Today in History:

112 Series I Volume XIX-I Serial 27 - Antietam Part I

Page 112 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

Rauch, U. S. Volunteers, to whom assistants were given from our own officers and all the medical officers who had been left by the enemy to look after their wounded. A sufficient number of ambulances having been placed at his disposal and supplies given him, these wounded were collected in the best and most convenient places, and everything done to alleviate their sufferings that was done for our own men. Humanity teaches us that a wounded and prostrate foe is not then our enemy.

There were many cases both on our right and left whose wounds were so serious that their lives would be endangered by their removal, and to have every opportunity afforded them for recovery the Antietam hospital, consisting of hospital tents, and capable of comfortably accommodating nearly 600 cases, was established at a place called Smoketown, near Keedysville, for those who were wounded on our right, and a similar hospital, but not so capacious-the Locust Spring hospital-was established in the rear of the Fifth Corps for those cases which occurred on our left. To one or other of these hospitals all the wounded were carried whose wounds were of such a character as to forbid their removal to Frederick or elsewhere. The inspections made of these hospitals from time to time were a source of great gratification, as they made known to me the skillful treatment which these men received and the care with which they were watched over, and convinced me of the propriety of the adoption of this course in regard to them. Surgeon Vanderkieft, U. S. Volunteers, who was in charge of the Antietam hospital, was unceasing in his labors, and showed a degree of professional skill and executive ability much to be admired. Great care and attention were shown to the wounded at the Locust Spring hospital by Surgeon Squire, Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, who had charge of it. Both hospitals were kept in excellent order.

Immediately after the battle a great many citizens came within our lines in order to remove their relatives or friends who had been injured, and in a great many instances when the life of the man depended upon his remaining at rest. It was impossible to make them understand that they were better where they were, and that a removal would probably be done only with the sacrifice of life. Their minds seemed bent on having them in a house. If that could be accomplished, all would,in their opinion, be well. No greater mistake could exist, and the results of that battle only added additional evidence of the absolute necessity of a full supply of pure air, constantly renewed-a supply which cannot be obtained in the most perfectly constructed building. Within a few yards a marked contrast could be seen between the wounded in houses and barns and in the open air. Those in houses progressed less favorable than those in the barns, those in barns less favorably than those in the open air, although all were in other respects treated alike.

The capacious barns, abundantly provided with hay and straw, the delightful weather with which we were favored, and the kindness exhibited by the people, afforded increased facilities to the medical department for taking care of the wounded thrown upon it by that battle. From the frequent inspections which I made form time to time, and from the reports of inspections made of the hospitals, and the manner in which the duties required in them were performed by medical officers, it gives me no little pleasure to say that the wounded had every care that could be bestowed upon them-that they were promptly,willingly, and efficiently attended to. And although I have more than once spoken to the general commanding concerning the conduct of medical officers on that battle-field, I cannot refrain from alluding here to the untiring devotion shown by them to the wounded of that day.

Page 112 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.