From the National Archives, M437 (Letters Received by the Confederate Secretary
of War 1861-1865)
Camp of Instruction
Hermitage Fair Grouds, July 19 1861
Owing to the absence of Surgeon R.
A. Madison, I find myself acting Medical Director of the Camp of Instruction.
The peculiar character of the
command and the limited number of authorized assistants compel me to ask special
orders for my guidance. The post is occupied by an average of 3300 to 4000 men
and officers. The occupants are changed from day to day. Regiments arrive or are
organized here unprovided with surgeons, assistants, stewards, nurses or
medicines; and, as a consequence, are dependant on the Medical Corps and
supplies of the camp. The limited residence of the various bodies of men
multiplies greatly the average ratio of sick per thousand. The actual medical
force of the camp consists of one surgeon and two assistants, one wardmaster,
one cook and four nurses. One assistant has been assigned by the War Department
to the care of the hospital. The wardmaster, cook, nurses, &c are subject to his
control; leaving the duties of visits in quarters, examinations for discharge &
furlough, prescription & dispensary work, the administration of medicines, the
issue of permits to the general & contract hospitals, out patients, records,
reports and requisitions with medical direction to one surgeon and one
assistant. With the constant volunteer aid of one, ad the partial volunteer
assistance of another physician, it is found barely possible to get through the
daily labor of administering to the actual wants of the sick. Under these
circumstances it is beyond the power of man to make any correct returns or to
reduce the medial administration to order or discipline. This is the experience
of my predecessor and a few days convinces me of its correctness. [page
I am therefore compelled to ask
the aid of the department - If a thorough organization and reliable records are
expected, either medical officers must be attached to each regiment formed or
about to be formed; or a permanent medical staff must be appointed equal to the
demand of the force. There is so far as I can learn, no regularly appointed
steward – although a Doctor Franklin, disabled by sickness and asking a month's
furlough, claims the place.
This representation is made with
no desire to create unnecessary difficulties, but simply with the view of
performing what I regard as my duty. I most respectfully seek the aid & counsel
of those in authority as to what means shall be adopted to secure, efficiently,
the comfort and welfare of the sick who come under my observation.
A. E. Peticolas, M. D.
Surgeon C. S. A. A. Medical Director
Surgeon Surgeon D. C. DeLeon C. S. A.
A. Surgeon Genl
P. S. Since ending the above Dr. Peachy informs me that all
the iron bedsteads and accompanying furniture used at the Camp Hospital have
been sold by him as belonging to himself and partners and will be removed.
Surgeon Genls Office
Aug. 6, 1861
Surg. Peticolas was instructed to
select from suitable men for the appt. of permanent Hospital Steward.
With regard to the demand for
medical officers, Surgeon Peticolas has applied for and attained orders to
another [page break] position - and Surg. Carrington has been assigned to
duty there, but it is now recommended that a Surgeon be appointed as the
Surgeon(?) in charge of the whole camp, and Dr. A. Y. P. Garnett, (formerly of
the U. S. Navy) a physician of much experience, and high reputation, is
suggested as a suitable person to fill the position.
S. P. Moore
Act. Surg. Gen.