From the Richmond Daily Whig, 1 November 1861
CHIMBORAZO HOSPITAL – The plateau overlooking Rocketts,
known as Chimborazo Hill, has recently been covered with one-story wooden
buildings, presenting the appearance of a large Danish village. These buildings
were erected by direction of the Quartermaster General of the C.S.A., and were
originally designed for winter quarters for a portion of the army, but the
determination now is, we believe, to use them for hospital purposes. Two or
three hundred sick soldiers are already quartered at the place. The location is
said to be a healthy one, and affords an extended and picturesque view of river
scenery and the adjacent low grounds.
The buildings are one hundred and nine in number, including kitchens,
store-rooms, offices, etc. The dimensions of the main buildings are 80 by 28
feet. The pine boards enclosing the frame work of each structure are mailed on
vertically, and the crevices covered with strips. The roofs are shingled. Each
house is divided into two apartments by a longitudinal partition. A rough plank
floor has been laid in each house. Whether these buildings will answer the
purpose for which they are now designed remains to be seen. A driving rain or a
drifting snow will surely test their fitness as a place of shelter, and a heavy
fall of snow may imperil the roofs, but we presume the quartermaster and
contractor have both considered the contingencies indicated, and provided
against them as far as practicable.
The buildings have been erected in rows, separated by avenues forty feet wide
and from each other, laterally by narrow lanes. Some six or eight of the outside
houses were built with a deviation from this rectangular arrangement, in
consequence of the proximity to the cliff.
The "hospital" is said to be subdivided into five departments, with a
surgeon, steward, nurses, etc. to each. At present only two of these departments
have been organized. One important matter, not yet attended to is the drainage
of the place. Ditches to carry off water in the event of a heavy rain should be
excavated without delay.
Another matter deserving immediate attention is provision against fire. If
one of the buildings should become ignited by accident or design, and the flames
get beyond control, it would be almost impossible to prevent the destruction of
the cantonment. If no better plan can be devised, hogsheads of water, should be
placed near every building, and an ample supply of buckets kept on hand.