Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 28, 1862

September 28, 1862:  Kate Cummings, a nurse in the Confederate Army hospital in Chattanooga, writes in her journal of her concerns for the patients, the management of the hospitals, and for the soldiers and her brother:

The great cry of our sick is for milk. We could buy plenty, but have no money. We get a little every day for the worst cases, at our own expense. I intend letting the folks at home know how many are suffering for want of nourishment, for I feel confident that if they knew of it they would send us means.

Last week, in despair, I went to Dr. Young, the medical purveyor, and begged him to give me some wine; in fact, any little thing, I told him, would be acceptable. I did not come away empty-handed. He gave me arrow-root, sago, wine, and several kinds of spices, and many things in the way of clothing.

In every hospital there is invariably a fund; there is none at present in this. The reason, we have been told, is because the hospitals at this post are in debt to the government, by drawing more money from it than their due, and until it is paid we will get no more. . . .

There are quite a number of soldiers in the place who can not get on to their commands, as the country is filled with bushwhackers, and it is dangerous for them to go through it unless in very large bodies.

I am a good deal worried about my brother, as I have not heard from him since the army went into Kentucky.

---Union Army surgeon Alfred L. Castleman records a disturbing experience as he rides to Sharpsburg:

28th.—Rode to Sharpsburg to-day to procure some medicines, of which we are sadly deficient. Found a purveyor there, but he had no medicines except morphine and brandy. I passed over Antietam battle-field. The smell was horrible. The road was lined with carriages and wagons conveying coffins and boxes for the removal of dead bodies, and the whole battle-field was crowded with people from distant States exhuming and removing the bodies of their friends. ‘Twas a sad, sad sight, and whilst the world is calculating the chances of war, and estimating its cost in dollars, I am dotting down in my memory the sad scenes I witness as small items in the long account of heart-aches.

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