Report of Surg. Lafayette Guild, Medical Director Army of Northern Virginia.
PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN--SEVEN DAYS' BATTLES
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XI/2 [S# 13]
IN CAMP NEAR RICHMOND, VA.,
August 16, 1862.
Dr. S. P. MOORE,
Surgeon-General C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.
SIR: Herewith I transmit a consolidated report of sick and wounded of the Army of Northern Virginia for the month of June, to which is appended a list of killed in the late series of conflicts near Richmond, commencing June 26 and ending July 1. I also inclose a return of medical officers for the month of July. The incompleteness and inaccuracies of these papers, I am sorry to admit, almost destroy the value that should attach to them. No reports whatever have been received from Surgeon Cullen, chief surgeon of General Longstreet's division, or from the chief surgeon of General Jackson's command. This neglect alone necessarily renders the inclosed reports very imperfect, as these divisions of the army bore a most active and important part in the recent battles. Previous to the engagements medical officers faded to supply themselves with the means necessary for keeping a list of casualties, and without a regularly systematized method of registration at the field infirmaries during and after a battle no great accuracy of record can ever be attained. However, the rapidity of the movements of the army over an extensive field of operations, the rapid succession of the week's conflicts, and the battles occurring in the afternoon and in many instances continuing as late as 9 o'clock at night, prevented the wounded of particular divisions and brigades being conveyed to their own respective infirmaries, and rendered it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the medical officers to make correct records of all the wounded who fell into their hands, even if they had been supplied with tabular field notes. Necessity often demanded that the wounded should be conveyed to the nearest infirmary, and consequently the wounded of every portion of the army were frequently thus mingled together. The present impromptu ambulance system of this army requires radical changes, and it is to be hoped that the efforts now being made to improve the efficiency of this important branch of our service may be successful.
The number of medical officers in the present regimental organization is wholly inadequate to the exigencies of the service. One surgeon and one assistant surgeon are insufficient either in time of peace or war. In active service every regiment should always have at least one surgeon and two assistant surgeons. Senior surgeons of brigades should be relieved from regimental duty, and one or more assistant surgeons attached to each brigade as supernumeraries for assignment to field hospitals and infirmaries and to supply deficiencies continually arising from sickness and death of regimental medical officers.
Yet, notwithstanding the insufficiency of medical officers and the limited ambulance facilities and other hospital resources at our command, nearly all the necessary operations were performed in the field infirmaries and the wounded rapidly conveyed to the general hospitals. I cannot commend too highly the zeal and efficiency of the medical corps as a body in the performance of their arduous and responsible duties during the late bloody battles.
I also inclose an inventory of captured medical and hospital supplies, which have been secured by Surg. James T. Johnson, medical purveyor. I regret to report to you that much hospital property has been secreted and retained without authority by medical officers, and even by officers of the line and private soldiers. To Surgeon Johnson is due great credit for the energy and efficiency he displayed in collecting and securing the captured hospital property we now hold in our possession. For further information in this particular I respectfully refer you to his inclosed report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[Surgeon and Medical Director, Army of Northern Virginia.
Source: "Official Records of the War of the Rebellion"
This Page last updated 10/07/01
RETURN TO MEDICAL DIRECTOR'S REPORT'S PAGE