From William A. Carrington CSR (M331): Inspection report, dated 11/19/1862, of Genl. Hosp. #1, with sketches.
Richmond, November 19th, 1862
Surgeon E. S. Gaillard, Medical Director
It is owned by the City of Richmond, was intended as an alms and workhouse but was handed over to the Confederate Authorities free of rent by the Common Council of the City, through the Committee on Public Buildings. Has been established as a Confederate Hospital since June 30th 1861. The most favourable hygienic influences surround the hospital and in addition the yards and grounds are large and beautiful and the Cemetery laid out in walks, trees and with seats give a field for recreation to the Convalescing.
The building is well adapted to its present uses being divided in a number of large rooms easily warmed and lighted. There are smaller rooms used as office, Apothecary Shop, Storerooms, linen-rooms, mess rooms, and Guard rooms. The dining room is large and next to the kitchen - there is also a bake house, quarters for the attendants (white and black) - the Sisters of Charity and officer of the day in the main building - In the yard behind the main structure are small houses for dead house, Laundry and Privies, and Wood and Coal houses surrounded by a high wall and divided into two equal parts for a work house and poor house respectively. Thus the two yards, having a high partition wall between them. The Main Structure is 4 stories high in shape of the letter U, and well fitted for gas, water and baths. It is partially heated by furnaces and steam pipes and the baking in the kitchen is now done in an oven constructed at considerable expense. The repairs and improvements in this Hospital have been more than the rent(?) would have been assessed under the circumstances.
400 has been the capacity of this hospital, until winter when the allowance for space of stoves and their consumption of oxygen cut it down to 525.
Kalinger is appointed Hospital Steward and is allowed only the 2 mos pay $21 per month.
The Surgeon's duties as to classification of the sick and wounded, dividing off the wards among the Asst Surgeons - properly designating the wards and beds - strict supervision of the Asst Surgeons, Steward and wardmaster, requiring that all do their duty; requisitions and receipts for all Medical Supplies and frequent personal inspections have obviously been performed. The Apothecary and Steward appointments and Hospital Records were neat and orderly, in themselves and contents.
The wards were well swept, aired, and warmed - the beds and bedding were clean - reqd military rules were conspicuously posted and observed for the securing of comfort & order among the patients and attendants. The privies were placed in the rear of the main building near the high brick wall which surrounds the yard - their condition is most _______ to hearth and repulsive to the eye and olfactories - the seats are faulty in construction, there are no urinals, and the whole is not kept in a well policed condition by physical cleanliness or disinfectence by chemical agents. They are sufficiently numerous to supply the wants of the patients though there are others without the wall.
The Hospital fund is expended for subsistence and articles of comfort. Many officers attracted by the fame of the Surgeon in charge (the professor of Surgery at the Richmond Medical College and the former Surgeon General of the State of Va.) and by the fact that this was for some time the only General Hospital have been treated here for sickness and wounds. They have a ward set aside for them, consisting of a number of contagious rooms in the attic floor and have been charged board for the benefit of the Hospital fund.
One Corporal and 5 men constitute the guard.
8 Sisters of Charity are in this Hospital nursing and superintending the pantries, distribution of extra food &c - they are in the language of Surgeon Gibson invaluable in their services - they are most faithful, efficient and tender nurses. They are no cost to the Hospital except the quarters furnished them and the rations they consume.
The nurses and matrons persuaded by money to sever their domestic ties to devote themselves to the sick, can never be actuated by the devotedness of these who impelled whether by the most pure and unsectarian charity and piety or by a desire to promote the influence of their order and church, have renounced all attractions and pleasures of the world for their object. I am convinced that the wants of our Hospitals will not be filled by the system of engaging matrons as portrayed in the bill authorizing them, but that such an organization should be employed. To be equal to the object it should be composed of females organized and impelled by motives of religion and patriotism who have been examined by a competent board as to their physical, moral and mental qualities for the position and duly commissioned after some pupilage and tutorship as to the practical duties.
The Hospital fund is much increased by the proceeds of the manufacture of soap from the grease and fat from the kitchen.
I was informed that the order in regard to sending Convalescents to Camp Winder (Par IX General Orders Sept. 20th) was not obeyed lately. There have been 64 to 66 patients reported as in private quarters from this hospital for a long time. No passes (A.G.) have been applied for for them, since order Nov 8th in regard to patients in private quarters has been issued. Hence 64 patients are reported improperly as in private quarters. An ambulance has (with a driver & 2 mules) been assigned to the special and exclusive use of this hospital by Capt. Wood Q.M. It does good service but might do more service if added to the corps managed systematically for the common transportation of all the sick and wounded and in as much as impartiality should be a constant and indestructable trust towards all who stand in the same relation to the Government, and other Hosl Surgeons have made this a ground of claiming that the ambulances were not all used for the greatest good to the greatest number. I recommend etc. etc. etc. be taken away and all the Hospitals have all the facilities of transportation afforded them [as] possible, but these no more than others.
The Hospital Attendants are 1 Steward, 38 nurses, 11 Cooks, 1 laundress with one nurse each as wardmaster, Clerk, Apothecary, and Engineer the number is near the allowance (Par 45 Medical Regulations) not counting the 8 Sisters of Charity.
[Sketch of Hospital Grounds]
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