Richmond Dispatch, 10/2/1861

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From the Richmond Dispatch, 10/2/1861, p. 2

Ladies’ Hospitals in Richmond for the Sick and Soldiers.

Sisters of Charity, at St. Francis de Sales, on Brooke Avenue, May 18 to Sept. 23. – Beds, 50; entries, 413; actual patients, 44; deaths, 7.

Warwick House and Company G Hospital, (Mrs. Gordon and friends on Church Hill,) from July to Sept. 25. – Beds, 120; entries, 600; deaths, 32.

Springfield Hall, on Church Hill, June 5 to Sept. 23. – Beds, 45; entries, 266; actual patients, 39; deaths, 7. Has 1 superintendent, 2 female nurses per day, 1 male per night, 1 matron, 1 cook, 1 washerwoman, and 4 boys in its service.

Clay Street Chapel, Aug. 24 to Sept. 30. – Beds, 78; entries, 187; actual patients, 70; deaths, 7.

Soldiers’ Home, (Mrs. Jenkins,) June 28 to Sept. 30. – Beds, 40; entries, 147; actual patients, 25; deaths, 7; returned to duty, 96; sent away convalescent, 9; discharged from army, 10.

Robertson, on Main and Third streets, from July 30 to Sept. 30. – Beds, 35; entries, 120; actual patients, 35; deaths, 4; returned to duty, 66; discharged from army, 2.

Sycamore, from Aug. 21 to Sept. 20. – Beds, 40; entries, 67; actual patients, 34; deaths, 2; discharged from army, 2.

Bethel, on Clay and Eighth streets, from July 23 to Sept. 24. – Beds, 18; entries, 69; actual patients, 17; deaths, 1; sent away convalescent, 8; discharged from army, 2.

Bethesda, from Aug. 5 to Sept. 20. – Beds, 12; entries, 50; deaths, 2.

Mrs. Gwathmey and friends, on Clay, between Fifth and Sixth streets. – Beds, 20; entries, 55; actual patients, 14; deaths, 2; returned to duty, 26; sent away convalescent, 3; discharged from army, 10.

Samaritan, on Cary, between Third and Fourth, from Aug. 19 to Sept. 30. – Beds, 20; entries, 48; actual patients, 20; deaths, 4; sent away convalescent, 8.

Mrs. Barksdale and friends, on Cary, between Third and Fourth, from Aug. 22 to Sept. 23. – Beds, 17; entries, 45; actual patients, 9; deaths, 2; returned to duty, 34.

Gamble’s Hill, from Aug. 23 to Sept. 23. – Beds, 12; entries, 21; actual patients, 10; deaths, 3; sent away convalescent, 2.

Franklin Street, between Eighth and Ninth, from Aug. 10 to Sept. 14. – Beds, 17; entries, 20.

Fourth Street, beyond Leigh, from Sept. 18 to Sept. 30. – Beds, 28; entries, 33; actual patients, 28; returned to duty, 2; discharged from army, 1..

Ballard’s, on Fredericksburg Railroad. – 12 to 14 at a time, for 5 weeks.

Total, 2,160 to 2,500. Percentage of deaths, .032; or, allowing for the cases desperately ill when brought in, between one and two per cent.


Alabama, (organized by Mrs. Hopkins,) on Fifth street, between Clay and Leigh, from Aug. 5 to Sept. 31. – Entries, 197; under treatment, Sept. 5, 33; returned to duty, 87; returned convalescent, 51; deaths, 12.

Louisiana, (nursed by Sisters of Charity,) at the Baptist College, from Sept. 1 to Sept. 25. – Entries, 212; under treatment, 130; returned to duty, 75; deaths, 4.

Georgia, between Main and Cary streets, low down, (mixed attendance,) from Sept. 5 to Sept. 24. – Entries, 198; under treatment, 143; returned to duty, 47; deaths, 8.

It need not be said that figures or abstract statements are utterly inadequate to express the kind of service which the ladies of Virginia are rendering to our army. Tabular views of hospital practice are here indeed vitiated by the fact that most of the soldiers who have died in the hospitals were allowed to lie in camp without such means and appliances as the sick require, until desperately ill or even in a dying condition. But the ladies must be seen at their own private hospitals, moving in their ministry of kindness about the sick bed, removing every annoyance, consoling in every affliction, reviving the tender memories of home, and recalling the vital power through the channels of social affection. One day spent in visiting the ladies’ private hospitals in Richmond suffices to penetrate the observer with conviction of the immense superiority which spontaneous and affectionate service her rendered under an abiding sense of social and patriotic duty possesses over all routines of mercenary service. It is little to say that our soldiers are better lodged, better fed, better nursed every way, more comfortable in body in these neat and orderly places of personal devotion. Their physical advantages are but the accessories to the great social fact, that they constitute a ministry of the heart, and from their fountain life of religion re-establish the primal relations of mother and child, of the angelic life with humanity, in which woman resumes her mediatorial office between nature and man.

Besides the numbers mentioned as nursed by ladies in private hospitals, it is known that nearly every respectable family in Richmond has added to its ties of blood adoptive children of the army, and the convalescent from the hospitals are constantly taken to the homes of citizens, there to perfect their recovery.

Among the hospitals mentioned several must now be given up for school-rooms; but it remains with the Confederate authorities to overrule the deplorable prejudice which has hitherto excluded from the general hospital this most precious and spontaneous order of service. Many ladies are ready to engage in it, and to carry into our public institutions the beneficent spirit of their private establishments.

The ladies’ hospitals in Richmond are adapted exclusively for the care of patients sick enough to be in bed. They are not hospitals for convalescents, and it would be absurd to hold them accountable for the deaths or accidents of retarded convalescence consequent on the imprudence of those who have been treated in them, and who may still use them as lodgings; but no allowance is made for this complication in the tabular estimate. These errors are willful and regardless of admonitions. To soldiers who commit them, the camps afford no guarantee of safety; for there, as in the city, it is easy for those who have a little money at disposal to commit excesses or imprudences in diet. Besides, there are a hundred pretexts habitually used for getting out of camp. It is only, then, by sending away the convalescents from all the hospitals in the city and camps daily, under guard, to the establishments prepared for their reception in the country, where it is comparatively easy to remove them from temptations, and where all healthful influences conspire, that the results of their previous good nursing can be sustained by the two-fold intervention of families in the city and country adjacent.

It is also desirable that a patrol should be detailed to enforce discipline and prevent disorderly conduct at each of the larger hospitals, if not at all of them, both large and small. No one could then leave the hospital without a permit duly signed by the officer in charge. The Medical College Hospital especially has urged the expediency of this arrangement, which would sensibly reduce the table of deaths and also the term of convalescence. Camps which admit hucksters cannot profit by this sanitary patrol. Two-thirds of the deaths in them are fairly attributable to imprudences in diet; the health of the survivors is gravely prejudiced by the same, and, beyond all question, the periods when temptations are strongest, and when it is most fatal to yield to them, are those of convalescence. It is hoped that a cordial understanding will reign on this point, as on all others, between the citizens of Virginia and the Confederate authorities, and that the wisdom of discipline will blend with the effusion of kind hearts.

It would be an extraordinary and intolerable abuse of vested authority, if in this war of our people, when every man’s home is at stake, and every family has children in the army, the ladies were prevented, under pretext of military discipline, from taking care of their sick and wounded brothers. M. E. L.

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