an expedition against Vicks- 
burg, under the direction of Maj. Gen. Grant, who was to co-operate 
by land, in a movement through Holly Springs to Jackson, taking 
Vicksbnrg in the rear. On the 26th of December, the main forces, 
under Gen. Sherman, disembarked successfully at Johnston s Landing, 
near the mouth of the Yazoo river, and prepared for an assault the 
next day on the northern works that defended the city. On the 27th, 
28th, and 29th, several attempts were made to take the fortifications, 
but a stern and terrible resistance was made by the rebels, who 
outnumbered our forces, and who had the advantage of the strongest 
natural defenses and artificial earthworks known in modern warfare. 

The result of the three days fighting was a terrible loss in killed 
and wounded to the Union forces, and a temporary relinquishmeut 
of the undertaking. An unforeseen contingency, the capture of Holly 
Springs, in General Grant s rear, cutting off his communication 
and his supplies, had compelled his return to that point, and the aban- 



CO 

doiimeiit of his part of the undertaking-, which had enabled the rebels 
to concentrate their forces at Vicksburg, and accomplish Gen. Sher 
man s defeat. The wounded of his army were immediately forwarded 
to the Memphis and St. Louis hospitals by transports and hospital 
steamers. On their way they were met by a delegation of the Ladies 
Union Aid Society, of St. Louis, hastening on the first boats with boxes 
of sanitary goods, to minister to their necessities. 

The Western Commission put in charge of these ladies a large supply 
of stores, to be used by them or turned over to the surgeons, as they 
should be needed. The agent of the Commission, Mr. Plattenburg, 
also went down with Gen. Sherman s expedition from Helena, and 
was on hand with his sanitary stores immediately after the fighting. 

The delegation of the St. Louis Ladies Union Aid Society consisted 
of Mrs. Alfred Clapp, the President of the Society, Mrs. J. E. D. Cou- 
/ins, Mrs. Washington King, Mrs. J. Crawshaw, Mrs. Wm. Clark, and 
Miss Breckinridge. Besides these there was also a delegation from 
the Chicago Branch of the U. S. Commission of Mrs. M. A. Liver- 
more and Mrs. Hoge of Chicago, and Mrs. Henrietta J. Colt of Mil- 
waukie; and there was likewise Mrs. Annie Wittenmier, the State 
agent of the Iowa Sanitary Commission, who had in charge a large 
supply of sanitary goods from that State. All these noble women 
were indefatigable in their efforts to relieve and comfort the sick and 
wounded, and to minister to them. 

The disastrous attack on Vicksburg, which ended the year 62, was 
followed up, almost immediately by another expedition, with the same 
army, under Gen. J. A. McClernand, assisted by the navy, against 
Arkansas Post, on the Arkansas river, which was taken, after another 
severe battle on the llth of January, 63, with eight thousand prison 
ers, and a large number of cannon, ordnance stores and small arms, 
the gunboats " Louisville," "DeKalb," " Cincinnati, "and " Lexington," 
under Admiral Porter, co-operating with the land forces. 

The fortifications at Arkansas Post were destroyed, and the cxpe- 



70 

dition then returned up the river to Helena and Memphis, bringing 
along several hundred wounded on transports, who suffered many 
privations, the surgeons being poorly provided with the means of 
making them comfortable. The boats were much crowded, the weather 
was cold, draughts of air were blowing through the cabins, the sick 
and wounded men had to lie on the floors, and there were not nurses 
enough to take care of them. 

On reaching Helena a portion of the St. Louis delegation of the 
Ladies Union Aid Society, who had just returned from Vicksburg, 
went on board these transports, took such sanitary stores with them 
as were needed, and remained on them till they reached St. Louis, 
bestowing the tenderest care and nursing upon those poor suffering 
and wounded men. 

The severity of these wounds, the unavoidable exposure in winter, 
the long passage to St. Louis, both of those from Vicksburg, as well 
as of those from Arkansas Post, resulted in the loss of many of these 
brave men, and a great percentage of deaths followed in the Lawson 
Hospital at St. Louis, where most of them were taken, as well as of 
the very sick, from Helena, being 25 9-10th per cent of all who were 
admitted during that winter, till the first of the next June. 

It was at this time, while there were so many sick in the camps 
and hospitals of the army in Tennessee and Arkansas, during the 
worst winter known for many years, and when so many wounded 
were thrown upon our care, that additional hospitals were opened 
at St. Louis and Memphis, and additional hospital steamers fitted up 
to ply to and fro on the Mississippi river, between the army and the 
well-furnished and well-managed hospitals farther north. 

This was done also in view of the renewal of operations against 
Vicksburg. On the failure of Gen. Grant s movement through 
Mississippi, to take Jackson, and attack Vicksburg in the rear, while 
Gen. Sherman attacked the city on the north side, he returned to, 
Holly Springs,, punished the recreant commander, Col. li. C. Murphy 



71 

who had surrendered that post without any proper effort to defend it, 
by dismissal from the service, and thence proceeded with his army 
to Memphis, where he embarked his forces on transports for Young s 
Point and Milliken s Bend, La. Here he landed his troops on the 
2i)th of January. It does not come within the legitimate object of this 
work to give even a sketch of military operations, beyond what is 
necessary to show how the Sanitary Commission followed the army 
and navy, and improved its opportunities of usefulness. 

During February and March, while the army of Gen. Grant was 
occupying the low region of country above Vicksburg, on the Lou 
isiana shore, trying to change the bed of the river, by cutting a canal 
across the large bend, opposite the city ; while gunboats and transports, 
with troops, were sent to explore the bayous leading to the Yazoo 
and Red rivers ; and while an expedition was sent to open the Yazoo 
Pass, to effect a passage through the Cold Water and Tallahatchie rivers 
to the Yazoo, by which to destroy rebel vessels in that river, capture 
Yazoo City, and take Vicksburg in the rear, the Mississippi was 
overflowing the low lands in every direction, the camping grounds 
of many of the regiments were flooded, the rains were incessant, 
and, as a necessary consequence, there was a large amount of sickness 
in the army. Exaggerated reports were circulated by letter writers 
through the Northern press, and much anxiety and uneasiness were 
felt in regard to the health of the troops. 

At this time Mr. Yeatman, the President of the Western Commission, 
went down to make a personal inspection, and on his return, on the 
13th of March, published a letter, giving an account of his visit, 
and of the actual state of things. In this letter he says: 

" For a short time after the landing of the army at and near Young s 
Point, consequent upon long confinement upon transports, there was 
much sickness; but the health of the troops improved rapidly, and 
the per centage of sickness is below what I have generally found it 
in camps in other portions of the country which I have visited. Besides 



72 

many others, I visited every regiment in Sherman s corps, which was 
reported in the worst condition. While in some of the new regiments 
the amount of sickness was large, in others it was unusually small. 
The great danger to be apprehended was from want of vegetable diet, 
symptoms of scurvy having already made their appearance. 

Mr. Yeatman recommended that the friends of the soldiers should 
send large quantities of vegetables, fruits, and pickles, and the Com 
mission at once sent a large supply, and directed its agent, Mr. 
Plattenburg, to proceed immediately and establish his headquarters 
with the army near Vicksburg. 

Mr. Yeatman remarked, with great satisfaction, the interest taken 
by Generals Sherman and Grant in the health of their troops, lie 
says of the former: "I saw Gen. Sherman going through the camps 
on foot, giving particular directions in regard to sanitary regulations. 
No one could look after liis men more carefully than he does. While 
he maintains a strict, discipline, he mingles with and goes among his 
men to ascertain personally their wants. lie has a kind word for all, 
and is greeted, by his men, as one who cares for, and thinks of their 
comfort. With the sick he is as delicate and tender as a woman. I 
am thus particular in mentioning General Sherman s corps, as my 
attention was particularly directed to it, owing to reports which had 
been made to me." 

After describing the ample arrangements made for the care of the sick 
.and wounded, he remarked still further : " Gen. Grant is determined 
to have provision, made for the sick equal to any contingency that may 
arise, and before long will quarter his army on high ground, on the 
opposite side of the river. Assistant Surgeon General Wood is accom 
plishing, and will accomplish, all that is possible to be done." 

While these arrangements were being carried out near the scene 
of conflict, the Assistant Surgeon General was making extensive pre 
parations, at St. Louis and Memphis, to be well provided against future 
emergencies. Under his directions, the large amphitheatre building 



73 

in the old fair grounds at Bcnton Barracks, a few miles northwest 
from St. Louis, and north of the St. Charles road, was taken pos 
session of by the Government for hospital purposes. It was enclosed? 
provided with windows, floored, partitioned, divided into wards, 
thoroughly whitewashed, furnished with iron bedsteads and good 
beds, and converted into one of the largest, most thoroughly ventilated 
and best hospitals in the United States, capable of accommodating 
two thousand live hundred patients. Numerous other buildings, near 
the main edifice, on the same grounds, formerly used by the Agricul 
tural Society for its exhibitions, were used for oflicers quarters, 
medical dispensary, commissary rooms, special diet kitchens, &c., and 
the fine walks and splendid shade added much to the beauty and 
attractiveness of the place. 

The institution was at first placed in charge of Surgeon Ira Russell, 
U. S. V., under whose administration it was conducted with entire 
success. It was opened March 1st, 1863, and during the following 
three months received two thousand and forty-two patients. For 
that period the per centage of deaths was only four and a half of the 
whole number. From June 1st, 1863, to May 1st, 1864, there were 
four thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight patients received, and 
the per centage of deaths was seven and one-tenth. 

In this hospital there was appointed an excellent corps of female 
nurses, who were placed under the immediate oversight and direc 
tion of a supervisor of nurses, acting under the surgeon in charge, 
which position was ably and successfully filled by Miss Emily 
Parsons, of Cambridge, Mass. The good order, attention to duty, 
and faithfulness of the nurses, in the several wards, were greatly 
promoted by this system. Fortunately for the experiment it had 
the hearty approval of the surgeon in charge ; and it is due to 
him, as well as the supervisor of nurses, to say that probably, in 
no hospital in the United States, was the nursing of the sick and 
wounded brought to greater perfection than here. 



74 

Auxiliary to this system the Ladies Union Aid Society also estab 
lished a special diet kitchen, in one of the buildings in the amphi 
theatre, which is wholly conducted by members of that society, 
provided with delicacies for the sick, wines, stimulants, &c., to 
which the Western Sanitary Commission also contributes, and from 
this kitchen any delicate food needed for the very sick can always 
be ordered, by the surgeons, and be immediately prepared. 

For a few months of the autumn of : 63, Surgeon Russell was relieved 
by Surgeon J. H. Grove, U. S. V., who conducted the institution 
on the same principles, and under whom it maintained the same high 
character. 

In the winter of 1863-4 Benton Barracks became a recruiting station 
for colored troops ; hospital accommodations were needed for the sick 
of the colored regiments ; several of the wards were appropriated for 
their use ; and Dr. Grove, having been assigned to another position 
of responsibility and trust, Dr. Russell was again placed in charge. 
Under his management the institution still maintains its original 
character ; the female nurses act under Miss Parsons, as supervisor ; 
the special diet kitchen is still maintained, in charge of Mrs. Shepard 
Wells, of the Ladies Union Aid Society ; and the sick soldiers, 
whether of the white troops or of the regiments of African descent, 
each occupying separate wards, are treated with the care and kind 
attention due to the soldiers of the Union. 

Besides the general hospital, there is also a post hospital at Benton 
Barracks, likewise in charge of Surgeon Russell. During the fall of 
1863, and winter of 64, many of the sick of the new colored regi 
ments were treated here. The whole number of patients received 
was 6140, and the per centage of deaths 8 2-10. Female nurses are 
provided for this hospital by the Western Sanitary Commission, the 
Government only allowing them to the general hospitals. 

At Memphis, by direction of Assistant Surgeon General Wood, 
several additional hospitals were fitted up there in tire winter and 



75 

spring of 1863. They were generally the largest and best buildings 
in the city, having been originally designed lor hotels, or blocks of 
stores, four and five stories high. These hospitals were named the 
Overtoil, Washington, Gayoso, Jackson, Jefferson, Marine, Webster, 
Union, Gangrene, and Officers , and were capable of accommodating 
about 5000 sick and wounded men. During the summer of 63, 
while Gen. Grant s army was operating against Vicksburg, and after 
the fall of that city, these hospitals were filled, and there was a 
constant demand for sanitary stores. Maj. T. P. Eobb, of Illinois, 
acted as a Sanitary agent for that State, and also for the Western 
Sanitary Commission, and distributed largely both to the regiments 
encamped at Memphis, and to the hospitals. 

Many commissioned officers having been wounded at the battles of 
Vicksburg, were also without their pay, and were not allowed by 
regulations the ordinary accommodations of enlisted men. Their 
condition being made known to the Commission, it furnished a 
complete outfit of every thing necessary for a hospital of one hun 
dred beds, called the Officers hospital. 

The United States Sanitary Commission also maintained a well- 
supplied agency at Memphis, in charge of Dr. H. A. Warriner, an 
able and efficient officer, who had a general supervision of the work 
of that Commission, on the Mississippi river, and often acted in 
friendly co-operation with the agents of the Western Commission. 

During the same winter and spring the large and splendid steamer 
" City of Alton, was used as a floating hospital, being fitted up for 
this purpose; and the steamer "Ruth" of equal dimensions and mag 
nificence, (since destroyed), the steamer " Glasgow," and a number 
of smaller boats were likewise used as transports for conveying the 
sick and wounded from the Lower Mississippi to the hospitals at Mem 
phis and St. Louis. Besides these, the large and commodious floating 
hospital " Nashville" was fitted up so as to accommodate one thousand 
patients, and located permanently near Milliken s Bend, in charge 04 



76 

Surgeon L. D. Strawbridge, U. S. A. ; and the hospital steamers " City 
of Memphis," and "1). A. January," capable of accommodating twelve 
hundred more, were under the order of the Medical Director, either 
for transportation to hospitals, or for the care of the sick and wounded 
for any length of time that might be needed there. The Medical Pur 
veyor also had a boat set apart exclusively for medical supplies of all 
kinds, with cots and bedding sufficient to extemporize several other 
floating hospitals, in case of necessity. Two large boats were likewise 
turned over to the United States and Western Sanitary Commissions, 
whose agents were constantly receiving and distributing supplies. No 
army was ever better provided for than the army of Gan. Grant at this 
period, and to these efforts to keep up the health and vigor of the 
troops was due much of that courage and endurance which resulted 
in the splendid victories that crowned our arms, in the series of great 
battles fought at Fort Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, 
the Big Black river, and before the entrenchments of Vicksburg, to 
the fall of that city. 

When at last this Gibraltar of the enemy fell into our possession, 
with thirty thousand prisoners of war, there were many sick and 
wounded men in the camps and hospitals around the city. These had 
still to be cared for and brought up the river, away from the heats 
of summer in that Southern latitude. 

At the time of Gen. Grant s investment of Vicksburg, and the two 
unsuccessful assaults made on the rebel works on the 19th and the 22d 
of May, there were four thousand five hundred of our brave troops 
wounded. The President of the Western Sanitary Commission made 
a second visit at that time in charge of the steamer " Champion" 
loaded with commissary and sanitary stores. A large portion of the 
sanitary goods, and many tons of ice, having been furnished by the 
merchants of St. Louis, Mr. Yeatman, on his return, publishhd a 
report of his visit, in which he says : 

" On the evening of the 26th of May I left here on I ae steamer 



77 

" Champion" accompanied by a corps of surgeons, nurses and dressers 
of wounds, numbering fifty-five in all, with some two hundred and fifty 
tuns of sanitary supplies, besides cots, mattrasses, and every thing 
necessary for taking care of a thousand wounded men, in case of ne 
cessity, the latter articles having been furnished by order of the 
Assistant Surgeon General K. C. Wood. 

"We did not arrive at Chickasaw Bluffs, near Vicksburg, until 
the evening of the 31st of May, where we found that the number 
of the wounded had been greatly exaggerated, the actual number 
not exceeding four thousand five hundred. The arrangements of 
the Medical Department were most excellent, and the transportation 
of the sick and wounded, on the hospital steamer, " D. A. January ," 
in charge of Surgeon A. H. Huff , were most perfect. I found that the 
greater part of the wounded, who required attention, and who could 
be removed, had been attended to. Of those who had been thus 
cared for there were about 1,900; and about 2,000 more, who were 
but slightly wounded, were treated in division hospitals, together 
with a few hundred who were too severely wounded to be moved. 
The division hospitals were being consolidated with the army corps 
hospitals, which were to be placed in shady, sequestered spots, where 
an abundance of pure, fresh water could be had. 

" The wounded being so well provided for it was not necessary 
that our steamer should be used for hospital purposes ; the hospi 
tal beds, bedding, and supplies were turned over to the proper 
medical officers, and the dressers of wounds and nurses were placed 
where they could be most useful, some of them in hospitals and 
others on hospital steamers. By the time we arrived at Vicksburg 
all sanitary stores had become completely exhausted, and the new 
supplies, in my charge, were greatly needed. They were at once 
placed in the hands of our Agent, Mr. A. W. Plattenburg, by 
whom they were distributed, most liberally, whenever they were 
most wanted. Blessings were invoked, by both Surgeons and men, 



78 

for this timely care in providing for them, in the great extremity 
which always succeeds a series of battles, and which can only be 
fully provided for in this way. No parched and thirsty soil ever 
drank the dews of heaven, with more avidity, than did those 
wounded men receive the beneficent gifts and comforts, sent to 
them through this Commission." 

The number of articles sent to Gen. Grant s army from the Western 
Commission during the month of June, preceding the fall of Vicks- 
burg, was 114,697, consisting of 3,090 hospital shirts, 3,080 hospital 
drawers, 1,260 sheets, 4,400 bandages, 2,412 bottles of Catawba wine, 
1,337 cans of fresh fruit, 1,976 cans of condensed milk, 10,000 lemons, 
1,600 gallons of lager beer, 5,477 Ibs. dried apples, 2,400 Ibs. dried 
peaches, 2,088 Ibs. codfish, 1,850 Ibs. herring, 11,710 Ibs. crackers, 
23,060 Ibs. ice, 1,800 chickens, 3,171 dozen eggs, 3,068 Ibs. butter, 
1,840 Ibs. corn meal, 3,145 bushels potatoes, 2,500 fans, 6,004 books 
and pamphlets, and of the following articles in similar proportions : 
Blankets, pillows, socks, slippers, handkerchiefs, towels, Ibs. of rags, 
Ibs. of lint, eye shades, oil silk pads, pin cushions, rolls of adhesive 
plaster, tourniquets, crutches, back rests, close stools, spit cups, 
sponges, splints, air beds, bottles of whisky, bottles of brandy, 
bottles of Catawba bitters, bottles of ginger wine, bottles of cassia 
syrup, bottles of blackb3rry syrup, Ibs. of farina, Ibs. of corn starch, 
Ibs. of oat meal, Ibs. of arrowroot, Ibs. of tapioca, Ibs. of sago, Ibs. 
of pinola, Ibs. of flaxseed, Ibs. of cassia, Ibs. of allspice, Ibs. of mus 
tard, Ibs. of nutmegs, Ibs. of pepper, bottles of pepper sauce, bottles 
of horseradish, bottles of tomato catsup, bottles of cranberry sauce, 
bottles of flavoring extracts, cans of clams and oysters, cans of spiced 
tripe, cans of jelly, cans of condensed soup, cans of cocoa paste, Ibs. 
of chocolate, cans of portable lemonade, gallons of ale, bottles of drugs, 
bottles of extract of ginger, Ibs. of dried small fruit, Ibs. of dried 
beef, Ibs. of extract of beef, Ibs. of mackerel, Ibs. of cheese, Ibs. of 
bread, Ibs. of zwieback, Ibs. of coffee, Ibs, of tea, Ibs. of sugar, Ibs. 



79 

of sour krout, gallons of pickles, gallons of vinegar, bottles of fine 
pickles, ibs. of carbonate of soda, Ibs. of saleratus, Ibs. of citric acid, 
Ibs. of castile soap, Cook s Manual, stationery, faucets, combs and 
brushes, Ibs. of hops, Ibs. of tobacco, bread trays, water coolers, 
scales, cooking stoves, brooms, tin cups, tin basins, tin plates, tin 
boilers, tin buckets, tin dippers, tin skimmers, coffee pots, tea pots, 
spoons, stew pans, cork screws, knives and forks, and iron boilers. 

Fortunate was it for these brave men that so much preparation 
and provision had been made for their comfort, and that loving hearts 
and kind hands had labored for them at home, sending contributions 
and agents, and volunteer surgeons and nurses, after them, wherever 
the fortunes of war had led them, to assist in binding up their wounds, 
in nursing them when sick, and in making them whole. On the fall 
of Vicksburg, on the following 4th of July, none rejoiced more than 
these untitled heroes, in the celebration of that day, by so great a vic 
tory, and none were more worthy to claim their share of its honors, 
and to partake in the glory of this, the greatest achievement of 
the war. 



C II A P T E R VIII. 

SOLDIERS HOMES AT COLUMBUS, KY., MEMPHIS, VICKSBURG, AND HELENA OVER 
L">(),000 SOLDIER GUESTS ENTERTAINED FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE ST. Louis 
HOSPITALS WHOLE NUMBER OF PATIENTS TREATED NUMBER OF DEATHS PER 

CENTAGE OF DEATHS THE MILITARY PRISONS AT ST. LOUIS AND ALTON, ILL. 

HUMANE TREATMENT OF SICK PRISONERS. 



ON Mr. Yeatman s first visit to the army of Gen. Grant, in the 
winter of 63, he became satisfied of the necessity of Soldiers Homes 
at Memphis, Term., and Columbus, Ky., where there Avere many 
troops stationed, and many others constantly arriving-, either going- 
home discharged, or on furlough to visit their friends, or returning 
to their regiments, being frequently without means to pay hotel 
expenses, and needing a place of refreshment and rest. The change 
of transportation from the river to the railroads, leading to Jackson 
and Corinth, made this the more necessary. 

On the 13th of February, 63, the Soldiers Home at Memphis was 
opened for the reception of guests. According to previous arrange 
ment made by the President of the Western Sanitary Commission 
with Gen. T. C. Hamilton, then in command of the 16th army corps, 
the large residence on Beal street, known as the " Hunt Mansion, 
was turned over to Mr. O. E. Waters, as agent of the Commission, 
for this purpose. 

It had formerly been the head-quarters of Maj. Gen. Grant, and 
more recently of Gen. Hamilton, and was the property of a Mr. Win. 
llichardson Hunt, a very wealthy planter, owning a great number 
of slaves, and now a colonel in the rebel army, many of his slaves 
still residing in Memphis and providing for themselves. He spent 
over forty thousand dollars in building and beautifying this mansion 



81 

with its elegant grounds, little dreaming that in doing this he was 
preparing so comfortable a home for the soldiers of the Union, and 
the defenders of the flag he himself dishonored by his infidelity and 
treason. AVlicn the city of Memphis was captured by the United States 
navy he was among the first to flee, with his fellow traitors, and 
abandon his home and country for an uncertain abode at Atlanta, 
Georgia. 

AV r hen the Home was made ready for guests a card was published 
inviting the weary soldier to come and partake of its hospitalities, and 
it was not long till the place was much sought for, and groups of 
soldiers, dusty and travel-worn, could be seen occupying its piazzas and 
pleasant rooms, or sitting beneath its evergreen arbors and magnolia 
shades. 

The Superintendent, in his annual report, gives the following account 
of the opening of the institution : 

" Our first guests were brought in by Mrs. Governor Harvey. She 
found them wandering through the streets, sadly in need of a kind 
friend to give them assistance and care. One of them, a little drummer 
boy of the 29th Wisconsin Infantry, when brought in and laid upon a 
soft mattress, exclaimed, with tears in his eyes, Oh, how pleasant 
this is ! Brave little drummer boy ! his spirit found a brighter home 
and a softer couch ere the morrow s sun arose. 

"During the first three months we were confined exclusively to the 
care of discharged and invalid soldiers, very often having from twenty to 
thirty helpless men at a time, when papers must be examined, pay col 
lected and comfortable transportation secured, on some steamer going 
North. Many of these men I found lying upon the hard pavements in 
the streets, and on the bluff, near the steamboat landing, in a helpless 
condition, with no friend to assist them. Three-fourths of them were 
delayed here, from one to eight weeks, on account of imperfect papers. 
If the oflicers in our army, having this duty to perform, only knew 
of the suffering and anguish caused by their carelessness, they would 
f 



82 

certainly look well to the careful and correct execution of the 
soldier s discharge papers and final statements. Many a weak, war 
worn soldier, with his steps turned toward his Northern home, full 
of bright anticipations and cheering hopes that he will soon be 
mingling Avith the loved ones there, when told that his papers are 
defective, and rejected by the paymaster, and that they will have to 
be returned to his regiment for correction, has felt his heart sink 
within him, and the radiant smile has passed away from his face, in 
the bitterness of his disappointment. In some instances, before their 
papers have returned, they have waited, unable to go home, 
sinking in health, until their final discharge carne from the court of 
Heaven, and, without seeing their loved ones on earth again, they 
went up to their heavenly home, and their eternal reward. 

" Since the Home was established, thirteen deaths have occurred 
within its walls. This number is small, comparatively, with the 
number of very sick men we have entertained. 

"After the first of May, ? 63, soldiers of all classes were admitted 
to the Home, and our numbers began to increase rapidly. The least 
number entertained in a single day was six, and the greatest number 
three hundred and fifty. After the siege of Vicksburg was over, and 
our army sent to other scenes of action, the number of sick materially 
decreased, and our attention was directed more to the care of well 
men, providing food, transportation, etc." 

Of this class of guests the number has steadily increased, and the 
usefulness of the Home was never greater than at the present time. 
From its establishment, February 18th, 1863, to May 1st, 1864, the 
whole number of guests entertained has been 25,830, the number of 
meals furnished 55,894, and the number of lodgings provided 18,986. 
Of these guests the record shows them to have been largely Illinois, 
Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana troops, with considerable num 
bers from Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and other States. The soldiers 
from Illinois stopping at this Home, to the 1st of March, were 3018; 



83 

from Missouri, 1,524; from Iowa, 1,289; the remainder from other 
States. 

Besides the regular guests entertained here, often the wife, mother, 
sister, or father of the sick soldier, accompanying him home, and hav 
ing limited resources, have been received as guests, and members of 
the United States Christian Commission, engaged in the work of min 
istering to the army, have also been welcomed to its hospitality, and 
their religious services in the house have given it a religious and moral 
character that was highly beneficial to its inmates. 

From the opening of this Home, to the present date, it has been under 
the superintendence of Mr. O. E. Waters, whose services have been 
constant, faithful, and satisfactory, in the highest degree. For several 
months he was assisted by Miss A. L. Ostram, as matron, who resigned 
her position to fill a similar one at Cairo, Illinois. She was succeeded 
by Mrs. Lucy E. Starr, who has occupied the position for nearly a 
year, and has imparted so cheerful a spirit to the Home, and been so 
unremitting in her labors that her praise is every where spoken by 
those who have been the guests of the institution. 

On the 16th of February, 63, the Soldiers Home at Columbus, Ky., 
was opened, and has entertained many thousand soldier guests. It 
was at first superintended by Mr. Brown, and for a short time by 
Mr. Geo. E. "\Vyeth, when Chaplain Ephraim Xute, became superinten 
dent in the spring of 63, and continued in charge till September of the 
same year, when he went to jSTew Orleans to establish another Home for 
the Commission in that city.* He was succeeded at Columbus by Mr. 
S. J. Orange, the present excellent and faithful superintendent. The 
first matron was Mrs. S. A. Plummer, who was assisted by Miss Ida 



The Soldiers Home at New Orleans was duly established in October, 18(52, by 
Mr. Nute, acting as the agent of the Western Sanitary Commission, under a special 
order from Maj. Gen. Grant. He was provided with furniture, stores, and funds for this 
pin-pose, to the value of several thousand dollars, and the Home, on its first opening, was 
crowded with guests. Late in November it was transferred to the U. S. Commission, 
under whose auspices it is still continued. Rev. Mr. Nute, from the date of this transfer) 
ceased to be the agent of the Western Commission, and soon after returned to his 
regiment. 



84 

Johnson, and to both these ladies great praise is clue, lor their devotion 
to the interests of the Home, and their kind and faithful service to the 
soldiers, who were their guests . In August, 63, Mrs. Plummer was 
transferred to the Soldiers Home, at Vicksburg, where she has con 
tinued as matron to the present date. She was succeeded at Columbus 
by Mrs. Orange, who has performed the duties of matron with the 
utmost satisfaction. Many letters have been received from soldiers 
who have been the guests of this home, testifying their appreciation of 
the services of Mr. and Mrs. Orange, and their gratitude for the 
kind hospitalities received. 

The whole number of guests entertained at the Columbus Home 
from February 16th, 1863, to May 1st, 1864, has been 52,259, the 
number of meals furnished, 96,694, and the number of lodgings 
provided, 20,315. The number of troops from Illinois, among the 
above guests, for the year ending February 16th, 1864, was 2,243; 
from Iowa, 888; from Wisconsin, 1,211; from Missouri, 864; the 
remainder being from the other Western States. 

The Soldiers Home, at Vicksburg, was opened August 6th 1863, 
with Mr. E. K. Foster for Superintendent, and Mrs. S. A. Plum 
mer for Matron. On the taking of this city, it became the base 
of movements into the interior, and with its garrison and the 
moving of troops, and the changing of transportation from the 
river to the land it was foreseen that a Soldiers Home would be 
necessary here. A large and good building was obtained from the 
Government for the purpose, furniture and supplies were sent for 
ward from St. Louis, sufficient for two hundred guests, and from 
the opening of the institution to the present date, it has been crowded 
to its utmost capacity. 

Mr. Foster continued in charge till the 28th of November, when he 
was succeeded by Mr. N. M. Mann, the present competent and 
excellent superintendent. Mr. Foster continued to act as Sanitary 
agent for the Commission, at Vicksburg, from the transfer of Mr. 



85 

Plattenburg to tlie 15th army corps, till in January, 1864, when lie 
was transferred to Helena, Ark., to open a Home at that place. 

Mrs. Plummer has continued to act as matron of the Vicksburg 
Home from the beginning, and devoted herself to its duties with her 
usual zeal and interest in the welfare of the soldiers. She has been 
ably assisted in her labors by Miss Hattie Wiswall, assistant matron, 
another of the excellent and devoted women, who have been untiring 
in their services to our brave defenders in arms, from the beginning 
of the war. For many months this Home has also enjoyed the volun 
tary labors of Mrs. Governor Harvey, of Wisconsin, who, finding it 
crowded with guests, has lent a helping hand in its management, 
besides giving much of her time and energy to the interests of the 
poor freedmen and their families, and to the destitute Union refugees. 
Mr. Mann has also labored most efficiently for these people, of which 
an account will be given in a chapter devoted to that subject. 

The number of soldiers entertained at the Vicksburg Home, from 
August 6th, 1863, to May 1st, 1864, has been 49,738; the number of 
meals furnished 81,144, and the number of lodgings provided 30,882. 
Of the guests for six months, 3,866 have been from Illinois regiments ; 
1,919 from Iowa regiments; 829 from Wisconsin regiments; 451 from 
Missouri regiments; the rest being from other States. 

There have also been entertained at this Home quite a number of 
persons, laboring as agents and teachers to the freedmen, and mem 
bers of the Christian Commission, who, being engaged in a similar 
work of benevolence and Christianity, and the city being without 
sufficient hotel accommodations, have been welcomed, from time to 
time, to its hospitalities. 

On February llth, 1864, another Soldiers Home was opened at 
Helena, Ark. Having 1 a large army in Arkansas, and many troops 
passing through Helena, on their way to and from their regiments, it 
was deemed advisable, with the concurrence of Brig. Gen. X. B. 
Buford, commanding that post, to establish a Homo there. In this 



80 

work Gen. Buford and his excellent lady afforded much aid, and one 
of the churches of the place having been assigned for the purpose, 
with new buildings erected for office room, kitchen, and dining hall, 
the institution was soon comfortably fitted up with bedsteads, beds, 
bedding, kitchen furniture, stores, etc., sent from the Western Com 
mission, and was immediately filled with guests. For a brief period 
Mr. K. K. Foster acted as superintendent, when he returned to St. 
Louis, and Rev. John I. Herrick, chaplain of the 29th Wisconsin 
infantry, being on detached service at Helena, was detailed by Gen. 
liuford, at the request of the Commission, to act as superintendent, 
and continues in charge at this date. Mrs. II. A. Haines, an expe 
rienced and capable person, was sent down to be matron, and has 
filled the position thus far very successfully, and with entire satisfaction 
to the Commission. During the three months the Home has been 
established, it has entertained 3527 guests, furnished 8062 meals, and 
and provided 3162 lodgings. 

Summing up the statistics of all these Homes, including the one at 
St. Louis, it will be found that there have been entertained in them 
152,200 soldier guests, 327,786 meals furnished, and 96,635 lodgings 
provided, and that of this number there have been 14,703 guests from 
Illinois regiments, 7,359 from Missouri regiments, and 8,711 from 
Iowa regiments, up to March 1st, 1864, the remainder being divided 
among soldiers from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, 
Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, 
and the U. S. regulars. 

Besides the hospitals of St. Louis, of which a previous account has 
been given, there are two Post hospitals, one on Hickory street, and 
the other at Benton Barracks, the Gratiot Prison hospital, and the 
Small-pox hospital on Duncan s Island. The first of these was 
originally a General hospital, and there was formerly a Post hospital 
at Schofield Barracks, in the immediate vicinity, on Chouteau Avenue, 
which was consolidated with it November 1st, 1863. The whole 



87 

number of patients received at Hickory street, to that date, was 1826, 
and the per centage of deaths was 6 1-10, and at Schofield Barracks 
the number of patients received was 206, and the per centage of deaths 
4 3-10. At the Military Prison hospital, in McDowell s College, 
Gratiot street, the number of patients received to May 1st, 64, is 
3,514, and the per centage of deaths 11 4-10. The surgeon in charge 
is B. B. Breed, U. S. V. The number of patients received at the 
Small-pox hospital to June 1st, 63, was 871, and the per centage of 
deaths 22 9-10. The number of prisoners received at the same institu 
tion, for the same period, was 162, and the per centage of deaths 34 1-2. 
The great mortality of prisoners in this hospital, and at McDowell s 
College, Gratiot street, was owing largely to the neglected and ex 
hausted condition in which they fell into our hands. Xo statistics 
have been received from this institution, for this work, although 
requested of the surgeon in charge. 

The number of patients treated at the Post hospital on Hickory 
street, from November 1st, 1863, to May 1st, 1864, is 1,412, and the 
per centage of deaths 2 9-10. The institution is in charge of Frank 
W. White, M. D., A. A. Surgeon, U. S. A. 

The Good Samaritan, the Fifth street, the Elliott, and the New 
House of Refuge hospitals, having been discontinued, the statistics 
of them may be found in the second Annual Report of the Commis 
sion, June 1st, 1863. 

The whole number of patients treated in the hospitals of St. Louis, 
including those at Jefferson and Benton Barracks, up to May 1st, ? 64, 
is 61,744, the number that have died is 5,684, and the per centage of 
deaths 9 1-10. 

The military prisons of St. Louis have, from the beginning of the 
war, received the constant attention of the Western Sanitary Com 
mission, and sanitary stores have been issued to them in all cases of 
urgent need, upon the requisitions of the surgeon in charge. 



88 

In November, 1862, the hospital of Gratiot Street Prison, iu Mc 
Dowell s College, used exclusively for prisoners of Avar, was found to 
be much crowded, and the building also needed a thorough renovation 
and cleansing. The facts were reported to Maj. (-Jen. Curtis, then 
commanding the department, and the crowded condition both of the 
prison and the hospital, was obviated by sending a considerable num 
ber to the large military prison at Alton, Illinois. The Commission 
then had the whole interior of the prison and hospital thoroughly 
cleansed and whitewashed, by wards, and the condition of things was 
much improved. Assistant Surgeon General Wood also assigned two 
surgeons to the prison, and made its hospital entirely separate, with 
its own arrangements complete. 

The Commission made an effort at the same time to induce the gov 
ernment to rent other and larger buildings for a military hospital, but 
the necessity having in a measure ceased, with a removal of a part 
of the patients to Alton, it was not successful. 

The Myrtle Street Prison, in which military offences by United States 
troops are punished, was also thoroughly inspected at the same time, 
and measures of improvement were carried into effect. 

The Commission has extended its inspections to the military 
prison at Alton, Illinois, and furnished supplies, to most urgent cases 
of need, on the requisition of the surgeon in charge. This prison is 
the same formerly occupied as the Illinois State Penitentiary, which 
was removed to Joliet, just before the breaking out of the war. It 
has a large area of ground, 420 by 323 feet, enclosed by a high stone 
wall, with the prison buildings inside, is in a healthy location, within 
a few rods of the Mississippi river, on the east side, has good water, 
excellent drainage, a free circulation of pure air, and could not be better 
adapted to the purposes for which it is used. 

A committee from the Western Sanitary Commission visited it in 
December, 1862, and in a published report of the visit, said, ""We 



80 

found the hospital to be a good, brick structure, 104 by 35 feet, well 
ventilated, but insufficiently warmed. It contains sixty-three patients. 
Many of the sick were needing proper under-clothing. Most of the 
buildings in the enclosure stand isolated, with considerable ground 
between them, so that in a moral and sanitary point of view, they are 
very favorably situated. The prisoners are furnished abundantly with 
good wholsonie food, and they appear to be entirely satisfied with the 
kind treatment of officers and attendants. The clothes of the prisoners 
are washed outside the walls, by laundresses, paid out of the prison 
funds. There is also a washing apparatus on the ground, with a plen 
tiful supply of hot water, and soap, which is freely resorted to by 
the inmates." 

There were then 700 prisoners confined in this prison, with accom 
modations for 1,300. Since then, it has frequently contained over one 
thousand. During a recent visit of the Secretary of the Commission, he 
found the hospital in an excellent condition, in charge of Surgeon T. A. 
Worrell, U.S.Y., Dr. Hez. Williams, A. A. Surgeon, with beds for three 
hundred patients ; the floors clean, and the arrangements similar to the 
military hospitals for our own troops. There were 120 sick prisoners 
out of 1000, then in prison. The four female nurses in attendance Avere 
Sisters of Charity. A chaplain is also allowed the prison, Rev. Father 
Vehay, of the Catholic church. A supply of sanitary stores has been 
recently sent to the Surgeon in charge, on his requisition. The small 
pox patients are treated in tents, on the island, just opposite Alton. 
There were recently but few cases of this disease. 

Those who die in this prison, are buried in a ground about two miles 
out of the city, set apart especially for that purpose. They are fur 
nished with a coffin, the same as the Union soldier, and are in all 
respects decently interred. Head boards, with the initials of their 
names are placed at each grave, so that there can be no difficulty iden 
tifying the spot. 



90 

The statistics of the prison and hospital were recently requested, for 
the purpose of giving a more complete statement for this work, but 
were refused by Brig. Gen. Copeland, commanding the post. It is 
believed that the facts would show that this prison and its hospital 
have been conducted in a manner creditable to the humanity of the 
United States Government, and would convey, by contrast, a terrible 
rebuke to the inhumanity with which our soldiers have been starved 
and treated in the prisons of the South. 



CHAPTER IX. 

SANITARY STORES SENT TO THE ARMY OF GEN. DAVIDSON, AT BLOOMFIELD, Mo. 
PART OK THEM CAPTURED BY GUERRILLAS NARROW ESCAPE or THE AGENT 
STORES SENT TO THE ARMY OF GEN. STEELE, AT DUVALL S BLUFF AND LITTLE 
ROCK AGENCY ESTABLISHED AT LITTLE ROCK ACKNOWLEDGMENTS STORES SENT 
TO FORT BLUNT, CHEROKEE NATION ACKNOWLEDGMENT STORES SENT TO COLOR 
ED TROOPS AT MILLIKEN S BEND, GOODRICH s LANDING, AND VICKSBURG LET 
TERS OF REV. DR. ELIOT AND MR. YEATMAN BOOKS AND INSTRUCTION FURNISH 
ED TO COLORED TROOPS AT BENTON BARRACKS LETTER FROM COL. A. WATSON 
WEBBER STORES SENT TO NASHVILLE AND MURFREESBORO, TENN. AGENCY AT 
HUNTSVILLE, ALA. STORES SENT TO THE NAVAL FLOTILLA VETERAN REGIMENTS 
ENTERTAINED AT ST. Louis STORES TO THE 33o ILLINOIS INFANTRY ACKNOW 
LEDGMENTSTORES TO BANKS ARMY ON RED RIVER SEVERAL IMPORTANT QUES 
TIONS ANSWERED Do THE SOLDIERS GET ANY OF THE SANITARY STORES? IL 
LUSTRATIONS ACCOUNTABILITY OF AGENTS HOSPITALS, REGIMENTS, HOSPITAL 
STEAMERS AND GUNBOATS SUPPLIED WITH SANITARY STORES LIST OF FEMALE 
NURSES WHO HAVE PROVED THEIR WORTH IN THE HOSPITALS OF SAINT Louis. 



DURING the month of August, 1863, Brig 1 . Gen. Davidson, command 
ing 1 a force of cavalry, was stationed at Bloomfield, Mo., preparatory 
to a movement on Little Rock. His sick were to be left at that place, 
in hospital, and, in accordance with his request, the Commission sent 
an agent there, Mr. H. J. Waterman, with a large supply of sanitary 
stores. On the way from Cape Girardeau to Bloomfield, with a com 
missary train, in which six of the wagons were loaded with the stores 
of the Commission, the train was attacked, while encamped at night, 
by a band of guerrillas of the enemy, twelve soldiers and teamsters 
were killed, the mules were carried off, and the wagons, commissary 
stores, and sanitary goods set fire to and burned, with the exception 
of two wagons, which happened to contain sanitary stores. The 
guerrillas then made their escape, and Mr. Waterman, with the captain 
of the train, who had narrowly escaped, proceeded on the next day 
to Bloomfield, in a very crippled condition. On arriving there, what 
was left of the sanitary stores were distributed to the sick, in hospital, 



where they were much needed, and most thankfully received, and 
Mr. Waterman returned to Cape Girardcau, where he had left about 
half of his original supply, being unable to procure transportation. 

Previous to his reaching Bloomtield, Gen. Davidson had moved on, 
towards Little liock, with his available forces, and as it was now 
known that Maj. Gen. Steele was about to move from Helena, with a 
large force, to the same point, it was deemed advisable, by the Com 
mission, that a permanent agent should accompany this expedition. 
Mr. Waterman was accordingly ordered to proceed, from Cape 
Girardeau, with his stores, to Helena, by the river, and there join 
the command of Gen. Steele. On his arrival at Helena, the expedition 
had moved as far as Clarendon, on White river, and the weather being 
warm, it was reported that already there were many sick at that 
point. Mr. Waterman, with difficulty, procured transportation, and 
reached Clarendon, where, being himself taken very sick, with an 
attack of fever, he turned over his stores to the Medical Director, 
Surgeon James C. Whitehill, and returned home. 

In the meantime the Commission had forwarded additional supplies 
for this expedition, which were on the way to Helena, to be re- 
shipped there up White river to Clarendon. Another agent, Mr. 
George M. Wyeth, who had been sent to Helena to act at that point, 
was now sent forward to take the place of Mr. Waterman. By the 
urgent advice of Surgeon Casselberry, Medical Director at Helena, 
he proceeded at once to join Gen. Stecle s army at DuvalFs liluft , 
taking along the sanitary stores with him, which had previously 
arrived at Helena, and distributing them to the surgeons, for their 
sick, in general hospital, and to the regimental hospitals. 

The army of Gen. Steele having 1 advanced upon Little liock, the 
capital of Arkansas, and after a battle with the rebel forces, under 
Gen. Price, captured the city, many sick were still left at DuvalFs 
Bluff, where a general hospital had been established. 

Better hospital accommodations, however, were found at Little Rock, 



03 

which now had become the head-quarters of the Army of Arkansas, 
and the sick were soon removed and provided for there. Mr. Wyeth 
immediately established his agency at Little Rock, and distributed to 
the hospitals, and camps of the army, according 1 to their necessities, 
receiving regular shipments of supplies from St. Louis, and fulfilling 
the duties of his position with fidelity and success. 

Among the testimonials of the great good accomplished by this 
agency, a letter was received, September 30th, 1863, from Rev. E. S. 
Pcake, Chaplain 28th Wisconsin Infantry, who had assisted Mr. "Wycth, 
in his work, in which he says: 

" The Sanitary Commission has accomplished so much good by pro 
viding and forwarding supplies of the articles most needed for the 
relief and comfort of the sick in the Arkansas expedition, that it gives 
me great pleasure to send a brief statement of the facts. Your agent. 
Mr. Wyeth, arrived at Helena in time to learn the wants of the expe 
dition, and followed the army up White river, to Duvall s Bluff, where 
our general hospital was established under temporary sheds. He 
brought some tons of sanitary stores, and remained there, attending 
to their proper distribution, until the order was given to remove all 
the sick to Little Rock. These supplies have been the means of saving 
many valuable lives to the army and to the country. 

"Mr. Wyeth visited Little Rock by the first railroad train that came 
through, and took a tour of inspection through the hospitals, general 
and regimental, learning the actual condition of the sick, and their 
wants. He has sent to us all the supplies remaining at the Bluff, 
and has now gone to Helena, hoping to find another shipment from 
St. Louis at that point. The U. S. Sanitary Commission has sent 
its contributions to us through Dr. Fithian, so that we have been 
able to meet the call for aid, which cornes from the hospitals of a large 
army, in a very satisfactory degree. We look upon this, however, as 
only the beginning in a great work of charity, which must be con 
tinued for several months to come. 



94 

"Let not our friends be weary in doing well. If they could see the 
good that they are doing, and the relief that their contributions afford, 
to the sick and wounded in the army, who, from their position, are 
helpless and dependent, it would prove an abundant encouragement 
and reward. The moral effect of this work upon the army is of great 
importance. It makes men braver and better soldiers and patriots, to 
see these tokens of interest, care, and love following them from their 
homes.* 

On the same day, Surgeon James C. Whitehill, medical director at 
Little Rock, also wrote to the President of the Commission : 

"Permit me through Surgeon J. T. Hodgen to acknowledge the 
receipt of a fine supply of sanitary stores, and on behalf of our sol 
diers to thank you and the generous donors for so opportune a testi 
monial of their and your continued care and sympathy. We have had 
a great deal of sickness, and the country through which we have 
passed has been able to furnish but little adapted to the wants of the 
sick soldier. I have myself receipted to your agent, Mr. "Wyeth, for 
the goods received, and placed them under the care of a most reliable 
and worthy man, who attends to their faithful distribution. Your Com 
mission is doing an inconceivable amount of good for our sick soldiery- 
and deserves the hearty co-operation and liberal support of Christians 
and philanthropists." 

During the summer the Commission had also sent a shipment of 
stores to the colored soldiers at Fort Blunt, in the Cherokee country, 
which was duly received and acknowledged by Surgeon S. C. Harring 
ton, of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, in a letter, in which he says : 
"The goods were exceedingly opportune, as there was a great desti 
tution of such things here. Were it not for your Commission, the 
army must suffer greatly for want of those things it most needs." 

During the autumn of 63, generous supplies of sanitary stores were 
sent to the colored regiments, at Milliken s Bend, Goodrich s Landing, 
and Vicksburg. In a letter of Rev. Dr. Eliot, under date of August 



95 

21st, to friends in Boston, he wrote: " \Ve have the whole army west 
of the Mississippi, to see to, and a large part of Gen. Grant s, arid 
the gunboats, and the summer sickness are daily becoming worse. 
At Helena, where such grand lighting was done on the 4th of July, 
there are two thousand sick, left by armies moving forward. Gen. 
Steele writes, that he never needed our services more than now; and 
from every direction the claims come in upon us. We are making 
very large shipments daily, and are, this week, under the necessity 
of taking a large additional store-room for our bulky stores. 

Under the same date, in answer to inquiries respecting colored 
troops, Mr. Yeatman writes: "We care for the sick and wounded 
colored soldiers, just as we do for the white. We have supplied a 
number of regiments in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, and in this 
city. The accounts we have of them entitle them to our confidence." 

During the fall and winter of 1863-4, Brig. Gen. Win. A. Pile, 
organized three brigades of colored troops, at Benton Barracks, and 
in order that they might have every benefit that was possible, during 
the period of their organization and drill, the Commission purchased 
three thousand copies of Sargent s Standard Primer, for their use, and 
teachers were provided to instruct them in reading ; their officers and 
liev. Wm. H. Bradley, in the service of the Commission, taking part 
in this work. The sick of these brigades, in hospital, received the 
same treatment and attention as white troops; and sanitary stores 
were supplied, both from the Commission and from the Ladies Union 
Aid Society, as they were needed. 

Among the acknowledgments received from the officers of colored 
troops, the following is given, from the colonel of the 1st Mississippi 

Vol. Infantry, A. D., dated: 

" VICK.SBURG, DEC. 29, 1863. 
"REV. J. G. FOKMAN, 

" Sec ry Western Sanitary Commission: 

"DEAR SIR I forward enclosed herewith, a receipt for sanitary 
stores, so kindly sent to my regiment. They will be of great benefit 



06 

to my men, and I am very much obliged for so bountiful a supply. 
They will perform a great and needed good, not only for the sick, but 
for those on duty. I cannot but regard the prevention of disease, by 
suitable additions to the diet and comfort of the men, as important as 
it is to cure them, after they have filled the hospitals. I propose that 
my brave colored troops should have something extra on New Year s 
day. 

" There is no limit to the good that can easily be done for this most 
susceptible people. How the minds of men have been blinded in 
regard to them ! AYhat outrageous sins has not our white humanity 
to account for ! How dark blindness seems when one has passed from 
it to the broad light of day ! 

" The officers from the old * Third Missouri send their kindest 

regards. 

" Yours, very truly, 

"A. WATSON WEBBER, 

" Colonel Commanding " 

During the fall and winter of 1863-4 generous supplies were sent 
by the Commission to the Nashville Branch of the Ladies Union Aid 
Society, of St. Louis, and to Mrs. Barker, and other ladies, who were 
laboring in connection with the U. S. Christian Commission, both 
there and at Mu rf re esbo rough, Tenn., in the general hospitals. The 
long-tried and faithful agent of the Commission, Mr. A. "W. Flatten 
burg, also went forward to Nashville with stores, and afterwards up 
the Tennessee river, as far as Eastpori, to Gen. Sherman s army, and 
still later established an agency at Huntsville, Ala., from which point 
liberal supplies of sanitary goods have been furnished to the hospitals, 
and of vegetables to the troops, eliciting the warmest expressions of 
gratitude. 

In a letter of Mr. Flattenburg, dated March 4th, 1864, he says : 
"The vegetables sent by the Commission were issued directly to 
the soldiers, and a more thankful and pleased set of men has not been 
seen since the war." 



97 

This was at a time of great scarcity of vegetable food, and when 
the scurvy was making its appearance among the troops. 

During the recent winter, supplies have also been furnished to the 
gunboats, and to the naval hospital steamer, " Red Rover." Among the 
goods sent were seventy-five libraries of books, one for each boat in the 
flotilla, and seventy-five sanitary store chests to the same number of 
vessels, each chest containing a good supply of hospital clothing, band 
ages, lint, adhesive plaster, condensed milk, farina, and other articles 
useful to the sick. 

On the return of the veteran regiments of Missouri troops, on fur 
lough, to return to the war for another three years, they have been 
received with a generous hospitality by the city of St. Louis, provided 
for at Turners Hall, and escorted through the city by the Home G-uards, 
with marked honor. Whenever they have needed any thing from the 
Sanitary Commission, as they went back to the army, it has been freely 
given. The veterans of Illinois, Iowa, and other States, have been 
treated in like manner, as regards their sanitary wants. 

The 33d Illinois infantry, which had been stationed in Texas, and 
re-enlisted as veterans, on returning from their furlough, received from 
the Commission a sanitary chest, filled with excellent stores. The 
following acknowledgment was afterwards received, in which there 
are some of the reminiscences of the siege of Vicksburg given : 

HEADQUARTERS MEDICAL DEPARTMENT U. S. FORCES IN TEXAS? ) 

"FORT ESPERANZA, MATAGORDA ISLAND, Jan. 15, 1864. \ 

"REV. J. G. FORMAX, 

" Sec ry Western Sanitary Commission: 

"MY DEAR SIR: Your timely supply of sanitary goods has been 
received, and in behalf of our noble soldiers, I would return to the 
Commission our grateful thanks for this and many other manifestations 
of kindness and interest in our sick and wounded men. I take pleasure 
in adding my testimony to that of many others, of the vast amount of 
G 



98 

good the Western Sanitary Commission has been instrumental in doing. 
I vividly remember the last 22d day of May, after the charge upon the 
fortifications of Vicksburg. Our division, (Gen. Carr s,) had about 
four hundred badly wounded men, brought into our division hospital 
on that day. We had been cut oft from our base of supplies for over 
two weeks, had fought three successful battles, and had entirely ex 
hausted all our medical and hospital stores. Our men were brought 
from the battle field with their winter clothing on, and in many cases 
their clothing and woolen blankets were saturated with blood, and 
covered with fly-blows, and we had no change to give them. We 
heard that communication was opened with Chickasaw Landing, twelve 
miles distant, and that a U. S. Government boat was there with sup 
plies. At once, four wagons were sent there, with a request from the 
officer to send us the supplies that were so urgently needed, and the 
necessary papers could be executed afterwards. The wagons returned 
empty, and the men were told that nothing would be issued, unless 
the papers had gone through all the proper channels, and were tied 
with red tape, which would require several days to accomplish. 

"One of the teamsters remarked to me, that he saw the boat of the 
Western Sanitary Commission, coming up the Yazoo river, as they 
were leaving. Our wagons were sent back, and our situation made 
known to that noble hearted gentleman, A. W. Plattenburg, agent of 
the Sanitary Commission, who at once loaded them with every thing 
necessary for the comfort and health of our wounded soldiers, and 
in a few hours a great change was seen in the hospital. 

"The clothing was all changed, good beds were provided, nutritious 
food and proper stimulants prepared ; and, but for this timely aid 
from your Commission, it is probable many of these poor soldiers 
would have died. This is only one instance. I could cite many others 
of a similar character, if time would permit. 

"Go on in your noble efforts to ameliorate the condition of our unfor 
tunate sick and wounded soldiers ; and may God bless your efforts, 



90 

and put it into the hearts of our loyal peonle to contribute still larger 
means to enable you to accomplish a greater amount of good. 
"Very respectfully, 

" GEORGE P. REX. 

" Surgeon 33d Illinois Infantry, 
" Medical Director U. S. Forces in Texas" 

A very large shipment of sanitary goods has also been sent this 
winter, to the army of Gen. Banks, on the Red river, and the Com 
mission is at this date, (May 16th, 1864,) sending forward all the stores 
that can possibly be shipped to the army of Gen. Sherman, at Chatta 
nooga, Da4ton and Tunnel Hill, Georgia, to be prepared for the care of 
the sick and wounded of his army. Mr. H. E. Collins, its efficient and 
energetic agent, (late Cashier of the Commission,) is at Xashville, 
Tenn., pushing them forward, that no time may be lost, no pains 
spared, to meet any emergency that may arise. He will go on to 
Chattanooga, leaving Mr. Albert Clark at Xashville, to attend to future 
shipments. Mr. James Tompkins, another agent of the Commission, is 
now at Chattanooga, and will go forward to the front with his stores as 
soon as he can communicate with the Medical Director. 

Having thus exhibited something of the work of the Western San 
itary Commission for the soldiers and sailors of the western armies and 
navy, there are several questions often raised, which may be appro 
priately answered here: 

It is sometimes asked what need there is of Sanitary Commissions ? 
Why don t the Government do this work, and take proper care of the 
soldiers, without depending on voluntary contributions? The answer 
is plain. The Government can only act through a system of regula 
tions, by its authorized agents, who must be governed by prescribed 
rules and limitations, and held to a strict responsibility, or there would 
be no end to the waste and loss and imposition to which it would be 
subjected. Hence the necessity of a fixed ration for the soldier, and 
of supply tables for the hospitals, by which so much can be drawn and 



TOO 

no more, the amount of hospital supplies being 1 regulated according 
to the average number of sick. Thus it will often happen that the 
wants of an army in a time of sickness, or in an unhealthy locality, 
or after a battle, will greatly exceed the supplies on hand; and there 
is no way of meeting these emergencies, except through some such 
instrumentality as the Sanitary Commission. 

In the army ration there is a deficiency of vegetable food. The amount 
of potatoes, for instance, to each ration, is not one-quarter of what 
would be a sufficient supply for a well man at home. In the hospitals 
it will barely answer for the hash that is given for breakfast, three 
times a week ; and very often the proportion allowed to the well sol 
dier is not given him, because the commissary has none. Sometimes 
for weeks and months, in the field, the regiments will receive no pota 
toes ; and onions and other vegetables (still more rarely allowed) will 
be wanting. Such a want of vegetable diet soon engenders scurvy and 
other diseases that incapacitate the men for duty, and destroy life. To 
meet this want, the Western Sanitary Commission has forwarded many 
thousands of bushels of potatoes and onions, and thousands of cans of 
tomatoes, and kegs of pickles, to the army. And besides these supplies 
the surgeons in charge of hospitals make constant requisition for 
articles not furnished by Government, or not in sufficient quantity 
to meet the necessities of their patients. 

Prejudicial stories have been circulated by many dissatisfied 
and fault-finding persons about the waste and consumption of sani 
tary stores by officers, accompanied by assertions that what is sent 
never reaches the private soldier. Much harm has been done in this 
way, by suspicious and evil-minded persons, discouraging contributions 
and preventing supplies from being sent to the army. In the early 
part of the war, before this great sanitary work had been reduced to 
a system, instances of waste and theft, and misappropriation of sanitary 
goods did no doubt sometimes occur; but even then they were the 
exception and not the rule. This evil has, however, been constantly 



101 

diminishing ; persons detected in it have been disgraced and dismissed 
from the service ; and a greater degree of responsibility has been 
secured, with more ample means of exposure, so that now the mis 
appropriation of sanitary goods can scarcely take place without bring 
ing disgrace and punishment on the parties engaged in it. 

Nevertheless, the impression still prevails with many that the private 
soldier never gets any of the sanitary stores sent to the army, and 
many soldiers themselves, who have received them in their hospital 
diet, and at the Soldiers Homes, slept in comfortable beds, rested 
upon soft pillows, worn dressing-gowns, and socks, and shippers, in 
sick wards, and eaten vegetables, fruits, butter and delicacies at their 
meals, (not being informed of the fact) have never known that these 
things came from the Sanitary Commissions. 

An interesting illustration of this is mentioned by Rev. Glen Wood, 
General Agent of the American Tract Society, who has spent much 
time in the army, in the distribution of reading matter. During a 
visit to a general hospital, which I think he said was at Murfreesboro 
or Jackson, Tenn., he engaged in conversation with a convalescent 
soldier in one of the wards, who had just finished a letter to his wife. 
The soldier said to him: 

" I received a letter from my wife, away in Wisconsin, and she 
writes that the Soldiers Aid Society are getting up some sanitary stores 
to send to us, and that she is helping to make up a nice lot of things. 
I have just written to her, and told her not to do any such thing ; that the 
soldiers never get what is sent to them : and that the surgeons and stew 
ards and officers only feast on them, while the common soldiers get none." 

Several of the other soldiers responded to the statement of their 
comrade, " That s so ; we never see any sanitary stores here." 

Rev. Mr. Wood said, " My dear sir, I think you must be mistaken. 
I have been through the army a good deal, and have seen a great many 
things received by the soldiers that were sent from home, through the 
Sanitary Commissions, and otherwise." 




102 

He continued, addressing the first speaker, " 1 see you have on a 
comfortable dressing-gown, and socks and slippers, and clean sheets, 
and a pillow on your bed ; where did you get these things from ?" 

" Well/ said the soldier, "I reckon Uncle 8am fitted up this hos 
pital, and these here articles came from the linen room." 

Mr. Wood remarked again, " I noticed at dinner that you had pota 
toes, and pickles, and onions, and butter, and dried fruit, and tomatoes; 
where did you get these things from ?" 

" O," said the former speaker again, " I reckon Uncle Sam provided 
em, or may be they were bought with the hospital fund/ 

" But," says Mr. Wood, " such things can scarcely be bought here 
for love or money. I don t see any in the market, and the sutlers 
ask a great price for them. Suppose we call in the steward, and see 
if he cannot throw some light on this question." 

The steward was then requested to come in, and Mr. Wood asked 
him if he would be kind enough to state to these men where most of 
the articles of hospital clothing that had been mentioned, and the butter 
and fruit and vegetables, and other delicacies on the table, had come from. 

" Why, boys," said the steward, " didn t you know we got those 
things from the Sanitary Commission ?" 

Instantly the men dropped their heads in some confusion, and the 
first speaker replied, "No, sir, we didn t know it. "Why didn t you 
tell us, and we shouldn t have said what we did to this gentleman. I 
hope he will excuse our mistake. As for me, I m going to tear up 
my letter to my wife, (tearing it in pieces) and write her another, 
and tell her to go ahead with them sanitary stores, and right glad we 
shall be to get them." 

The men seemed much pleased with this turn of affairs, and Mr. 
Wood left them, having made a most salutary impression, and giving 
them all the reading matter they wished. 

There is no doubt that much harm has been done, by letters from 
men who are naturallv croakers and fault-finders, in discouraging 



tf 



103 

O 
s 
contributions to the, Sanitary Commissions. The well soldier, 

has always enjoyed his health, ought not, of course, to receive t 
delicacies and comforts designed only for the sick, and for hospital 
use. The vegetables distributed by the Commission he eats, without 
inquiring where they came from, and writes home that he has never 
received any thing from the Sanitary Commission. 

The following method was adopted by Surgeon Charles H. Hughes, 
1st Missouri State Militia, to cure one of these croakers of his fault 
finding spirit. Surgeon Hughes stands very high in the esteem of 
those who know him, and his statement is worthy of all credit. He 
says in a letter to the Secretary, from De Soto, Mo., May 2d, 1864, 
acknowledging the receipt of sanitary stores : 

" I will tell you how I cured a croaker in the St. Louis Hickory 
street hospital once. He said the steward got half the things sent by 
the Sanitary Commission. I took every thing from him. for a week, 
which had been furnished him by the Commission, his pocket comb, 
pocket handkerchief, slippers, socks, and gown, and reading matter. 
I deprived him of the looking-glass, feather pillow, and comforts, 
and, for the two latter, gave him a hard, hair pillow and Government 
blanket, and let him take his meals at a separate table, on the rations 
furnished by the commissary, and bought out of the fund. After that 
he croaked about the parsimony of Uncle Sam, and I put him in the 
guard-house. When he rejoined his company he was effectually cured. 

" Much wrong has been done to the Sanitary cause, and to medical 
officers in the service, by the letters of these croakers. People are 
foolish enough to believe them, not knowing that the things which are 
usually sent to, and relished by the sick, are unwholesome, oftentimes, 
to the stomach of a healthy man, because they vitiate his appetite for 
the more substantial food which he most needs. A physician seldom 
indulges in sweetmeats, and the wearing apparel, hospital clothing, 
etc., sent by the Commission, always bear a stamp, which would dis 
grace any one but the legitimate wearer the patriot soldier." 




104 

A strict accountability is maintained between the Western Sanitary 
Commission and all its agents in the field. Whenever stores are sent 
to the agents, they are forwarded by the United States quartermasters 
as Government freight, and they receipt for them, and are responsible 
for their delivery. When delivered to the agents of the Commission 
they receipt to the quartermasters, and the receipted bills of lading 
are returned to the chief quartermaster at St. Louis, and acknowledg 
ments are also made to the Commission. When sanitary stores are 
distributed to the surgeons for the sick and wounded in hospitals, it 
is done in answer to written requisitions, and their receipts are taken 
and returned to the Commission at St. Louis. Piles of these documents 
are now on file at the Western Sanitary Commission rooms, and it can 
easily be shown what regiments and hospitals have received sanitary 
stores, and the use made of them, by the surgeons and stewards, 
inquired into. 

The following General, Post, and .Regimental hospitals are among 
the number that have been supplied by this Commission : New House 
of Refuge, St. Louis and City hospitals, General hospital, (corner of 
Fifth and Chesnut street,) Good Samaritan, Eliot, (Fourth street,) 
Pacific, Hickory street, Jefferson Barracks, Marine, Benton Barracks, 
Lawson and Small-pox hospitals, hospitals in Arnot s and Thornton 
& Pierce s buildings, Schofield Barracks and Military Prison ; hospitals 
in Cairo, and Mound City, 111. ; at Paducah, and Columbus, Ky. ; 
Pittsburg Landing, Union City, Jackson, Lagrange, Memphis, Nash 
ville, and Murfreesboro , Tenn. ; Corinth, and Vicksburg, Mississippi ; 
Huntsville, Ala. ; Helena, Clarendon, Brownsville, Duvall s Bluff, 
Fayetteville, Salem, and Little Rock, Ark. ; Fort Blunt, Cherokee 
Nation; Young s Point, Milliken s Bend, Goodrich s Landing and 
Duckport, La.; hospitals of the 6th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th army 
corps ; and of Quimby s, Hovey s, Steele s, Logan s, McPherson s, Her- 
ron s, KimbalPs, McArthur s^ and Blair s divisions ; and of Thayer s, 
Irving s, Wilder s, and the Marine brigade ; hospitals at Otterville, Pacific 



105 

City, Kolla, St. Joseph, Sulphur Springs, Sedalia, Tipton, Commerce, 
St. Charles, Ironton, Pilot Knob, Cape Girardeau, Lebanon, Patterson, 
Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield, Mo. ; Fort Scott, Fort Leav- 
enworth, Kansas; Fort Halleck, Idaho; Evansville, Ind.; Quincy, 111; 
and Keokuk, Iowa. Many stores were also issued to convalescent 
camps, and personally to large numbers of convalescent soldiers. 

Among the regiments supplied, are all the Missouri troops, from 
the 1st to the 37th infantry ; from the 1st to the 14th cavalry ; Wellfly s 
and the other Missouri batteries of artillery ; Bissell s engineer corps ; 
Benton and Fremont Hussars, and Merrill s and Curtis Horse; the 
Iowa troops, from the 1st to the 40th regiments of infantry; and the 
1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 9th Iowa cavalry; and the 1st Iowa and 
Dubuque and Dodge s batteries; the 2d, 4th, 8th, 10th, llth, 13th, 
14th, loth, 17th, 18th, 20th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32d, 33d, 36th, 
40th, 41st, 42d, 43d, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 53d, 54th, 55th, 56th, 
61st, 62d, 63d, 76th, 77th, 81st, 87th, 90th, 93d, 94th, 95th, 97th, 99th, 
101st, 103d, 106th, 108th, lllth, 113th, 114th, 116th, 117th, 118th, 122d, 
124th, 126th, 127th, 130th, 131st, 145th, and 147th Illinois infantry; 
the 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th Illinois cavalry ; and Peoria, Mercan 
tile, Board of Trade, Taylor s, and 1st Illinois batteries; the 7th, 
8th, llth, 12th, 16th 18th, 23d, 24th, 25th, 34th, 39th, 43d, 47th, 48th, 
49th, 53d, 54th, 56th, 59th, 60th, 67th, 72d, 83d, 93d, 96th, 97th, 99th, 
and 100th Indiana infantry; Coggswcll s 1st Indiana battery; and the 
1st Indiana cavalry; the 1st, 16th, 20th, 22d, 30th, 32d, 36th, 37th, 42d> 
46th, 47th, 48th, 53d, 54th, 55th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 68th, 70th, 72d, 76th, 
77th, 78th, 80th, 83d, 95th, 96th, 114th, and 120th Ohio infantry ; 5th 
Ohio cavalry; and the 2d, 4th, 8th, llth, 16th, and 26th Ohio batter 
ies: the 1st, 2d, 6th, 8th, 9th, llth, 12th, 14th, Kith, 17th, 18th, 23d, 
25th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 32d, 33d, and 41st Wisconsin infantry ; 12th 
Wisconsin battery; and 1st, 2d, and 3d Wisconsin cavalry; the 2d, 
7th, 8th, 12th, 15th, 20th, and 27th Michigan infantry ; and 2d and 3d 
Michigan cavalry; the 3d, 4th, 5th, llth, and 17th Minnesota infan- 



106 

try; and 1st Minnesota battery; the 1st, 2d, 5th, 10th, llth, [and 
13th Kansas infantry; and 1st and 5th Kansas cavalry ; the 1st Ar 
kansas, (white), 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th Arkansas colored infantry ; and 
the 1st, 3d, and 4th Arkansas cavalry ; the 5th Maine infantry ; the 
llth New Hampshire infantry ; the 32d Massachusetts infantry ; the 
17th and 178th New York infantry; the 34th and ooth New Jersey 
infantry ; and 2d New Jersey cavalry ; the 45th Pennsylvania infantry ; 
the 4th Virginia infantry; the 7th, 19th, and 22d Kentucky infantry; 
the 8th, dth, 10th, llth, and 12th Louisiana colored infantry; the 1st, 
2d, 3d, 4th, and 6th, Mississippi colored infantry; and 1st Mississippi 
colored cavalry ; the 13th United States regular army ; and the 48th, 
49th, 51st, 58th, and 59th United States colored infantry ; and 2d 
and 6th United States colored artillery. 

The hospital steamers supplied by the Western Sanitary Commission, 
are the "City of Louisiana," afterwards refitted and named the "R. C. 
Wood," the "D. A. January," the "Empress," the "Imperial," the 
"Eed Rover," the "City of Alton," the "City of Memphis," the 
"Nashville;" and of the transports, -Conveying the sick and wound 
ed, the "Ruth," the "Glasgow" the "Diana," the "Nebraska," and 
the "Baltic." 

Of the gunboats of the Mississippi naval squadron, supplies have 
been sent to nearly all, among which the following may be named : 
the Louisville, Mound City, Carondelet, Chillicothe, Judge Torrence, 
Lafayette, NaumJceag, Ratler, Autocrat, Black Hawk, Petrel, Gen 
eral Price, Romeo, Choctaw, Benton, Avenger, Tyler, Monarch, 
Switzerland, Pairpaw, Tawha, Key West, and No. 11, tliere being 
many more, to whom contributions have been sent quite recently, 
including the whole Mississippi squadron. 

In concluding the present chapter, it is deemed an appropriate place 
to mention the names of those female nurses, who, by long and faithful 
service, and special devotion to the care of the sick and wounded sol 
diers, in the St. Louis hospitals, have earned the gratitude of the West- 



107 

crn Sanitary Commission, and of those who have been the objects of 
their kind solicitude and^ self-sacrificing labors. In giving this list of 
honored names, it is not improbable that some will be omitted, who 
deserve a place in it, for it is made up under many disadvantages, 
and without all the means of a careful examination. It is also to be 
regretted that the Christian names of some are not within the knowledge 
of the writer, and cannot be easily obtained. The list is as follows : Mrs. 
M. I. Ballard, Mrs. E. O. Gibson, Mrs. L. D. Aldrich, Mrs. Houghton, 
Mrs. S. A. Plummer, Miss Carrie C. McNair, Mrs. Harriet Colfax, Mrs. 
Sarah A. Barton, Miss Ida Johnson, Miss Clark, [Miss A. L. Ostrarn, 
Mrs. Lucy E. Starr, Mrs. Olive Freeman, Mrs. Anne M. Shattuck, 
Mrs. E. C. Brendell, Mrs. E. J. Morris, Mrs. Dorothea Ogden, Mrs. E. 
C. Witherell, Miss N. A. Shepherd, the Sisters of Charity at the New 
House of Refuge Hospital, Miss Emma L. Ingalls, Miss Emily E. Par 
sons, Miss Fanny Marshall, Miss Louisa Maertz, Miss Harriet N. Phil 
lips, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Nichols, Miss Eebecca Craighead, Mrs. H. A. 


Haines, Mrs. H. A. Reid, Miss Hattie Wiswall, Mrs. Reese, Mrs. Maria 

Brooks, Mrs. Mary Allen, Mrs. Bickerdike, Miss Cornelia M. Tomp- 
kins, Mrs. M. A. Steller, Mrs. Carrie Gray, Mrs. M. J. Dykman, 
Misses Marian and Clara McClintock, Mrs. Otis, Mrs. Sager, Mrs. Pea- 
body, Mrs. Rebecca S. Smith, Miss Melcenia Elliott, Mrs. C. C. Hagar, 
Mrs. J. E. Hickox, Mrs. Lucy L. Campbell, Miss C. A. Harwood, Miss 
Deborah Daugherty, Miss Phebe Allen, Mrs. Wells, Mrs. Ferris, and 
Miss Lucy J. Bissell. 

Of these honored women, Mrs. E. C. Witherell laid down her life in 
this service. She had served very faithfully in the Eliot Hospital, St. 
Louis, for many months, and was always most gentle, kind, and 
unremitting in her attention to the sick and wounded. In the spring 
of 1862, she was transferred to the hospital steamer "Empress" as 
matron, and continued on her till the next July, when, on the 10th 
of the month she died, a victim of fever, contracted in performing the 
arduous duties of a nurse. The Western Sanitary Commission passed 



108 

a preamble and resolutions, commemorative of her virtues, in which 
she was mentioned as one who was "gentle and unobtrusive, with a 
heart warm with sympathy, and unshrinking in the discharge of duty, 
energetic, untiring 1 , ready to answer every call, and unwilling to 
spare herself where she could alleviate suffering, or minister to the 
comfort of others. In self-sacrifice and devotion to duty she was 
regarded as " not a whit behind the bravest hero on the battle field," 
giving, as she did, her life for her country and humanity. 

If the history of the present war shall ever be faithfully written, it 
will contain many touching incidents of woman s heroism, and a noble 
record of the inestimable services rendered by her, in the hospitals 
of the army, living in an impure atmosphere, amid scenes of suffering 
and death, that the soldiers of the Union may be gently nursed and 
cared for, and sent forth again to do battle for a righteous cause. A 
young woman is now present to the mind of the writer, and her name 

is in the foregoing list, who came from her country home, in Iowa, a 


volunteer to nurse her country s defenders, among whom were all of 

her own brothers, who were old enough to fight. She had education, 
strength, and a holy resolution to undertake the hardest service she 
could find. For months she served in the hospitals of Tennessee, went 
home alone in charge of the corpse of a neighbor of her father s, who 
had died in the hospital at Memphis, returned to St. Louis, and when, 
in one of the large hospitals, a volunteer was called for, to serve in the 
erysipelas ward, a position of danger and of trying service, while 
others were reluctant, she made a ready and willing offer of herself, 
was accepted, and spent months in the cheerful performance of her 
duty there, without a murmur or complaint. She is still filling a 
position of arduous service and much responsibility, and may occa 
sionally be seen, leading a blind soldier, in his visits to the surgeon, 
for the treatment of his eyes, taking delight in every opportunity of 
doing good to those who are giving their lives for their country. 
Another one we also knew, whose name is likewise in this simple 



109 

record, who, at Helena, Ark., in the fall and winter of 1862-3, was 
almost the only female nurse in the hospitals there, going from one 
building to another, in which the sick were quartered, when the streets 
were almost impassable with mud, administering sanitary stores, and 
making delicate preparations of food, spending her own money in pro 
curing milk and other articles that were scarce and difficult to obtain, 
and doing an amount of work which few persons could sustain, living 
without the pleasant society to which she had been accustomed at 
home, never murmuring, always cheerful and kind, preserving in the 
midst of a military camp such gentleness, strength, and purity of char 
acter, that all rudeness of speech ceased in her presence, and, as she 
went from room to room, she was received with silent benedictions, 
or an audible " God bless you, dear lady, for your kindness to me," 
from some poor sufferer s heart. 

When such women are willing to leave their pleasant homes, and 
forsake almost every comfort, for such a service, and in. such a cause, 
there is still hope for the land of their birth ; for while virtue and 
self-sacrifice remain, the cause of liberty and free government cannot 
perish from the earth, but must grow stronger and more triumphant 
with every conflict, as ages roll away. 



CHAPTER X. 



THE FREEDMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI FIRST EFFORTS FOR THEIR RELIEF AT HELENA 
Miss MARIA R. MANN MR. YEATMAN S VISITS TO THE FREEDMEN, FROM ISLAND 
No. 10 TO NATCHEZ CHAPLAIN H. D. FISHER DETAILED AS AN AGENT OF THE 
COMMISSION TO MAKE AN APPEAL FOR AID IN NEW ENGLAND GENEROUS CON 
TRIBUTIONS RECEIVED MR. YEATMAN S REPORT CONDITION OF THE FREEDMEN 
THE SUBJECT PRESENTED TO THE ATTENTION OF THE GOVERNMENT MR. W. P. 
MELLEN AND MR. YEATMAN RETURN TO CARRY INTO EFFECT AN IMPROVED SYSTEM 
OF LEASING THE ABANDONED PLANTATIONS, AND OF SECURING BETTER WAGES TO 
THE LABORERS SECOND VISIT TO WASHINGTON MILITARY PROTECTION GIVEN 
NATIONAL AND OTHER FREEDMEN S RELIEF ASSOCIATIONS MESSRS. MARSH AND 
FOSTER GO TO VICKSBURG AS AGENTS TEACHERS SENT DEATH OF ONE OF THE 
NUMBER FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED FREEDMEN ARRIVE WITH THE RETURN 
OF GEN. SHERMAN S ARMY FROM MERIDIAN THEIR CONDITION AID GIVEN- 
UNION REFUGEES OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY REFUGEE HOME AT ST. Louis 
REFUGEES AT PILOT KNOB LABORS OF SUPERINTENDENT A. WRIGHT REFUGEE 
HOME AT VICKSBURG SCHOOL FOR REFUGEE CHILDREN. 



INCIDENTAL to its great work of ministering to the sick and wounded 
of the Western armies and navy, and of promoting the health and en 
ergy of our soldiers in the field, the Western Sanitary Commission has 
felt itself called to devote a portion of its labors to the relief of forty 
thousand freedmen, along the banks of the Mississippi river, from 
Columbus, Ky., to Natchez, many of whom, in their transition from the 
ownership and control of slave masters, to the condition of freedmen, 
have suffered untold hardships and privations, in a country stripped by 
the ravages of war, with no demand for labor, except in a few favored 
localities, nor any means of providing for their most urgent wants, food, 
clothing, and shelter. Seeing in them the victims of a life-long oppres 
sion, thrown destitute and almost naked upon the tender mercies of our 
armies in the field, many of them dying of exposure, hardship, and dis 
ease, the members of the Western Commission could not turn a deaf 
ear to their silent appeals for assistance and Christian sympathy. 

Their attention was first called to the sufferings of these people at 



Ill 

Helena, in the beginning of the winter of 1862-3, where there were 
between three and four thousand, men, women and children, part of 
them living in a place back of the town, established for them, by Gen. 
C. C. Washburne, the previous summer, called " Camp Ethiopia," in 
the condemned and cast-off tents of the army, and in caves and shelters 
of brush the best arrangement that could be made at the time, but 
wholly insufficient for winter. Others dwelt in the poorer houses of 
the town, sixteen and twenty persons occupying the same room, and 
others still in the few huts that remained on the neighboring planta 
tions. The able-bodied men had been worked very hard on the fortifi 
cations of the place, and by the quartermasters, in unloading coal from 
barges and freight from steamboats, and also as grave-diggers, team 
sters and wood choppers, and in all manner of fatigue duty. For these 
services many of them never received any compensation, through the 
neglect of the officers, having them in charge, to keep proper pay rolls, 
and the indifference of several of the military commanders, immedi 
ately succeeding Maj. Gen. Curtis. At one time an order was issued 
forbidding their payment, on the ground that their masters would have 
a claim against the Government for their services. All the while they 
were compelled to do most of the hard work of the place, and press- 
gangs were sent out to take them in the streets and put them to work, 
sometimes by night as well as by day, taking no account of their names 
or labor, and dismissing them without compensation. Sometimes they 
were shot down, and murdered with impunity. 

Under such circumstances they were not able to provide for their 
families, and rations had to be drawn for them from the Government. 
Herded together as they were, in camps and the poorest dwellings, it was 
no wonder that they sickened and died at a fearful rate. The writer of 
this, who was then on duty at Helena, has seen the streets patroled by 
mounted orderlies, to gather up the "contrabands," as they were called, 
for forced labor, while their women and children were driven from their 
little houses, to Camp Ethiopa, under an arbitrary military rule, with 



112 

a view of expelling them from the town ; and there being no additional 
shelter at the camp, they had to suffer there, till the order became par 
tially a dead letter, by reason of its inhumanity. A military order was 
as one time issued, to carry them beyond the lines, under which many 
of them were delivered up to rebel masters, in violation of the Articles 
of War. "With hundreds of sick, their only hospital was a small build 
ing, not sufficient for the care of twenty persons. 

It was under these circumstances, that the Western Sanitary Com 
mission, early in January, 1863, sent to Helena, that excellent and 
philanthropic woman, Miss Maria R. Mann, with a large supply of 
sanitary stores, clothing, hospital goods, furniture, stove, &c., to fit up 
a better hospital for the sick of this class, and to minister generally to 
their wants. 

At this time, Rev. Samuel Sawyer, chaplain of the 47th Indiana in 
fantry, and Rev. J. G. Forman, chaplain of the od Missouri infantry, 
both of them on detached service at Helena, were doing what they 
could for these poor people, and welcomed the arrival of Miss Mann 
with great satisfaction. Mr. F. secured rooms for her and her stores in the 
same house occupied by himself and others, and the work of ameliora 
tion was immediately commenced. The hospital w T as soon renovated; 
and a month or two later, on the removal of a portion of the army, a 
larger and better building was obtained, when the sick of the freed 
people were better situated, and army surgeons were detailed to attend 
them. It was now known that a change of policy towards the emanci 
pated people had been inaugurated by the Government. Adjutant 
General Thomas was on his way to look after these people, and organ 
ize regiments of fighting men from them, and the military commanders 
became more willing to grant favors in their behalf. 

In the Spring a splendid regiment of the 1st Arkansas infantry, A. D., 
was recruited in a few days, commanded by Col. Wm. F. Wood, and a 
second was commenced. Miss Mann remained till the following Au 
gust, performing a great amount of useful service to the wives and 



113 

children of these men, giving" clothing to the poor and needy, selling to 
those who had money to buy with, and replenishing her stock with the 
proceeds ; teaching women to cut and make their own garments, provid 
ing medicines for the sick, visiting them in their camps and dwellings, 
giving them excellent advice, and in every possible way improving their 
condition. 

Her labors there were also sustained by friends in New England, with 
whom she was in correspondence, and several thousand dollars worth 
of clothing, material for clothing, medicines, etc., were* used by her in 
the most judicious manner, Rev. Dr. Eliot, at St. Louis, acting for 
the Commission, as Treasurer of a special fund for this purpose, contri 
buted mostly by humane people in New England. Rev. Jonathan E. 
Thomas, chaplain 56th Ohio infantry, was also detailed to assist in this 
work, and his humanity and kindness to the poor " contrabands/ as 
well as the faithful service of Rev. Mr. Sawyer, and the devoted labors 
of Miss Mann, will long be remembered by them, and by the writer of 
this sketch, who was providentially associated with them, for a time, in 
their benevolent work. It is due to Major Generals S. R. Curtis, C. C. 
"Washbume, and Prentiss, who were in command at Helena for a brief 
period, to say that it was not during their administration of affairs that 
the evils here narrated occurred, and that they were always ready to do 
whatever was in their power, for the amelioration of the condition of the 
colored people at that post. 

During the month of October, 63, the condition of the freed people, 
along the Mississippi river, again enlisted the earnest consideration of 
the Western Sanitary Commission. The same state of things that had 
existed at Helena, was reported as existing at many other points, be 
tween Columbus, Kentucky, and Xatchez, chiefly the result of neglect, 
inability to procure remunerative employment, failure of quartermasters 
to enroll and pay the freedmen their wages, and the helpless condition of 
many, in consequence of the taking of the strong and able-bodied men 
H 



114 

for United States soldiers, leaving their wives and children, for a time, 
unprovided for. 

On the 6th of November the Commission addressed a letter to the 
President of the United States, calling- his attention to the condition of 
these people, the necessity of assistance, before another winter should 
set in, and proposing to assume the labor of soliciting contributions 
and extending relief, as an incidental part of its work. The proposal 
was favorably regarded, assurances were given by the Secretary of War 
that all possible aid would be rendered, in the way of transportation 
and otherwise, and, a few weeks later, Mr. Yeatman made a special 
visit down the river, to ascertain and report the actual state of things. 

At the same time, Maj. Gen. Schofield, who gave his hearty approval 
and sympathy to the work, detailed, by special order, Chaplain H. D. 
Fisher, of the 5th Kansas Cavalry, to visit New England, under the 
direction of the Commission, and make a suitable appeal for contribu 
tions for this object. Mr. Fisher s visit was entirely successful, and 
very large contributions of clothing, material for clothing, shoes, and 
other necessary articles, amounting in value to about $30,000, and 
$13,000 in money, were obtained, by a committee in Boston, composed 
of Chas. G. Loring, Chairman, M. S. Scudder, Secretary, Alpheus 
Hardy, Treasurer, A. A. Lawrence, James M. Barnard, Wm. Endi- 
cott, Jr., Edward Atkinson, and sixteen others. These contributions 
came from Boston, Salem and other neighboring towns and cities, to 
whom the appeals of the Western Sanitary Commission have never 
been made in vain. Many valuable boxes of clothing material and 
shoes were sent by the Boston Educational Commission for Freedmen, 
of which Messrs. Barnard, Atkinson and Endicott, of the other com 
mittee, were also members. 

On the 17th of December, Mr. Yeatman returned from his first visit 
to the freedmen of the lower Mississippi, and made a full report to the 
Commission, of which five thousand copies were printed and circulated. 
He stopped at Island No. 10, at Memphis, Helena, Goodrich s Landing, 



115 

Milliken s Bend, Young s Point and Vicksburg, the plantations of Jeff 
and Joe Davis, and at Natchez, and returning, visited some of these 
points a second time. 

The report, consisting of sixteen pages of closely printed matter, is so 
full of information that it is impossible to make even an abstract of it 
for this work. It is sufficient to say, that he found about forty thou 
sand of these people in camps, at the above and other places, between 
Cairo and Xatchez, in various degrees of poverty and wretchedness; 
that among them he found several volunteer agents, missionaries, and 
teachers, from the United Presbyterians, the Friends, and the Freed- 
men s Aid Associations, laboring for their benefit as well as they could, 
without system or co-operation; that in the cotton growing region, from 
Goodrich s Landing to Vicksburg, on the abandoned plantations, leased 
by the Government, he saw over twenty colored men, and heard of 
others who had raised from five to ten bales of cotton, on their own 
account, proving their capacity for self-maintenance, with a fair chance ; 
that where they were laboring under the lessees their wages were whol 
ly inadequate, being but five dollars per month for women, and seven 
dollars per month for men, with subsistence of the poorest kind ; that 
they suffered many wrongs under this system; that when they were em 
ployed by Government Quartermasters, to cut wood for steamboats, they 
were frequently not paid ; that they were charged an unreasonable 
price for goods, and Were really suffering wrongs and hardships, equal 
to those they had borne in a state of slavery, while they were enjoying 
none of the blessings of liberty. 

Mr. Yeatman, in his report, thus sets forth some of the wrongs of 
these people: " Within the city of Memphis, not directly connected 
with any of the camps, or with the colored regiments, there are some 
three thousand freed men and women, mostly freed men, who are em 
ployed in various ways, and at various rates of compensation. Those 
employed by Government, receive but ten dollars per month, while 



110 

many could readily earn Irom thirty to fifty dollars per month. Those 
thus employed are outside of the military organization. 

"To give an instance: One quartermaster told me that he had in his 
employment, a harness maker, to whom he could only pay ten dollars 
per month, while he was paying white men, doing the same work, 
forty-five dollars per month; and that the colored man could readily 
procure the same wages, were he allowed to seek a market for his labor 
in the same town. I saw a number of colored men pressed into service, 
(not military,) to labor at the rate of ten dollars per month, one of 
whom petitioned to be released, as he had a good situation at thirty 
dollars per month. The firemen on the steamboat on which I was a 
passenger from St. Louis to Memphis, were all colored, and were re 
ceiving forty-five dollars per month. These men were afraid to go ashore 
at Memphis, for fear of being picked up and forced into Government 
employment, at less than or ^-fourth their existing wages. 

"Besides the fact that men are thus pressed into service, thousands 
have been employed for weekj and months, who have never received 
any thing but promises to pay. This negligence and failure to comply 
with obligations, have greatly disheartened the poor slave, who comes 
forth at the call of the President, and supposes himself a free man, and 
that, by leaving his rebel master, he is inflicting a blow on the enemy, 
ceasing to labor and to provide food for him and for the armies of the 
rebellion. Thus he was promised freedom, but how is it with him ? 
He is seized in the street, and ordered to go and help unload a steam 
boat, for w^hich he will be paid, or sent to work in the trenches, or to 
labor for some quartermaster, or to chop wood for the Government. 
He labors for months, and at last is only paid with promises, unless 
perchance it may be with kicks, cuffs, and curses. 

"Under such treatment, he feels that he has exchanged one master 
for many masters ; these continued abuses sadden and depress him, and 
he sighs to return to his former home and master. He, at least, fed, 



117 

clothed, and sheltered him. Something should be done, and 1 doubt 
not, will be done, to correct these terrible abuses, when the proper 
authorities are made to comprehend them. The President s proclama 
tion should not thus be made a living- lie, as the Declaration of In 
dependence has too long- been, in asserting the inalienable rights 
of man, while the nation continued to hold millions of human beings 
in bondage." 

In another place he says : 

" The poor negroes are everywhere greatly depressed at their con 
dition. They all testify that if they were only paid their little wages as 
they earn them, so that they could purchase clothing, and were furnished 
with the provisions promised, they could stand it ; but to work and get 
poorly paid, poorly fed, and not doctored when sick, is more than they 
can endure. Among the thousands whom I questioned, none showed 
the least unwillingness to work. If they could only be paid fair wages, 
they would be contented and happy. They do not realize that they are 
free men. They say that they are told they are, but then they are taken 
and hired out to men who treat them, so far as providing for them is 
concerned, far worse than their " secesh" masters did. Besides this they 
feel that their pay or hire is lower now than it was when the " secesh" 
used to hire them. This is true/ 

And yet, under all their accumulated wrongs, these people manifest a 
wonderful faith in Divine Providence ; they seem to be sensible that God 
has some better thing in store for them, and to realize that, through this 
wilderness of suffering and sorrow is the only ^ath to their deliverance. 
Mrs. Porter, at Camp Holly Spring, near Memphis, related to Mr. 
Yeatman an instance of this. When she first went there to teach, an 
old negro came out to meet her, whose head had been whitened by the 
frosts of ninety winters, and who was almost blind, supporting himself by 
his staff. "With his hand stretched forth he accosted her, saying, " "Well, 
you hab come at las . I se been spectin you, lookin for you, for de 
las twenty years. I knowed you would come, and now I rejoice." She 



118 

said, "I have come to teach you." " Yes, yes, I know it, and I tank 
de Lord." 

At this same camp Mr. Yeatman saw a colored man, who, after his 
return from his work, was seated in his cabin, surrounded by his own 
children and a" few others from the adjoining cabins, teaching them their 
lessons for the morrow. At another school he met an old woman, aged 
eighty-five, who was intent on her books. When asked if she was not 
too old to begin to learn, she said, " Xo," that she must learn now or 
not at all, as she had but little time left, and she must make the most of 
it. When asked what good it would do her, she said " she could read 
de bible, and teach de young." At other places similar instances of 
faith and piety, and the desire of knowledge, were witnessed. 

Mr. Yeatman was most favorably impressed with the capacity of the 
negroes to become soldiers. He gives an account of several successful 
expeditions, under Col. Farrar, at Natchez, in which they brought 
in prisoners. In one instance he says, " The prisoners were much 
chagrined at being taken by negroes, and asked if they could not have 
another guard to take them through town ; but as they were captured 
by negroes, they had to be guarded and escorted by them." 

He says of another experience he had, " In going from Goodrich s 
Landing to Milliken s Bend, I was escorted by twenty colored troops, 
mounted on mules captured from the enemy. They rode gallantly and 
fearlessly, putting our their advance guard and arranging themselves 
in true military order, conducting themselves with as much propriety 
as an equal number of well behaved gentlemen. When we arrived at 
the Bend, and dashed into the fort, surrounded by troops, my com- 
panion Dr. May and myself, dressed in citizen s clothes, and mounted 
in an old wagon, were taken for prisoners, and our escort was called 
out to by the soldiers, "Rebs! Rebs!" and an amount of ivory dis 
played that 1 have seldom seen exceeded. 

"I could but compare my first visit to this point years ago, when I 
landed to take charge of a large estate, as executor, with my present 



119 

one. It was here in these swamps that I first saw and knew what a dead, 
leaden thing slavery is, and the wrong and injustice which could be 
inflicted, even by one, considered the kindest and most humane of mas 
ters. I doubt not the seed was then sown in my heart which has since 
germinated, and makes me now not only willing, but anxious to labor 
for these poor sons of soil. What a revolution a few short years has 
brought about ! Who can doubt that an infinitely wise and just God 
governs the world?" 

On submitting his report to the Commission, Mr. Yeatman was dele 
gated to visit Washington, and present this subject to the Government. 
In doing so, he also presented a series of printed "suggestions of a plan 
of organization for freed labor and the leasing of plantations along the 
Mississippi river." His report and suggestions were most favorably 
received at Washington, and he was urged and authorized to accom 
pany Mr. W. P. Mellen, the special supervising agent of the Treasury 
Department, to Vicksburg, to mature and carry them into effect. This 
trust of the Government he accepted, as a voluntary work, declining 
an official position, which was offered him ; and he proceeded a second 
time, now in company with Mr. Mellen, to the region of the leased 
plantations, near Vicksburg. 

The new plan of labor in view of the high price of cotton, and 
the profit to be derived from its cultivation provided that the freed- 
men should receive from 812 to $25 a month, according to age, sex, 
ability, etc.; that there should be a secure method of enforcing the 
contract for labor and wages ; that the lessee should furnish goods at an 
advance of ten per cent. 011 the cost; that there should be established 
"Home Farms," under a superintendent, for the young and old, the 
infirm and destitute; that there should be schools and teachers, for 
all children under twelve years old ; and that a tax should be paid to 
the Government of four dollars, on each bale of cotton raised, and of 
two cents per pound, for the support of the "Home Farms," and 
the schools; and that the system should be carried out by commis- 



120 

sioners of plantations, acting under the Treasury Department, who 
should see that justice is administered; that the freed people are treated 
as free, and encouraged to respect and observe the institutions of 
religion, marriage, and all the customs of virtuous and civilized 
society, and to become worthy of the blessings of a Christian civ 
ilization. 

On their way down the river, Messrs. Me lien and Yeatrnan had a new 
form of lease, and printed regulations prepared at Memphis, and on ar 
riving at Vicksburg, inaugurated the new order of things. At first it 
met with some opposition from the old lessees, who saw in it a diminu 
tion of their gains; but seeing that it was promulgated with authority, 
it was acquiesced in, local agents were appointed, and about six hundred 
plantations were immediately leased, under the new system. 

The withdrawal of the troops, from some of the districts, had caused 
considerable discouragement at first, but on a second visit of Messrs. 
Mellon and Yeatman to Washington, the Secretary of War was induced 
to give the services of the Marine Brigade, for the purpose of affording 
protection to the plantations and freed people ; and the work of growing 
cotton, the present year, is already progressing with satisfaction to all 
concerned, with a great improvement in the prospects of the laborers, 
and their ultimate success as independent cultivators of the soil ; for 
the more intelligent of them do not fail to see the advantages of pos 
sessing land of their own, and are ambitious to work for themselves, 
instead of a master. In almost every instance where they attempted, 
last year, to cultivate cotton, on their own account, they were entirely 
successful, numerous instances of which Mr. Yeatman gave in his pub 
lished report. 

While these changes were being effected, a National Freedman s 
Relief Association had been organized^!! New York city, and a North 
western Freedmen s Relief Commission at Chicago, besides which there 
were two similar associations already existing at Cincinnati, and another 
was formed at Indianapolis, Harmonious relations were at once estab- 



lished between these Associations and the Western Sanitary Commission. 

On the llth December, Messrs. Win. L. Marsh and U.K. Foster, from 
the National Freedmen s lielief Association of New York, arrived at St. 
Louis, with a letter of introduction from Hon. F. G. Shaw, the Presi 
dent of the Association, on their way to Vicksbtirg, to establish an 
agency there, for the distribution of goods to the needy, the sale of them 
to those who could pay, and for the employment of teachers to instruct 
the people. Mr. Yeatnian was at the time down the river; but these 
gentlemen, seeing the advantages of co-operation and unity of purpose, 
consented to act also as agents of the Western Sanitary Commission, 
and thereby secured an arrangement for the re-shipment of their goods 
from St. Louis to Vicksburg, which they were expecting from New 
York, and the Commission also secured the benefit of their valuable 
services, as agents in the field. 

Very large shipments of clothing soon began to arrive from New 
York, directed to Mr. Marsh, and were forwarded with shipments from 
the Western Sanitary Commission, at the earliest period. They were 
unfortunately delayed several weeks by the severe cold of December 
and January, which closed the navigation for awhile, but were ulti 
mately received, and accomplished great good. Of the proceeds of the 
goods sold by these gentlemen, on account of the Western Sanitary 
Commission, they have returned $1000. Their services have been in 
every respect most useful and satisfactory, and have been extended to 
Natchez, and other places besides Vicksburg. 

D uring the winter they wrote to the Commission to send them two 
teachers, to assist in the work of instruction and distribution at Vicks 
burg. Miss A. M. Knight, of Sun Prairie, Wis., and Miss Sarah J. 
Hagar, of this city, were commissioned, and their services have been 
very acceptable and useful. In February, Mrs. Lydia H. Daggett, of 
Boston, a very excellent and capable person, was sent into the same 
field, to act under the direction of Mr. Marsh. 

Within a few days, the friends of Miss Hagar have been pained to 



122 

receive the news of her unexpected death, at Vicksburg, from a sudden 
attack of disease. She was a devoted, and estimable young woman. 
It is due to her memory, that the following letter, from Mr. Marsh, 
should have a place here, since she died in the service of the Commis 
sion, and in so good a cause. 

"NATCHEZ, May 6, 1864. 
" REV. J. G. FORMAN, 

"Sec ry Western Sanitary Commission: 
"My DEAR SIR You have already received from Mr. Mann, the sad 



intelligence of the death of Miss Hagar, one of the teachers sent by 
you, to labor among the freed people in this valley. 

"I was at Natchez when she was taken ill, and did not receive 
intelligence of it in time to reach Vicksburg, until after her death; 
which occurred on Tuesday, May 3d. 

"In her death, the Association have lost a most earnest, devoted 
and Christian laborer. She entered upon her duties at a time of great 
suffering and destitution, among the freedmen, at Yicksburg, and when 
we were much in need of aid. The fidelity with which she performed 
her labors, and the deep interest she manifested in them, soon endeared 
her to us all. "We shall miss her sorely; but the noble example she 
has left us, will encourage us to greater elforts and more patient toil. 
She seemed to realize the magnitude and importance of the work upon 
which she had entered, and the need of Divine assistance, in its per 
formance. She seemed also to realize what sacrifice might be demand 
ed of one engaged in a work like this, and the summons, although sud 
den, did not find her unprepared to meet it. She has done a noble 
work, and done it well. The sacrifice she made, is the greatest one 
that can be made for any cause, the sacrifice of life. i Greater love 
than this, hath no man ; that a man lay down his life for his friends. 
She has gone to receive her reward. 

"The family thus suddenly bereaved, and plunged in affliction, by 
this sad occurrence, has our sympathies and prayers. When they meet 



123 

to perforfn the last sad rites due to the dead, may they not look in the 
close, narrow, burial-case for their loved one, but rather raise their eyes 
to behold a spirit, freed from earthly fetters, clothed in spotless robes, 
and wearing the crown bestowed only upon those who prove faithful 

to the end. Respectfully, 

" W. L. MARSH." 

Besides the labors of Messrs. Marsh and Foster at Vicksburg, the 
regular agent of the Commission, Mr. X. M. Mann, has taken a deep 
interest in the same work, and though much occupied in the superin 
tendence of the Soldiers Home, and the care of the refugees, he has 
found time to lend a helping hand. An interesting letter was received 
from him, dated the 7th of March, in which he gives a full account of 
the arrival of the four thousand five hundred freedmen, who returned 
with Gen ? l Sherman s Army, from Meridian, and of his distributions of 
food and clothing among them. " Anticipating a need," he says, "I 
had drawn heavily on the Commissary for bread and had a large amount 
on hand. I had the ambulance of the Western Sanitary Commission 
loaded with this bread, and taking along half a dozen kind-hearted 
soldiers, we went the whole length of this wagon train and gave to each 
family a loaf or two. It was but a little thing to do, but the eagerness 
with which they took and ate it told how grateful it was to them. I 
assure you I never was more happy than that night, amid all that 
wretchedness, giving bread to those hungry creatures. That night they 
lay on the levee, in their wagons, and on the ground. Many who came 
from plantations this side of Jackson were without conveyances, having 
walked in, bearing their " effects" on their heads. The next morning 
they were sent on Steamboats to camps at Davis Bend, and Oswego 
Landing, and in company with Mrs. Harvey, of Wisconsin, and Miss 
Dart, a teacher from New England, I went to Oswego with a quantity 
of old clothing, furnished by the National Freedmeirs Relief Associa 
tion, of New York, for distribution. To all the most destitute, or rather 
the most torn and naked, for all are destitute, we gave some of the 



124 

more necessary articles of clothing-. 1 only wish that the donors of 
those articles could have witnessed the distribution. I do not know 
where on the face of the globe, out of the Southern Confederacy, a 
thousand people could be got tog-ether that would present to charity so 
strong an appeal as these. I wish I could send to every Northern home 
of plenty, a photograph of these bare-footed, ragged, half-naked 
creatures, as they appeared to me that day. They had been fed, and 
although their destitute, filthy, tattered and homeless condition was 
enough to draw tears from a heart of stone, many were cheerful and 
gave evidence that, with a very little comfort, they would be happy. 
The endurance of the negro has always been a marvel. It was never 
so much so as now. It is his difference from the white man, in this 
respect, that is to save him, if he is saved, in this great trial." 

The Union refugees have also received a share in the labors of the 
Western Sanitary Commission. During the fall and winter of 1861-2 
many refugees were driven, by the rebels, from the interior and south 
west parts of Missouri to St. Louis, and were in a condition of want and 
suffering. A home, on Elm street, was opened for the most helpless 
and destitute, and others were assisted, according to their necessities. 
Mr. John Caveuder, an old and respectable citizen, eminent for his 
integrity and Christian character, devoted his whole time to their care. 
A fund was raised at first, by a call of the Western Sanitary Commis 
sion, amounting to about $3,800, besides a large amount of clothing. 
A further sum of $15,000 was raised by an order of Maj. Gen. Halleck, by 
assessing the wealthy class of secessionists, in St. Louis, for this object, 
and from this resource Mr. Cavender was able to render very important 
aid to these persecuted and destitute people. For two years he took 
almost the entire charge of this work, in which he had the counsel ot 
the members of the Commission, and was sometimes aided with 
funds for the purpose, when other sources failed. During the winter 
of 1863, Mr. Cavender, whose health had been failing, was taken sick 
and died, and there was but little demand from that time, till the next 



125 

September, for any further aid to the refugees. In this charitable 
service no one could have been more faithful and constant than Mr. 
Cavender had been; and in other relations and duties, during- an 
honorable and well spent life, he had been distinguished as the upright 
citizen, and patron of Christian learning 1 and philanthropy, and his 
death was greatly lamented. 

In August, 63, there began to be further arrivals of destitute refugees 
from Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. 
Many of them were women, with small children, poorly clad, often 
barefooted, brought up the river on Government steamers, and landed 
here, without the means of procuring a place of shelter for a single 
night. Their husbands had been killed in the war, had been murdered 
by guerrillas, had been conscripted into the rebel army, or had died 
from the effects of exposure in lying out in the woods, in dens and 
caves of the earth, to escape the blood-hounds of the rebel conscription. 
At first these poor refugee families fell into the hands of the police 
but the police station was not a fit place for them, although some of 
them found shelter there. 

One day, late in August, the President of the Commission was called 
to see what could be done for a poor blind woman, and her family of 
six children, who had walked all the way from Arkansas to Holla, Mo., 
her little children leading her several hundred miles by the hand, and 
from Rolla they had been brought on the cars to St. Louis, as a charity. 
They were in an upper unfurnished room of the Pacific hotel, the 
woman, and a boy about twelve years old, being sick, and she totally 
blind. They sat upon the floor, clothed in rags, and presented a sight 
that would have moved the stoutest heart to pity and to tears. 

The children of this woman, whose name was Mrs. Hargrave, were 
adopted by Rev. Dr. Eliot, and placed in the Mission school on Eighth 
street, and the mother was sent to the St. Louis hospital, kept by the 
Sisters of Charity. Her youngest children she had never seen, they 
having been born since she became blind. The parting of the blind 



126 

mother from her little ones was a touching- scene. But she gave them 
up willingly, knowing it to be a necessity, and for their good. At the 
Sisters hospital, her health, after several months, was restored, and, 
by a surgical operation of Dr. Pope, the cataracts were removed from 
her eyes, and she was able to see. Her children were then brought to 
her, and the meeting can be better imagined than described. 

A little later, another refugee mother came, and, with two little 
children, stood at the door of the Commission, on Fifth street, having 
no place to go. They were barefooted, dusty with travel, and mise 
rably clad. The mother told her sad story. 

Her husband had been murdered by guerrillas, near Fort Smith, 
Ark., and she had walked, with her children, to Holla, riding part of 
the way in Government wagons, and had reached St. Louis, as a place 
of refuge. She had to stay at the police station that night. The next 
day, three women and children arrived from Jackson, Tenn., in an 
equally destitute condition. There was no alternative but to open 
another refugee home. The President of the Commission rented the 
house, 39 Walnut street, for the purpose, on the 1st of September, and 
from that date to the present, not less than fifteen hundred refugees 
have been sheltered, provided for, or sent on their way to friends, or 
places of employment, in the free States. By an arrangement with 
Generals Schofield and Rosecrans, rations and fuel are allowed from 
the Government, and the rent is paid by the Quartermaster; but the 
incidental expenses of the home, and the charities in clothing, money, 
&c., are provided by the Commission. It is under the superintendence 
of Rev. Mr. Forman, the Secretary of the Commission, and its domestic 
arrangements are conducted by Miss M. Elliott, as Matron, who, in a 
spirit of true self-sacrifice, devotes her time and strength to the service 
of these poor outcasts from the rebellion. The expenses and charities 
of the Home, and for destitute refugee families in the city, and to those 
going beyond St. Louis, have been about $1,000 in six months, beyond 
the aid received from the Government in rations, fuel, rent, and trans- 



127 

portation. Several valuable boxes of clothing have been received from 
New England; also contributions of money from Boston, from the 
Ladi es Loyal League, of St. Louis, and from various other sources. 
The receipts for this charity and for the Freedmen, and the disburse 
ments are kept separate from the other funds and resources of the 
Commission, so that there is no misappropriation of what is designed 
for the soldiers to these objects. Contributors are always requested 
to designate the object of their charities, and if no designation is 
made, they go into the sanitary fund. 

The number of refugees at Pilot Knob, at the present time, is over 
1700 persons, mostly women and children. They are chiclly from 
Arkansas, and are under the superintendence of a faithful and excellent 
man, Chaplain A. Wright, who has been specially assigned to that duty. 
Contributions to the value of several thousand dollars in goods, 
clothing, shoes, medicines for the sick, hardware and sash to assist 
in building cheap houses, and over $1000 in money have been sent 
to Mr. Wright, and expended in a judicious manner. At a time of 
special distress the Commission sent him fifteen barrels of clothing ? 
eighty dollars in material for clothing, (purchased by Mrs. Genera} 
Fisk ) twenty dollars in money, sixty dollars in medicines, thirty dollars 
worth of glazed sash, half a dozen axes for women, who cut their own 
wood ; and of the other contributions a large portion was collected by 
Mrs. Fisk, who made visits to Pilot Knob, and was most energetic and 
successful in her endeavors to relieve and benefit these poor people. 
Brig. Gen. Fisk, also, while commanding the District, did every thing 
in his power to minister to their wants. 

The Western Commission also responded to an appeal from Mr. J. R. 
Brown, agent U. S. Sanitary Commission at Leavenworth City, for aid 
to refugees at that post, and at Fort Scott, Kansas, and sent thirty 
boxes of clothing to those points, and a thousand Union Spellers for 
schools of the freed children at Leavenworth. 

At Rolla, Springfield, Cape Girardeau, Cairo, Columbus, Memphis, 



1-28 

Helena, and Vicksburg, there are multitudes of these poor refugees, 
numbered by thousands, who have come to us from rebel persecution 
and outrage., or have been driven, by the ravages of war, and the 
destitution of food and clothing, to seek a refuge within our lines. 
Humanity requires that they should be aided, at least to the extent 
of saving life, and to "enable them to reach places, where employment 
and subsistance can be found. 

Recently a necessity has arisen for a Refugee Home at Vicksburg, 
and the Commission has established one there, under the superinten 
dence of Mr. Mann, with Mrs. Maria Brooks for matron. It was 
opened on the 1st of April, and has already received and aided 2,160 
of these poor people. On the 7th of May, there Avere 620 remaining, 
mostly women and children. Transportation had been furnished to 
those wishing to emigrate North, and employment for the able-bodied 
men. 

The large number of destitute white children, belonging to these 
tamilics, having no means of instruction, has induced the Commission 
to send a teacher, Miss G. C. Chapman, to Vicksburg, to open a school 
for them, in connection with the Home, also under Mr. Mann s super 
intendence. This lady is now on her way, with a supply of school 
books for this purpose. 

In all these enterprises of benevolence, Mr. Mann, as the agent 
of the Commission, has had the sanction, advice and co-operation of 
General McArthur, commanding at Vicksburg, who has assigned to 
the Commission suitable buildings for the purpose, and shown his 
great friendliness in this and many other ways. 



CHAPTER XI. 



RESOURCES OF THE WESTERN SANITARY COMMISSION APPROPRIATIONS BY THE 
GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE OF MISSOURI LIBERALITY OF ST. LOUIS-DONATIONS 
FROM MASSACHUSETTS AND CALIFORNIA GIFTS OF THE PEOPLE CONTRIBUTIONS 
FROM THE WOMEN OF THE LOYAL STATES DISTRIBUTIONS BY THE COMMISSION 
NUMBER OF ARTICLES GIVEN ESTIMATED VALUE, ONE AND A HALF MILLIONS or 
DOLLARS EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION FOR SALARIES OF AGENTS, RENTS, AND 
DISTRIBUTION OF STORES LESS THAN ONE PER CENT. FRIENDSHIP OF MAJOR 
GENERALS FREMONT, HAI.LECK, CURTIS, SCHOFIELD, ROSECRANS, SHERMAN, AND 
LIEUT. GEN. GRANT FOR THE COMMISSION ALSO, OF ASSISTANT SURGEON GENERAL 
WOOD, GEN. ALLEN, COLONELS PARSONS, MYERS, HAINES, AND MAJ. SMITH LADIES 
UNION AID SOCIETY OF ST. Louis ITS WORK RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS 
FREEDMEN S RELIEF SOCIETY OF ST. Louis ITS WOHK RECEIPTS AND DISBURSE 
MENTS MISSISSIPPI VALLEY SANITARY FAIR CONCLUSION. 



The resources of the Western Sanitary Commission have consisted of 
the voluntary contributions of the people of the loyal States. Noble 
men and women in the leading towns and citizens of New England, in. 
the great Northwest, and in a few of the great cities of the seaboard 
Boston, Providence, New York, and Philadelphia have for nearly 
three years given liberally of their means and influence to strengthen 
this Commission, and help it to do the work which Providence has 
given it to do. 

But, beside all these, the city and comity of St. Louis, and the 
Legislature of Missouri, have acted with a generosity and patriotism 
worthy of all honor. In addition to the liberal contributions of the 
citizens, during the first year of the labors of the Commission, the late 
Gov. Gamble, from an appropriation by the Convention of Missouri, 
for the benefit of Missouri troops, placed $50,000 in the treasury of the 
Commission, to be used for sick and wounded soldiers of the State of 
Missouri. This sum was used, not by singling out that class of soldiers 
for special care, but caring for all United States soldiers alike, an ac- 
i 



130 

count was kept of the extent to which Missouri troops shared in these 
benefits, and the amount, being far beyond the appropriation, the State 
authorities were abundantly satisfied and pleased with the use made 
of these funds. 

Again, in the winter of 1864, the Legislature of Missouri made an 
other appropriation of $25,000 to the Commission, to be used in the 
same way, and the county court of the county of St. Louis made a 
donation of $2,000. Besides these gifts, there was raised, at the Mer 
chants Exchange, St. Louis, a liberal subscription of money and goods 
to the Commission, for the army of Gen. Grant, during the siege of 
Vicksburg, amounting in value to about $5,000, and December 25th, 
1863, a committee of the merchants, of which Mr. Joseph C. Cabot was 
chairman, raised another subscription of $25,000 additional, for the 
general purposes of the Commission. 

Besides a constant now of contributions from Boston and neighbor 
ing towns and cities of Massachusetts, that city at one time, through 
a committee, of which R. C. Greenleaf was treasurer, in response to 
an appeal from Kev. Dr. Eliot, on behalf of the Commission, contribut 
ed $50,000 ; and the distant State of California, stimulated by the 
eloquence and patriotism of the lamented Thomas Starr King, sub 
scribed $50,000, being part of a donation of $200,000, the balance of 
which went to the United States Sanitary Commission. These contri 
butions of money, with the gifts of friends in New York city, through 
that noble and patriotic citizen, James A. Roosevelt, and from other 
towns and cities of the loyal States, have amounted in the aggregate, 
to $275,000 in money ; while the stores contributed from the same 
sources, and from the Ladies L T nion Aid Societies, of almost every 
village and city from Maine to Minnesota, and from Boston to St. Louis, 
consisting of blankets, comforts, sheets, pillows, pillow-slips, socks, 
slippers, mittens, bandages, lint, salves, cotton and woolen shirts and 
drawers, hospital garments, dressing gowns, dried and canned fruits, 
tomatoes, jellies, domestic wines, blackberry cordials, butter, vegeta- 



131 

blcs, pickles, books, reading matter, and thousands of other useful 
articles, have amounted in value to more than a million and a quarter 
of dollars. 

Out of these contributions, the Commission has issued to the western 
armies; 985,984 articles ; 28,838 to the western navy ; 80,505 to freedmen, 
and 5,848 to Union refugees, making an aggregate of 1,101,174 articles. 

In addition to these, many thousands of articles were given out 
during the first three months of the labors of the Commission, that no 
account was made of; and we have reason to believe, that many 
thousand more have escaped entry ; it is so difficult, in the hurry 
occasioned by a great battle, or a pressing emergency, to keep an ac 
curate record. During the months of June, 1863, and February, 64, 
the distributions of the Commission reached 184,333 articles. These, 
it is true, were busy months, but not more so than those which suc 
ceeded the battles of Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, and Pittsburgh Land 
ing. During the first nine months of the labors of the Commission, its 
records show a distribution of over 250.000 articles, so that we are 
quite confident of a large under estimate in the statistics here given, 
but they accord with the books, and we are not willing to make any 
exaggerations. The expenses of the Commission, during the whole 
period of its labors, for the salaries of agents, employees, rents, etc., is 
less than one per cent, of the whole amount distributed. The services 
of the members of the Commission, which includes the President and 
Treasurer, are gratuitous. 

Through all this immense labor, from September 5th, 1861, to the 
present date, the Commission has enjoyed the friendly confidence and 
co-operation of every commander of the Department; and to Major 
Generals Fremont, Halleck, Curtis, Schofield, and Rosecrans, to the 
Secretary of "War, and to Lieut. Gen l Grant, and Maj. Gen l Sherman 
in the field, it is much indebted for their support, and the facilities 
it has enjoyed in the transportation of supplies, in letters of commen 
dation, in access to the armies, in the respect paid to it by surgeons 



132 

and subordinate officers, and in varied opportunities of usefulness. To 
Assistant Surgeon General R. C. Wood, Gen. Robert Allen, Colonels 
L. B. Parsons, and William M. Myers, of the Quartermaster s Depart 
ment; to Col. Haiues and Capt. King of the Commissary Department, 
and to Maj. Robert Smith, of the Pay Department, the Commission is 
indebted for many favors, and for obliging and gentlemanly treat 
ment on all occasions. 

The names of contributors to the funds and stores of the Commission, 
it would be a pleasure to record here, yet their number is so great, 
and the space allotted to this work already so nearly filled, that the 
writer is not able to do them this honor ; but their names are registered, 
in the Lamb s Book of Life, recorded by the angels in Heaven, and they 
shall all be known and recognized in the resurrection of the just. 

Before concluding this work, it remains to give a brief account of two 
co-operative associations in St. Louis : the Ladies Union Aid Society, 
and the Freedmeir s Relief Society, and to notice the Mississippi Valley 
Sanitary Fair, now in successful operation, while these concluding 
pages are being written an euterprize inaugurated for the benefit of 
the cause in which the Western Sanitary Commission, and these kindred 
associations, are engaged. 

The Ladies Union Aid Society of St. Louis was organized August 
2d, 1861. Mrs. C. W. Stevens was the first President. Its officers at 
present are, Mrs. Alfred Clapp, President, Mrs. Saml. C. Davis, Mrs. 
T. M. Post, and Mrs. Robert Anderson, Vice-Presidents ; Mrs. S. B. 
Kellogg, Treasurer; Miss II. A. Adams, Recording Secretary, and 
Miss Belle Holmes, Corresponding Secretary. Miss A. S. Debenham 
and Miss S. F. McCracken have also acted as Secretaries in the absence 
of the regular Recording Secretary, for several months, at Nashville, 
Tennessee. 

The friendly connection and co-operation of this association with the 
Western Sanitary Commission has already appeared in the course of 
these pages, and want of space now precludes a full statement of its 



133 

separate work, which has been already made public iu a valuable re 
port of forty-eight pages for the year 1863. 

The work of the society has consisted in hospital visiting, in aid to 
soldiers families, in the distribution of religious reading, from the 
Christian Commission, in volunteering as nurses after the great battles, 
in making up hospital garments and rolling bandages, in receiving and 
distributing sanitary stores, in preparing delicate food for the sick, at 
its special diet kitchen at Beuton Barracks, where 19,382 dishes had 
been prepared from May 20th to October 1st, 1863, and in assisting the 
Western Sanitary Commission in its work. Of articles made, up to 
October 1st, 1863, its report shows 37,676 sheets, 2,664 shirts, 1,765 
pairs of drawers, 2,568 bed sacks, 79,324 pillow cases, 3,558 towels, 
amounting to 127,555 articles. In doing this work soldiers wives were 
given employment, and $6,130.85 paid out for the purpose, the articles 
being used by the Western Sanitary Commission, and the Medical Pur 
veyor. The receipts of the Society, in money alone, up to Sept. 25th, 
1863, had been $31,137.42, and its disbursements $28,987.85. Its re 
ceipts in sanitary stores have been very great, coming largely from the 
noble women of St. Louis, and its distributions of the same class of 
articles issued by the Western Sanitary Commission, to Oct. 1st, 1863, 
were 225,134 articles. 

The Freedmen s Relief Society of St. Louis is a local organization 
of ladies, who have rendered most useful service and aid in behalf of 
the poor frecdmen, and their families at St. Louis, and in sending con 
tributions to Memphis, Helena, and other points on the lower Missis 
sippi. Their co-operation with the Western Sanitary Commission has 
been very efficient, and thousands of poor " contrabands," at Benton 
Barracks, and elsewhere, have had occasion to bless them. 

The officers of this association are Mrs. Washington King, President, 
Mrs. Lucien Eaton, Vice President, Mrs. C. C. Bailey, Treasurer, Mrs. 
Wm. T. Hazard, Corresponding Secretary, and Mrs. Enos Clarke, 
Recording Secretary. Its Board of Managers are Mrs. H. A. Nelson, Mrs. 



134 

H. Kennedy, Mrs. O. H. Platte, Mrs. N. Chapman, Mrs. Wm. McKee, 
Mrs. J. H. Parker, Mrs. Dr. McMurray, Mrs. John McLean, Mrs. Tru 
man Woodruff, Mrs. L. Brawner, Mrs. W. D. Butler, and Miss A. L. 
Forbes. The following gentlemen are also an advisory committee: 
Rev. II. A. Nelson, D.D., Rev. Henry Cox, Lucieu Eaton, Esq., and 
Henry Hitchcock, Esq. 

During the summer of 1863, several thousands of freedmen were 
brought from Helena and elsewhere, to St. Louis, and quartered in the 
old Missouri Hotel ; a hospital was opened for the sick, on Sixth street, 
and the society had its hands full in assisting to clothe them, and min 
ister to their necessities. Many of these people were afterwards for 
warded to Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois, as hired laborers. But a large 
work still remained for the freedmen s families at Benton Barracks, 
where there are many rejected recruits, and families of colored soldiers, 
to be assisted and provided for. A school for colored children is now 
taught at that place, by Miss Knight, a lady employed by the ATestern 
Sanitary Commission, books are furnished, and a similar work of 
instruction is carried on for the colored soldiers while they remain. 

The receipts of this society, for the year 1863, were, in money, 
$4,863.20, and its expenditures $3,800.36, and its receipts and dis 
bursements in goods, clothing, etc., a large, but unestiinated amount. 
The articles of clothing distributed were 4,356, besides large quantities 
of linseys, osnaburgs, and blue checks, to be made into garments. Five 
hundred dollars were also appropriated towards a church and school 
house, at Island No. 10, and 93 boxes of clothing, were sent to Colum 
bus, Memphis, Helena, Bolivar, Pittsburg Landing, and Benton 
Barracks. 

As the last pages of this work are passing through the press, a noble 
enterprize is in progress, in this city, for replenishing the funds of the 
Western Sanitary Commission, and of these kindred and co-operative 
associations, that they may be enabled to go on with their noble and 
philanthropic labors, during the continuance of the war. The great 



135 

fairs that had been held in the large cities of the East, and in Chicago 
and Cincinnati, in aid of the United States Sanitary Commission, gave 
nothing to the funds of the Western Commission. Illinois, Indiana, 
and Ohio, neighboring States, have poured their great and generous 
contributions chiefly through that channel; and their own regiments, 
as this history will show, have been the constant care of the "Western 
Sanitary Commission, both in the field and in its Soldier s Homes. 
With large and increasing demands upon its treasury and supplies, 
its resources had begun to fail. The example of other cities sug 
gested the idea of a Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair at St. Louis, 
and the enterprise was commenced in the latter part of the month 
of January, by a large preliminary meeting, at Mercantile Library 
Hall, presided over by the Mayor of the city, Hon. Chauncey 
I. Filley ; at which an organization was effected for this purpose. 
Speeches were made by the Mayor, by Eev William G. Eliot, D. D., 
by Brig. Gen l C. B. Fisk, by Major Gen l W. S. Rosecrans, by Maj. 
McKee Dunn, and Professor Amasa McCoy. A letter was read from 
Lieut. Gen l Grant, in which he expressed the heartiest sympathy in 
the undertaking, and bore testimony to the many tons (amounting to 
thousands,) of sanitary stores furnished to his army by the Western 
Sanitary Commission. The following officers and committees were then 
elected, to inaugurate and conduct this great enterprise. 

Maj. Gen l W. S. Rosecrans, President; Gov. Willard P. Hall, 1st 
Vice President ; Mayor C. I. Filley, 2d Vice President; Brig. Gen. 
C. B. Fisk, 3d Vice President; Brig. Gen. J. W. Davidson, 4th Vice 
President ; Mayor Jas. S. Thomas, 5th Vice President ; Sam l Copp, jr., 
Treasurer ; Maj. Alfred Mackay, Cor. Secretary. 

STANDING COMMITTEE. James E. Yeatman, Wm. G. Eliot, George 
Partridge, Carlos S. Greeley, John B. Johnson, members of the West 
ern Sanitary Commission. 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF GENTLEMEN. James E. Yeatman, Chair 
man, J. H. Lightner, E. W. Fox, Sam l Copp, jr., Geo. D. Hall, S. R. 



136 

Filley, Charles B. Hubbell, Jr., James Blackmail, Win. D Oench, Wm. 
Patrick, J. O. Pierce, Gustavus W. Dreyer, II. A. Homeyer, B. R. 
Bonner, Adolphus Meier, Chas. Speck, Wm. Mitchell, Wm. Adriance, 
George E. Leighton, M. L. Linton, Wm. H. Beiiton, Dwight Durkec, 
Amadee Yalle, Wyllys King, George P. Plant, Morris Collins, J. C. 
Cabot, N. C. Chapman, John D. Perry, S. H. Laflin, Jas. Ward. 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF LADIES. Mrs. C. I. Filley, President; 
Miss Anna M. Debenham, Recording Secretary ; Mr. Gen l V. P. Van 
Antwerp, Corresponding Secretary; Miss Phoebe W. Conzins, Corres 
ponding Secretary; Mrs. Samuel Copp, Jr., Treasurer; Mrs. Robert 
Anderson, Mrs. George Partridge, Mrs. J. E. D. Couzins, Mrs. E. M. 
Weber, Mrs. Truman Woodruff, Mrs. Clinton B. Fisk, Mrs. F. A. Dick, 
Mrs. Alfred Clapp, Mrs. Dr. E. Hale. Mrs. A. S. W. Goodwin, Mrs. 
H. T. Blow, Mrs. Amelia Reihl, Mrs. N. C. Chapman, Mrs. Washing 
ton King, Mrs. S. A. Ranlett, Mrs. T. B. Edgar, Mrs. C. S. Greeley, 
Mrs. W. T. Hazard, Mrs. Charles D. Drake, Mrs. Wm. McKee, Mrs. 
Samuel C. Davis, Mrs. McKee Dunn, Mrs. R. H. Morton, Mrs. Dr. 
O Reilly, Mrs. S. B. Kellogg, Mrs. S. A. Collier, Mrs. W. A. Doan, 
Mrs. Dr. Hseussler, Mrs. Adolphus Abeles, Mrs. F. P. Blair, Mrs. 
Elizabeth W. Clarke, Mrs. II. Dreyer, Mrs. John Wolff, Mrs. Ulrich 
Busch, Mrs. John J. Hoppe, Mrs. Charles Eggers, Mrs. Wm. D Oench, 
Mrs. Dr. Hill, Mrs Adolphus Meier, Mrs. John C. Vogel, Mrs. R. 
Barth, Mrs. H. C. Gernpp, Mrs. O. D. Filley, Mrs. Henry Stagg, 
Mrs. E. W. Fox. 

Various subordinate committees were afterwards appointed, repre 
senting all the trades and branches of business in St. Louis, and a 
committee was appointed to conduct a department in the Fair for the 
benefit of freedmen and Union refugees, so that contributions might 
be made for this charity, by itself, and kept separate from the general 
sanitary work of the army. 

Appeals were immediately sent out to the people of the Mississippi 
valley, and to the whole country ; the newspaper press of St. Louis 



137 

lent their columns, with great generosity, to the promotion of the 
enterprise, and published largely in its interests ; and friendly papers 
abroad have given it all the publicity that could be desired. 

The merchants and private citizens, the noble men and women of St. 
Louis, have taken hold of the enterprise with a generous zeal, and 
determined to make it a decided success. Friends in Boston, New 
York, New Bedford, New Haven, have made handsome donations, 
and some of them have sent representatives to aid in the work. While 
these labors were being performed, a splendid building was erected on 
Twelfth Street, from Olive St. to St. Charles St., 500 feet long and 114 
feet wide, with wings on Locust street, 100 feet each in length, beyond 
the main building, and 54 feet wide, with an octagon centre 75 feet in 
diameter, and 50 feet high. A stercoscopticon has also been built at one 
side ; and the whole has been arranged, decorated, divided into apart 
ments, and filled with contributions from art and nature, of the most 
valuable kinds. From the mineral and agricultural, and manufactur 
ing resources of Missouri and the great west, from lakes and oceans, 
and rivers, from battle fields and farms and workshops, and stores of 
merchandize, gifts have come that make one of the most beautiful and 
valuable collections that has ever been gathered on this continent. 

Besides these contributions in goods, at the opening of the Fair, on 
the 17th of May, $200,000 in money had already been given towards the 
object, of which much the largest portion comes from the citizens of 
St. Louis, a city that has probably suffered more from the war than any 
of the loyal cities of the Union. 

For three days the Fair has been in successful progress, and before it 
closes, this sketch of the labors and history of the Western Sanitary Com 
mission will be added to its contributions, and explain more fully the 
great work for which it has been held, and to which its results will be 
sacredly appropriated. Written under a pressure of other duties, and 
without opportunity of revision, its chapters going to press as fast as 
they can be given to the printers, it must needs contain some imper- 



138 

fections and errors, and some omissions will doubtless have occurred ; 
but a frequent demand has been made for such a work, and it is hoped 
that it will be of some service to the great cause we have at heart, and 
give to the world a better appreciation of the labors and sacrifices that 
are necessary to sustain our heroes in the great conflict in which we are 
engaged a conflict of the free States of the Republic with the slave- 
power of the South, which has undertaken to divide our country, build 
itself up on the ruins of a beneficent Government, and perpetuate, 
through coming ages, the crime of holding millions of the human race 
in bondage. In this contest, in which the Providence of a just God 
is clearly seen, vindicating itself, let it be our part to be found on 
the side of humanity, of Christian civilization, of liberty and law; and 
may God save the right! 



INDEX. 



Accountability of agents , 104 

Alexander, C. T., Surg. U. S. A 66 

Allen, A. L., M. D 66 

Allen Gen . Robert 132 

Appeal of Western Sanitary Commission, 57, 58 Response. . . 59, 114 

Army of the Frontier, 60 Agents and stores sent to 60 

Army of the South-West, 28 its arrival at Helena, 55 its toilsome march, 55 its pri 
vations and bravery , 55 sickness at Helena 55 

Arkansas Post, battle or, 66, 69 

Arnot s buil ling converted into a hospital 45 

Atkinson , Edward 114 

Azpell, T.F., Surg. U. S. V 27, 44, 45 

Battles, of Booneville, Dug Spring, Carthage and Wilson s Creek, 5 of Lexington 9 
of Pea Ridge, 15, 27 of Fort Donelson, 23 Naval fight at Memphis, 53 of Cross 

Hollows, 60 of Cane Hill, 60 of Prairie Grove, 61 

Banks , Gen . , his army supplied 99 

Bailley , Dr 5 

Barker, Mrs 96 

Barnard , James M 59, 114 

Benton Barracks 13, 14 

Benton Barracks Hospital, 10, 73 number ol patients, 73 per centage of deaths 73 

Bixby, Geo. H., Ass t Surg. U. S. N 54 

Blunt, Gen 60 

Bloomtield, Mo 91 

Boston, Mass., its liberality 59 

Bottomley, L. H.,M. D 66 

Bradley, W. H..M. D 66 

Bradley, Rev. W. H 95 

Breckenridge, Miss 69 

Breed, B. B., Surg. U. S. V 87 

Brooks, Mrs. Maria ]2 

Cabot, Joseph C . . . , 130 

California, liberal donation 130 

Calloway, L. H., M. D % 64 

Cane Hill , battle of 60 

Cape Girardtr ati 92 

Carthage , battle of. 5 

Casselberry, Surg., U. S. V 92 

Cavender, John, 124, his labors for refugees, death and character 124, 125 

1 Champion, Steamer sent with Sanitary goods to Vicksburg 77 

Chapman, Miss G. C., teacher for refugees at Vicksburg 128 

Chattanooi-a, stores sent to, 99 agent there 99 

Christmas at Soldiers Home 37 

Christian Commission, U. S 83, 96 

" City of Alton," hospital boat 75, 106 

1 City of Louisiana, hospital boat 25, 44, 45, 106 



140 



"City of Memphis," hospital boat 46, iw 

Clapp, Mrs. Alfred 69, 132, 13G 

Clark, Mrs. Wm 69 

Clark, Albert 09 

Clarendon , Ark 92 

Columbus, Ky . , Soldiers Home at 83 

Collins, H. E 99 

Colt, Mrs. Henrietta L 69 

Colored troops, 74 sick of at Benton Barracks 74 

Conclusion 138 

Contributions, from what States, Cities, and Towns, 10, 11, 12, 46, 59, 114 from Boston, 

114, from other sources 127, 129 

Copeland , Gen 90 

Cotton on leased plantations, 119 taxed, 119 raised by tVeedmen for themselves 120 

Couzins, Mrs. J. E. D 69 

Crawshaw, Mrs. J 69 

Crescent City , hospital boat 44, 45, 106 

Cross Hollows , battle of ; 60 

Cullum, Geo. \V., Brig. Gen 15 

Curtis, S. R., Maj. Gen., 15, 34, 113, 131 letter of 34 

Daggett , Mrs . Lydia II 121 

Dart, Miss 123 

Davidson, J. W. Brig. Gen 91 

Davis, C. H. Commodore, his Letter to the Commission 56 

De Camp, Medical Director 5, 16 

Deodorizing coffin 51 

Derby, Stirg. U. S. A 55 

Diseases at Benton Barracks, winter of -61-2 13 

Distributions of Sanitary Stores, 15, 47, 77 to Grant s army, 78, 94, 97 to Banks 
Army, 99-at Memphis, 75 -what Hospitals supplied, 104, 105 -what Regiments sup 
plied, 105, 106 what Hospital Steamers supplied, 106 what Gunboats supplied, 106 

to Freedmen , 121 to Refugees , 127 -whole number of articles 131 

Dix, MissD. L., Sup t of Female Nurses in the U. S. Hospitals 7, 20 

Drummer Boy, 81- death of. 81 

D u vail s Bluff . 92 

Educational Commission for Freedmen, Boston, 114 Contributions from 114 

Eliot, W. G., D. D., 8, 113, 130- Letter of, 94 orphans adopted by 125 

Eliot Hospital, St. Louis 10 

Elliott, Miss Melcenia 126 

1 Empress, Hospital boat 44, 45 

Endicott, Wm . , Jr 114 

Farrar, Col 118 

Fifth Street Hospital, St. Louis 8, 9 

Fish, Rev. J. F., Post Chaplain 66 

Fithian, Dr., agent U. S. Sanitary Commission 93 

Fisher, Rev. H. D 114 

Fisk, Mrs C. B., 127 her labors for refugees 127 

Fisk, C. B., Brig. Gen 127 

Floating Hospitals , origi n of 25 

Flying Hospitals 62, 63 

Forman, Rev. J. G., Secretary 16, 112, 126 

Fort Donelson, battle of, 23, 131 wounded brought to St. Louis 24 

Fort Blunt, 94 Sanitary Stores sent to 94 

Foster, R. K., Supt 84 

Foster, H . R 121 

Franklin, E. C 27 

Fremont, John C., Maj. Gen 7, 10, 13, 131 



141 

Fremont, Mrs 

Fremont Relief Society 18 

Freedmen of the Mississippi, 110 sufferings of, 110 relief sent to Helena, 112 labors 
of Miss Maria R. Mann at Helena, 112, 113 visit of Mr. Yeatman to, 114 letter of 
the Commission to the President concerning them, 114 Chaplain Fisher s visit to 
New England on account -of, 114-arrival of at Vicksburg, 123 -distributions to, 
123 Freedmen s Aid Committee formed at Boston, 114 Educational Commission, 
114 contributions from, 1H other associations, 115 wages of Freedmen not 

paid, wrongs by military authorities, 116, 117 Freedmens Home farms 119 

Freedmen s Relief Society of St. Louis, 133-its officers, 133 its work 134 

Friends 115 

Fritz, Wm., M. D ^ 

Gamble, late Governor 129 

Gangrene Hospital, Memphis 75 

Gayoso Hospital , Memphis 75 

Gibbon, John 37 

Glasgow, Hospital transport 75 

Good Samaritan Hospital 10 

Grant, U. S. Maj. Gen., 08, 131 his care of the health of his Army 72 

Greeley, C. S 8 

Qreenleaf, R . C 59, 130 

Grove, J. H. Surg., U. S. V 23, 74 

Guerrillas Destroy Sanitary Stores , 91 Murder 126 

Guests at Soldiers Homes 35, 36, 82, 84, 85, 86 

Gunboats, 53, 69 supplied with Stores, 106 - rebel Gunboats destroyed at Memphis 53 

Hagar, Miss Sarah J. , Teacher to Freedmen, 121 death and character 122 

Haines , Col . 132 

Halleck, Maj. Gen 13, 131 

Hamilton, Gen. T. C 80 

Hammond, Dr. Wm. A., Surg. Gen., U. S. A., Letter to 49 

Hardy , A Ipheus 114 

Hargrave, Mrs. , blind refugee 125 

Harrington , S . C . , Surg 94 

Harvey, Mrs., of Wisconsin 81, 123 

Helena, Ark., occupied, 55-sickness there, 55 churches converted into hospitals, 55 

Soldiers Home at 84 

Herron , Gen 61 

Hodgen, JohnT., Surgeon U. S. V 9 

Hoge, Mrs 69 

Holly Springs, Miss 68 

Hopkins, Surgeon U. S. X 54 

Hospitals. ^ 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 27, 45, 56, 64, 65, 66, 75, 86, 87, 89 

Hospital Cars 10 

Hospital Steamers 25, 26, 44, 45, 46, 54, 75 

Hughes, Charles H. , Surgeon U. S. V 103 

Hunt, Win. Richardson, (rebel), 80 Mansion converted to a Soldier s Home 80, 81 

Hunter, Maj. Gen 10 

Hun tsville , Ala 96 

Illustration , of erroneous complaints 101 

Imperial , Hospital Boat 44 . 45 

Incidents 11, 34, 37, 91, 101, 117, 118, 125, 126 

Ironton 14 

Jackson Hospital , Memphis 75 

"January, D. A." Hospital Boat 44, 45 

Jefi erson City, Mo 14 

Jefferson Barrack 8 Hospital 64, 65 



142 

Jefferson Hospital, Memphis 75 

Johnson, J.B., M.D 8 

Johnson , Miss Ida 33 

King, Capt 132 

King, Rev. T. S 130 

King, Mrs . Washington 69 

Knight, Miss A. M 121 

Ladies Union Aid Society, St. Louis, 18, 23, 69, 70, 96 officers of, 132 its work 133 

Ladies Union Aid Societies, 130 

Ladies Loyal League 127 

Lamb , Mrs . Thomas 59 

Latham, II., M. 1) 66 

Lawrence , A . A 114 

Lawson Hospital 64, 66 

Leeds, Mr 64 

Leslie, S., M. D 66 

Letters, of Gen. Curtis, 34- of Mr. Yeatman,71, 95-of Col. Parsons, 43-of the Commis 
sion, 49, 114-of Commodore Davis, 56-of Chaplain Peake, 93 of Surg. Whitehill, 
94 of Surg. Harrington, 94-of Rev. Dr. Eliot, 94, 95-of Col. Webber, 95-of A. 

W. Plattenburg, 96 of Surg. Rex 97 

Livermore, Mrs. M. A 69 

Lodgings at Soldiers Homes 36, 37, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 

Loring, Chas. G 114 

Mann , N . M . , S up t . . . 84 , 1 23 

Mann, Miss Maria R 112, 113 

May, Dr 118 

Marine Brigade 120 

Marine Hospital, St. Louis, 64 ditto at Memphis 75 

Marsh, W. L., 121 letter from 122 

Marston, J. J.,M. D 60 

Me Arthur, Gen 128 

McLane, P., M. D 65 

McClernand, J. A., Maj. Gen 69 

McKim, Rev. Philip, Chaplarn 66 

Massachusetts 59 

Meals at Soldiers Homes 36, 83, 84, ,85 

Memphis Captured, 53-Soldiers Home at, 80, 81, 82-hospitals at 75 

Merchants Exchange 130 

Mellen, W. P., Treasury Dept 119, 120 

Military prisons at St. Louis, 45, 88 at Alton, 111. , 88 report of 88 

Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair, 134-its organization, 135 its success 137 

Mission School, St. Louis 125 

Missouri Legislature, appropriation of 129, 130 

Missouri troops cared for 129, 130 

Mound City Hospital 27 

Murphy, Col. R. C., disgraced 70 

Myers, Col. Wm. M 132 

1 Nashville, hospital boat ." 75 

National Freedmen s Relief Association 120, 123 

Naval Squadron of the Mississippi 53, 54, 56, 57 

New England, its liberality 9 

Newell, Rev. F. R., agent, 61 his death 62 

New House of Refuge Hospital 5 

New Orleans Soldiers Home 83 

N ightingale , Florence 3 , 20 

Northwestern Freedmen s Aid Commission 120 



143 

Nurses, Female, qualifications of, 20 number employed, 21 General Order, 20, 21 
character of Nurses, 20-premiums awarded to, 42-only allowed to General Hos 
pitals, 74 list of honor 107 

Xute, Chaplain E . , Sup t ^ 

Officers Hospital , Memphis 75 

Orange, S. J., Sup t, 83- Mrs. Orange, matron 84 

Origin of Sanitary Commissions, 3 of the U. S. Sanitary Commission, 4 of the West 
ern Sanitary Commission 47 

Ostram, MissA.L....f 35 83 

Overton Hospital, Memphis 75 

Pacific Hospital, St. Louis 1 

Paige, Jas. A., Chaplain 64 

Parsons, Col. L. B., Letter of 43, 131 

Parsons, Miss Emily 73, 74 

Partridge, George 8 

Peabody, Rev. Chas., Sup t, 35 Peabody, J.H., Surg., U. S. V 64 

Pea Ridge, Battle of, 27, 131 wounded, 27 Agent sent with stores, 29 his account of.30, 32 

Peake, E. S., Chaplain, Letter of. 93 

Pettigrew, S . , Chaplain 66 

Phelps, Mrs . John S. , her heroism at Pea Ridge 34 

Pittsburg Landing, battle of, 42, 131- wounded of, 43, 44 delegations and hospital 

steamers sent, for them 43, 44 

Plattenburg, A. W., 29, 30, 33. 34 letter of. 96 

Plummer, Mrs. S. A., matron 83, 84, 85 

Post Hospitals , St. Louis 74, 87 

Prairie Grove, battle of, 61 supplies furnished 61 

Prem iums , given to uest stewards , nurses , etc i9 

Pope , Dr 126 

Pope, Maj . Gen 2 

Porter, D . D . Admiral 57 

Prentiss, B. M. Maj. Gen 113 

Questions answered . 99, 100, 101, 102 

Randolph, J. F. Surg. U. S. A 65 

"Red Rover," naval hospital boat , 54, 97, 106 

Reid, Rev. H. A., 12-Mrs. Reid 12 

Refugees, 124 their destitution, 124 fund raised for, 124 further arrivals, 125 Sad 

story, 126 at what places, 127 distributions to 124, 127 

Refugee" Homes at St. Louis, 124, 126 at Vicksburg, 128- School for 128 

Reports, of soldiers Homes, 38, 81 of Mr. Yeatman s visit to Grant s army, 71, 77 of 

freedmen 114, 119 

Resources of Western Sanitary Commission 129 

Rex, Geo. P. Surg. 33d 111. Infantry, letter of 97 

Ripley, L. B 16 

Robb, Maj. T. P 75 

Rolla, Soldiers Graves there .". 14, 15 

Roosevelt, Jas. A 130 

Rosecrans , Major Gen 131 

Rumbold, T. F., M.D., 66 

Russell, Ii-a, Surgeon U. S. V 73, 74 

Ruth, Hospital Transport 75 

Sanitary Stores , number and value of articles issued 131 

Sawyer, Rev. Samuel 112, 113 

Schofield, Maj. Gen ]14, 131 

Scollay s deodorizing coffin, 51 Report on it 51, 52, 53 

Scudder, M. S 114 

Secessionists assessed for Refugees 124 



144 

Sedalia 14 

Sherman, W. T. , General, 68, 131 his care for the sick of his army 72 

Sick and wounded in St. Louis hospitals, 14 number of, 45, 87 of Grant s army 72 

Sisters of Charity 3, 125 

Smith , M:ij . Robt 132 

Small Pox, 14 Hospital at St. Louis 14, 87 

Special Diet K itchen 74 

Soldiers Homes 35, 36, 87, 33, 39, 80, 81, 83, 84, 85 

Soldiers at the Soldier s Home -From what States, 36, 82, 84, 85, 86 Character. ... 36 

St. Louis Hospitals 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 45, 64, 65, 66, 75, 86, 87 

St. Louis, its liberality, 129-County Court 129 

Starr, Mrs. Lucy E., Matron 83 

Steele , Major Gen . 92 

Surgeons of the Regular Army 17 

Tax on Cotton growing 119 

Tefl t, J. E 60, 61 

Thanksgiving at Soldiers Homes 37 

Thomas, J. E., Chaplain 113 

Thornton & Pierce s building converted to a hospital 45 

Tilton, E. II., Surg , U. S. A 65 

Tompkins, James 99 

Union Hospital, Memphis 75 

United Presbyterians 115 

United States Sanitary Commission 4, 93, 135 

Value of contributions estimated 131 

Ventilation in Marine Hospital, St. Louis, 64 ventilating stoves introduced 64 

Veteran regiments, 97 cared lor by Missouri 97 

Vicksburg, 68 battle of, 68 -wounded from 69 

Visitors of hospitals, 18 noble women, 18 soldiers tribute 19 

Wages of Freedmen 115, 116 

Wagner, Dr ^ 

Warriner, Dr. H. A 75 

Washington Hospital , Memphis 75 

Washburne, C. C., Maj. Gen HI, 113 

Waters, O. E., Sup t 80, 83 

Waterman, H. J 91, 92 

Webber, Col. A. W., Letter of. 95 

Webster Hospital , Memphis 75 

Wells , Mrs . Shepherd 74 

Western Sanitary Commission, origin of, 4 to 7 of whom composed, 8 -its rooms, 

16 appeal of, 57 resources of I- 9 

Whelan, W., Surg., U. S. X 57 

Whitehill, Jas. C., Surg., U. S. V., 92 Letter of 94 

White, Frank W., Surg., U. S. V 87 

Wilson s Creek, battle of 5 

Wood, Ass tSurg. General 26, 72, 74, 132 

" Wood, R. C.," hospital boat 26 

Wood, Rev. Glen 1Q 1 

Wood, Col. W. F 112 

Wounded, at new House of Refuge Hospital, 6-1 rom Fort Donelson, 23-of PeaRidge, 

28, 29 -of Pittsburg Landing, 42-of Vicksburg, 69, 77 Arkansas Post 70 

Wright, J. J. B., Surgeon U. S. A., Medical Director, 16 Relations to the Western 

Sanitary Commission 17 

Wright, Chaplain A . , Sup t. of Refugees at Pilot Knob, 127 His work 127 

Yeatman, Jas. E.8-His visit to Gen. Grant s army, 71 His report, 72 His second 
visit, 76 Report, 77 Visit to the Freedmen of the Mississippi, 114 His report, 114 
His suggestions, 119-Visit to Washington, 119 -Suggestions carried into effect 120 

OF THE \ 



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UNIVERSITY II 

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 
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