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Chapter XIII

Table of Contents




Toward the end of the year 1780 Congress became satisfied that further improvements could be made in the organization of the Hospital Department, and instructed the Medical Committee to-

“revise the several resolutions passed respecting the Hospital Department, and to digest and arrange them, with such amendments, as may make the whole consistent with, and conformable to the alterations made by Congress in the original system; and to report the same to Congress.”

The committee reported on September 30th. The resolutions passed on October 6, 1780, presumably the work largely of Dr. John Cochran,1 are voluminous and cover the whole field of action of the medical department. The departments were abolished, with their separate hierarchies, and all authority concentrated in one medical director, with three assistants who could be assigned to any army or place. The principal officials under this act were:-

    1 Director of the Military Hospitals; stationed at Headquarters.
    1 Chief Physician and Surgeon of the Army.
    3 Chief Physician and Surgeon of the Hospitals, at principal hospitals.
    1 Purveyor, and assistants, with clerks.
    1 Apothecary and five assistants.
    15 Hospital physicians and surgeons.
    26 Mates.    
    3 Storekeepers.        
    7 Matrons.
    9 Stewards.    
    1 Clerk.        
    30 Nurses.
    3 Storekeepers.    
    7 Wardmasters.

Returns were to be made to Congress each month. A clause giving half pay to medical officers, at the end of the war, as to all other officers, was stricken out.


The principal hospitals at this time were at the following places:-

        New Windsor huts, near West Point, now Newburg.
        Robinson’s House, across Hudson, from West Point.
        West Point Barracks.
        Morristown, New Jersey.
        Albany, N. Y.
        Yellow Springs, southwest of Valley Forge, Pa.
        Williamsburg, Virginia.
        Trenton, Now Jersey.

A “flying hospital,” i. e., a field hospital, was to accompany the army. As Dr. Shippen had generally found comfortable quarters in some city, the director was required to remain with the army, as was his first assistant.

The department having been reorganized, a new set of officers was in order. On September 19th General Washington had written a letter to a member of Congress, giving his estimate of a number of the medical officers of the army.

                                “Headquarters, Bergen County,
                                        September 9th, 1780.

Dear Sir

I have heard that a new arrangement is about to take place in the medical department; and that it is likely to be a good deal curtailed, in respect to many of its present appointments. Who will be the persons generally employed, I do not know, nor do I wish to know. However, I will mention to you, that I think Doctor Cochran and Doctor Craik for their services, abilities, experience and close attention, have the greatest claim to their country’s notice, and are among the first officers in the establishment. Doctors Latimer, Tilton, Hagan and Townshend, who are now senior surgeons, are also gentlemen of great merit, and have a just claim to be continued, from their abilities, attention, and other considerations. They are all single men, and therefore, being otherwise well qualified, are the most eligible. I have received also the most favorable reports, of the merits and attention of Doctor Jenifer, a junior surgeon, who is in the same situation. Dr. Craigie, the present Apothecary General, a gentleman not personally known to me, has been reported as very deserving of the appointment. The several gentlemen I have


mentioned, as I have observed, appear to me to have the greatest pretensions to the public esteem; and if they are honored with proper places, I am satisfied the public will be greatly benefitted by their services. The reason of my mentioning these particularly, proceeds from a hint given me, that the new arrangement might be influenced by a spirit of party out of doors, which would not operate in their favor.”

The election of officers took place on October 6th, with the following choice of aspirants:

    Director General—Dr. William Shippen, Pa.
    Chief Physician and Surgeon—Dr. John Cochran, N. J.1
    Chief Hospital physicians—Dr. James Craik, Md.2 ;   Dr.  James Treat, N. Y.; Dr. Charles McKnight, N. Y.3
    Purveyor—Thomas Bond, Jr., Pa.
    Asst. Purveyor—Isaac Ledyard, N. Y.
    Apothecary—Dr. Andrew Craigie, Mass,
    Hospital physician and surgeon—
        Dr. James Tilton, Del.
        Samuel Adams, Mass.
        David Townshend. Mass.
        Henry Latimer, Mass.
        Francis Hagan, N. Y.
        Philip Turner, Mass.
        William Burnet, N. J.
        John Warren, Mass.
        Moses Scott, N. J.
        David Jackson, Pa.
        Bodo Otto, Pa.
        Moses Bloomfield, N. J.
        William Eustis, Mass.
        George Draner, N. J.
        Barnabas Binney, Mass.

Dr. James Craik

Some heretofore prominent names are missing from this list: Dr. Jonathan Potts, who had been deputy director in two departments; Dr. Isaac Foster,4 a surgeon since Lexington; Dr. Ammi R. Cutter, Dr. Josiah Bartlett,5 and others of less renown. Dr. William Rickman, who had been medical director in Virginia, was also informed that he had been left out of the new organization.

On January 3, 1781, Dr. Shippen asked leave to resign, and his resignation was accepted. On January 11th Congress proceeded to the election of his successor. The following were nominated:


        Dr. J. Cochran—by J. M. Varnum.
        Doctor Brown—by Joseph Montgomery.
        Doctor James Craik—by Abraham Clark.

On Jan. 13,

        Doctor J. Morgan—by George Walton.

On January 17th the matter came to a vote, and Dr. Cochran was elected. Soon afterwards (March 3) Dr. James Craik was elected to succeed Cochran, and on March 5th Dr. William Burnet, nominated by John Witherspoon, was elected to succeed Dr. Craik as chief hospital physician.

As the new hospital plan made no provision for officers of the department after leaving the service, and as all other officers had been provided for, they were at length conceded by Congress to have a just claim; and on January 17th it was

RESOLVED: That all officers in the hospital department, and medical staff hereinafter mentioned, who shall continue in service to the end of the war, or be reduced before that time as supernumaries, shall be entitled to, and receive, during life, in lieu of half pay, the following allowance, viz.

The director of the hospital, equal to the half pay of a lieutenant colonel. Chief P. & S. of the army and hospitals [each equal to the half pay of a major] and hospital physicians and surgeons, purveyor, apothecary, and regimental surgeons, each equal to the half pay of a captain: [and regimental mates each equal to the half pay of a lieutenant.]

That there be allowed to the purveyor, apothecary, and assistant purveyors, each, forage for one horse.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

That the Director, Chief Physicians of the Army and hospitals, and other Physicians and officers in the hospital department, as well as those lately dismissed from the service, or those reappointed in the last arrangement who were in office between the first day of September, 1777, and the 30th day of September last, shall have the depreciation of money made good to them on their pay for such part of the above mentioned time as they were actually employed in the public service.

This belated act of justice tended in some slight degree to establish the fact that medical officers had the rights of certain rank even if they did not have the rank itself. It was a step toward recognition.

On March 27th, 1781, Congress extended the provisions of the medical act so as to include the southern colonies; and order-


ed a deputy director to have general charge of the hospitals there. The South Carolina delegation made efforts to have a separate establishment of their own, but failed by a vote of twenty-two to three. The officers elected under this resolution were:

        Deputy Director—Dr. David Oliphant, S. C.
        Deputy Purveyor—Dr. N. Brownson, Ga.
        Chief Hospital Physician—Dr. Peter Fasseux, France.
        Chief Physician of the Army—Dr. James Brown, S.C.
        Hospital Physicians—Dr. Robert Johnson, S. C.
                    Dr. William Reed, S. C.
                    Dr. Thomas T. Tucker.
                    Dr. Joseph Vickars.

The Medical Committee of Congress, which hitherto had had charge of all medical matters in that body, went out of existence on May 28, 1780, its functions being taken over by the Board of War.

Dr. John Cochran, the last and most fortunate of the four medical directors of the army during the American Revolution, was of Scottish descent, born in Pennsylvania, but a citizen of New Jersey at the time. He had studied medicine under Dr. Thompson of Lancaster, and was practicing at Brunswick, New Jersey, when the war began. He was assistant director of the Flying Camp in 1776, surgeon general of the Middle Department in 1777, the chief physician and surgeon of the army in 1780, and became medical director on the resignation of Dr. Shippen, January 3, 1781. The last appointment was due to the letter of Washington and as a recognition of his marked abilities and faithful service. He had military experience even before the Revolution, having served as a surgeon's mate in the British army during the old French War.

Despite the fate of his three predecessors, all dismissed or forced to resign, he entered upon the duties of his office under happy auspices, and served with satisfaction to the end of the war. He was especially fortunate in having for his second in rank, not a scheming self seeker, but a fellow countryman of his own, a friend of sterling character whom he had recommended to Congress for the first place; a loyal and patriotic gentleman, Dr. James Craik. Both were Scots, both highly esteemed and


recommended by Washington, both of the first ability, and both above suspicion of profiting or self seeking.

The standing of Dr. Cochran with the General may be understood by a little known letter of Washington, written to Dr. Cochran in 1779. As the home of the Doctor in Brunswick had been burned by the British troops, Mrs. Cochran spent much of her time either with her husband at Headquarters, or at Livingston Manor, (near Tivoli) the house of her daughter Cornelia (by her first husband), wife of Walter Livingston. Washington, in spite of his preference for single men in the army, liked to have ladies in the camp, and had invited Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. Livingston to partake of his fare at Headquarters in the camp near West Point. To Dr. Cochran he wrote the following letter, which lets us see him in a character somewhat different from the supernaturally grave and stately one in which he is almost without exception presented.

                                    West Point, August 16, 1779.

Dear Doctor:

I have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. Livingston to dine with us tomorrow, but ought I not to apprise you of their fare? As I hate deception, even when imagination is concerned, I will.

It is needless to promise that my table is large enough to hold the ladies. Of this they had ocular demonstration yesterday. To say how it is usually covered is rather more essential, and this shall be the purport of my letter.

Since my arrival at this happy spot, we have had a ham, sometimes a shoulder of bacon to grace the head of the table. A piece of roast beef adorns the foot, and a small dish of green beans—almost imperceptible—decorates the center. When the cook has a mind to cut a figure, and this I presume he will attempt tomorrow, we have two beefsteak pies, or dishes of crabs in addition, one on each side of the center dish, dividing the space, and reducing the distance between dish and dish to about six feet, which without them would be nearly twelve apart. Of late he has had the surprising luck to discover that apples will make pies; and it is a question if, amidst the violence of his efforts, we do not get one of apples, instead of having both of beef.

If the ladies can put up with such entertainment, and submit to partake of it on plates once tin, but now iron, not become so by the labours of scouring, I shall be happy to see them.

                                                                                                                                    Dear Sir, Yours

                                                                                                                                            George Washington.


To return to more strictly military affairs. The main army was now inactive in the camps about West Point. Hospitals were in general better supplied and maintained than previously, but money was still scarce and of little purchasing power. Dr. Cochran had been at the terrible camps at Valley Forge and Morristown and knew how to profit by his experience. He preferred to spend the greater part of his time in the field, but visited Congress occasionally to state his views to the Board of War. Extracts from some of his letters will make clear his mental attitude in dealing with the many difficulties of his position.

On March 16th he wrote to Dr. George Campbell:

“whether my present station will contribute to my future happiness time only may discover. But if I have no better success than my predecessor, my lot must be unfortunate indeed. A determined resolution to conform to the rules of right, and the support which I have now some reason to expect from every gentleman of the department, will, I hope, protect me against the malevolence of my enemies, if I have any. I say if I have any, for sure I am that I never put a thorn in any honest man's breast.”

His first and main difficulties were not with men but in securing money and supplies for the hospitals. On February 28th he wrote to Dr. Thomas W. Morris, from New Windsor:

“The want of necessary stores for our hospitals offers a gloomy prospect.” On the same day he wrote to Abram Clark, chairman of the Medical Committee of Congress: “We have few deaths yet. The poor fellows suffer for want of necessary supplies, which I hope soon well be afforded them. Otherwise there will be little encouragement for physicians and surgeons.”

While Congress had appropriated money for the medical department rather freely a few years earlier, it had now grown more economical. During the whole year of 1780, $431,900 had been allotted to that department. But the principal part of this sum, $376,900, had been expended by Dr. Jonathan Potts and Dr. Isaac Foster early in the year. The new administration had received but little. The only appropriations I can find for this period were four thousand on November 6th and fifteen thousand on December 8th, 1780. On February 24th, 1781 forty


thousand dollars was allotted for part pay of medical officers; and on April 12th and 13th, twenty-five thousand to the Southern Department; then no money until July 11th. Vastly greater sums were expended in 1779 and 1780.

A letter of 1780 pictures his earlier difficulties.

                                Morristown, N. J. March 18, 1780.

To Dr. Jonathan Potts.

Dear Sir: I received your favor by Dr. Bond, and am extremely sorry for the present situation of the hospital finances. Our stores have all been expended for two weeks past, and not less than 600 regimental sick and lame, most of whom require some assistance, which being withheld, are languishing and must suffer.

I flatter myself you have no blame in this matter, but curse on him by whom this evil is produced. The vengance of an offended Deity must overtake the miscreants, sooner or later. It grieves my soul to see the poor, worthy fellows pine away for want of a few comforts, which they have dearly earned.

I shall wait on his Excellency, the Commander in Chief, and represent our situation, but am persuaded it can have little effect, for what can he do? He may refer the matter to Congress, they to the Medical Committee, who will probably powwow over it awhile, and no more is heard of it. The few stores sent on by Dr. Bond in your absence are not yet arrived, I suppose owing to the badness of the roads. If they come they will give us some relief for a few weeks.

Compliments to all friends, and believe me, Dear Sir, yours very sincerely,

                                    JOHN COCHRAN.

Next year affairs were in a better state.

On March 25th, 1781 Dr. Cochran wrote to Dr. Thomas Bond, the army purveyor, at Philadelphia:

“I was favored with yours of the 20th February, about fifteen days ago, on my way to Albany, which accounts for my not answering you until now—as I only returned last night. I am sorry to inform you that I found that hospital entirely destitute of all kinds of stores, except a little vinegar, which was good for nothing—and frequently without bread or beef for many days— so that the doctor, under these circumstances, was obliged to permit such of the patients as could walk into town to beg provisions among the inhabitants. * * * * * * * * * * I pity your distressed condition on the score of money, and unless a sufficiency can be procured at the opening of the campaign, we are undone.”


The spectacle of patients begging food on the streets is a sad one. Bandages and dressings were obtained in the same manner. On July 26th he wrote from Dobb’s Ferry to Dr. Bond at Norwich:

“Could you not, by advertisement, be able to procure a quantity of old linen from the good ladies of your city—I was obliged after the last skirmish, when fifty men were wounded, to give every sheet I had in the world, but two, to make lint.”

On April 30th he wrote from New Windsor to Abram Clark:

“I have not the originals (hospital returns), not having paper enough to transcribe them into form. Several of the Hospital physicians have not paper sufficient to make out the necessary Hospital returns; therefore are obliged to omit them.”

On April 20 he had written again to Abram Clark:

“I have from all quarters the most melancholy complaints of the sufferings of the sick in the hospitals, for want of stores and necessaries, that you can conceive, and unless more speedy remedy is applied the consequences must be very fatal. Dr. Warren, who has charge of the Boston hospital, represents his situation in a very distressed condition, and prays most earnestly for relief.”

These letters apparently were of no avail, for on May 24th he wrote more urgently, and this time addressed the President of Congress, Samuel Huntington:

“The hospitals are in the utmost distress for want of the necessaries for the sick. In some of them we have no stores, and in others the supplies are so trifling and insignificant as to be of little or no service. I am sensible of the difficulties and Embarassments of Congress, but also am sensible that unless some speedy and effective measures are taken to relieve the sick, a number of the valuable soldiers of the American Army will perish through want of the necessaries, who would soon be serving their country in the field, could they be well supplied. The surgeon who has the care of the Hospital at Boston (Dr. John Warren) writes me that his sick are in great want, and that he is not in a situation to procure any relief. At Albany the only article of stores is about sixty gallons of vinegar, and the sick suffer extremely at times for want of provisions. The other hospitals are in a similar condition.”


On May 25th Congress considered either this letter or an earlier one that he had written, and voted to refer it to three different committees:

part relating to hospital supplies, to a Medical Committee:
part relating to depreciation of pay, to Board of War.
part relating to postage of letters, to Committee on Post Offices.
No action was taken for months. Finally, on July 11th, the Board of War reported on the director's letter, and the following sums were appropriated:

    $  8500 for supplies for the sick.
    $16116 for three months pay for officers.
    $  4200 allotted to the stewards of the various hospitals, to purchase milk, vegetables, &c.

But life was not all troubles in the camps on the Hudson. On March 26th Cochran wrote to his friend Dr. Craik:

“I am just returned from an eighteen day trip up the North River to attend Mrs. Washington. We had an agreeable jaunt, excepting the badness of the roads. But we met with so much hospitality wherever we went, that compensation was made for the difficulty of travelling.”

This agreeable jaunt was probably to Livingston Manor, near Tivoli the seat of Walter Livingston, husband of Dr. Cochran’s step-daughter Cornelia. At this time Mrs. Washington was also entertained at Livingston Manor and the ladies there became acquainted. The entertainment of Mrs. Cochran and daughter by the General has been mentioned previously.

The following letter to Abram Clark explains his difficulty with Dr. Isaac Foster, who had recently resigned.

“I have a letter from Dr. Craigie, our chief apothecary, now at Boston, informing me that Dr. Foster, the former Deputy Director to the Eastward, has absolutely refused giving up the medicines, instruments, & purchased by him for public use, which deranges us much. There is a quantity of Hospital stores at Windsor and Danbury in Connecticut, in the same circumstances, which he has refused also. I have taken a short cut, and by stealing a march on him, may probably obtain part, if not the whole. It appears very extraordinary that a public officer, purchasing stores & on public credit, shall, when out of office, retain large quantities of those articles in his hands, in pretense that


his accounts are not settled, when perhaps the public owe him nothing, and the sick are perishing for want of these very stores.”

His “short cut” was to send Dr. Ledyard, assistant purveyor at Fishkill, to Danbury with instructions to bring away the stores. But Dr. Ledyard was unable to go—from lack of funds. To use his own words, he could not raise as much as would “put a hoop on a cask, or a board in a box if wanting.” On receiving this letter Dr. Cochran offered himself to be responsible for the expense, and was soon able to announce that the stores from Danbury had arrived.

The question of filling vacancies in the department, and of promotions came up at this time. Several physicians and surgeons had resigned: Doctors Francis Hagan, Moses Scott, David Jackson and others. On May 24th Dr. Cochran wrote Samuel Huntington:

“There are several vacancies for Hospital Physicians and Surgeons, occasioned by resignations, and in case we should have an active campaign the department may suffer for want of a proper number of assistants. The eldest mates are qualified to fill these places, and if they could be appointed by Congress with propriety, it would have a tendency to promote the good of the service.”

By July 4 the number of resignations had increased, and Dr. Cochran wrote to the Board of War, saying these vacancies “leave us only eight Hospital physicians and surgeons, out of the fifteen established by Congress.” As three of these were at Boston, Philadelphia and Yellow Springs, there remained but five for the whole army,—a totally inadequate number. He went on to say, “The four eldest mates, whom I recommended to Congress, are very uneasy, and unless promoted I have much reason to believe will leave the service soon; and this together with other mates, who have resigned since my arrival in camp, will deprive us of a great part of our medical aid.” These letters do not appear to have received the desired action.

While Dr. Tilton was at this time advocating a general plan of promotion by seniority, Dr. Cochran said that he did not favor it.


“I am altogether averse to any regular succession of promotion of physicians and surgeons in the Hospital Department: for the situation of the medical gentlemen in our service is very different from other services. The medical officers in the former (ours) have been pushed up as occasion required, many of them were not the least qualified; and I would further observe, particularly in the British Service, there is no regular succession, but such are generally promoted in the Hospital Department as are more capable and attentive, whether from the Regimental Surgeons or Hospital Mates.”

As there was still no action on August 24th, he again wrote to the Board of War:

“Dr. Marshall (Thomas Marshall of Virginia), one of our most valuable mates, has resigned within a few days, which will be followed by several others who have been long in service, and acted some years in a superior capacity under the old arrangement, and accepted of mates’ stations with an expectation of promotion. A favorable opportunity offered to retain these gentlemen in service by promoting them to the present vacancies, but it appears as if Congress had forgotten that either Hospitals, sick or wounded had any existence.”

Meanwhile Dr. Tilton was pressing his plan for promotion by seniority, before the Medical Committee until it passed out of existence, and then before the War Board. Finally the increasing number of resignations brought about the adoption of a resolution, on September 20th, providing for promotions as Tilton recommended.-


That the present vacancies of hospital physicians and surgeons, be filled up by the senior surgeons of the hospitals lately deranged, by eldest hospital mates, or regimental surgeons, as shall be recommended by the director, and chief physician and surgeon of the army.

That all future vacancies of hospital physicians and surgeons, be filled by the eldest regimental surgeons and hospital mates—who shall be reckoned of equal grades—who shall upon examination be found qualified; and obtain a certificate of recommendation from the director, and chief physician and surgeon of the army, or of the deputy director, and chief physician in a separate department.

That the persons requisite to fill the highest grades in the medical and hospital department, be appointed from time to time by Congress, according to merit and abilities.


That all surgeons to regiments or corps, not belonging to the line of any particular state, be nominated by the director of the hospitals, and the chief physician and surgeon of the army, subject to the approval of the Commander in Chief; and shall be equally entitled to promotion to hospital physicians and surgeons with the regimental surgeons of state lines.”

A curious feature of these resolutions is that placing hospital surgeons above regimental surgeons in rank, and making the latter of the same rank as hospital mates. Early in the next year the regimental surgeons were given a rank below that of hospital surgeons, but above that of hospital mates. Under the resolution of September 20th, former mates Goodwin Wilson, Daniel Jenifer, Samuel Edmondson, and George Campbell were appointed hospital surgeons. Dr. Joseph Young, a hospital surgeon who had been omitted in the late reorganization, was restored to his former place.

A small but not negligible difficulty of Dr. Cochran, and of many officers of the army at that time, was an actual lack of personal funds. Congress could vote appropriations but had no power to raise money. Men in the camps were often penniless and their families in a state of actual want. Indigence extended to all classes. Soldiers begged for bread, officers for clothing for the sick, who frequently when recovered could not rejoin their commands because of lack of clothing in which to travel.

Dr. Cochran wrote to Abram Clark on February 28th:-

“I hope some pay is ordered to be advanced to the officers of the department, without which it cannot much longer exist. Many of us have not received a shilling in near two years, nor can we procure public clothing (from the army supplies).”

On March 26th he wrote to Dr. Craik:

“We are so squeezed for paper that I can only afford you half a sheet for cover and all.”

On March 25th he wrote to Dr. Peter Luns at Norwich:-

“Several of the Hospital physicians and surgeons have resigned since the new management took place, owing I believe principally to their not being able to subsist themselves in the service, for it is upwards of two years since many of us have re-


ceived a shilling from the continent, and there is as little prospect now of pay as there was two years ago.”

In order to secure money and stores for his department, Dr. Cochran made trips to Philadelphia until he was scarcely able to pay his way there. In a letter he says of a trip urged on him by Dr. Wilson

“I only wait for the arrival of Dr. Craik to set out, but I wish my presence could be dispensed with, for I am most heartily tired of “shuling” my way so often to that place without one shilling in my pocket.”6

Failure to pay the army was not only worrying Congress, it was depleting the forces and lowering the morale of both army and citizens; it was also encouraging news to the British. At length it was arranged that Congress should draw its warrant, for the depreciation, on the credit of the state where each officer served. This brought new complications. The rank and status as officers of the medical men were not completely recognized. The Legislature of New York made this aggravating distinction between officers of the line and the hospital department, and refused to pay the latter. Of this matter Dr. Cochran wrote to Dr. Bond on July 5th.-

‘The State of New York has refused the warrant in your favor drawn by Congress, and have refused to comply with the requisition of Congress for making up the depreciation to the officers of the medical line. They are most certainly an execrable set of —.  A new Assembly is called, which may probably think better of the matter, and do justice.”

On July 26th he wrote to Robert Morris from Dobb’s Ferry:

“For God's sake, help us as soon as you can. Most of our officers have not received a shilling of pay for upwards of two years.”

When Congress at length issued warrants for the pay of the army they were of no more value than the continental currency, and furnished little relief. From Dobb's Ferry Dr. Cochran again wrote to Dr. Bond the purveyor:

“Am very sorry there is no probability of our receiving money on the warrants obtained for the use of our department,


the want of which, you may reasonably suppost, has a bad effect, both with respect to the officers, and the poor, suffering soldiers. who deserve a better fate.”

Relief came at last when real money—gold—arrived from France. On September 1st Dr. Cochran wrote to Dr. Bond, from Headquarters, east side of the Hudson:

“Colonel Lawrence, [Laurens] who passed through camp last night, on his way to Philadelphia, has put us in good spirits from the supply of money and everything else requisite, arrived in Boston from our good and generous ally, in consequence of which I hope we shall soon be in high Blast.”

While the army was in the Highlands during the spring there was again a general inoculation for small pox. This took place immediately after the return from winter quarters. Thatcher has recorded the story of his regiment (Jackson’s Massachusetts), revealing that the army at that time was followed by women and children, as are Mexican armies today. He says

“April 20th. All the soldiers, with the women and children, who have not had smallpox, are now under inoculation. Of our regiment one hundred and eighty seven were subjects of the disease. The old practice, of previous preparation by a course of mercury and low diet, has not been adopted on this occasion; a single dose of jalap and calomel, or the extract of butternut, is in general administered, previous to the appearance of the symptoms. * * * . Some instances have occurred of putrid fever supervening, either at the first onset, or near the approach of the secondary stage, and a few cases have terminated fatally. Many of our patients were improper subjects for the disease, but we were under the necessity of inoculating all, without exception. Of five hundred who have been inoculated, four only have died; but in other instances the proportion of deaths is much more considerable.”

The following returns made by Dr. Cochran on July 23, 1781, give the various officers of his department, and their location on that date. A list of the officers of the Southern Department follows.


Return of the Medical Department.
July 23rd, 1781.

John Cochran—Director                                     Headquarters
James Craik, Chief P. & S. of Army                    with the Army
Malachy Treat, Chief P. & S. of the Hosp.          Philadelphia
Charles McKnight, Chief P. & S. of the Hosp     New Windsor huts (Newburg).
William Burnet, Chief P. & S. of the Hosp.        The Robinson House, West Point.
Thomas Bond, Purveyor                Philadelphia
Andrew Craigie, Apothecary         Philadelphia
J. Ledyard, Asst. Purveyor            Fishkill
— Johnonott, Apothecary             Fishkill
Josiah Root, Asst. mate                Albany
Francis Wainwright Asst. mate      Fishkill
James Tilton, Hosp. P. & S.          en route to army
Samuel Adams, Hosp. P. & S.      New Windsor hosp. huts
David Townsend, Hosp. P. & S.   Albany hosp.
Henry Latimer, Hosp. P. & S.       Flying hosp. with the army
Francis Hagan, Hosp. P. & S.       Resigned
Philip Turner, Hosp. P. & S.         Resigned
Wm. Burnet, Hosp. P. & S.          Promoted to Chief P. & S.
John Warren, Hosp. P. & S.         Boston hospital
Moses Scott, Hosp. P. & S.         Resigned
David Jackson, Hosp. P. & S.      Resigned
Bodo Otto, Hosp. P. & S.           Yellow Springs, hosp. Pa.
Moses Bloomfield, Hosp. P. & S.    Resigned
Wm. Eustis, Hosp. P. & S.          Robinson House Hosp. N. Y.
Geo Draper, Hosp. P. & S.         Flying Hosp. with the army
Barnabas Binney, Hosp. P. & S.    Philadelphia
Goodwin Watson, Mate             Virginia
Samuel Edminston, Mate            Virginia
Daniel Jenifer, Mate                   West Point
Geo. Campbell, Mate                Flying Hospital
John Cowel, Mate                     Philadelphia
Frederick Otto, Mate                Yellow Springs Hosp. Pa.
Jonathan Morris, Mate              Resigned
Ebenezer Stockton, Mate          New Windsor huts, Newbury
John Duffield, Mate                   Smallpox Hosp., West Point
Henry Moore, Mate                  Robinson House Hosp., near West Point
John Wright, Mate                    New Windsor huts
Joseph Bartlett, Mate                Resigned
William Vinal, Mate                  Resigned
Wm. P. Smith, Mate                Albany Hosp.
John Coventry, Mate               New Windsor huts


Daniel Shute, Mate                  Flying Hosp. at camp
Jacob Egberts, Mate               Albany Hosp.
Samuel Woodruff, Mate         Albany Hosp.
George Stevenson, Mate        New Windsor huts
Abijah Cheever, Mate            Boston hospital
Thomas Waring, Mate            New Windsor huts
Thomas Marshal, Mate           Virginia
Jonathan Porter, Mate            Resigned
Stephen Graham, Mate          New Windsor huts
Michael Detrick, Mate           Virginia
Wm. Cogswell, Mate             Robinson House Hosp.
Andrew Caldwell, Mate         Philadelphia
Thomas Pindan, Mate            Philadelphia
There were also employed:

3 clerks.
2 storekeepers.
8 stewards.
7 ward masters.
7 matrons.
about 30 nurses.
a number of orderly men.

    This return is signed by Dr. John Cochran.

Southern Department

David Gephart       Deputy Director General
Peter Fayssoux      Chief Physician of the Hospital
James Browne       Chief Physician of the Hospital
Robert Johnston     Hospital Physician
William Reed         Hospital Physician


    John Cochran was descended from a long line of Scottish ancestors of the Clan Dundonald. His immediate family crossed from Paisley to the north of Ireland in 1570, and came to Pennsylvania about 1700. He was educated at the Grammar School of Dr. Francis Allison, and studied medicine with Dr. Thompson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the beginning of the French Colonial War he entered the military service, and served with the Northern Army until the end of the war. He was with Major Schuyler (afterwards General Schuyler) in the campaign against Fort Frontenac in 1758. In 1760, he married Mrs. Gertrude Schuyler, sister of Major Philip Schuyler,


and soon afterwards removed to New Brunswick, New Jersey, practicing his profession there until 1776. He was one of the founders of the New Jersey Medical Society in 1766, and in 1769 became its president. In 1776 Washington recommended him for the Hospital Department, and plans for hospitals (modelled after those of the British Army) prepared by him and Dr. Shippen were adopted April 11, 1777. Dr. Cochran was selected as Physician and Surgeon General of the Middle Department at the same time. While in this position he often saw the wretched condition of the hospitals, which he was largely powerless to improve.

In January, 1781, he was made Director General of the Medical Department of the Army. lie wrote letter after letter reporting the insufficiency of the supplies of food and medicines, with meager results. Congress could not even procure pay for officers and men. On April 2, 1781 Cochran wrote that he had had no pay for 23 months. He served as chief medical officer of the army, apparently without the quarrels which had marred previous administrations, until the final treaty, when the army practically disappeared. In 1790 he was appointed Commissioner of Loans for New York City. He died April 6, 1807, aged 76.

2 Dr James Craik was another of that band of Scotch physicians who gave their services to the American colonies in the Revolution. He was born in Scotland in 1730 and received his medical education there. Joining the British Army as a surgeon, he came to America with the army, took part in the ill-fated Braddock campaign against Fort DuQuesne, he was also with and attended the general until his death. He met Washington on his first expedition and became acquainted with a number of future officers of the Revolution. After the French War, Dr. Craik practiced his profession at Norfolk and Winchester in Virginia, and then settled at Port Tobacco, Maryland.

On the reorganization of the Medical Department in 1781, Dr. Craik was elected chief physician and surgeon of the army (not medical director, the then highest medical officer, but second in rank). He appears to have been present at Yorktown; served until the end of the war and then returned to his practice, but was induced by Washington to make his home at Alexandria. It is well known that he assisted at the last sickness of that great man.

In 1798, when war with France seemed threatening, he was made Physician-General of the army, hut soon returned to his home in Alexandria. He died there February 6, 1814.


Charles McKnight was born at Cranberry, New Jersey, October 10, 1750. He entered Princeton College and received the degree A.B. 1771. He then began the study of medicine under Dr. Shippen of Philadelphia, but before


he had completed his studies the war began, and he entered the army. He was made senior surgeon of the Flying Hospital in the Middle Department in 1777, and on February 21, 1778, succeeded Dr. Wm. Brown as Surgeon General of the Middle Department. On the reorganization of the medical department in 1780 he was elected chief hospital physician.

At the close of the war he removed to New York and married Mrs. Litchfield, only daughter of the Hon. John Scott. Here he engaged in an active practice, and also delivered lectures on anatomy and surgery. He was suddenly attacked by pneumonia in 1791, and died after a short illness at the age of forty-one.

4 Dr. Isaac Foster was a physician of high standing in Charlestown, Massachusetts, where the war began. He immediately abandoned his practice and reported to the army at Cambridge. He was soon made hospital surgeon and assigned to the hospital at Cambridge. Later he was a surgeon in the New York Hospital, and he continued in service until near the end of the war. On April ii, 1777, he was elected Deputy Director General of Hospitals in the Eastern Department. He retired October 6, 1780. His death occurred February 27, 1782.

5 Josiah Bartlett was born at Newbury, Massachusetts, November 1729. He finished the academic course, including Greek and Latin, at sixteen years of age, then commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Ordury and pursued it for five years. He began the practice of medicine at Kingston, New Hampshire, and continued it with marked success. He also held both civil and military positions under the Royalist Governor, Wentworth. In 1765 he was elected to the legislature of New Hampshire, where he soon became prominent. In 1774 he was elected to the first Continental Congress at Philadelphia and also appointed to the command of a regiment of troops. In 1776 he was again elected to the Congress. At the vote on the Declaration of Independence Dr. Bartlett’s was the first name called.- He responded, “Yes and amen.” His name appears on the roll next after that of John Hancock. He suffered in health later but was able to take his seat in Congress in 1778, continuing a member until 1781. He then filled several civil offices in New Hampshire. In 1789 he was chosen senator from New Hampshire, and in 1793 was elected the first governor of the State. He died on January 27, 1797.

6 Headquarters, Bergen County,
                                        15 July, 1781.
Dr. Cochran, Physician and Surgeon General of the Army in the Medical Department, will have the honor of presenting this to your Excellency and of reporting to you the distressed situation of the Hospital for necessary stores, even at this time, when the number of sick are exceedingly few.


From present prospects of the operations of this campaign we must expect to have a considerable number of wounded in Hospital, and when we reflect upon the composition of the Army which will be almost entirely made up of recruits and militia, both unused to a military mode of life, and consequently subject to the disorders of camp; we must count upon being much encumbered with sick, tho accommodated with the best regulated and best provided Hospitals. But should we unfortunately enter upon the Campaign without an ample supply of those necessaries and comforts which ought to be introduced in aid to medicine, and without which medicine is of little avail, I plainly perceive that we shall again experience the same Calamities and miseries which prevailed in 1776, and which destroyed many hundred men.

This is a matter of so much importance, that I beg leave to solicit the immediate attention of Congress to the point. With every exertion the Stores can scarcely be brought in time to the proper places of deposit. Dr. Cochran will remain in Philadelphia as long as his business with the Army will possibly admit, and will give every possible assistance in procuring the necessaries.

                I have the honor to be
                    with the greatest respect
                Your Excellency's most obdt
                    and humble Sevt

                    G. WASHINGTON.

Samuel Huntington