U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
Skip Navigation, go to content







AMEDD MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS External Link, Opens in New Window






Table of Contents



Map of New York, 1776

The siege of Boston had ended in March with complete success for the Colonists, a success to be followed by a long succession of dismal failures before victory would again cheer their hearts. Boston had been captured with little loss in battle casualties, and, what is still more surprising, with even less from sickness in the camps. This happy event was also not to be repeated; henceforth the army was to be dogged by disease, the camps to be clogged with thousands of miserable sick. There men not only died by hundreds, but, scattering to their homes, carried disease and death to the inhabitants of every colony. But all this was in the web of the future, and the Continental Army, cheered by its recent easy victory, marched confidently on its way to where the enemy next threatened battle before the city of New York.

General Charles Lee had been dispatched to New York in February, 1776. Raising a force of twelve hundred men in Connecticut, he marched into the city and assumed the principal authority there, in conjunction with three members of the Continental Congress. New York was threatened throughout the spring, but not actually attacked until July. Washington did not believe that the place could be held; there were so many points to be fortified and defended with his loosely organized and poorly supplied army that it seemed next to impossible to maintain all of them. He proposed to retire to the Highlands of the Hudson and defend the Colonies there; but the Congress decided that New York must be held, and he promised his “utmost exertions, under every disadvantage.” When the British entered the river with men of war and threatened to cut off his forces, it was quickly proved to be a place that could not be defended in the face of command of the sea.


General Lee projected works on Long Island, at the Harlem, and at various points along the shores of the Island. In February he was succeeded by Lord Stirling. When Boston was evacuated in March, a large part of the Continental Army was moved to New York, and King's College was taken for a hospital on April 6th. Washington himself arrived on April 16th; going on to Philadelphia to visit the Congress in May, he left Putnam in command in New York, and Greene in charge of the works on Long Island. These generals held their respective commands until shortly before the Battle of Long Island. Washington found about eight thousand men in and about New York, poorly armed and equipped. On leaving Boston, five of the New England regiments had been left behind, and some had been sent to join the Northern Army, but the brigades of Heath, Sullivan, Spencer and one other had marched to New York. These brigades were of about five regiments each and may have numbered twelve to fifteen hundred men to a brigade. At New York the army was joined for the first time by regiments from the middle states.

The camps at New York were marked by much serious sickness, especially by typhus, which had scarcely been seen at Boston. There was also much dysentery, though this disease was seldom fatal. Dr. James Tilton said of the camps at this time:

The ignorance and irregularities of our men in the new scene of life subjected them to numberless diseases. The sick flow in a regular current to the hospitals; these are overcrowded so as to produce infection, and mortality ensues too affecting to be described.

Our Revolutionary Army exemplified this misfortune in a shocking manner. The Flying Camp of 1776 melted like snow in a field; dropped like rotten sheep on their struggling route home, where they communicated the camp infection to their friends and neighbors, of whom many died.

Rush said afterward:

It is very remarkable that while the American Army at Cambridge, in the year 1775, consisted only of New England men (whose habits and manners were the same), there was scarcely any sickness among them. It was not until the troops of the eastern, middle, and southern states met at New York and Ticonderoga, in 1776, that the typhus became universal, and spread with such mortality in the army of the United States.


Dr. John Morgan, Medical Director of the Army

Dr. Schoepf, chief medical officer of the Hessian force, which reached Staten Island in June, said that scarcely a man escaped sickness during that first summer. The principal disease was dysentery.

The officers of the army were not ignorant or entirely careless of sanitation, but the state of general knowledge and prevailing discipline made enforcement of orders difficult or impossible. On July 28th the following order was issued from Headquarters of the camp on Long Island:

The General is pained to observe inattention to the digging and filling of vaults for the Regts &, the General directs camp colourmen of the several regiments to dig vaults and fill up the old ones every three days; and that fresh dirt be thrown in every day to the vaults, and that all filth in and about the camp be buried daily.

This order, if enforced, would have resulted in camps as sanitary as those of the Spanish-American War, one hundred and twenty-two years later. Unfortunately it was poorly enforced, as it was in 1898.

In February, General Lee, in a letter to Congress, suggested that a hospital be established in New York without loss of time. The work of building a hospital in New York (the second in America) had been commenced in 1771 and finished in 1774, to be burned down and rebuilt in 1775. But the necessity for barracks preceding that for a hospital, the unfinished hospital building, at the recommendation of the Committee of Safety, was occupied by the troops as quarters. It was afterward used by the British troops, but chiefly as barracks. Private homes were taken and (with King's College) formed the principal reliance for hospitals. They were safer, on account of the consequent separation of the sick, during the prevalence of dysentery and typhus. On April 3rd, while still in Boston, Medical Director Morgan received the following letter from the General:

As the Grand Continental Army * * * will, as soon as it is practicable, be assembled at New York, you are, with all convenient speed, to remove the general hospital to that city. As the sick in the different houses cannot be moved, but must be attended until they are able to march, you will leave such surgeons, surgeon's mates, apothecaries, and attendants under the direction of (Surgeon to be selected by Dr. Morgan) as are


necessary for the care of the sick now in the general hospital. The medicine, stores, bedding, etc., not immediately wanted in the general hospital, should be loaded in carts, that will be provided next Saturday by the Asst. Q. M. General, and sent under the care of a proper officer, or officers of the hospital, to Norwich, Connecticut. Upon their arrival there they will find his Excellency's orders, and how and in what manner to proceed from thence, whether by land or water.

The medicines ordered upon his Excellency's application, by the honorable the General Court of this Province, to be taken out of the town of Boston, should be sent with the first of the hospital stores that go to Norwich, a careful person having order to take charge of the same.

The fixing and completing of the regimental chests, according to your plan, had better be deferred until your arrival at New York, when they may be set about under your inspection.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
Before you leave Cambridge it will be necessary to see a proper regimental medicine chest provided and delivered to each of the surgeons of the four regiments left in garrison there under the immediate command of Major General Ward; also a chest for Colonel Glover's regiment, on command at Beverly.

Reposing entire confidence in your care, diligence and zeal for the service, I remain satisfied of your best exertions for the public benefit.

Given at Cambridge Headquarters, 3rd day of April, 1776.
                                                            George Washington.

To Dr. John Morgan.

This letter is quoted to show the interest taken by the General even in the details of the medical department of the army.

Dr. Morgan, in his Vindication, gives some information as to the sick left behind in the Boston hospitals, and also of the supplies that he had collected. They seem pitifully meagre now, but he evidently was proud of them. Many of these supplies had been abandoned by the British, on leaving Boston.

When the troops marched from Cambridge for New York, all the sick were left behind in the General Hospital, amounting to upwards of 300 men. In less than six weeks, during which time but few died, I was able to discharge the hospital of every man, to settle and pay every account, insomuch as never to have had any further demands from that quarter.

During this time, with little or no expense to the public, but for package and transportation, I collected medicines, furniture, and hospital stores, worth many thousand pounds, and sent them


on to New York. The like quantity I apprehended could not be procured in any (other) part of America. Besides these, I was able by means of the subaltern officers in the hospital, some of whom I employed continually at this work, likewise to collect near to the amount of two thousand rugs and blankets, near as many bedsacks and pillows, which were taken up from docks, and were gathered from hospitals and barracks, etc., etc. These being washed and aired, served the last campaign, when none other could be got, and many of they are yet in good preservation [1777]. In New York I collected some hundred sheets, fracture boxes, and other useful articles.

It may be thought that I place a higher value on these acquisitions than they merit; be that as it may, I am persuaded that the like could not be obtained for much less than thirty thousand dollars: which is equal to the whole amount of what I have drawn or expended, for the general hospital in the space of twelve months, including the pay of all the officers, and all the expenses of every kind; and for the faithful expenditure of the same I am ready to produce my accounts, receipts, and vouchers, whenever called upon for a settlement. Yet the general hospital has had the constant charge of a number from two to three hundred to a thousand sick and upwards to provide for.

Economy seems to have been one of Morgan's virtues, as it was Washington's. He did well to retain his vouchers, for long after the war ended he was wrestling with Congress over these very expenses. He went on to say:

I am persuaded that of the sick who have been drawn (rations) for in the general hospital, if none of them have been drawn for at the same time with the well men in their regiments, the stoppage of their rations will go a long way toward paying the whole of the expenses the hospital has been to on their accounts for provisions and stores of whatever kind.

Washington found time, in the month of June, probably, to inquire into the expenses of the general hospital. He learned from some unnamed persons what the expenses of a similar establishment should be in the British Army. Morgan says:

In a conference with the General, he [Washington] stated that the expenses of the general hospital should not exceed ten thousand pounds per annum, as some experienced persons had intimated.

Morgan feared it could not be done, but resolved to employ strict economy to keep it within those bounds. He mentions “the


advanced price of every article or living and hospital stores,” which it seems accompanied that war as well as later, and earlier, ones.

Wishing to know the basis of this estimate of the General's, he wrote to the person who made it—probably Dr. John Jones. He was informed that the estimate of ten thousand pounds was made for a force of ten thousand men, for six months. Morgan estimated that the expense for the Army, on that basis, should be forty thousand pounds for one year—for twenty thousand men, the number then kept on foot. Morgan's administration was extremely economical, as will be better understood when the hundreds of thousands expended by his successors are considered.

At the same time he inquired of this person, who doubtless had been in the British service, to clear up all doubts as to the manner in which the regimental surgeons were supplied with instruments and medicines in that service. He seems to have been informed that such supplies were not drawn from the general hospital. He goes on to say:

Until Congress, or your Excellency should give orders for a different mode to be pursued; I consider myself to be bound in duty to keep the British establishment constantly in my eye, as a directory, making allowances for the nature and differences of the service.

At another conference with Washington over difficulties, he, Washington, had said: “What is the practice in the British Army? Why should we think of improving upon their system, founded upon long experience?” It is clear that both the General and the Medical Directors were following the customs and regulations of the British Army, in so far as they could be applied to the Continental Army.

On June 3rd Congress called for thirteen thousand eight hundred militia from the New England Colonies, and ten thousand from Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. These latter were to furnish what was designated as The Flying Camp, for the protection of the Jerseys, threatened with invasion by the British forces. General Hugh Mercer was given the command of this doubtful force, and Dr. William Shippen was made its Medical Director on July 15th. Shippen had been Morgan's


colleague in founding the Medical College at Philadelphia, and was later to supplant, if not undermine, him. Mercer was a Scotch physician, a graduate of Aberdeen, who had followed Prince Charlie to Derby and escaped from the slaughter of Culloden. He had served in many Indian campaigns, where he was often wounded. He commanded a company in Braddock's dismal expedition, was severely wounded and left on that field of death, but escaped and made his way back through three hundred miles of wilderness. In 1756 he was both commanding officer and surgeon at McDowell's Fort in Pennsylvania, and was there twice wounded. In 1758 he was an officer under Forbes, fighting with the redcoats now. He entered the war as Colonel of the Third Virginia Line early in 1776. He was made a brigadier on June 5th and given command of the Flying Camp. He was to die by British bayonets, fighting to the last, before the year was out. Of the many heroes of the Revolution none merited that title more than did Dr. Hugh Mercer.

By July, Morgan had established his hospitals in New York, provided them with stores, and was as he supposed fairly well prepared for the coming storm. But as to the regimental surgeons he was in dismay. They had next to nothing, and, most of all, seemed careless or ignorant of their own helpless state. He says:

I am well off in the general hospital, except in a few particulars. I have provided ten thousand bandages, have some hundred old sheets, and a stock of medicines (though unassorted). I have of capital instruments nearly enough for hospital use. But in the meantime what is to become of the regimental surgeon? Should I divide my stores among them, they would be dissipated and ourselves left destitute. To observe a medium I have orders to be issued from the general hospital stores, sixty bandages, two sheets, four tourniquets, a quantity of lint and tow, and a chest of medicines. * * * .  But the instruments I have none to spare, and I begin to want some capital medicines. Moreover, symptoms of a putrid fever begin to appear. (Typhus).

At this time there were about forty regiments with the Army. The hospitals in New York then were: King's College, City Hospital, City Barracks, and whole streets of houses appropriated by the convention of New York. Country seats at a distance of some miles were also taken. King's College was the principal hospital, the others were subsidiary. General Greene


complained of the neglect of the sick on Long Island. Dr. John Warren,1 of Boston, was made surgeon of that part of the General Hospital, established on Long Island for the troops there. Dr. Isaac Foster was his assistant. Morgan's letter of instructions2 to Warren is full and comprehensive.

The hospitals about New York were an improvement on those hitherto established, yet left much to be desired. Especially were the regimental surgeons lacking; not only in tents and bedding, but also in instruments and dressings, of which they had next to none. Morgan inquired into these shortages and took what he considered the proper steps for remedying them. While most of his proposed measures were excellent, in one principal one he appears to have failed to hit upon a proper remedy. The regimental surgeons were always short of supplies and were continually applying for them to the general hospital. He always maintained that he had none to spare, which was true. But, instead of proposing a general supply officer, under his own jurisdiction, he proposed a system of continental druggists, located some place and under no control. This was the point on which he failed. He himself admitted afterward that this was the rock on which he foundered, but never admitted that he was in error. His letters and papers at this period, though not always clearly composed, give a complete picture of the difficulties of the general hospital at that time.

The New York Hospital, 1776

In a letter to Congress, in July, 1776, he stated his own case. Morgan may be allowed to tell his own story of his efforts to supply the regimental surgeons and put them on a proper working basis. He says:

A powerful fleet and army from Great Britain intended for the reduction of New York, being likewise already arrived on the coast; and having prepared everything in my department that was in my power, I then considered the unsettled state of the regimental surgeons. In order to bring them by degrees into greater regularity, and to make them more useful in case of action (as many of them had newly entered the service and most of them from want of experience were yet novices in the duties of a military surgeon), I thought it advisable to give them some instruction which might open their minds to a sense of what their duty required of them, as regimental surgeons, in time of action, which it could not be supposed was very distinct. I therefore drew up the following directions and communicated


them to the General. He approved of them in the orders of the day; and commanded the several surgeons of the regiments to wait upon me for copies, and to regulate themselves according to the proposed plan. Each surgeon was allowed a copy, and commonly, at the same time, I gave him an order on the apothecary of the general hospital for a medicine chest, for every battalion: which he also obtained if he was not already provided: together with a number of tourniquets, and a quantity of lint, tow, and old linen for surgical dressings.

The order and instructions are worth repeating here in full:

Order and Instructions Given to the Regimental Surgeons in Case of Action.

                            New York, July 3, 1776

?? ??????????

???It is proposed by the director general, and ordered by his Excellency, the Commander in Chief, that the regimental surgeons and mates may be the better prepared for the discharge of their duty, in case of action, to hold themselves in immediate and constant readiness for service; and, in the first place, to make a return to the director general of the hospital, of those names and stations, and of the instruments and bandages, etc., they have on hand, agreeable to the following form:

A regimental return of surgeon's instruments and bandages, etc., now in readiness for medical service; belonging to Colonel . . . . . . . . . . Regiment, in Brigadier General . . . . . . . . . . Brigade, encamped at . . . . . . . . . . , July 3, 1776.

Name: Surgeon . . . . . . . . . . Mate . . . . . . . . . .

Instruments on hand for uses Amputating instruments. Trepanning instruments. Incision knives. Pocket instruments. Bullet forceps. Crooked needles. Straight needles. Pins.

Number and kind of bandages, ligatures, etc.
Simple rollers. Double rollers. Foliated bandages. Splints. Tourniquets. Ligatures. Tape. Thread.

Old linen and other implements.
Quantity of linen or weight of rags.
Weight or quantity of lint. Tow or sponges.

?? ??????????

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As the general hospital will not admit of the hospital surgeons and mates being divided or detached, * * * * * and may require occasional assistance from the regimental surgeon, in case of many wounded being sent to it, * * * the following regulations are to be observed for the present, and till any change of circumstances may require an alteration.


Part of the general hospital is now fixed at Long Island, for the reception of sick and wounded persons, whose cases may require it; which John Warren, Esq., Surgeon in the General Hospital, is appointed to superintend and direct, with the assistance of three hospital surgeons and mates, and such other regimental surgeons and mates, belonging to that part of the army stationed at Long Island, as may be required. In case of evident necessity, arising from an attempt being made on Fort Defiance (afterwards called Fort Washington), two of the hospital mates with Dr. McHenry, now at Montressor Island, and whom he is to superintend and direct, are to repair to that post, with a proper assortment of medicines and bandages.

The remainder of the surgeons and mates of the general hospital are to continue at King's College and New York Hospital, for the reception of such wounded as are sent to them, from whatever part.

It being the duty of the regimental surgeon and mates, in case of action in the field, to attend the corps to which they belong, in order to dress the wounded in battle; they are to take post in rear of the troops engaged in action, at the distance of three, four or five hundred yards, behind some convenient hill, if at hand, there to dress the wounded who require to be dressed, on or near the field of battle.

If the regiment or corps to which they belong are engaged within a fort, or lines thrown up for defense, that fort or place of defense is then the proper station for the regimental surgeons. But as a regiment may be divided, and distributed into different posts, so as to render it impracticable for the regimental surgeon and mate belonging to that regiment to be near some part of their corps, it is necessary that an account of the number of surgeons and mates in any brigade or any division of the army that occupies one or more detached posts be taken, and delivered to the commanding officer of said posts or divisions. It is to be considered as the duty of each regimental surgeon and mate respectively, wherever stationed, to regard himself as having a joint charge of the whole brigade, with the rest of the surgeons of that brigade, rather than as if his care was to be confined only to those officers and soldiers who are of the regiment to which he belongs. It must unavoidably happen, at times, that both officers and soldiers may be wounded in action, and their particular surgeons be elsewhere employed, so as not to be able to attend them.

The amputation of a limb, or performance of any capital operation, cannot well take place in the heat of a brisk action. It is seldom possible or requisite. What the surgeon has chiefly to attend to, in cases of persons being much wounded in the field of battle, is to stop any flow of blood, either by tourniquet, liga-


ture, lint and compress, or a suitable bandage, as the case may require; to remove any extraneous body from the wound; to reduce fractured bones; to apply proper dressings to wounds; take care on the one hand not to bind up the parts too tightly, so as to injure the blood circulation, increase inflammation, and excite a fever; or, so loosely as to endanger the wounds bleeding afresh, or to allow broken bones, after they are properly set, to be again displaced. The wounded being thus dressed by the regimental surgeons, are next to be removed to the nearest hospital belonging to the brigade, or to the general hospital, as may be most convenient.

As the general hospital may at times be fully crowded with sick persons, or in the time of action, so many wounded may be sent there, as to require a greater number of hands than that part of the general hospital, where many of the wounded are sent, is furnished with, it may be absolutely necessary for the superintending surgeon, besides the proportion allowed him from the general hospital, to call for the assistance of a number of surgeons and mates from the brigade, division, or post of the army where he is, either before an engagement, or, when the number of wounded persons sent to him becomes very great, making such assistance needful. For this purpose he is to apply to the commander of the brigade, or any part of the army, who is hereby ordered to send him as many regimental surgeons and mates, for that purpose, as are required and can be spared from their posts.

To prevent confusion, and that the regimental surgeons may know the better what part of duty is expected from them, some one, at least, of the surgeons, especially those fixed at outposts, are directed, as soon as possible, to call upon and arrange matters, in time, with the hospital surgeons nearest at hand, in behalf of the brigade, or corps acting together, that no disorder may arise, in time of action, for want of so necessary a precaution. The regimental surgeons ought to call on the officers of the corps to which they belong, to settle with them, what persons are to be employed in carrying off the wounded, and for a supply of wheelbarrows, or more convenient biers, for conveying them from the field of battle to the place appointed for reception of the wounded, or general hospital. Each regimental surgeon and mate ought to have a portable box, with suitable divisions for containing his lint, bandages, instruments, and other implements of surgery, which ought to be well provided with every necessary.

In applying a common tourniquet to stop the flow of blood from any principal artery in a limb, till it can be otherwise pro-


perly secured, care must be taken not to twist it too tightly above the limb; and to prevent the tourniquet from slipping, so as to endanger a fresh loss of blood, it must be fortified with a ligature of thread or tape.

John Morgan,
                                    Director General.

This circular of instruction, though in places most clumsily worded, contains much useful information and directions. The direction as to placing the dressing station behind a convenient hill is naive. The reminder that a surgeon should not confine his attention to his own organization, but should attend any man in need of help, his own proper surgeon being absent, was very necessary. The fear of too tight a tourniquet causes him to refer to it twice. The mention of wheelbarrows and biers for the wounded makes it apparent that no real standard litters were then in use. The Dr. McHenry mentioned was he for whom Ft. McHenry at Baltimore was afterward named.

He attempts to overcome the difficulty of requiring regimental surgeons to assist at the general hospital, which they then, as now, did not desire to do, but the scheme is involved and lacking in force. Throughout the circular there is much mingling of what will be done and what ought to be done. Yet, on the whole, this circular shows that Dr. Morgan had a clear conception of the situation and what should be done; that he was attempting, under the greatest difficulties and inertia, to get these things done. He states, later, what success or lack of success he had in his endeavors. His statements list the complete surgical armamentarium of the regimental surgeons of the Continental Army at that time. It was meagre beyond imagination. There were then about forty small regiments in the Army at New York. They averaged little more than 300 men each.

In consequence of the foregoing plan and orders, some reports were made, although they came in but slowly. Near a fortnight passed over before I received them from more than fifteen regimental surgeons. It is to be ascribed, if not to that backwardness which the regimental surgeons ever showed to complying with general orders, perhaps to a conscious shame of being entirely destitute of any necessary articles, but what they had previously indulged to draw from the general hospital:- Some of them, whom I afterwards met, and inquired into the cause of their neglect, confessed this to be the truth.


As my intention in desiring these reports to be made to me, was to lay them before the General and Congress, with remarks on their insufficiency, that the medical committee might be incited to use more diligence, than heretofore, to fall on some measures for supplying the regimental surgeons with every necessary to qualify them for greater usefulness in their station. I drew up, from the separate reports delivered to me, one general return of the state of the above mentioned fifteen regiments. All the instruments were reputed to be private property, and amounted to:

        Six sets of amputating instruments.

        Two sets of trepanning instruments.

        Fifteen cases of pocket instruments.

        Twenty-five crooked and six straight needles.

Among the whole fifteen surgeons there were only four scalpels or incision knives, for dilating wounds, or any other purpose; three pairs of forceps for extracting bullets; half a paper and seventy pins and but few bandages, ligatures, or tourniquets; and as little old linen, lint or tow, but what they had procured from the general hospital; and only two ounces of sponges in all. Amazing deficiency for fifteen surgeons and as many mates!

Upon inquiry how they could think of marching with their regiments, without at least providing old linen for dressings; or of joining the army without the necessary instruments, as, if ever they reflected at all they must be sensible of the impropriety of so doing, and of its being much easier for each man to procure those articles, within the sphere of his acquaintance, connexions, or neighborhood, than to obtain them in an army, in general destitute of necessary supplies, of what was not to be procured in America, but with great difficulty: Their constant answer was, whenever they applied to their superior officers for those things, they were always told, they would be furnished with everything they wanted, as soon as they should have joined the army. Upon being informed that I had only a sufficiency of those things for the general hospital, and that I would by no means unfurnish it to supply them, they appeared quite confounded, and expressed great uneasiness, at having no proper establishment; and said, they knew not how, or where to obtain the necessary articles, to be anyways useful in the army, if I did not assist them.

As I was not ignorant of the many inconveniences under which they had hitherto labored, from a want of attention in the Congress to relieve or place them on a better footing, and as I felt for their distress, I assured them of my readiness to assist them, all in my power, confidently with my proper duty, and the orders I had, or should receive from Congress. I asked them to


meet in a body; to converse on the matter with each other; and then to choose one or more deputies from each brigade, to state their helpless situation, and pray for relief; in which I was willing to second their application, with all the influence of which I was master.

As they complained much of not being allowed proper regimental hospitals, and as I had, in opposition to what appeared to me to be the sentiments of both the Congress and the General, ever uniformly given it as my opinion, that regimental surgeons and regimental hospitals, under proper regulations, and due subordination to the general hospital, might be very useful, I took that matter under my consideration. I likewise drew up a memorial, and proposals to be shown to the General, for his approbation and concurrence, to be laid before Congress. At the same time I penned for the use of the regimental surgeons, a form and directions for keeping a proper register of the sick, and for making every kind of necessary returns of sick, provisions, etc., etc., also tables of the various kinds of diet used in the general hospital, as are examples for themselves to copy after; under the heads of: full diet, half diet, low diet, milk diet, and fever diet; with the method of calculating the difference betwixt these, and the amount of the well rations; to enable them to draw the value of the difference, whether in cash or refreshments, but for the use of the sick only: And I showed them a list of what instruments, bandages, ligatures, lint, tow, old linen, and other articles I esteemed necessary for a Regiment; which I shall subjoin to the substance of the memorial and petition to Congress, and the proposals I had sketched out for their consideration.3

At an appointed meeting with the regimental surgeons, before producing the papers referred to, the director addressed them in a prepared speech, which he had the forethought to preserve.3


This sets forth that when troops were assembled in haste, at the first breaking out of war, regimental surgeons were appointed to accompany them, provided with medicine chests, from the different parts of the country, where they were raised, at Colonial expense. That when it became a common cause of the whole continent, and provision was made, by Congress, for the care of the sick and wounded of the Army, by the establishment of a general hospital, with a Director General, four surgeons and twenty mates, there was no mention of the regimental surgeons and mates, nor any provision made for them, either of medicines,


instruments, or other necessaries; yet they were kept in pay. That, in this situation, it might be presumed the hospital surgeons and mates, appointed to take care of the sick and wounded, were scarcely sufficient to attend so great a number of patients as an unhealthy season, or an active campaign might produce; yet the regimental surgeons and mates, for want of a suitable provision, must in their present situation, be very useless; although they were so much more numerous than the hospital surgeons and mates, and always professed an ardent desire of being properly employed, and of answering the design of their appointment. That not knowing where else to look for relief, they had applied to the director general, who assured them of his inclination to serve them; but having no orders to issue out supplies to them, and it being unusual for regimental surgeons to depend upon the General Hospital for all they wanted, he had advised them to make application of the Commander-in-Chief, or Congress, for establishing a proper method to obtain supplies, promising to second their applications, with the warmest representations from himself. That it was with his advice, the present memorial was drawn up, to lay before Congress. That he had given them several meetings, and a set of proposals were agreed upon, as regulations, provided they met with the approbation of Congress, which were enclosed for consideration; praying for such relief on the premises, as to the wisdom of Congress should see meet.

The proposed plans will be found in the appendix to this chapter.4

In July he also sent Dr. Binney to Philadelphia to procure medicines and instruments. Binney wrote him that no instruments were to be had; that the only instrument makers in the city were employed by Mr. Marshall for the Congress. Dr. Binney at length (August 15th) sent forward such a supply of medicine as he could procure, and they arrived at Newark a short time before the retreat from New York. This was a fortunate accident, for they served the hospital established in Newark about that time.

The Director General forwarded the various documents to Congress, together with a long letter of explanation addressed to Samuel Adams, Esquire, and the rest of the medical committee. He stated their troubles, dwelt on the great shortage of


supplies with the regimental surgeons, and implored that he be clothed with authority and definite orders. He also referred to the great distress of the army in Canada and enclosed a plan observed by the British in conducting their general and regimental hospitals. He closed with this request:

(6) I beg instruments may be sent us, particularly amputating; crooked needles and sponges. The enemy are at hand; the campaign is opening; I have done all my limited power will allow. I hope, though late, almost too late, that it is not altogether so, either to receive power, instructions, or means to regulate the affairs of my Dept. I have done my duty in giving the necessary information for what is connected with it, and preparing for the faithful discharge of my trust. I now rest the matter on your determinations, being, with all possible regard,
            Your most dutiful and obedient servant,
                                John Morgan.

Congress was busy with many things then, but Morgan's recommendations were mainly approved. The only letter received from Adams was one of August 5th, in which he said:

I have received several letters from you, which I should sooner have acknowledged, if I could have found leisure. I took however, the necessary steps to have what you requested effected in Congress.

Congress had acted on July 17th5 and complied with most of Morgan's recommendations; practically all, in fact.

This resolution, or law, was on the whole in accordance with the ideas of Morgan, and very nearly abolished regimental hospitals—in law, but not in fact. They continued as before. It put all surgeons, hospital and regimental, on the same level in so far as rank was concerned. It established a system of property returns, and reports of the sick, as well as of personnel. It displays the usual thoughtlessness with which those in authority direct the preparing of endless papers by those under them. It was the answer to Morgan's proposals, and should have been reasonably satisfactory to him. It was not at all satisfactory to the regimental surgeons, who were required to abandon any real hospitals, and apply elsewhere for all supplies except medicines and instruments. They then renewed, with increased vigor, their efforts to undermine Morgan's standing


with the Congress. In this work they were soon joined by the Medical Director of the Flying Camp, Dr. William Shippen. Dr. Morgan then obtained permission to go to Philadelphia and lay the case before Congress. He learned that Congress had purchased a valuable stock of medicines that were in the hands of druggists there. As sales had been made from this stock, and considerable quantities sent southward, he feared it might be dissipated, though it was the best collection of medicines that he had ever seen in the American Army.

While on principle opposed to supplying the regiments, he offered to take a portion and supply chests to the regiments at New York, for one year, as an experiment. He says:

“I did not conceive that there would be more than forty or fifty regiments assembled at New York; nor did I suppose that half of them would come destitute of medicines and chirurgical apparatus, when I heard that the Southward (Southern) regiments were supplied by the Continental Druggists. I supplied from forty to fifty regiments with medicine chests by the end of August; besides all the branches of the General Hospital at New York, in the Bowery and neighborhood and in Long Island; which reduced many of our capital articles to an insufficiency for the general hospital for the remaining part of the campaign.”

For the purpose of supplying the hospitals and regiments, Congress authorized a continental druggist at Philadelphia, on August 20, and elected to that position Dr. William Smith.6 This continental druggist acted as a medical supply officer.

The Medical Department of the Continental Army at this time was modeled after that of the British Army. It consisted of the general hospital, under the personal direction of the medical director, and regimental hospitals, maintained by the regimental surgeons. The general hospital. at first a single institution, had necessarily been divided and branches of it instituted, at Fort George, Boston and other places. It was served by hospital surgeons, mates, and hired cooks, nurses, etc. These latter were paid from fifty cents to one dollar—not per day but per week. The general hospital was located in large public buildings when possible; otherwise in churches, warehouses, private homes and barns. The value of the ration due the sick was drawn in money. A principal article of the hospital stores


then purchased was rum. Some sort of beds and bedding were furnished, but it was customary to put two men (or more) in one bed. It is not strange that hospital fever (typhus) prevailed.

The entity termed a regimental hospital was no hospital in any definite sense of the word. It was merely a collection of the sick of a regiment, in some house, barn or other building. There were no beds or other facilities. Each man brought his own blanket, which was spread on straw. Each drew the ordinary rations; hard bread, salt beef or pork, and a tot of rum. The British regimental hospitals were little better. Dr. Robert Jackson, acting surgeon's mate of the 71st Regiment (Fraser's Highlanders) says that his regimental hospital at King's Bridge was a turf hut. Jackson was afterward captured at the Cowpens on account of having generously given his horse to Tarleton. Having no dressings for the wounded he took off his own shirt and tore it in strips for that purpose. Whatever may have been the effect of this action on the wounded, it so impressed General Morgan that Jackson was soon sent back to the British Army, without exchange. He was captured a second time at Yorktown. He was one of the first surgeons of the British Army to secure commutation of rations for the sick in regimental hospitals.

This system of regimental and general hospitals obtained in both armies for a hundred years. The functionary known as a surgeon's mate was, in both armies, a warrant officer, not commissioned. Later, in the Continental Army the mates received a status somewhat approximating commissioned rank. Dr. Jackson, while performing the duties of a regimental surgeon's mate, was carried on the muster and payrolls as an ensign, which gave him more nearly the rank of an officer.

A sample of Morgan's troubles throws light on the various so-called army hospitals of that time. General Fellow's Massachusetts Brigade was stationed along the North River from Greenwich to Chelsea, to defend that line. Morgan rode out with Quartermaster General Moylan to view the sick and the houses where they were quartered. They found one house so crowded with sick that he remonstrated with the responsible regimental surgeon. He says:


On looking into the rooms, they were found to be filled with sick, and the surgeons who had their care, panting for breath, in the midst of them. It was amidst the sultry heat of summer. In vain I represented to him the danger of engendering a putrid, malignant fever, from crowding so many sick in confined rooms, in that hot season. He had near a hundred sick in the house. I forbade him then, as I had uniformly prohibited every regimental surgeon, from taking charge of more than thirty or forty sick. I recommended to him to send at least one half of his sick to the general hospital, and remove the greater part of his men into the barn. He disregarded my advice, a putrid fever prevailed, he caught the infection and paid the forfeit of his rashness with his life.

The general orders at this time allowed regimental hospitals, under certain restrictions which were seldom observed. In this case Morgan applied to General Heath, but got no satisfaction. He remonstrated with the colonels commanding, but they refused to compel the regimental surgeons either to report to the Director, or send their sick to the general hospital. The colonel of this particular regiment said that if in his power to prevent it, none of his men should ever be carried to a general hospital. When the Director ordered bed frames made, as fast as forty or fifty were made the regimental surgeons carried them off, some two thousand in all. Such were the difficulties of the hospital surgeons that both Dr. John Warren and Dr. Isaac Foster asked to resign and were only prevented from doing so by Morgan. The particularly aggravating thing in the whole affair was that the regimental surgeons were continually writing to members of Congress: an old complaint, not yet entirely cured.

Lord Howe arrived in the Bay on June 29th with a fleet and eight thousand soldiers. The prospects of the colonists were dismal. The Northern Army, defeated and discouraged, was making its way back to Crown Point by slow and painful degrees, sickness and starvation vying with each other in the work of destruction. In every tent there was a sick or dying man. From thirty to forty were buried each day.

Adjutant General Reed wrote, “Had I known the true picture of affairs, no consideration would have tempted me to have taken an active part in this scene: and this sentiment is universal.”

Early in June General Clinton arrived from the South with some eight thousand more men; and on the 12th of August still


another fleet arrived, with the first of the Hessians, seven thousand eight hundred; men from Brunswick and Hesse Cassel, for whom King George had bargained to pay thirty-four dollars and fifty cents for every one killed, and to count three wounded as one dead. General DeHeister commanded this contingent. The calculation as to wounded may well have been based on the experience of the time.

The combined fleet now consisted of thirty-seven men of war and four hundred transports; with an army of twenty-seven thousand men. This was the largest British force ever concentrated in America. The troops were landed on Staten Island. All were well organized, splendidly equipped, and in every way fit and sufficient to have effected their purpose, had they had a general.

Washington had on August 8th about seventeen thousand men, of whom part were militia, and three thousand seven hundred were unfit for duty, sick. The urgency of the situation brought in more militia, more new men. Of the whole army not six thousand had been in the army a year. The constant coming and going made discipline impossible. Greene was the most cautious and skillful of the subordinate commanders, but unfortunately he fell sick of a raging fever a few days before the battle.7 The command fell to Putnam, who had little or no knowledge of the ground.

On August 22nd the British troops on Staten Island began to cross to Long Island in boats, and by noon fifteen thousand men had landed near where Fort Hamilton now stands, with forty pieces of artillery. The force moved to Flatbush and Flatland. Washington hurried over reinforcements and did his best to inspire them with courage, but it was clear that the morale of the troops was low. A shadow seemed brooding over this new army, now about to undergo its first great pitched battle: for it was outnumbered nearly three to one, by a better army; destined to be completely outgeneraled and to be sacrificed to no good purpose.

The battle, now more certainly anticipated, induced Dr. Morgan to provide more complete hospital facilities. He went before the New York Convention to appeal for buildings to be used as hospitals for the wounded.8 A certain number of houses


was ordered turned over to him, and now, with his surgeons instructed, supplies prepared, and hospitals waiting, he may have felt in some measure prepared for the coming battle.

The Battle of Long Island

General Greene had intrenched a strong camp, protected by Wallabout Bay on the left and by Gowanus Bay and a creek running into it, on the right. This line was less than a mile and a half long and was strongly fortified—so much so that the British hesitated to attack it after the battle. It was, however, resolved first to defend the line of wooded hills, some two miles in front of the camp extending from the narrows eastward toward Jamaica. There were four passes through these hills. Greene planned that all should be guarded, and Washington ordered it; but on the day of battle Bedford Pass was left almost unguarded, and Jamaica Pass, farthest east, was without defense. It has been well said that through the latter Pass “marched the Nemesis which dogs the feet of carelessness.”

Lord Stirling with five small regiments held the right of the line, next the water. Sullivan with five regiments held the centre, now Prospect Park, Brooklyn.9 A few regiments remained in the fortified lines. At most five thousand were along the line of hills, facing at least four times as many British and Hessians.10

In front of these passes, two defended, were twenty thousand of the best soldiers that England could produce, which were as good as any in the world. In front of Lord Stirling was General Grant with two brigades, one Highland regiment and two companies of New York Royalists. Stirling met them in what is now Greenwood Cemetery, and imagined that he held them in check; but they were only biding their time. In the Flatbush Pass Sullivan was likewise confronted with the eight thousand Hessians under De Heister. De Heister fired some shots, but, like Grant, did not engage heavily—the time had not come.

During the night Clinton and Cornwallis with seventeen regiments and eighteen guns had made a flanking march to the east, crossed the unguarded Jamaica Pass, and then turned westward. By half past eight the vanguard was at Bedford Four Corners. Here the spell of silence was broken; the bands struck up, the troops burst into cheers; and, pushing on, by nine o'clock the advance columns rested on the junction of the old Flatbush


and Jamaica Roads, now the junction of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues; only a few rods in front of the inner line of the American fortifications. Then it was that the two heavy guns sounded the preconcerted signal for De Heister to press the attack.

De Heister heard it and ordered Donop to carry the Flatbush Pass. The Hessians swept through the woods, followed by the Grenadiers, driving before them the feeble forces of Henshaw's and Johnston's Massachusetts and New Jersey men, with Hand's Pennsylvania Riflemen. Sullivan heard the signal guns, divined their meaning, and started for the fortified lines. A detachment of the British had marched through the Clove Road and reached the rear of Miles's Pennsylvanians; they were soon in full retreat. These various regiments, driven backward to the northern slopes of Prospect Hill, were suddenly confronted by the bayonets of Clinton and Cornwallis. They were thrown backward and forward between fire and bayonet. The greater part found themselves shut between closing jaws of fire. The retreat became a rout, and a massacre. The Hessians gave no quarter. Men who had thrown away their arms were shot down or bayoneted. For two hours the area now enclosed by Atlantic, Flatbush and Clinton Avenues saw this unequal struggle. More than five hundred perished, a few were made prisoners (Sullivan among them) ; a few escaped.

It was nearly eleven o'clock when Grant heard the second signal, which was his order to attack. He had just been reinforced by two fresh regiments from the fleet. Pushing rapidly forward, Colonel Atlee and his 235 skirmishers, were soon killed or made prisoners. Huntington's Connecticut men fared little better. And now, with the frontal attack, the Hessians came streaming in on Stirling's left and Cornwallis came hurrying down from the rear to seize the old Cortelyou house on his only road of escape. The situation was now frightful, but Stirling kept his head. He saw that if he could not hold back Cornwallis his whole command must suffer death or capture. He resolved on a costly sacrifice. Taking three hundred of Colonel Smallwood's Maryland regiment, he ordered all the remainder of his troops to retreat across the marsh and creeks of Gowanus Bay to the intrenched lines. The rising tide made this more difficult each minute.


Taking his place at the head of the three hundred, all of them boys, he led them straight at the British, posted in the Cortelyou house with two guns; while the Hessians held the adjoining hills. The terrible fire drove them back. But his men were not yet safe. Again he rallied them and led them on this forlorn hope; this time to the house, where for a moment they held the guns. Again and again this little band was led forward. After the fifth rally there were too few for another charge, but it was not needed. The sacrifice had accomplished its end. Stirling's force had escaped. Two hundred and fifty-six of Smallwood's regiment were killed, wounded or missing. A feeble remnant of the regiment struggled across the creek bearing their tattered colors with them. Stirling, an Englishman, rode away across the hills and surrendered to De Heister. Taken on board the fleet, he found Sullivan already there.

The battle was ended before noon. Five thousand men had been surrounded by four times their number. A thousand were captured. Several hundred were killed. General Howe estimated the American loss at three thousand five hundred. It was not that much, but the army was broken up. His own loss he reported as 367 killed, wounded and missing. This was the most discreditable defeat the Continental Army ever experienced, though the men never fought more bravely. Yet it might have been worse. Had General Howe but given the word, his generals, who were eager, would have rushed on the intrenched lines, almost certainly have carried them, and captured the whole American force on Long Island. The loss, some eight thousand men in all, would have ruined the army.

During the afternoon two brigades were brought over. At four in the morning Washington came to cheer and reinforce his shattered forces. He brought Shea's and Hand's Pennsylvania Regiments, and a little later came Glover's Regiment of Marblehead fishermen. There were now nine thousand men in the intrenchments, and Washington at first resolved to hold them. But when the mists cleared away, revealing twenty thousand men in his front, he resolved to retreat. On the night of the 29th the whole force was withdrawn to Manhattan Island. The Pennsylvania regiments of Hand and Shea were crossed first; the Delaware and Maryland regiments formed the rear guard.


Glover's regiment handled the boats, and a heavy fog aided the undertaking.

The regimental surgeons had little opportunity to follow Morgan's teaching in this battle. Several were captured. They may have collected the early wounded behind the hills; but suddenly this line also was attacked, there was no longer any rear. The army broke up and fled. Those wounded able to walk had some chance to escape; the severely wounded were captured and many killed. Brigadier General Woodhull of the militia was killed while a prisoner, by some of DeLancey's Royal Americans. Some of the wounded, however, escaped. All were removed to New York, by order of General Washington,11 on August 29th, before the evacuation.

Morgan says that in part of a day and night several hundred sick and wounded were transported from Long Island, in a heavy rain which fell during the retreat. They were landed at different wharves and carried to different houses, while he and his officers had great difficulty in collecting them in the barracks and hospitals that he had provided. All possible care was taken, in dressing the patients, and states that there was not a single wounded man brought to the General Hospital in New York yet some unavoidably suffered. He gave his personal assistance (King's College) that he did not himself dress. He also assisted in the operations and visited officers and men outside the hospital, either alone or in consultation. These statements give us a better idea of the activities of a medical director at that time, and more especially of the energy of Dr. Morgan, who did the work of superior and subordinate so well that there was never a complaint of the hospitals where he was present. The wounded in this case were not in great numbers, the best estimate being that few more than fifty seriously wounded escaped from the affair on Long Island.

The army had scarcely arrived in New York when the necessity for abandoning the place appeared. On September 5, General Greene urged that the city be abandoned and burned. On the seventh a council of war decided on the half measure that nine thousand men should retire to Harlem Heights, leaving Putnam with five thousand in the city. Heath commanded a reserve of two brigades, and Mercer was in the vicinity of Fort


Lee with the Flying Camp. It was determined to send the sick to Orangetown, New Jersey, and to the barracks at Kingsbridge.

Conditions in the city soon became unhealthful. The letters of Dr. Solomon Drowne, a hospital mate, to his father picture the rapid change. He wrote:

June 4th. We arrived yesterday. We waited on Dr. Morgan today and were kindly received. He mapped out a course of duty for us at the Hospital, which will keep us very busy. The College is occupied for the general hospital. It is a very elegant building and its situation is pleasant and salubrious * * * . I have a list of medicines, purchased here for ye Continental Hospital, to copy for Dr. Morgan, which obliges me to conclude.

June 17th. As there happened to be some vacancies in the hospital I have as good a berth as I could have wished for (the same as Dr. Binney's). We draw twenty dollars a month and two rations per day * * * * . We have been closely employed a good part of ye time, assorting and putting up medicines for thirty chests.

August 9th. Our wages were raised some time ago (in consequence of a petition to Congress) to thirty dollars per month. The pay would be no inducement to stay a minute in this stinking place, at the expense of health, that best of blessings. The air of the whole city seems infected. In almost every street there is a horrid smell.

Dr. Morgan had a reserve of stores collected which, before the evacuation, were sent to Stamford, Connecticut. Had this not been done they would have been captured. He says:

It being in the most violent heat of summer, and so the less wanted, I ordered the greater part of the rugs and blankets, the newest and best beddings, of which I had collected a very large stock, and a thousand sheets, of which I had lately got to the amount of nearly two thousand, many of them new, and a number of shirts, at New York, to be set apart for the purpose, and a large quantity of heavy hospital furniture, some of the largest bell metal and iron mortars, a number of crates of vials and jelly pots, the largest bottles, with the most bulky articles, and those in the least demand, as some hogsheads and casks of cascarilla, and other such particulars as we could best spare, to accompany them. To these I ordered, a share of whatever we had in so great a plenty, as to not fear being soon destitute of them: to be added with a small assortment of chosen medicines, to be made up and kept together in one or two suitable boxes as a reserve.


A vessel was found and these stores set off, under charge of Dr. Ledyard. They were landed at Stamford and taken charge of by John Lloyd, Esq., in his own house. Later, in fear of a landing by the enemy, the General ordered them moved some fifty miles into the country.

A branch of the General Hospital was later established by Dr. Philip Turner at Norwich, where their stores were doubtless used to advantage. Had they been held in New York they would have been lost, yet Morgan was blamed at the time for sending them away.

The morale of the army at this time was not high. It was composed of a heterogeneous mass of men of all ages, from all the colonies, with a large proportion of militia. The defeat on Long Island was depressing, and on top of that came the news of failure, suffering and death in Canada. The first enthusiasm had waned, and the formidable army assembled by Britain, together with a powerful navy, were things to give pause. Above, all, there was now much sickness. During the siege of Boston there had been comparatively little serious disease; now there was a great deal. Dr. Rush says: “It was not until the troops of the eastern, middle, and southern states met at New York and Ticonderoga in 1776, that the typhus became universal and spread with such mortality in the armies of the United States.” Rush also says that “the southern troops were more sickly than the northern or eastern troops.” This was due to the fact that there was in the south a class of poor whites, not known in New England and the middle colonies. To these may have been due the typhus which ravaged the army. Dysentery was now common in the camps of the Americans and also of their opponents; but usually not of a fatal type. Early in September three additional battalions were ordered up from Virginia, and two from North Carolina. Of those from Virginia (the 4th, 5th and 6th Regts.) nearly one half of the men were sick. A return of the army at the middle of September showed that of the rank and file there were present, fit for duty, 15,243; present sick, 6,098; absent sick, 1,215. The total number of sick was 8,528, more than a third of the army.

Washington was holding on to New York and the sick not yet evacuated. On the 8th of September he asked the New York


Convention for four large sloops for the purpose, having no wagons to spare; and on the 12th he wrote again, saying that the vessels had not yet arrived. Dr. Morgan made a considerable tour through western New Jersey in search of a site for the general hospital. On his return he wrote to Washington (September 12th)12 stating that no suitable place could be found in Orange County, but that Newark was satisfactory, and that the patients could be transported there almost entirely by water carriage; only four miles would be by land transport. Meanwhile, events were compelling action.

On September 9th the British had landed on Blackwell's Island. General Greene again called for a council of war, and this time it was decided that the city must be given up. There was still a large number of sick, more than could be moved in a regular manner. As a necessary measure, Morgan agreed to a plan of Greene's, that the regimental sick of each brigade be collected in a body, placed in charge of a medical officer, and sent off into the country (New Jersey). All not able to move themselves were ordered sent to the general hospital. This measure of necessity produced endless irregularities and confusion. The sick escaped from all control. Some surgeons also remained away and did not rejoin the army. At the next battle, the White Plains, few regimental surgeons were present, and Morgan was obliged to care for the wounded on the field, as well as at the general hospital at North Castle. The removal of the slightly sick, convalescents, and malingerers left several hundred seriously sick still in the city. Morgan said of the brigade plan:

“I am still of the opinion it was the best step that could have been taken to prevent the sick falling into the hands of the enemy, unless, what I mentioned to your Excellency as my wish could have been accomplished, viz.: That protection might be granted to the hospitals on both sides, and the sick not become prisoners of war, but their person and attendants might be privileged and safe, as was the case between the French and English in the wars of Europe.”

This letter to Washington shows that Morgan understood the principles now embodied in the Geneva Convention. He had served in the last Colonial War and must have been familiar with the practices of the French and English in that war.


On September 15th matters came to a crisis in New York. The British sent war vessels up the Hudson, and at the same time landed at Kipps Bay on the east side of tie Island. A brigade of militia ran away, leaving Washington alone and exposed to capture within a hundred yards of the enemy. This is one of the occasions on which he is said to have lost control of his temper. Putnam made his escape to Harlem Heights, in some confusion, with the loss of 275 prisoners, the heavy guns and much supplies. Washington said, “Most of the heavy guns and part of the stores were lost.” The loss of stores was due to lack of wagons. He says that the removal of the sick was “completely effected.” In a letter to John Augustine Washington he says that they “held on till the sick and wounded were sent away.” A more exact statement would be that they got the sick away before they were obliged to leave.

The state of the army after the battle on Long Island was such as to occasion alarm in the mind of John Adams, Chairman of the Board of War and virtual head of such war department as then existed. On September 19th he secured the passage of a resolution requiring daily drills. He said:

This resolution was the effect of my late journey through the Jerseys to Staten Island. I had observed such dissipation and idleness, such confusion and distraction among officers and soldiers, in various parts of the country, as disturbed, grieved and alarmed me. Discipline, discipline, had become my constant topic of discussion. . . . I saw very clearly that the ruin of our cause and country must be the consequence if a thorough reformation and strict discipline could not be secured.

On September 20th he secured the adoption of a set of articles of war, which was practically the same as the articles of the British Army. The British articles were, as he says, a literal translation of the Articles of War of the Roman Army.

As before mentioned, Morgan had inspected buildings for a general hospital in Newark. Dr. Foster and Dr. Burnet13 were placed in charge of this hospital, with seven or eight mates, and it was prepared for a thousand patients. Part of the medicines and stores at New York were ordered over by the Adjutant General (Reed), and to his personal activity it was due that they were saved. But the valuable part still remained in New York


after the British had landed and were supposed to be entering the city. Morgan himself then went back in a boat with some assistants and saved these stores, “like a brand from the burning,” as he says. He had previously sent two chests to Kingsbridge for hospital use. His own words give the best description of the evacuation of the sick and wounded from New York.

The sick and wounded above mentioned were landed at Hoebuck and Wehock, &c. Some of our mates fell into the hands of the enemy, and many of the nurses and waiters fled, and the militia ran off and impressed every wagon they could find in the neighborhood.

In another place he describes the actions of the militia:

I have been an eye witness myself to whole battalions running off from Powle's Hook and the Heights of Bergen, upon the firing of a broadside from a man of war. . . although not a man was hurt by that fire. These doughty champions never stopped till they came to Second River, but forced away the very wagons impressed to transport the sick and those wounded at Long Island, to Newark; to carry off themselves and baggage, for many of them chose to ride, to save their legs, in case of being more nearly pursued.

It therefore required some days to get on all the sick and wounded, through many difficulties, from the fright of the inhabitants, and their reluctance to admit of the hospitals being stationed at that place (Newark). I had provisions to collect, a commissary and wardmaster to seek, and nurses and waiters to procure, with everything necessary for the comfortable accommodation of the sick and wounded. I had little enough assistance to perform this task: Your Excellency having enjoined me to leave the most considerable number of surgeons and mates at York Island, in case of need. I made all possible haste, however, to put the hospital at Newark on a safe footing, which I accomplished in about ten days, and then returned to headquarters.

Morgan was even blamed in this affair and feelingly wrote:

All the consequences of the sick and suffering for want of necessities—sad spectacles of human woe, presenting themselves in towns, villages and on the roads, and straggling through the country, thereby exciting the terror as well as the compassion of the inhabitants—have been ascribed to my department and the officers under me, at a time when we ourselves suffered and called in vain for assistance from other departments, and, so far


as we were able, became fatigue men and laborers to the sick and wounded, as we could procure none from the Army, and, as I mentioned before, many of our attendants and nurses had fled.

This hospital remained at Newark until the advance of the British in November compelled the removal of the sick to Morristown and then to points in Pennsylvania.

On September 19th, Dr. Shippen wrote a rather boastful letter to Congress (from Perth Amboy), informing them that “all the wounded from Long Island were now recovered.” These wounded men were never in his charge at any time. He also stated that he had lost but ten or twelve men of twenty or thirty thousand passing through camp. Not half that number could possibly have passed through the Flying Camp. It will be remembered that Dr. Shippen was made medical director of the Flying Camp on July 15th. Although without previous military experience, he soon aspired to a much loftier position and took advantage of his station at or near Philadelphia to ingratiate himself with the members of Congress. He was a born courtier, of good professional ability and high social standing and without fine scruples. While Morgan was in the field, riding on horseback hundred of miles, gathering supplies from Boston to Baltimore, providing hospitals, instructing incapable surgeons, wrestling with insubordinate officers, and doing surgery with his own hands, Shippen was working on the members of Congress, whose fears were excited by the numerous complaints of conditions which neither Morgan, Shippen, nor anyone else could then have remedied. The bulk of the real complaint came from the Northern Army, where Medical Director Stringer  had from the beginning denied and resisted Morgan's authority. Even then Morgan had sent what supplies he could collect and had given what aid was possible. Washington was not approached or consulted in a scheme which was now under way to supplant Morgan. On October 9th Congress passed a resolution14 dividing the jurisdiction; giving Morgan control of the hospitals east of the Hudson, and Shippen control of those west of that river. This was an indefensible plan, which left no head to the Medical Department, and was sure to bring about confusion and failure. It was most probably a step toward the elimination of Morgan and the placing of Shippen in the supreme position.


Meanwhile, Morgan was everywhere, doing everything—except playing politics.

During the absence of Morgan there seems to have been no general hospital with the army at Harlem Heights. On September 18th an order was issued to this effect:

The Regimental Surgeons are to take care of their own sick for the present, until the general hospital can be established on a proper footing. They are to keep as near the regiments as possible, and in case of action, to leave the sick under the care of their mates, and be at hand to assist the wounded.

The headquarters were then at Morrisania. General Greene had command on the Jersey side. Sickness continued and even increased. The sick filled houses, barns, outbuildings; they even lay under trees and in fence corners. Washington was not unmindful of them, and on September 16th—an eventful day—a letter was written asking that the pay of nurses be increased.15 He also asked Congress for camp kettles, tents, blankets, and other necessities, to replace those lost during the retreat from New York. Several hundred carts and wagons had been sent to Long Island in July; when the retreat took place they were lost. So when the army retired from the city there were few wagons for baggage, and the camp equipage of tents and other essentials of Putnam's regiments were left behind.

Washington wrote Congress again, on September 24th, concerning the surgeons as follows:

No less attention should be paid to the choice of surgeons than to other officers of the army. They should undergo a regular examination, and if not appointed by the director general and surgeons of the hospital, they ought to be subordinate to and governed by his directions.

The regimental surgeons I am speaking of, many of whom are very great rascals, countenancing the men in sham complaints to exempt them from duty, and often receiving bribes to certify indispositions with a view to secure discharges or furloughs.

But independent of these practices, while they (the regimental surgeons) are considered as unconnected with the general hospital, there will be nothing but continual complaints of each other—the director of the hospital charging them with enormity in their drafts for the sick; and they him for denying such things as are necessary. In short, there is a constant


bickering among them, which tends greatly to the injury of the sick, and will always subsist till the regimental surgeons are made to look up to the director general of the hospital as a superior. Whether this is the case in regular armies or not, I cannot undertake to say; but certain I am, there is a necessity for it in this, or the sick will suffer. The regimental surgeons are aiming, I am persuaded, to break up the general hospital, and have in numberless instances drawn for medicines, stores, etc., in the most profuse and extravagant manner for private purposes.

Washington was not deceived in any of these things; his observations were remarkably accurate.

A considerable number of barracks and huts were built at Harlem Heights and Kingsbridge. The men were crowded in these, and the sick increased. Dysentery and typhus were the principal affections. Little mention is made of smallpox. As a rule, the men in the army about New York had by this time had smallpox either in the natural way or by inoculation. Surgeon James Tilton of the Delaware regiment afterwards wrote of the sickness which he saw at this time:

In the year 1776, when the Army was encamped at King's Bridge in the State of New York, our raw and undisciplined condition at that time, subjected the soldiers to great irregularity. Besides a great loss and want of clothing, the camp became excessively filthy. All manner of excrementitious matter was scattered indiscriminately throughout the camp, insomuch that you were offended by a disagreeable smell, almost everywhere without the lines. A putrid diarrhea was the consequence. The camp disease, as it was called, became proverbial. Many died, melting as it were, and running off at the bowels. Medicine answered little or no purpose. A billet in the country was only to be relied on. When the enemy moved to the East River, our army moved to White Plains and left their infectious camp and the attendant diseases behind them. It was remarkable, during this disorderly campaign, before our officers and men could be reduced to strict discipline and order, the army was always more healthy when in motion, than in fixed camps.

I recollect in the campaign of  '76, while our army was on the peninsula of New York, we were so deranged as to be deprived of ovens, and flour was served to the troops instead of bread. We could only make sodden bread and dumplings. Some baked their bread on hot stones, and others in the ashes. The consequence was that many were afflicted with the jaundice. Being a regimental surgeon at that time, I shared the fate of the rest, and shall never forget my fatiguing march from the North River to Brunswick, with the jaundice on me.


A return of the army under Washington on the east side of the river, of September 30th, shows that of the rank and file there were: Present, fit for duty 15,104; present sick, 4,211; absent sick, 3,399; total sick, 7,610.

General Greene had at Fort Washington and on the west side of the river 3,531 present fit for duty; 964 present sick; and 259 absent sick. A considerable part of both forces was made up of the militia, which was poorly equipped and had little or no tentage. An order of September 30th directed the militia to “build huts with straw, rails, and sod, on the Morrisania side of the Harlem.” An order of the 28th directed that the boards sent up for tent floors be not used for building up walls. On October 4th an order was issued bearing on the situation of the camp.

Orders:—The shameful inattention, in some camps, to decency and cleanliness, in providing necessaries, and picking up the offal and filth of the camp, have been taken notice of before in general: after this time particular regiments will be pointed out by name when such practice prevails.

At this time an engagement was generally expected. General Heath issued an order of battle for his division on October 3rd, in which provision was made for attention to the wounded. “A stout, able-bodied man of a (each) company is to be appointed, who, with the camp colourmen and musick, are to assist the wounded.”

The British having landed at Throg's Neck, the Continental Army was drawn back to the line of White Plains, early in October. It was now organized in four divisions under Lee, Heath, Sullivan and Lincoln. Greene was allowed to leave twenty-seven hundred men in Fort Washington. This was contrary to the judgment of Washington. For once, as Reed intimates, the decision of the great man faltered, and the foundation was laid for adding another to the growing list of disasters.

When Morgan returned from Newark to headquarters he received a letter from one of the aides-de-camp “setting forth the miserable situation to which the sick were reduced, and the clamor for want of medicines, absolutely insisting on immediate and sufficient supply,” and saying that, “whilst he was reserving the medicines for cases of emergency, the sick were dying in


numbers; for want of a necessary supply.” Morgan had just sent to Mr. William Smith, the continental druggist at Philadelphia, with what success may be judged. “Instead of ten pounds of tartar emetic I sent for, four ounces were all I could obtain.” He then induced a regimental surgeon to go at once to Hartford, Norwich, Providence and Boston, to procure medicines; but these places were so very bare of them that he was greatly disappointed in the outcome. He next applied to Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, and in person to the Assembly of New York at Fishkill. He found that the stock owned by this state had been sent to the Northern Army. Governor Trumbull collected a supply for him, but it did not reach the army until November.

This was an incident in his labors. As has been stated, the general hospital with the army suffered while he was away; rather, it ceased to exist. It was necessary to establish it again. As the army was then looking toward New Jersey, he decided to establish a hospital at Hackensack. He says:-

I recommend Hackensack. Every general officer, to whom it was mentioned, approved of it, as the most suitable place of all others for the sick of the army on York Island, there being no such convenient place on the Island itself, and the enemy had just made a descent about Kingsbridge. I was ordered over the river to view Hackensack (probably about October 1st) and to report what number of sick could be provided for at that place. On my return I did accordingly report that if a sufficient number of carpenters and masons were set to work immediately, to fit up the church, manufactory, and a storehouse or two, &c., six or seven hundred men, and perhaps more, might be accommodated in the town and neighborhood; but it would require many workmen and some time to prepare places for their convenient reception. I was then ordered back to carry the plan into execution with all possible diligence. I went accordingly, and next day no less than three hundred men (sick) were brought into the neighborhood for me to look after, though I was quite alone in respect to help. They daily increased in numbers, so that within a few days they amounted to upwards of a thousand.16 I had left instructions for Dr. Warren, and a number of mates and other hospital officers to follow and attend the sick. At first we had neither bread, flour, nor fresh provisions in readiness, nor were Commissaries at hand, from whom I could obtain any help. General Greene, to whom I sent to Fort Lee for assistance, was gone over to York Island. So soon as my hands were strengthened with Dr. Warren's and Mr. Zabrisky's help, and the ap-


pointment of a commissary and quartermaster, difficulties abated by degrees, and our affairs got into a more promising train. In the meantime, the armies having reached toward the White Plains, a battle was expected. I therefore hastened to join your Excellency. [This seems to have been about October 25th.]

The British had slowly moved forward, and toward the end of October were ready to attack. Morgan found that the surgeons with the army had fixed upon the church at North Castle as a convenient place for the wounded and at a suitable distance from the expected conflict at the White Plaine. He set about preparing the place, but before it could be done the battle began. As mentioned before, many of the regimental surgeons were absent, having gone off with their sick and not returned. Morgan learned of this and went at once to the field to supply this deficiency. He says:-

While we were getting in readiness, a firing of cannon was heard anew, for there had been a firing heard the day before at Fort Washington. On learning it was at the White Plains, every surgeon of the hospital then present set out with me, immediately for the Plains, several mates following with a waggon, to bring the instruments and dressings. We fixed (located) near lines, and I never stirred from thence till the enemy retreated, which was about a week later; nor till Your Excellency crossed the river to hasten to the support of Fort Washington (about Nov. 12th). In the meantime the situation of affairs would not permit Your Excellency to give me leave to return to North Castle, but for a few hours, to give directions, and to assist in providing for the sick and wounded; one hospital surgeon, and sometimes two or more, with three or four mates, attending the whole time at the Plains, in expectation of a second attack.

The encounter at White Plains took place on October 28th. The British attacked McDougall's New York Brigade, a part of which did not stand well, obliging the whole to fall back. Washington then retired to a stronger position near North Castle. The losses were not serious; less than a hundred in killed and wounded. As Morgan says, he cared for these wounded, both on the field and in a sort of general hospital at North Castle. This double duty, instead of bringing about praise, seems only to have caused increased complaint: as he indicates:

Here I cannot but feel for the hospital surgeons, who before they could obtain any quarters, except such as a few hours' in-


dustry enabled them to do, in a country which was not well calculated to afford any good, were suddenly overwhelmed with numbers of sick sent them, as well as the wounded in time of an engagement, and whilst many of the regimental surgeons were absent in the country, having left their corps in the field without assistance, contrary to the orders of July 3rd; at a time when an engagement was considered inevitable there were few at hand to give any aid. Hence, while the hospital surgeons were preparing matters at their proper stations in the hospitals, clamors were excited against them for not being with the troops; and when they were detained at the lines, to supply the place of regimental surgeons who ought to have been there, the wounded, who were conveyed to the hospital, naturally demanded the attention of the whole body of surgeons, to administer to them.

On November 5th he issued a circular requiring the surgeons to return to and remain at their proper places.17

The action of Morgan at this time cannot be too highly commended. We shall see later how Shippen managed affairs at Trenton and Princeton.

When Morgan finally returned to North Castle he attempted to put the hospital in order there by constructing berths, building chimneys, etc., but could get little done. He states that some died from effects of cold, which was severely felt at that time— the latter part of November. Leaving what sick could be cared for at North Castle, in charge of Drs. Adams and Charles McKnight, he had the remainder (about a thousand) sent to Stamford and Norwich in Connecticut. That colony had established hospitals in all the principal towns between Hartford and New York. These too seem to have been taken over by the Congress. Morgan says that he visited both places in person, and that they handled nearly two thousand patients, refusing not a single one.

The hospital at Stamford was in charge of Dr. Philip Turner18 and received in all about twelve hundred patients. Morgan says that it was well supplied, that the patients were comfortably provided for, and that most of them recovered. There is a letter from Dr. Turner, in November, recommending the discharge of 191 men at Stamford, as no longer fit for duty. On November 30th he again asked to have seventy-three discharged. He then said there were six or seven hundred in the town, largely convalescents, but of whom not a fourth would be of any service. As the regiments to which they belonged were soon to be dis-


banded, he recommended that these men be discharged. Apparently this was done, for Morgan says that in February but twenty-five of the men remained in hospital. There is no account of any serious amount of sickness or many deaths at this hospital.

The hospital at Norwich was in charge of Dr. William Eustis. He reported that upwards of seven hundred sick and wounded were well provided for and attended with satisfaction. When he left Norwich, in March 1777, but eight or ten remained. On December 10th, Eustis wrote to Heath, saying that he had four hundred sick, mostly convalescents. He was discharging the militia men and asked authority to discharge those belonging to Continental regiments also, as their terms of enlistment would soon expire. The authority was granted.

On November 13th all the troops of New York and the colonies south were on the Jersey side, at Hackensack. Amboy, Newark, Brunswick, and Elizabethtown. Morgan left New Castle and crossed the Hudson about November 12th. He found the army in rather a bad state and entirely destitute of hospital surgeons to take charge of the wounded in case of an attack. The resolution of October 9th, dividing the hospitals, was at first believed by him not to take away his general supervision. With Washington's permission he went to Philadelphia for the purpose of laying the matter before Congress and getting an explanation of the meaning of that resolution. He was unable to obtain an audience, and in a few days the Congress adjourned to Baltimore. He then returned to headquarters and there received a letter from a member informing him that it was the design of Congress that he should be restricted to the east side of the Hudson. He immediately started for his station, where General Lee now commanded.

On November 20th the British had landed six thousand men above Fort Lee. The garrison was withdrawn, losing two or three hundred tents, a thousand barrels of flour, and a few guns. On the 21st, Washington wrote from Hackensack saying that he had not above three thousand men, much broken and dispirited, with no intrenching tools, or other implements. He recommended that Lee come to his aid with his Continental troops, hut did not order it. He then crossed the Hackensack, beginning his re-


treat. The Flying Camp was going to pieces. The condition of this army was desperate. On the 24th Congress authorized Washington to call the Pennsylvania and New Jersey regiments from the Northern Army; the Light Horse of Virginia, and the militia of Pennsylvania, known as the Associators. On this day Washington crossed the Passaic to Newark. The troops were without tents, poorly clad, marching wrapped in blankets, and presented a miserable appearance. The sick at Newark appear to have been sent to Morristown, and then to Bethlehem and other places.

During the latter part of October and five days of November the movements of the British were a puzzle to the Americans. By threatening first one side and then the other, they had finally brought about a division of the Continental Army. On November 4th they retired toward Harlem. On November 10th the division took place. General Lee was assigned to the troops east of the Hudson. He had seven brigades, thirty regiments, of New England troops. On November 24th his return showed 5,589 present fit for duty; 1,290 present sick; and 1,599 absent sick. General Heath was given three small brigades; also New England troops, for the defense of the Highlands. His headquarters was about Peekskill. He had on November 9th, 2,135 present fit for duty; 403 present sick; and 885 absent sick. Washington, with Greene, took all the troops from New York and the states to the south, for the defense of the Jerseys. At this time his force may have amounted to eight thousand men, but it decreased very rapidly, and on November 23rd he had but 5,410 present for duty. Of these, a third would claim their discharge on December 3rd, and a second third on January 1st, while the troops of Lee and Heath remained longer and were more promptly replaced.

On November 16th the blow fell at Fort Washington. After a doubtful defense, the post was surrendered with great stores and twenty-seven hundred prisoners. The force included Magaw's and Shea's Pennsylvania regiments, Rawlin's Maryland riflemen, and some militia from the Flying Camp. Dr. Hugh Hodge and Dr. James McHenry were among the prisoners19 also Dr. John Beatty.20 The captures of the British at Long Island, Fort Washington and in various lesser conflicts now amounted


to more than three hundred officers and 4,430 men. In this campaign they had captured almost as many men as Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga. Fortunately for the Americans, then as since, men were their most plentiful war commodity. They were replaced, though the recruiting of men took time.

When the British (under Cornwallis) advanced on Hackensack, General Greene ordered the sick sent to the country. They went in various directions; about a hundred of Colonel Bradley's regiment went to Fishkill, where the New York Council of Safety authorized Dr. Chauncey Graham to care for them in the unfinished academy. When the army was divided General Heath, with the smaller division, was left without a general hospital. On November 19th he wrote a letter making a proper complaint.21 Morgan, then at North Castle, rode up to Peekskill, and interviewed Heath on the subject of a hospital and surgeons. He offered to furnish the surgeons and fit up a hospital for three hundred sick, as soon as the building should be ready.22 When he called on the quartermaster for workmen and materials to put the buildings in order, build chimneys, construct berths and other necessary equipment, the quartermaster replied that every man was on some necessary work, and recommended that he apply to General Heath. Morgan did so, and the reply received was, “That the General did not choose to meddle with anything to be done in the quartermaster general's department.” This is a sample of Morgan's difficulties, here, at Hackensack, and other places. Dr. Adams and Dr. McKnight were sent to Peekskill, but as no buildings were available the sick had to be taken twenty miles across the Highlands to Fishkill. On December 5th the New York Convention informed Heath that barracks for two thousand men were being constructed between Peekskill and Fishkill, that the sick could be cared for in some of these, and that more would be built if necessary.

The year was drawing to an end and with it Morgan's service as Medical Director. On January 9th, 1777, Congress, without consulting Washington and without giving any hearings, passed a most unjust resolution dismissing both Morgan and Stringer from the army.23 A later committee found that there was no charge against Morgan's character or ability, but his reputation was irretrievably injured, and he was left a dis-


appointed and broken man; sacrificed as a sort of scapegoat, on account of public clamor, for faults more chargeable to Congress than to himself.

The political game was played and Morgan was thrown to the wolves. His tireless energy under every discouragement; his faithfulness and economies; his integrity of character which made work for the sick and wounded, not personal favor, the goal—all were forgotten. It is true that the hospitals had sometimes failed. So had every department of the army, and the army itself, failed. Treat every man according to his deserts, as measured by success, and they had all been hanged. The commissary failed, the quartermaster failed, the whole army was beaten in every battle, outmaneuvered and outwitted; at the last of the year it was a wreck which Washington himself said would come to an end within ten days.

Little credit can be claimed for the General himself in the actual management of this, his first campaign. All were amateurs pitted against professionals. All had to learn the difficult art of war through the costly lessons of failure. The real encomium of all is, not that they had any success, but that they were steadfast in the face of continual defeat. Any fair comparison will prove that the medical department of the Continental Army was handled as well as any other department. But, following the custom of politicians, public clamor had to be appeased by a sacrifice. Morgan was even informed that he was not dismissed on account of any particular act of omission, but because of general complaint. That he was given no hearing, no chance to defend himself, only accentuated the meanness of this act of injustice.

The New York campaign actually came to an end when Washington and then Cornwallis crossed the river into New Jersey. The contest was thenceforth for the Jerseys, possibly Philadelphia. The Continental Army was fatally divided. Gates had above five thousand troops for duty at Ticonderoga; Lee had as many east of the Hudson; Heath had three thousand in the Highlands. Washington probably had the weakest force of all, about five thousand, of whom only half were Continentals.

This campaign had been very near a total failure. Every battle had been lost; New York surrendered; nearly five thous-


and of the army had been taken prisoners; and toward the end the men had not stood well in battle. Yet in the whole series of battles less than a thousand men had been killed and wounded. Probably not more than two hundred had been killed or had died of wounds, and six or seven hundred wounded who recovered. Of the five thousand prisoners at least half died of disease and neglect. It is impossible to make even a reliable estimate of the losses from disease from the time the army reached New York until the end of the year. I do not believe that five thousand would be at all high. At least as many more were lost in the Northern Army. The battle losses (killed and wounded) of that army were also very small, little if any more than five hundred. The British had taken a thousand prisoners; most of whom were reasonably well treated and returned by exchange. Those officers captured at Quebec in December, and at Three Rivers in June, reached Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in September.

Courtlands Square House, N.Y.

The sufferings of American prisoners of war in New York were long the subject of bitter complaint. The prisoners taken on Long Island, at Fort Washington, and elsewhere were crowded into buildings in the city and into old hulks in the harbor, where under the worst sanitary conditions they died by hundreds. Both smallpox and typhus contributed to the death roll of these wretched victims of the war. In the city the principal prisons were: the Middle Dutch Church on Nassau Street, afterward the Post Office; the Lutheran Church, at the northeast corner of Frankford and William Streets; the old Provost Prison, converted into the Hall of Records in 1831; the Huguenot, the Brick Church, and the Friends' Meeting House; the Van Cortlandt Sugar House; another near the Dutch Church; and the Rhinelander Sugar House, at the corner of William and Duane Streets. In all these places the sufferings were intense. “I have gone into a church,” writes Colonel Ethan Allen, and seen sundry of the prisoners in the agonies of death in consequence of very hunger, and others speechless and near death, biting pieces of chip. . . . The filth of these churches was almost beyond description. I have seen in one of them seven dead at the same time.” Three thousand were crowded into the Dutch Church, but an out-break of smallpox compelled their removal. Colonel Ethan Allen,

Major Travis of Virginia, Judge Field of Bergen, Major Van Zandt and others of rank were subjected to the brutality of one Captain Cunningham, who is said to have boasted that he had starved two thousand rebels by selling their rations.

The treatment of military prisoners at that time was generally inhuman. It was the more so in the case of the colonists who were considered as rebels, to be punished as well as imprisoned.

Clothed in rags and scarcely covered from the wintry air, crowded in narrow rooms and weakened by disease, the prisoners died by the hundreds. The feeble shivered in the wintry blast, the sick lay down on beds of snow to perish. Food was of the coarsest kind and was served out in scanty measure. Smallpox and the deadly jail fever raged unopposed. Every night ten or twenty died; every day the meagre bodies were thrown into pits, with no burial rites. Even when led out for exchange there was little hope, for many died on the way home, or lingered on for but a few miserable weeks. So wretched was the condition of these exchanged prisoners that Washington refused to consider them fit subjects for exchange. “You give us only the dead or dying,” he wrote to Howe, “for our well fed and healthy prisoners,” and pointed to the condition in which they reached him, diseased, famished, emaciated and dying, as they were conducted to their quarters.

The New Hampshire Gazette of April 26, 1777, said:

The enemy in New York continues to treat the American prisoners with great barbarity. Their allowance to each man for three days is one pound of beef, three wormeaten biscuits, and a quart of salt water. The meat they are obliged to eat raw as they have not the smallest allowance of fuel. Owing to this more than savage cruelty, the prisoners die fast, and in the small space of three weeks (during the winter) no less than 1,700 brave men perished. Lieutenant Collin narrates that he with 225 men were put on board the Glasgow on the 25th of December, 1777, to be carried to Connecticut for exchanges. They were on shipboard eleven days, crowded between decks, and twenty-eight of their number died through illness in that brief space of time.

The contagion of the prisoners did not fail to spread to the city. During the winter the smallpox made fearful ravages. Hundreds of the citizens died, and the wealthy fled in fright


to their country homes, to undergo inoculation. The violent putrid fevers of the prisons spread to the inhabitants. New York was full of mourning. Of thirty persons in one family only ten escaped. The graveyards teemed with burials. The summer air brought no relief, but seemed malarious and deadly.

Terrible as were the conditions in these prisons, they were even worse on the prison ships: old hulks moored near Wallabout Bay. The most notorious of these was the Jersey, whose evil repute is scarcely less than that of the Black Hole of Calcutta. Her guard was composed of Hessians. Frequently a thousand Continental soldiers were confined on board, and there they sickened and died by hundreds. At night the hatches were battened down, in the morning the jailers shouted, “Rebels, turn out your dead.” No aid could be extended to them, not even medical service.

These facts are recorded merely to show the price paid by the colonists for liberty; that the people of today may not forget the sufferings of those who, going forth to battle for freedom, died in misery and filth in these horrible prisons; aiding, however, in securing that freedom for us.

During the year 1776 there were in service forty-seven thousand Continentals, one-year troops; and twenty-seven thousand militia, who served from a few days to a few months, some near a year; so many never enlisted in one year again. Their casualties may be estimated roughly at one thousand killed or died of wounds, twelve hundred other wounded, six thousand taken prisoners, ten thousand died of disease, and several thousand who deserted or disappeared. At the end of the year the term of enlistment of nearly all expired. Some few regiments had been organized later than others; some were persuaded to remain a few weeks beyond their terms of service; but the main Continental Army disappeared, the new one was not yet formed, and the often reviled militia had to fill the gap, as at Boston the year before. Fortunately for the country, the British Army followed its time honored custom of going into winter quarters. No offensive movements were made after December. Time was thus given to organize a new army and to prepare for the next year's campaign. Congress had already provided the necessary legislation, and recruiting was in progress. That the work could be done


in the face of general defeat and failure throughout the year is an enduring memorial to the faith and steadfastness of the struggling colonists.


1 John Warren, younger brother of Joseph Warren, was born in Roxbury in 1753. He graduated at Harvard in 1770, studied medicine with his brother, and began the practice of medicine in Salem in 1772, being but nineteen years of age. He attended the wounded at Bunker Hill, and while trying to reach his brother received a bayonet wound. After the battle he was appointed a hospital surgeon, and served in the hospitals about Boston. Re accompanied the army to New York, and was, as we have seen, in charge of the hospital on Long Island. Later he was at Newark and Philadelphia. At Trenton the army marched in the night for Princeton leaving the surgeons behind. They galloped off, barely escaping capture. In 1777 Warren was made superintendent of hospitals at Boston, and served there until the end of the war. For forty years Dr. Warren occupied a foremost place among the surgeons of New England. In 1785 he was made professor of anatomy and surgery in the newly established medical school of Harvard. He was first president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and held that position continuously from 1804 until his death in 1815. His son, John Collins Warren, 1778-1856, was a distinguished medical practitioner, teacher and writer.


New York, June 12, 1776.

Sir: ???????????

You are desired to go over to Long Island and to consult with General Greene, about the proper houses for the forming of a hospital (to be part of the general hospital) for the reception of the sick in his brigade. For your assistants you will be pleased to take over three of the hospital mates, of which Mr. Glover is to be one, the other two as you agree with the other surgeons.
Make out a proper assortment of medicines, such a list as you think needful, after consulting with Dr. Foster, Dr. Adams               and Dr. McKnight, and order it to be put up from the hospital stores. If you have occasion for further assistants, make requisition from General Greene's brigade, of as many surgeons and mates as you shall stand in need of.
Keep a register of the sick, in which you are to make an entry of the times of their admission and discharge, as well as                  of the diseases they labor under; and require of the respective surgeons of the different regiments, weekly returns of the sick in the hospital belonging to their regiments; in order to compare with yours:  From which a roll is to be made out once a month, for receiving the ration money from the commissary general.


What nurses you require for the sick, you will engage at the price of half a dollar per week: the number not to exceed one for every ten persons, sick or wounded; the necessary laborers to be employed by the day, as usual, in which avoid engaging a greater number than is absolutely necessary.

Deliver out no stores of any kind to the regimental surgeons. When the sick require further aids than they can give, let them be reported to you, and if their cases require it, receive them into the general hospital. Take with you at least 1,500 bandages, and a quantity of tow, with a set of capital instruments, and all suitable dressings in case of action.

Use your best endeavors to make the surgeons and mates of the regiments attentive to their duty.

For any debts contracted for the use of the general hospital, agreeable to the above rules, draw on me. You will employ the same person to supply fresh meat and at the same prices, as in the hospital at New York.

Weekly returns of the sick to be sent over early every Monday morning as usual.

Be pleased to call on Mr. Delameter for one hundred additional blankets and as many beds: applying to the quartermaster for straw, from time to time, and order the nurses, washerwomen, etc., to clean them from time to time.

An orderly mate is to take charge of the blankets and bedding, etc., and of the hospital furniture every week: to enter into a book for the purpose., what stores of this kind are given out, to examine what each sick (person) brings with them, and to see that nothing is carried out on their dismission not belonging to them.

An orderly sergeant, or corporal, or careful soldier (if the General will allow) ought to be stationed at the hospital, to take charge of the arms, etc., of the sick, whilst in hospital, and to give them up on his death or dismission.

A carpenter ought to attend constantly to make coffins, or to perform other work, for which you will apply to the quartermaster general.

No blankets, or other effects of the hospital, to be expended at the funeral of those soldiers who die in the hospital.

I remain, sir, your most humble servant,

                                        JOHN MORGAN.

3 REGULATIONS proposed by the Director-General of the Hospital; and agreed upon with the Regimental Surgeons, to be laid before CONGRESS FOR THEIR DETERMINATION upon them.

First.—That regimental surgeons apply to the quartermaster general and obtain from him, or the barrack master, by an order from him, some proper quarters convenient for the situation of each regimental or brigade hospital.

    Second.—That said hospitals be furnished from the quartermaster general's department with necessary utensils and hospital furniture, according to a list of enumerated particulars.


Third.—That regimental surgeon be supplied in future by continental druggists, with medicines, instruments and old linen for bandages, and necessary dressings.

Fourth.—That they shall report to director general or surgeons of the general hospital, all such sick patients of their regiments, who are proper objects, making use .of every possible precaution, to guard against crowding in the hospital with putrid cases, that require fresh air for recovery of the sick; lest hospital, malignant, or pestilential diseases be excited, to the great devastation and ruin of the army.

Fifth.—That they make proper reports from said register, to accompany every person they recommend to the general hospital, with an account of the patient's care, and previous treatment, and what clothing is sent with each patient, certified by the surgeon or mate, and signed also by a commissioned officer.

Sixth.—That they make daily returns to quartermaster or adjutant of the regiment; of the sick belonging to that regiment, who are unfit for duty, whether remaining under their own care, or sent to the general hospital, that no soldiers may be exempt from duty, as sick men, that are not borne on the doctor's list; and that no rations be drawn for them, amongst the effective men, whilst they are drawn for with the sick, whether in the general or regimental hospitals.

Seventh.—That they make weekly returns of the sick from their registers, both in the general hospital, and regimental or brigade hospitals, as well to the director general as to the commandant or brigade, that a true state of the sick of the whole army may be made out, to lay before the Commander in Chief, and to be transmitted to Congress, weekly.

Eighth.—That agreeable to the sick list returned to the director general, the regimental surgeons be entitled to draw from the general hospital, for the sick remaining under their care, any articles they may choose, agreeable̓ to the various diet tables made use of for the patients of the general hospital; and whatever other refreshments they choose, with which the general hospital is supplied, to the full amount of their rations. If they require more from the general hospital, the sick are to be sent to the general hospital.

Ninth.—That Colonels of regiments be allowed to draw monies for defraying any extraordinary or incidental charges of regimental hospitals, and for such articles as are not to be got in the stores of the general hospital, nor in the commissariat or quartermaster's department, and on account of the disbursement to be settled, with the weekly or monthly abstract of the regiment.

Tenth.—That the state of the several regimental or brigade hospitals of the sick, and of the medicine chests, be subjected from time to time to the director general, or such hospital surgeons as he shall appoint to that duty.

Eleventh.—That in all things, not particularly ascertained in these regulations, the usage of the British and other armies be followed, till otherwise directed as far as is consistent with the good of the service.

One is astonished at the completeness of these regulations, the number of details covered. It is evident that they were not evolved at once, but were taken from the regulations and customs of the British Army. Paper work must have existed long before that time. When the term brigade is used


here probably it does not refer to a brigade of several regiments, but to a small force of a few hundred men, termed a brigade rather than a regiment.


I have, with all care and attention in my power, taken into consideration the state of the regimental surgeons, with a view to getting them provided with regimental hospitals, and pointing out the means for their being in future, supplied with the usual requisites, for the more easy, more regular, and more extensive discharge of their duties annexed to their stations. To answer this end, I have considered that it is within our power, as matters now stand, and what we are to aim at, for further improvement; and have, by a train of reflections on the subject, been led, in the first place, to propose certain regulations, which appear to me to be both salutary and practicable, if they meet with your concurrence, for which I shall submit them to your hearing, and strictures, for correction and amendment. If we can agree in them, it will be one step gained, and may serve as a foundation, on which to proceed, in smoothing every difficulty that may still remain, toward forming a more perfect plan, or model of economy, in the conducting of the military hospital, and providing for the sick and wounded.

The next step I apprehend we have to take, is to apply to Congress for an immediate supply of chirurgical instruments and bandages, for the regimental surgeons, and for its approbation of the proposed regulations, as well as that of the Commander-in-Chief; that those regulations may have a proper authority to rest upon, for their sanction and support; and 3dly to suggest such others, as may be still more useful, in future, though the continuance of the war may make further regulations necessary.

5 On July 17, 1776, Congress took into consideration the report of the Committee on the memorial of the director general of time American hospital, whereupon, Resolved

First.—That the number of hospitals surgeons and mates be increased. in proportion to the augmentation of the army, not exceeding one surgeon and five mates to every five thousand men, to be reduced when the army Is reduced, or when there is no further occasion for such a number.

Second.—That as many persons be employed in the several hospitals, In the quality of storekeepers, stewards, managers, and nurses, as are necessary for the service, for the time being, to be appointed by the director of the respective hospitals.

Third.—That the regimental chests of medicine and chirurgical instruments, which are now, or hereafter shall be in the possession of the regimental surgeons, be subject to the inspection and inquiry of the respective directors of hospitals, and the director general, and that the said regimental surgeons shall, from time to time, when thereto required, render account of the said medicines and instruments to the said director, or, If there be no director in any particular department, to the director general; the said accounts to be transmitted to the director general, and by him to the Congress; and the medicines and instruments not needed by any regi-


mental surgeon to be returned, when the regiment is reduced, to the respective directors, and an account thereof rendered to the director general and by him to Congress.

Fourth.—That the directors of hospitals in the several departments, and the regimental surgeons, where there is no director, shall transmit to the director. general regular returns of the number of surgeons and mates and other officers employed under them, their name and pay; also on account of the expenses and furniture of the hospital under their direction; and that the director general make a report of the same from time to time, to the Commander in Chief, and this Congress.

Fifth.—That the regimental and hospital surgeons in the several departments make weekly returns of the sick to the respective directors In their departments.

Sixth.—That no regimental surgeon be allowed to draw upon the hospital of his department for any stores except medicines and instruments; and that when any sick person shall require other stores, they shall be received into said hospital and the rations of the said sick persons be stopped, so long as they are in said hospital, and that the directors of the several hospitals report to the commissary the names of the sick, when received into and when discharged from the hospitals, and made a like return to the board of treasury.

Seventh.—That all extra expense for bandages, old linen, and other articles necessary for the service, incurred by any regimental surgeon, be paid by the director of that department, with the approbation of the commander thereof.

Eighth.—That no more medicines belonging to the Continent be disposed of till further order of Congress.

Ninth.—That the pay of the hospital surgeons be increased to one dollar and two thirds of a dollar by the day; the pay of the hospital mates to one dollar by the day, and the pay of hospital apothecary to one and two-thirds of a dollar by the day, and that the hospital surgeons and mates take rank of regimental surgeons and mates.

Tenth.—That the director general and the several directors of hospitals be empowered to purchase, with the approbation of the commanders of the respective departments, medicines and instruments for the use of their respective hospital, and draw upon the paymaster for the same, and make the report of such purchase to Congress.”


. . Journal of Congress, July 17, 1776.

?? ??????????

That every director of a hospital possesses the exclusive right of appointing surgeons and hospital officers of all kinds, agreeable to the resolution of Congress of the 17th July, in his own department unless otherwise directed by Congress. That Dr. Stringer be authorized to appoint a surgeon for the fleet now fitting out on the lakes.

That a druggist be appointed at Philadelphia whose business it shall be to receive and deliver all medicines, instruments, and shop furniture for the benefit of the United States. That a salary of thirty dollars a month be paid to said druggist for his labor.

?? ??????????


“Congress preceded to the election of a druggist and the ballot being taken, Dr. Wm. Smith was elected.”

This druggist appears to have been a storekeeper, or medical supply officer. The medical committee of Congress seems to have done the purchasing.


                            Camp at Long Island, August 11, 1776.

Dear General:

There is no proper establishment for supplying the regimental hospitals with proper utensils for the sick; they suffer for want of proper accommodations. There is repeated complaint on that head. The regimental hospitals are and ever will be rendered useless, nay grievous, unless there is some proper fund, to provide the necessary conveniences. The general hospital cannot receive all the sick: and those that are in the regimental hospitals are in a suffering condition, if this evil continues, it must injure the service, as it will dispirit the well, to see the sick suffer, and prevent their engaging (enlisting) again, upon any conditions whatever. Great humanity should be exercised toward those indisposed. Kindness on one hand, leaves a favorable and lasting impression; neglect and suffering on the other, are never forgotten.

I am sensible there has formerly been great abuses in the regimental hospitals. but I am in hopes men of better principles are elected to those places, and that time same evils will not happen again. But the Continent had better suffer a little extraordinary expense, than the sick should be left to suffer, for want of those conveniences so easily provided.

I would beg leave to propose that Colonels of regiments be allowed to draw monies, to provide the regimental hospitals with proper utensils; an account of the disbursements, weekly or monthly, to be rendered: This will prevent abuse and remedy the evil.

Something is necessary to be done, speedily, as many sick are in a suffering condition.

The general hospital is well provided with everything and the sick are very comfortable. I wish it was extensive enough to receive the whole, but it is not.

I am, your Excellency's most obedient servant,

                                NATH. GREENE.

                                    August 13, 1776.

8Doctor John Morgan, Director General of the Hospital, attending, was admitted. He informed the convention that General Washington had directed him to have all the sick removed to proper places out of such parts of said city as are closely built and inhabited; that a list of houses had been handed to him for that purpose, by private persons, but that as he is a stranger, and does not know what particular persons might be proper to be exempted, and, therefore requests the direction of the convention in the premises.


Resolved that his Excellency General Washington be and is hereby empowered to apply the following houses, to wit:

    Mr. Aplethorpe's,
    Oliver Delancey's and
        Robert Bayard's at Bloomingdale.
    William Bayard's, at Greenwich.
    Mr. Watts' near Kipp's Bay, [East 34th St. now].
    Robert Murray's, on Jacklam Bergh.
    Mr. Win. McAdam's, amid the houses and buildings occupied by Mr. Watson near the old glass house.
    Nicholas Stuyvesant's, Peter Stuyvesant's, Mr. Elliott's.
    Mr. Horsemanden's commonly called Frog Hall.
    Widow Leake's, near Kipp's Bay; for the use of the General hospital of the Americans.

Ordered, That the General Committee of the City of New York do, on application of Dr. John Morgan, Director of hospitals of the Continental Army, appoint a proper committee of their body, to ascertain and designate to him such houses on Nassau Island, to be by him used as a general hospital, as he may from time to time have occasion for that purpose.”


Major General Israel Putnam, Commander;
    Right Wing, General Lord Stirling—Kichline's Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion, Atlee's Penn. Regt., Smallwood's Maryland Regt., Hazlet's Delaware Regt., Huntington's Connecticut Regt.
     Left Wing, General Sullivan—Miles' Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion, Bedford Pass; Henshaw's Massachusetts Regt., Johnston's New Jersey Regt., Hand's Pennsylvania Regt., Prospect Hill, Wylley's             Connecticut Regt., Bedford Pass.
    Reserve—Little, Hitchcock, Chester.
    Two brigades came over after the battle.
    Total about 8,000.
    Total strength of the American Army August 3rd—Total present and absent, 17,225; sick, 3,678; total effective for duty, 10,514.


    Advance Guard—4 Battalions Light Infantry and Light Dragoons.
    Reserve—4 Battalions Grenadiers, 33 and 42 Foot.
    1st Brigade—15, 27, 4, 45 Foot.
    2nd Brigade—5, 28, 49, 35 Foot.
    3rd Brigade—40, 37, 38, 52 Foot.
    4th Brigade—17, 40, 46, 55 Foot.
    5th Brigade—22, 43, 54, 63 Foot.
    6th Brigade—23, 57, 64, 44 Foot.
    7th Brigade—7lst, New York Companies, Artillery.


De Heister, Hessians-—Three brigades of three regiments each; one brigade of two regiments.

Total, forty-three regiments, besides artillery and small detachments. The total was at least twenty thousand officers and men—probably somewhat more than that number. Some of the regiments were large; the 42nd numbered 1,168 and the 71st 1,298.

The returns of the British Army on August 27th showed present 26,247 (excluding Royal Americans) and 24,464 effectives.

11 “Parole Sullivan. Countersign Green.

  HQRS. LONG ISLAND, Aug. 29th.

?? ??????????

As the sick are an incumbrance to the Army, and troops are expected this afternoon from the Flying Camp in Jersey, under General Mercer, who is himself arrived, and cover is wanted for the troops, the commanding officers of regts. are immediately to have such sick removed. They are to take their arms and accouterments and be conducted by an officer to the General Hospital, as a rendezvous, and there to cross together, under the directions of the person appointed there, taking general directions from Dr. Morgan. As the above forces, under General Mercer, are expected this afternoon, the General proposes  to relieve a proportionate number of regiments, and make a change in the situation of them.”


                               New York, September 12, 1776.

?? ??????????

Agreeable to orders I have been in the County of Orange and collected seven members of the Committee and spent the whole    of yesterday and part of this day in viewing the country, and looking out for proper covering for the reception of the sick and wounded.
I am sorry to report that in a circuit of fourteen miles in that County, I cannot find or hear of any suitable accommodations for more than about one hundred sick. No country can be worse provided in all respects; and the places proposed are remote from any landing. From the knowledge I have at New Ark I am persuaded it is a place infinitely superior in all respects for the establishment of a general hospital. There are but four miles of land carriage required; all the rest is water carriage. The houses are numerous, large and convenient. If it be objected that they are full of inhabitants from New York, so is every hovel through Orange County; and as to the town of Orange, I cannot find that there is room for one sick person without incommoding some one or other.
After this report, which is grounded on the most careful inquiry and inspection, I await your Excellency's further orders; but if I may be permitted to offer my sentiments it is that no time be lost in applying to the Committee at New Ark by requisition for    room for the sick; and if your Excellency thinks proper, I will immediately repair with all despatch to


urge the matter without delay, or proceed in any other way your Excellency may see fit.

I am your Excellency's most obedient and very humble servant,

                                    JOHN MORGAN.

l3 Dr. William Burnet, of Newark, New Jersey, was a member of the Committee of Public Safety of that Colony, and was made Surgeon General of the militia, February 17, 1776. His son, Ichabod Burnet, was an aide of General Greene. When Mrs. Washington journeyed to Cambridge in 1775 she stayed at the house of Dr. Burnet in Broad Street. He was Physician and Surgeon General of the Eastern Department, April 11, 1777, and Hospital Physician and Surgeon, Oct. 6, 1780; and Chief Hospital Physician and Surgeon, March 5, 1781 to the end of the war. He was stationed at West Point at the time of Arnold's treason; after the war, was president of the State Medical Society, and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. A son, David Burnet, became President of Texas. Dr. Burnet died October 7, 1791.


Resolved. That no regimental hospitals be in future allowed in the neighborhood of the general hospital.

That John Morgan, Esq., provide and superintend a hospital at a proper distance from the camp, for the Army posted on the east side of Hudson's River.

That William Shippen, Esq., provide and superintend a hospital for the Army in the State of New Jersey.

That each of the hospitals be supplied by the respective directors, with such a number of surgeons, apothecaries, surgeon's mates and other assistants; and also with such quantities of medicines and bedding, and other necessaries, as they shall judge expedient.

That they make weekly returns to congress, and to the Commander in Chief, of the officers and assistants of each denomination; and also the number of sick and deceased, in their respective hospitals.

That the regimental surgeons be directed to send to the general hospital such officers and soldiers of their respective regiments, as confined by wounds, or other disorders, shall require nurses or other attendance, and from time to time apply to the quartermaster General, or his deputy, for convenient wagons, for their purpose; also, that they apply to the directors in their respective departments for medicines and other necessaries.

That the wages of the nurses be augmented to one dollar a week.

That a commanding officer of each regiment, be directed once a week to send a commissioned officer, to visit the sick of his respective regiment, in the general hospital, and report their state to him.

                            CHARLES THOMPSON, Secretary.



Before I conclude I would beg leave to mention to Congress, that the pay now allowed to nurses for their attendance on the sick is by no means adequate to their service—the consequence of which is that they are extremely difficult to procure; indeed they are not to be got, and we are under the necessity of substituting in their place a number of men from the respective regiments, whose services by that means is entirely lost to the proper line of their duty, and but little benefit indeed to the sick, The officers I have talked with upon the subject all agree that they should be allowed a dollar a week, and that for less they cannot be had. Our sick are extremely numerous, and we find their removal attended with the greatest difficulty. It is a matter that employs much of our time and care, and what makes it more distressing, is the want of proper and convenient places for their reception. I fear their sufferings will be great and many; however nothing on my part that humanity or policy can require shall be wanting to make them comfortable, so far as the state of things will permit It.

I have the honor to be &c.



Sir: By command of General Washington, all the sick and wounded, both in the general hospital and those remaining under the care of regimental surgeons, are removed within two days, to this side of the river, and chiefly in this neighborhood. They amount to several hundreds, in addition to about 300 who were before removed to Newark, and 4 or 500 in Orange County.

The general's commands were to leave a respectable body of surgeons and mates above Kingsbridge, a general action being daily expected, as the whole force of the enemy is drawn to that quarter.

So soon as I get this part of the general hospital into order I am to return and provide accommodations at the White Plains, for which indeed I gave the necessary orders before I came over.

                                        JOHN MORGAN.


To the regimental surgeons and mates, belonging to the Army of His Excellency, General Washington, now absent with, or without the sick of their respective regiments and brigades, on either side of Hudson River. Gentlemen:

Few of the surgeons or sick, allowed to remove from camp some time ago, being yet returned, and no report being made of them to me, His Excellency the Commander in Chief, conceives that his former indulgence to the sick, in permitting them to retire from the camp for the recovery of their health, has been much abused both by the sick and the generality of the surgeons and mates, under whose care they were allowed that in-


dulgence; it is His Excellency's orders, therefore, that each of you do forthwith wait upon Isaac Foster, Esq., at Hackensack; John Warren, Esq., at Newark, or Philip Turner, Esq., at Norwich; Surgeons in the general hospital, whoever of them is nearest at hand, and make a faithful and accurate report of the sick and wounded under your care, and remove those who are fit subjects, immediately, to the general hospital, under their care; for which you are to apply to the quartermaster general's dept. for wagons, and accompanying them yourselves. . . .

Such of you as those gentlemen require to assist them for the present in the general hospital, and who are willing to attend to their sick there, under their direction, are allowed to do so till further orders; all others are to repair immediately to headquarters, and join their respective regiments; first furnishing me with an accurate register, duly certified, of the state of the sick that went out with them, or have been since under their care, specifying the time of their being taken ill, their diseases, and events as to death, recovery, or continuance; and whether any of the sick have been allowed to withdraw from under their care, and when.

As all who are absent without leave must naturally be looked upon as deserters. . . And the surgeons, or mates, who cannot give a regular and satisfactory account of the faithful discharge of their duty, necessarily subject themselves to an inquiry into their conduct.

                                        JOHN MORGAN.

18 Philip Turner was born at Norwich, Connecticut in 1740. Being left an orphan at twelve, he was taken into the family of Dr. Elisha Tracy and in time studied medicine. In 1759 he was an assistant surgeon with a provincial regiment at Ticonderoga: continuing with the army until 1763. At the beginning of the war he stood at the head of his profession, but left his practice to become surgeon of Huntington's Regiment (8th Connecticut, later the 17th Continental). He was at Boston, accompanied the army to New York, and was at Long Island and White Plains. In 1777 he narrowly missed being made Director General instead of Dr. Shippen. He was a little later made Surgeon General of the Eastern Department; and served as such until near the end of the war. He then returned to Norwich and resumed practice. In 1800 he removed to New York City, and later was appointed a staff major in the army, with station at Governor's Island. He held this position until his death in 1815.

l9 Dr. James McHenry was born in Ireland in 1753, came to America in 1771, studied medicine in Philadelphia under Dr. Benjamin Rush, but does not appear to have graduated from the Medical College. He was made surgeon of the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment on August 10, 1776, and was taken prisoner at the capture of Fort Washington, November 16, 1776. He was on parole until exchanged, March 5, 1778. In May he was appointed secretary to General Washington, and this ended his medical career. On May 25th he was commissioned a major in the Continental Army. In 1780-81 he was an aide-de-camp to LaFayette. After the war he was a member of the


Maryland Legislature. He was Secretary of War from January 29th, 1796, to May 13, 1800. Fort McHenry, Baltimore, the scene of the incident giving rise to the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” was named in his honor. He died May 8, 1816.

20 John Beatty was a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he was born in 1748, but received his education in New Jersey and lived in that State for forty years. He graduated from Princeton College in 1769, and afterward studied medicine under Dr. Rush. Like many other medical men, at the beginning of the war he exchanged the civilian dress of the surgeon for the regimentals of a line officer. By September of 1776 he had reached the lank of lieutenant colonel. Fickle fortune placed him in one of those Pennsylvania regiments selected to defend Fort Washington. As they were unable to defend it, he became a prisoner of war, and as such endured great hardship and suffering. He was not released until his health had entirely failed, requiring several years for restoration. Not until 1779 was he able to resume active duty. He was then appointed Commissary General of prisoners, which position he is believed to have held until the close of the war.

After the war he practiced medicine at Princeton. He was successively elected a member of the Legislature, speaker of the House and member of Congress. In 1795 he became Secretary of the State of New Jersey, and served as such until 1805. He died April 30, 1826.


                        Peekskill, November 19, 1776.

Sir: There are at this place three brigades of troops, besides the garrisons of Fort Montgomery, and Constitution, making on the whole, upwards of five thousand men, and neither general hospital nor surgeon belonging to the general hospital at the post. The morning that His Excellency, General Washington, left this place I mentioned to him the care of the sick. His Excellency replied that he intended to have mentioned the sick, but that it had slipped his memory, and that I must apply to you.

The daily complaints from the colonels of the several regiments in the division, of the sufferings and distress of their sick, render it very indispensable to apply to you for assistance and relief, which I desire you would afford immediately, as the neglect of the sick will prove very prejudicial to the enlistment of a new army.

I am dear sir, Yours very affectionately,




Dr. Morgan.

                                    Peekskill, November 20.

?? ??????????

Doctor Morgan proposes to General Heath the quarters to be fitted up immediately for a general hospital for the reception    of the sick at Peeks-


kill. They ought to be floored above, so as to make two stories each, and to have a stack of chimneys carried up in the middle.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Whenever a general hospital is established, it is necessary that the commissary in that department furnish the necessary hospital stores, in sufficient abundance, so that the surgeon on drawing them be immediately provided with flour or bread, fresh meat, salt, vinegar, rum, soap, candles, vegetables, Indian meal, oatmeal, barley, rice, chocolate, coffee, tea, sugar, wine, butter, etc. It is also necessary, when other attendants cannot be had, as nurses, waiters, laborers, and cooks, out of the army, that fatigue men be appointed by the commander in sufficient number.

It is further required that bed bunks be made, and straw be always in readiness, for the sick, and a carpenter or two to be employed solely in the business of the general hospital in making coffins, tables, and utensils of various kinds.

From the quartermaster's store should be provided, bedracks, platters, kettles, spoons, knives and forks, and other articles of the like kind.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Agreeable to General Heath's desire, these things are pointed out, and a surgeon with three or four mates shall be ordered to Peekskill to improve and take care of the general hospital.

                                    JOHN MORGAN.

23 RESOLVED, That Dr. John Morgan, Director General, and Dr. Samuel Stringer, director of the hospital in the Northern Department of the Army of the United States, be and are hereby dismissed from any further service as officers.

That the directors of the military hospitals throughout the army, with the assistance of the hospital and regimental surgeons in each department, make returns to Congress as soon as possible of the kind and quantity of medicines, instruments, and hospital furniture that remain on hand.