Return To Manassas 2010 Southern Division Medical Department AAR
For those who didn't make it to Return to Manassas, I thought I'd give a little information about the Medical Department in the Southern Division.
I was assigned as Acting Chief Surgeon of Southern Division. 1st Brigade had Surgeon DeSessa serving as Senior Surgeon of the Brigade and Assistant Surgeon Buckey was serving with the 26th North Carolina. Since there was no Medical Department for the 2nd Brigade, Artillery and Cavalry, I was responsible for them.
Each battalion was notified in advance by General Orders from Division that they were to assign 2 men to the ambulance corps for each battle.
Each battalion was also notified by General Orders from Division as to the conduct of sick call.
The Division Hospital was established near the Division Headquarters, and I went to 1st Brigade to meet the Medical Department of that brigade.
Saturday morning the bugler sounded sick call for the Division at 7am. The artillery, cavalry and battalions of the 2nd Brigade sent sergeants to my hospital with lists of the scik in each unit. Luckily all were in good health except for one company which has 11 cases of gonorrhea. A surgeons morning report was sent to Division HQ for the artillery and cavalry and to 2nd Brigade HQ for their battalions.
Due to the illness in 2nd Brigade, I instructed the Provost that all women entering camp needed to be sent to the Division Hospital to see me before I would approve their entry into camp.
Those in the Division who were not able to enter into battle were placed in quarters on light duty by the Medical Department, where they remained under our supervision. Passes were written so the provost would not find them to be deserters. They were later released to their commands.
Before the first battle, the men detailed to the ambulance corps reported for duty. Since we lacked litters, I dismissed all but one man, who stayed with me as an armed orderly. Our main function was to check the wounded and dead on the field for injuries and if of a modern nature to get EMS. If of a simulated nature, to do the best we could on the field. All dead and wounded on in both armies behind our lines were checked.
A local farm house was to be commandeered for use as our hospital. The women there were asked to provide all the sheets, underclothing and food they could, but apparently some visitors from the north had already cleaned them out. Their well was said to have made everyone who drank from it sick, so the provost was notified to place a guard on the well to prevent furthur illness.
When we returned to camp, the provost sent a female visitor to me. She was a single "nurse", but failed to be able to tell me in which hospital she worked. When she asked why she was being questioned, I informed her that some women had brought disease into camp. Her reaction, shock, shaking and near tears, made me think she was perhaps a Cyprian or at least not the cause of illness, thought I still asked the provost to ensure she was escorted at all times as she was visiting the battalion which had reported the illness.
Later in the afternoon, a female was brought to the provost from the company which had reported for sick call. She was turned over to me, and after providing obscure answers to her occupation and stating she had a large ammount of greenbacks upon her person, she was told that to remain in camp, she would need to be examined. She said she needed to make money, so consented to the examination. I was satisfied she was not the cause of illness and reported so to the provost.
The evening battle was conducted in the same manner as earlier, but due to the widely separated lines, no federal killed or wounded were examined for injuries.
Sunday sick call was conducted with only two men reporting, both with upper respiratory illness. Surgeons Morning reports were completed and submitted as before.
It appeared that the actions of the medical department and the provost to restrict women from camp proved to be working were to continue to ensure the health of the men.
Sunday, the battle went just as it had earlier on Saturday with regard to the Medical Department.
Reports of Sick and Wounded are due at the end of the month from the Senior Surgeons of the Brigades to the Chief Surgeon of the Division.
For medical supplies we had my haversack with a few drugs and dressings, paperwork and my instrument case. The Division Hospital was a fly tent with a red marker flag, since it was mainly serving as the hospital for 2nd Brigade. Bed sacks were available for the sick and wounded.
Medical Director Bee's Brigade - 150th First Manassas
Medical Director Evans' Brigade - 150th Leesburg
Medical Director Valley District - 150th McDowell
Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Seven Pines/Seven Days
Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Sharpsburg
Chief Surgeon Heth's Division - 150th Gettysburg