William Trahern (6th LA) Memoir, VHS (mss5:1T6787:2), pp. 23-24

In the month of August 1863, I was sent to Chimborazo Hospital, in this city of Richmond, for an attack of diabetes. It was distressingly painful at time, but of short duration. When I became strong enough to move about freely, Dr. J. B. McCaw, chief surgeon of the hospital, called me to a conference with him, and told me he very much desired my service as assistant Clerk in his office, and would petition the Captain of my company to allow me to remain there, the remainder of the season. Captain Buckner replied to Dr. McCaw’s letter, stating that he was perfectly willing for me to stay in the hospital for the time designated, and to continue there through the entire winter. I was furnished with pleasant quarters in a house not far from the Surgeon’s office, owned by a Mrs. Harrison. There were other Clerks connected with the hospital, already installed in the building, whom I have always remembered as my loving friends.

The first responsibility, of any note that was placed upon me, was to take charge of all money appropriated, and sent by the Confederate Government for the payment of all soldiers sent there from the field, either a sick or wounded. It was a difficult and trouble-some task, although in bad condition physically, I felt it my bounden duty to apply all my time and talents in the effort to render satisfactory service to the Government, and at the same time to help my dear Comrades in Arms.

The schedule that was planned, and finally arranged was so lucid, that if at any time I should not be in the office, any other person present could make the payment to the soldier. It was worth all the trouble expended, for Dr. McCaw the chief, and all his Staff complimented me very highly. I have handled many dollars of Confederate money for the purpose noted previously. It was stored in the “Bank of the Commonwealth.” In a discussion with Mr. Call, a former President of the present Union and Federal Trust Bank, located at the corner of 11th and Main Street, the same building in which the Confederate Government deposited a portion of it’s funds, he said that he didn’t think that the bank was called “Commonwealth” at anytime during the war, notwithstanding, Mr. Call’s assertion, I shall ever cling to my own impression as to it’s true name.

One day there came into the hospital a large batch of sick and wounded soldiers, and lists from their various Captains as to the monthly Army payment. Having arranged my scheduled payroll, walked to the bank, and drew out through Dr. McCaw’s check the sum of $1,300. Other business having detained me, night over-took me before it was [page break] possible to reach the hospital in daylight. I determined to stop on the way, and leave the money in safety until morning at the home of Captain Thomas Cunningham, then residing on the corner of Leigh and 28th Streets. The main reason for taking this precaution was because of the city being infested with cut throats and thieves. I was much commended by Dr. McCaw for my care and discretion.

A few days later, just before the campaign had ended, a letter came to Dr. McCaw from my Captain, urging him to send me back to camp, as it was a command from the General’s at headquarters to return many soldiers then absent from their command. By the time I could arrange to go, my company had partly gone into winter quarter.

[remainder of memoir not transcribed]

 

Page last updated on 02/12/2008