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






Report of Lieut. COL Rush S. Huidekoper, Chief Surgeon, U.S. Volunteers, First Army Corps

Spanish - American War




I arrived in Chickamauga early in the morning on May 26, and reported immediately in person to Major-General Brooke. I found that no organization of the medical service had been made. Major-General Brooke was in command of the entire forces of Camp George H. Thomas, and was also the immediate commander of the First Army Corps. He had a general staff for the entire forces, and I was one of the first officers directly assigned to the staff of the First Corps who had reported. The deputy surgeon-general of the Department of the Lakes, Colonel Hartsuff, was the senior medical officer on General Brooke*s general staff. I found that a medical supply depot had been established at the railroad station in charge of Major Comegys, who was dispensing medical supplies in small quantities on irregular requisitions approved by Colonel Hartsuff.

I applied to the Adjutant-General for a list of the troops of the First Army Corps, and immediately proceeded to visit their camps and personally to obtain information in regard to the available material for the medical service. The First Corps consisted of twenty-seven regiments of infantry, as follows:

First Division.-First Brigade: First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Third Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Second Brigade: Third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Third Brigade: Sixteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, One hundred and fifty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Second Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.

Second Division.-First Brigade: Thirty-first Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, One hundred and sixtieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Second Brigade: Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, One hundred and fifty-eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, First West Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Third Brigade: Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, First Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Fourteenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.

Third Division.-First Brigade: First Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Twelfth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Second Brigade: Twenty-first Kansas Volunteer Infantry, Eighth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Twelfth New York Volunteer Infantry. Third Brigade: Second


Missouri Volunteer Infantry, First New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, Ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

I spent the next few days visiting the camps of these regiments. I found that some of them had brought with them, especially in the case of some Western regiments, liberal supplies of medicine and convenient boxes for holding them. In other cases they had come absolutely unprovided with medical supplies. I found in each regiment 3 medical officers, consisting of a surgeon, with the rank of major, and 2 assistant surgeons, with either the rank of captain or first lieutenant, which varied with the States from which the troops came. From some States 3 hospital stewards had been appointed to a regiment, while from others but a single hospital steward had been appointed. I found in some regiments a fairly good-sized detail or so-called hospital corps, consisting of druggists, young physicians, medical students, and other men, selected for the special work, who wore brassards. In some regiments both the commanding officer and the surgeon were extremely satisfied with and proud of the medical organization which they had provided for their regiments. In other cases no organization whatever had been attempted. I issued a circular requesting a roster of medical officers and available men for Hospital Corps service, which was in most cases complied with. During this preliminary inspection I visited, with the regimental surgeon, the company streets, line of company cook tents, and sink line of each regiment, and looked into the water supply. By the 1st of June I had obtained a fair idea of the material from which I could organize; but just at this moment an order came detaching a provisional brigade of four regiments under General Snyder to proceed to Tampa, and the First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, One hundred and fifty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and the First Illinois Volunteer Infantry were sent to Tampa. The vacancies caused by the detachment of these regiments were rapidly filled by the First Kentucky, in place of the First Ohio; the Third Kentucky, in place of the One hundred and fifty-seventh Indiana; the First Georgia, in place of the Third Pennsylvania, and the First South Carolina, in place of the First Illinois, requiring revision of the data which I had collected.

Up to this time I had no intermediate medical officers between myself and the regimental surgeons. Each regiment had more or less of a regimental hospital, mostly supplied with material which had been brought from their respective States. In some cases organization was so complete as to include special cooking outfits and details of men for regular service. In other cases the sick in the regimental hospital were supplied with food from their respective companies.

By permission of Major-General Brooke, I verbally requested the division commanders to appoint the senior regimental surgeons, so far as the rank of them could be determined, as acting division surgeons, which was done; and in some cases other regimental surgeons were appointed acting brigade surgeons, which gave me a medium of communication to the regiments and a means of collecting data which was more systematic than personal communications between regimental surgeons and myself.

On June 1 the three regiments of cavalry were organized into a brigade, and were temporarily attached to the First Army Corps.

This brigade consisted of the Third United States Volunteer Cavalry, First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (temporarily), and First Illinois Volunteer Cavalry.

Organization-With the three typewritten circulars issued by the Surgeon-General during the month of May, and General Orders, Nos. 58 and 76, from the Adjutant-General, I found my instructions and authority for organizing the medical service. As I interpreted it, I was directed to establish three division hospitals and one reserve hospital, and three division ambulance companies and one reserve ambulance company, which would furnish the entire care for the absolute sick of the command. I was authorized to leave one surgeon with each regiment, whose duties were to look after the hygienic condition of the command to which he was attached, to hold the morning sick call and determine what sick needed hospital care, and what sick could be treated (as at a dispensary) at the regimental surgeon's office, and be placed in quarters or on light duty, with the understanding that these latter men, though not capable of doing heavy duty, were still not so ill but that in case the regiment should be suddenly ordered to move they could be left to take care of themselves until otherwise provided for. I was instructed to have an administrative force, consisting of 3 chief surgeons of division, 9 chief surgeons of brigade, and a medical inspector. The hospitals were authorized to have 6 surgeons each and the ambulance companies were authorized to have 6 surgeons each. The organization, therefore, was to consist of the chief surgeon, with a medical inspector, 3 division surgeons, 9 brigade surgeons, 27 regimental surgeons, 4 hospitals with 6 surgeons each, and 4 ambulance companies with 6 surgeons each; a total of 89 medical officers.


I found available for immediate organization 27 regiments with 3 surgeons each, a total of 81. With the 12 surgeons to be appointed by the President for divisions and brigades, a medical inspector, and myself, I had a prospect of 95 medical officers. The difference between the 89 medical officers authorized and 95 left a very narrow margin for cases of illness, leaves of absence, or other causes of diminution in the service.

My authority for organization provided for 1 hospital steward for each regiment, 1 hospital steward for each division headquarters, and 1 for corps headquarters, 7 hospital stewards for each ambulance company, and 6 hospital stewards for each hospital. I found that the hospital stewards, like the regimental surgeons, were component parts of the regiment, appointed by the governor of the State or the commanding officer.

I was authorized to furnish each regimental surgeon with 1 Hospital Corps private, each brigade surgeon with 1 Hospital Corps private, each division surgeon with 1 Hospital Corps private, and 2 Hospital Corps privates for my own office. Ninety Hospital Corps privates were required for each hospital and 104 for each ambulance. These Hospital Corps privates did not exist.

The act of Congress which provided for the organization of the Volunteer Army had neglected to provide for its Hospital Corps, but General Orders, No. 58, charged the commander of the army corps "with full control of the transfer from its line of members of the corps."

On arriving at Chickamauga Park I found in the First Division, First Corps, a hospital of some 120 beds. It had been established by the deputy surgeon-general, and was in a way taking the place of a general hospital, as it received sick not only from the regiments of the First Corps, but from the artillery and from other organizations. This hospital was in charge of Captain Wakeman, an assistant surgeon of the Regular Army.

Early in June Maj. J. H. Hyssell, assigned as chief surgeon to Second Division, First Corps, and Maj. J. D. Griffith, assigned as chief surgeon to the Third Division, First Corps, arrived, and I immediately undertook the organization which I was instructed to carry out.

I took the list of names furnished me by the commanding officers or surgeons of regiments of the men whom they had brought for hospital purposes, and requested the adjutant-general, First Army Corps. to transfer these men to the Hospital Corps, which was done.

From time to time I requested the detail of various medical officers of the regiments for duty with the medical service, First Corps, and they were ordered to report to inc for assignment to duty. I also requested the detail of the hospital stewards of the various regiments for duty with the general medical service.

When these details of medical officers and hospital stewards were made I was able to furnish the division surgeons, Second and Third Divisions, and Captain Wakeman-in charge of First Division hospital-with medical officers, stewards, and a certain number of privates, legally assigned to the medical service.

At this point I met with a sudden and, in some cases, violent opposition. Some commanding officers of regiments whom a few days before had furnished me, with pride, a list of their regimental hospital service, suddenly changed their view and objected to any transfer from their regiments. In one regiment which had 48 men with brassards on their arms, the brassards disappeared entirely, and on my next visit I was told by the regimental surgeon that these men were nothing but company bearers, detailed from time to time for local work. In another regiment after the order of transfer had left the Adjutant-General's office and was on its way through division and brigade headquarters, the regimental commander returned the men in his hospital to the ranks and claimed they were not intended for hospital service. Considerable objection and, in some cases, formal protest was made to the detail of the additional surgeons in each regiment to the general service. In one division five regimental commanders went so far as to hold a meeting and send their respective governors a 200-word telegram against being deprived of these component parts, in the shape of regimental surgeons and hospital stewards, of their regiments. However, before their protest could be of value the Adjutant-General had issued his order and had made details. On the 29th day of June the Adjutant-General had detailed every medical officer of the twenty-seven regiments for assignment to duty by me, and on June 30, pursuant to Army Regulations, No. 11, I had the medical officers report to me in person at the First Division hospital and draw lots for relative rank in the cases where the commission had been the same day.

I then made final assignment of 1 medical officer to each regiment and 6 each to the hospital and ambulance companies.

Late in June Major Parkhill, assigned to the First Division, First Corps, had reported for duty, but in the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Senn, chief surgeon,


Sixth Army Corps, and Maj. John Woodbury, a division surgeon, Sixth Army Corps, had also reported to General Wilson, and from having no chief surgeon of the First Division I found the administration of this division somewhat complicated by an excess of chief medical officers.

During June all the chief surgeons of brigade, appointed by the President, had reported for duty. I then had, so far as officers were concerned, my complement of 3 division surgeons, 9 brigade surgeons, 27 regimental surgeons, and 48 surgeons appointed respectively: 6 to the four hospitals and four ambulance companies. Of the details of regimental hospital stewards I had reassigned 1 hospital steward each to the regiments from which they came and the others to the hospitals and ambulance companies. In addition to tile Hospital Corps men transferred from the regiments, I had received from various recruiting stations 95 Hospital Corps privates and had a total of 454 Hospital Corps privates.

The growth and demand for immediate work in the three division hospitals had limited me in establishing all hospitals and ambulance companies. I therefore had deemed it expedient to hurry the organization of the three division hospitals, and early in June had organized the reserve ambulance company, which I used as a training school, and which furnished the ambulance service for the three divisions during the month of June.

I selected for command of the reserve ambulance company, Maj. James Johnston, surgeon Sixteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, an officer whom I had known in the National Guard of Pennsylvania. and whose energy, and faithful, conscientious work and executive ability through the entire summer has justified my selection of him. Major Johnston entered heartily into the system of organization and furnished me most valuable service; he, from study with me of the organization and of what was needed, and from daily conversation and consultation, understood thoroughly the details of the work which we had to do, and knew, as I did myself, much of what was still in such a condition that it could not be put on paper.

During the month of June all the later transfers of Hospital Corps men from the regiments and the recruits received from the recruiting stations were sent directly to him at the Reserve Ambulance Company, where as rapidly as possible the qualifications of the individual men were studied, and it was determined whether they were best fitted to be assigned to hospitals or to ambulance companies.

We followed throughout, however, the principle of assigning the transferred Hospital Corps men back to the hospitals and ambulance companies from the divisions from which they had come, so far as it was practicable and proper. Early in July I commenced to reassign medical officers who had been serving in the Reserve Ambulance Company back to the division from which they came to take charge of the division ambulance companies which I then organized. At this time I organized the reserve hospital and placed in it, again as a training school, the surplus Hospital Corps men who exceeded in numbers the 114 men authorized for the Reserve Ambulance Company.

At this time, however, I met with a sudden and unfortunate obstacle to the organization. The protest of regimental commanders through their Governors and Senators, and the support which they received from sensational public opinion and the press bore effect. The first orders came detaching portions of the First Division, First Corps, and ordering them to Charleston, and Major-General Brooke instructed me that regimental surgeons who had been detailed for general service should be returned to their regiments. The first officer I lost was my valued assistant, Maj. James Johnston. Fortunately he had an able successor, Maj. Frank Boyd, Third Kentucky; but Major Boyd, with all his ability, was not familiar with the details as his predecessor had been.

As the First Brigade and Second Brigade, First Division, First Corps, left Chickamauga, I was obliged not only to lose certain officers who had already been trained in the Reserve Hospital and Ambulance Company, but the hospital service of the First Division hospital was broken up by the loss of men who were familiar with the details of its routine.

During this entire organization of the personnel and in the reassignment of medical officers to regiments, I took special pains through the chief surgeons of divisions to use every courtesy possible in consulting the wishes of the regimental commanders as to what medical officer of the three they wished left with the regiment. I met with very little gratitude for my courtesy. I used every courtesy possible in consulting regimental commanders and the senior surgeons of regiments as to the privates to be transferred to the Hospital Corps; and for my courtesy in a majority of instances I met a rebuff or vigorous protest. In many regiments privates made application on official blanks to the Adjutant-General through military channels for transfer to the hospital service, and had their papers


stopped at regimental headquarters. The surgeons with the regiments were forbidden in many cases by their commanders to furnish me with the names of the men who had enlisted for hospital purposes, or desired transfer.

By July, as the hospital service and need of ambulance service had grown, and it was an absolute necessity for me to have a larger number of nurses, I made a final appeal to Major-General Brooke, stating the opposition which I had found from the regimental commanders. He authorized me to take 150 men, selecting them with as much judgment as possible.

I made a list based upon the personal applications which individuals had made to me, stating that their commanding officers had refused to forward their applications, and based upon recommendations of regimental surgeons who desired to aid the organization. When this became known, a few commanding officers immediately sent in lists of men to be transferred, and the entire transfer was made by the Adjutant-General in one order. When these men reported, I found that certain officers had selected the drunkards, epileptics, and other worthless men not wanted in the regiment and had sent them to mc. In one case the detachment of men transferred to the hospital service was called by the regimental commander, and, in the presence of their comrades, the men were told as a farewell that he, their commander, was ashamed of them and all that he could imagine was that those who made application for Hospital Corps service had done so because they were cowards and afraid to go on the firing line: that the best thing he could wish them would be that they would go to Cuba to nurse the yellow fever patients (the inference being, and there die). This was the material provided for and furnished me to take charge of and nurse the sick in the First Army Corps.

The organization of the hospitals of the Second and Third divisions-We drew new tentage in limited quantity at first, gradually increasing the size of the hospitals as the demands required; but the demands grew rapidly, and we were hampered by a limited supply of hospital tentage and a still more limited supply of cots and bedding, so that it was only well on in July before we obtained proper supply. Ambulances, wagons for hospital transportation, and other quartermaster supplies were obtained with scarcely any delay. The quota for the Reserve Ambulance Company was filled early, but those for the division ambulances were drawn slowly throughout June and early July, as I had not a sufficient number of Hospital Corps men to properly care for them. It was a constant strain through this period to furnish enough men for the absolute work required in the hospitals.

Supplies-When I first reached Chickamauga I found the regimental surgeons drawing medicines in small quantities on informal requisitions or slips of paper which were passing through the deputy surgeon-general for approval before reaching the purveyor's depot. Many medicines were unobtainable or obtained only with the greatest difficulty in limited supplies. We were instructed to confine requisitions to the medical supply table.

Early in June, when I was ordered by the deputy surgeon-general to have requisitions made out based on the medical supply table for a three months' supply for the regiments, I attempted to carry this into effect. I found that medicines did not exist in quantities which allowed of this being done, and I steadily continued to approve the informal requisitions for such medicines as were immediately needed, and for such as I could learn were in the purveyor's depot and were obtainable.

I was further instructed to have the issue of medicines to the regiments made through division hospitals. This was carried into effect at once in the First Division hospital, but was ordered for the Second and Third divisions at a time when these hospitals had not been completely organized, and were not in such shape that they could issue medicines. For a time in the Second and Third divisions medicines were obtained only in small quantities and with the greatest difficulty. I continued to persistently approve requisitions for small quantities, which I believed obtainable, on the ground that the regiments had not yet been issued the medical chests and means of taking care of large quantities of medicines, and many of the regimental requisitions were as persistently disapproved by the deputy surgeon-general, and refused at the medical purveyors. I constantly requested that the medical chests should be issued to us. At the outset there were no desks for medical officers or stationery of any kind. I was obliged to go personally to a printer in Chattanooga and at my own expense have printed blanks on which the morning reports of sick could be made.

On June 11 I forwarded my Saturday report to Washington and requested that proper supplies be furnished, me.

When finally early in July a limited number of medical desks arrived we were obliged to rob them of the reports of sick and wounded and other stationery to supply surgeons of regiments who had not yet been supplied. In addition to these


Saturday reports which I made during June to the assistant surgeon-general at Washington, I made daily at 4 o'clock a report of the condition of the medical department and its needs to the deputy surgeon-general, which reports I was told were embodied with similar ones from the Third Corps and sent in the evening telegram to Washington. I was constantly assured that medical supplies of surgical chests, medical chests. field desks for the medical officers, mess chests, food chests, cots, bedding, and other hospital supplies and medicines in proper quantities would arrive. After one urgent appeal through Major-General Brooke the deputy surgeon-general purchased medicines in Chattanooga or elsewhere, but until toward the middle of July many of the regiments were obliged to obtain their medicines through the generosity of neighboring regiments generously supplied by their State governments, or by direct purchase themselves of necessary articles, which was done at their own expense.

When in July the movement of the troops from the First Division to Charleston and Porto Rico began, supplies had commenced to arrive in large quantities, but I was obliged to furnish the reserve section of the First Division and the First Brigade, First Division, with sufficient supplies. When later headquarters First Corps and the Second and Third brigades, First Division, were ordered to move I found many supplies not obtainable. The deputy surgeon-general disapproved my requisitions and those of the chief surgeons. Second and Third divisions, as being in excess of what was allowed by the medical supply table. I then made a final appeal to Major-General Brooke, who, over the disapproval of the deputy surgeon-general, approved my requisitions and ordered the supply-depot to furnish what I required.

I then found, however, that the purveyor's depot did not contain supplies which it was supposed to have. I telegraphed to the Surgeon-General, who authorized me to purchase at Newport News such supplies as I could which had not been obtainable at Chickamauga.

In order to fit out the brigades, First Division, First Corps, for their immediate movement, I was obliged to restrict the Second Division and the Third Division somewhat in their supplies, but approved their requisitions for complete supplies; and as I was assured that supplies were on their way to Chickamauga I supposed and trusted, although I have never heard, that they were given their full quota by Colonel Hoff, chief surgeon Third Corps, who took charge of these two divisions as chief surgeon when headquarters First Corps left Chickamauga.

Sanitary condition-By reference to my communication of June 11, referred to above, it will be seen that I considered then, as I do now, that Chickamauga Park afforded and is an excellent location for a camp. As I then said, the water was good, but deficient in quantity, which was being remedied by the introduction of a pipe line and the sinking of drilled wells, which it was supposed would supply water in ample quantity. The troops of the First Army Corps were already located when I reached Camp George H. Thomas. At the outset I visited each and every regimental camp in company with the regimental surgeon, recommending to him what changes and precautions should be taken in regard to cleanliness, the company kitchens, the men's sink, and the water supply.

From that time until I left Chickamauga on July 23, I visited the entire three divisions every two or three days. I usually visited two divisions on one day and one on the alternate day, except at times when excess of office work prevented me covering the ground in less time than three days. Upon the arrival of the division surgeons I visited the entire division of each with him. The camps of the First Division had the inspection of the division surgeon, Major Parkhill, aided for a time by Lieutenant-Colonel Senn, and at all times by Maj. John Woodbury. This division had its hospital under the charge of Maj. William Wakeman, United States Volunteers, a promoted Regular Army surgeon. Two of the three brigade surgeons, Majors Stevenson and Birmingham, were Regular Army officers.

Maj. J. H. Hyssell, chief surgeon Second Division, and Maj. J. D. Griffith, chief surgeon of the Third Division, were medical officers of ability, thoroughly conscientious, and untiring in their inspections of camps and in attention to their division hospitals. Of the six brigade surgeons in these two divisions, three, Majors Kendall, Glennon, and Mearns, were Regular Army officers of recognized ability.

On July 1 Maj. Charles F. Mason, United States Volunteers, a Regular Army surgeon, was appointed medical inspector of the First Corps. It will therefore be seen that we had in the First Corps seven medical officers of the Regular Army charged with administration and inspection of hygienic conditions.

Until the end of the third week of June we had had excessively dry weather, and the diseases had been of a trivial character, such as diarrheas in new recruits, caused by the sudden change of food and surroundings; outbreaks of measles, which never proved serious; an outbreak of mumps in one regiment of considerable extent, and a large number of venereal cases. There existed in the First


Division a few cases of typhoid fever, which had been left at the time of the departure of the regular United States troops.

It was with extreme difficulty that proper policing, the cleanliness of the company streets, and the digging of sinks to the proper depth and keeping the contents covered with fresh dirt could be enforced. Again, there was a tendency after reviews and other large functions, where bodies of troops were kept out for some hours during the day, to be lenient with the men upon their return to camp on the ground that they were "volunteers" and "recruits," and it was claimed could not be worked as regulars could have been. It was no unusual sight to find junior line officers resting in their tents and the men left to their own devices while policing was put off until the morrow. It then too frequently happened on the next day that some other demand for military maneuvers allowed the policing to again be neglected and delayed until the morrow.

Much has been said in regard to the proper distance at which the men's sink line should be placed from the camp. While it is recognized that the distance should be as great as possible, yet placing the sinks at too great a distance had at times the disadvantage of placing them beyond the sight of the officers of the camp, and of the guards, who were instructed to keep the surrounding parks clean, and when sinks were placed at a considerable distance from the camp it was frequently found that the shady spots under trees of the surrounding ground were indiscriminately soiled, while with the sink closer to camp and under the eye of the guard they could be kept neat and properly covered.

Toward the end of June we had for the first time a considerable amount of rain, lasting several days. The collection of water from this rain showed that the sections of the ground in the center of the First Division, First Corps, and in several smaller localities in the Third Division, First Corps, lay upon a substratum of clay, which acted as a natural basin. In these localities the sinks filled with water, overflowing and contaminating certain springs and wells which, until that time, had furnished pure and good water. A week later, during the last few days of June, a number of cases of typhoid fever developed, when an immediate special inspection was undertaken, and the direct source of origin of some of the cases of typhoid fever was proven. The following table gives the sick report of the First Army Corps on the days of the adjutant-general's trimonthly report, and below is appended the reports from the three divisions showing the number of cases of typhoid fever existing on the last day of June:

Aggregate strength, number, and percentage sick, First Corps, taken from adjutant-general's trimonthly report.


                                                                                FIELD HOSPITAL, FIRST DIVISION, FIRST CORPS,
Camp George H. Thomas, Ga., July 1, 1898.

CHIEF SURGEON, First Division, First Corps.

SIR: I have the honor to report that of 69 cases, typhoid fever diagnosed in 61; typhoid fever is suspected in 3; convalescent from typhoid, 5; total treated as typhoid, 69.


             H. E. BRADLEY,
Major and Surgeon United States Volunteers,
In charge Hospital First Division, First Corps.


                                                            HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Camp George H. Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga., June 30, 1898

Respectfully forwarded

There are 9 cases of typhoid fever in division hospital and 19 cases of "suspects." Twelfth Minnesota, 3 cases; Ninth Pennsylvania, 2 cases; Second Wisconsin, 1 case; Twenty-first Kansas, 1 case; First New Hampshire, 1 case; First South Carolina, 1 case.

Suspects brought in this a. m., 1 from First New Hampshire, 3 from Ninth Pennsylvania, 1 from Twelfth Minnesota. In hospital, 7 from Twelfth Minnesota, 2 from Ninth Pennsylvania, 3 from Fifth Pennsylvania, 1 from First South Carolina, 1 from First New Hampshire.

Supposed origin of fever in Ninth Pennsylvania, contamination of water with surface drainage.

In Twelfth Minnesota, from ("suspects") (typhoid malarial?) bathing in Chickamauga Creek.

Major, Chief Surgeon, United States Volunteers,
Chief Surgeon Third Division, First Army Corps.

On July 1 in the Second Division, First Army Corps, there were but 7 cases of typhoid fever, of whom 2 were convalescent. This division, with its strength of over 11,500 men, only had 12 additional cases during the first three weeks in July. It will be seen, therefore, that of typhoid fever on July 1, there were:





1st Division




2d Division




3d Division








Previous to July 1 a number of applications had been made for the issue of disinfectants. At this time an urgent appeal for the issue of disinfectants came from the regiments in the center of the First Division and from the brigade surgeons, Majors Glennon and Mearns, Third Division. These requisitions were approved by the chief surgeons of divisions and were approved by me, but when carried to the deputy surgeon-general of Camp George H. Thomas, they were disapproved, inviting attention to Army Regulations, 1462, forbidding the routine use of disinfectants. The disapproval of the deputy surgeon-general as to the use of disinfectants was carried to such a point that carbolic acid, desired for the treatment of chancroids and other surgical purposes, was obtained with difficulty on the ground that it might be used as a general disinfectant.

From this time during the three weeks which I remained in Chickamauga I visited the division hospitals each at least once in every two days, and was in daily consultation with the chief surgeons of divisions in regard to the hygienic conditions of the camp. The Second Division, First Corps, was located on a sloping shale soil with good drainage, and with the exception of the outbreaks of measles, had but few cases of contagious diseases. The hospitals, Second and Third divisions, were neat and clean and were most faithfully administered by both the surgeons directly in charge of them and by the chief surgeons of division, and were beyond criticism, except for the lack of sufficient medical supplies and sufficient number of Hospital Corps men.

At this time I had frequent consultations with Major-General Brooke as to the removal of the camps of the First Division and of the Third Division, which were located upon clay soil, and twice had been instructed to consult with the commanding officers of the divisions as to the removal of the troops from the site on which they were located to new camping grounds, when telegrams from Washington notifying Major-General Brooke that the First Corps would be immediately removed from Chickamauga caused delay in taking action.

During July the troops of the First Division commenced to break camp. Twice brigades were reorganized and camps partially broken, when the order was revoked and the men reestablished themselves in their original location. Finally the newly formed First Brigade, First Division, was sent to Charleston, leaving its sick in hospital and a large number of slightly ill cases in quarters attached to


the Fifth Illinois Regiment, to which was also added a large number of recruits recently received. The departure of the First Division headquarters, the First Brigade, and then the Second Brigade, immediately preceding the departure of First Corps headquarters, caused the withdrawal of a number of surgeons from the First Division hospital, in order that they might accompany their respective regiments. To supply the places of the Hospital Corps privates apportioned to the departing brigades, I was obliged to detail a number of men temporarily from the reserve hospital and ambulance company and from the other divisions. This confusion of departure accounted reasonably for the somewhat demoralized condition of time First Division hospital, which, as already stated, with reasons already given, had never had the systematic organization which existed in the Second and Third divisions.

On July 23 headquarters First Corps left Chickamauga for Newport News. It was accompanied by the reserve hospital and ambulance company completely organized, with 12 commissioned officers, 213 enlisted men, 24 ambulances, 20 army wagons, and tentage and supplies for a hospital of 200 beds.

At Newport News this was augmented by the brigade hospital section, Second Brigade, First Corps, consisting of 3 medical officers, 60 Hospital Corps privates, 6 ambulances, 5 wagons, and tentage and hospital supplies for a hospital of 50 beds,

At Newport News the Second Brigade was encamped for several days. Instructions were issued to the brigade surgeon to have a thorough investigation made of the commands in this brigade and to eliminate the sick, who were left at the general hospital at Old Point Comfort.

Headquarters First Army Corps and the Second Brigade, First Division, First Corps, were embarked on six transports and left Newport News on July 28. The first transports reached southern Porto Rico on the evening of July 31, and after touching at Ponce reached Arroyo and commenced landing on August 2. Four transports with the headquarters, the troops of the First Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and with the ambulances and wagons belonging to the Hospital Corps, landed at Arroyo. On the Seneca there were 1 medical officer of the reserve hospital and 16 Hospital Corps privates.

The entire remainder of the Hospital Corps, officers and men, and the animals for transportation were on the other two transports-the Massachusetts and Roumanian-which, as we learned later, had grounded near Ponce, and the men only joined us more than a week later by coming overland. Immediately on landing the troops were placed in temporary camps at a short distance from Arroyo, and were rapidly scattered in small outpost detachments and in advance battalions toward time direction of Guayama.

In Arroyo the medical inspector and surgeon of the Third Illinois had established a small hospital in the building of the town cocking pit, which we were obliged to use temporarily for a number of cases which had developed sickness, and we were obliged to ask for a detail of privates from the commands to take the place of the Hospital Corps men who had not arrived.

Having but 1 officer and 16 Hospital Corps men to look after the unloading of the ambulances, wagons, and medical supplies which were being unloaded from lighters, mixed with the supplies of three infantry regiments who had ample force to look after their own stores and who acquired much which did not belong to them, a certain amount of property belonging to the reserve hospital and ambulance company was lost.

Some of this property was afterwards found in the various camps and recovered, but a portion of it was totally lost. As soon as the ambulances and wagons could be put together and the property had been collected and placed in them, they were removed by the use of bull teams to a well-located gravel field on the Arroyo, where a hospital camp was formed and was ready for occupancy by the hospital corps when it arrived from Ponce.

By this time the troops had taken possession of Guayama and had moved the advance outposts to the mountains beyond. On the afternoon of August 12 a general advance was ordered, and the entire hospital with its sick, then numbering some 120 cases, was moved during the night to a knoll at the edge of Guayama. During the remainder of August the troops were scattered for a distance of several miles around Guayama. Efficient service was rendered by the ambulance company making the regular tours twice a day at fixed hours, and being always ready in cases of emergency.

Here again difficulty occurred with the regimental commanders in the attempt of the regimental surgeons to establish and maintain regimental hospitals. For several reasons I was called upon to act energetically in checking them and consolidating the sick at the reserve hospital.


In the first place, I had my orders as to the organization of the medical service. In the second place, the constant military reasons for movement of troops rendered it important that they should not be hampered by having sick on hand, and the establishment of the regimental hospitals prevented the surgeons of the regiments from accompanying the commands and giving them proper attention. In the third place, I had just received a peremptory telegram from the assistant surgeon-general at Ponce, calling my attention to the fact of a building having been occupied at Arroyo. I was obliged again to resort to Major-General Brooke*s never-failing justice and respect for orders for authority to consolidate the sick in the field hospital.

A week later I was furnished with a hospital building at Guayama, which, after a thorough cleansing and disinfection, was made into a ward of the hospital, in which were placed 30 beds, to treat the more serious cases of fever. At both the field hospital and at the ward in Guayama we had built ovens of brick, and with crushed and dried sugar cane for fuel, I ordered the complete destruction of all fecal matter and garbage. Notwithstanding the inspection which had been ordered at Newport News, it was found that, either through neglect on the part of one or two surgeons or a false courage on the part of men, who would not answer sick call for fear of not being allowed to accompany their comrades on the expedition, a number of cases of typhoid fever developed. In addition to these cases the other serious cases were malarial fever, of which the remittent type and a continued climatic fever lasting from five to six days were most common.

Considerable confusion existed at the outset in regard to the discipline of the hospital corps. Maj. Lawrence Smith, surgeon, First Pennsylvania Volunteers, who had been surgeon in charge of the hospital, had been taken ill while on the transport and had been returned to time United States, and unfortunately died. The books of the reserve hospital, including the personnel of the hospital corps and the list of property, could not be found.

As before stated, just before leaving Chickamauga, Major Boyd, surgeon, Third Kentucky Volunteers, had assumed command of the ambulance company. However, it required but a few days to completely reorganize. Major Boyd, assisted by Captain Taylor, assistant surgeon, Fourth Ohio, Lieutenant Colby, assistant surgeon, Thirty-first Michigan, in time ambulance company, and Major Bain, surgeon, Second Ohio Volunteers, in charge of the reserve hospital, with his hospital staff of assistant surgeons, deserve the utmost credit and recognition for the faithful way in which they overcame lesser obstacles and for the devoted, untiring energy to the performance of their duties.

In addition to the three regiments forming the Second Brigade, First Division, First Corps, we had at Guayama Troop H, Sixth United States Cavalry, Company F, Eighth United States Infantry, a battalion of four batteries, commanded by Major Rodney, a battalion of four companies of the Signal Corps, commanded by Colonel Glassford, and the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry. On September 2 the troops in Guayama were left under command of Brigadier-General Grant.

Major-General Brooke, accompanied by his staff, Troop H, Sixth United States Cavalry, and Company F, Eighth United States Infantry, proceeded across the island to Rio Piedras, on the outskirts of San Juan. Here the troops were placed in a small camp, and the detachment of reserve hospital corps which had accompanied headquarters was placed in charge of Maj. Charles F. Mason, medical inspector.

On September 15 General Brooke assumed command of the United States troops in Porto Rico, and announced his former staff, First Army Corps, to their respective positions on his staff as a commanding officer of the United States troops in Porto Rico.

I had received absolutely no information in regard to the condition of the medical service in western and southwestern Porto Rico. On September 17 I was ordered to make an inspection of this portion of the island.

I left Rio Piedras on September 18 and made the inspection, making daily reports by telegraph and by letter to Major-General Brooke. I collected during this inspection a roster of the medical officers and Hospital Corps men, with an inventory of medical supplies, a copy of which I left for the chief surgeon sent to relieve me.

I beg to call attention to the valuable services rendered both at Chickamauga and in Porto Rico by Maj. H. P. Birmingham, chief surgeon, Third Brigade, First Division, First Corps, who had charge of the hospital at Ponce, which he administered with method, system, and a display of energy remarkable considering the conditions with which he had to deal.

On October 8 I was furnished by the adjutant-general, United States troops in Porto Rico, a copy of paragraph 34, Special Orders, 224, Adjutant-General*s Office, Current Series, ordering me to report to the Surgeon-General in Washington. No steamer was available until October 18, when I left San Juan.