Carrington, Howard's Grove

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From William A. Carrington CSR (M331): Inspection report, dated 11/13/1862, of Howard’s Grove Hospital

Richmond, Nov 13th 1862

Surgeon E. S. Gaillard, Medl Director,
                        I have the honour to report that I have this day inspected General Hospital Howard’s Grove. It is situated on the left hand side of the Mechanicsville Turnpike just beyond the city limits in a beautiful grove of towering pines & lovely oaks unsurpassed for the beauty of scenery or the elements of health. The grounds are the property of the heirs of Judge Jackson – a No of quite plain buildings were constructed originally for the Quartermaster Department but on June 13th 1862 these buildings were assigned for Hospital purposes & turned over by Capt. Wm E. Warren Q. M. to Surgeon Jas Betton. Many of them have been removed but a few still are retained & used now as dead house, guard house, laundry, lodging rooms for patients &c but they will soon be removed to make room for houses of a uniform plan with those used for wards.

The Hospital is divided into 2 divisions. The First now in operation consisting of 20 houses & the 2nd of the same no of Houses now constructing & near completion. They are all of the same plans & size being generally more elevated from the ground, of higher pitch & further apart than those at Chimborazo & Winder.

On the summit of each house are two square cupolas with Venetian blinds at the sides for ventilation; at Chimborazo & Winder the ventilators are at the ends & near the top & consist merely of sliding windows.

Seventeen of the 1st Division are wards for the sick: known by the capital letters - of the other 3, one is a Dining room – another a kitchen, messroom & storeroom & the 3rd an office – drug store – linen room & ward room. There is now in use a house (4 rooms) for officers quarters & 2 others similar are constructing – also a small house with 2 rooms for the offices of the Surgeons of the two Divisions.

Each ward has a capacity of 42 patients leaving no room for stoves – 32 patients & one wardmaster or head nurse now are commodious[ly] lodged in each. The united capacity is 544 & will be 1100 when the 2nd Division is in operation.

There is no bath or bath house – Two wells are being dug – Two very fine springs have been walled in & covered in the most ingenious manner for their protection & for securing the full yield of water.

The privies are old & insufficient – they are situated over a ravine of running water where a slight masonry & carpentry well construes(?) a dam & sluices sufficient for washing off all deposits.

The Medl Staff consist of Surgeon (in ch) L. D. Rice – Surgeon (with the Division) W. S. Sutton; AS. J. W. Leftwich; D. Bargent; B. D. Moore (absent without leave) & A.A. Surgeon J. Wagner, Wm Palmer, M. S. Rives, C. D. Moss – The convalescents of this Hosl are not sent to a convalescent Hosl & here the Surgeons are enabled to attend a larger no of patients than 70 each, & the wounded are but in small proportion.

The attendants are Reported as 5 Hospital Stewards, 77 Nurses, 12 Cooks & 11 Laundresses. One hospital Steward is traveling agent for the purchasing of such articles of comfort & subsistence as the Hospital fund is expended for – of the officers one is apothecary & one clerk. This is an illegal no of Stewards unless by special permission. The cook & laundresses are less by 6 & 16 respectively than the allowance per(?) 2 nurses as wardmasters. 56 would be the compliment of nurses. The policing of the grounds is done by convalescents.

Of these nurses 26 are enlisted men of our army & only 2 detailed. On Oct 21st application was made for the detail of the 24 – a few only of whom are unfit for field duty by any disability – They have been detailed without the consent of their commanding officers or the Sec of War which is a violation of the Army regulations.

4 Matrons are engaged. They are efficient & of great benefit to the service but the surgeon in charge requests that no more be ordered to this hospital as these are sufficient.

The Surgeon in charge minutely & frequently inspects every department of the Hospital – an officer is constantly on duty & they all reside within the Hospital limits.

There is conspicuously posted in every building neatly printed cards containing the rules for the government of the Hosl &c & in the Dining room cards for diet for each meal.

The Steward’s department & apothecaries each were in orderly, neat condition – The ward & their contents will compare favourably with those of any of our Military Hospitals.

In every ward there is a medicine closet constructed by narrow slats extending from the floor (not really) to the roof’s rafters – it was open work & kept locked by the head nurse whose duty it was to administer the Medicine himself at the periods I visited. For the more perfect & accurate regulation of the periods Surgeon Rice requests a bell in which the guard will strike the ˝ hour as on Seagoing vessels & this is in a simple & cheap way [to] convey the information over the Camp & preserve uniformity. He also desires a horse power to apply to a saw mill for the purposes of sawing wood for fuel by it he avers(?) that he will save the labor of two men.

A S____ cart & mule are actively engaged constantly during each day – an ambulance & two mules also are attached to the Hospital & are sufficient for all transportation of sick & wounded.

The Laundry, Dead house, guard house, & privies were in tolerable order. The Hospital Records were shown to be accurately & neatly kept.

The Hospital fund amounts only to a few hundred dollars, the Surgeon in Charge judiciously expending this fund.

The guard now amount to 13 – the no might be increased to 30 Though the inmates are kept at the Hospital now by good discipline than by this external restraints. The Surgeon in Charge complained much contrivancy & disobedience of orders by attendants & patients until he by the advice & consent of Superior Military authority introduced bucking & gagging as a firmer resort in addition to the guard house – with the most beneficial effects.

On the left hand side of & 300 yds. from the turnpike diametrically opposite the grove in Adam’s addition is being built the Small Pox Hospital for the C. S. Army.

It consists of a two storied frame building surrounded by porticos on both floors the roof covering both house & porticos, being 80 x 28 ft. Each floor consists of 3 rooms in line as 19+ by 27+ ft.

There are two flights of steps outside of the house – It has a capacity for 50 to 60 patients – It is designed to devote the whole of this building for wards & to construct adjacent houses for kitchen, Dining rooms, Apothecary shop, storeroom quarters &c. Nearly 20 acres of land is leased to the Confederate Government States (for the war or for a shorter time of description for $75 per annum) – It will cost about from $8500 to 10000 & may be made ready for patients in 10 days if desired or needed.

There are now but 15 vacant beds in the City Variola Hospital.

Surgeon Rice of Howard’s Grove has this building and has supervision & shows great energy in hastening its completion.

Very Respectfully
                    Your Obedient Servant
                            Wm A. Carrington
                                    Surgeon & Inspector of Hospitals.


Page last updated on 06/14/2008