Today in History:

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


following instructions are issued for the guidance of the medical staff of this army, and medical directors of corps will see that they are promptly carried into effect:

Previous to an engagement there will be established in each corps a hospital for each division, the position of which will be selected by the medical director of the corps.

The organization of the hospital will be ass follows:

1st. A surgeon in charge; one assistant surgeon to provide food and shelter, &c., one assistant surgeon to keep the records.

2d. Three medical officers to perform operations; three medical officers as assistants to each of these officers.

3d. Additional medical officers, hospital stewards, nurses of the division.

The surgeon in charge will have general superintendence and be responsible to the surgeon-in-chief of the division for the proper administration of the hospital. The surgeon-in-chief of a division will detail one assistant surgeon, who will report to and be under the immediate orders of the surgeon in charge, whose duties shall be to pitch the hospital tents and provide straw, fuel, water; blankets, &c., and, when houses are used, put them in proper order for the reception of wounded. This assistant surgeon will, when the foregoing shall have been accomplished, at once organize a kitchen, using for this purpose the hospital mess chests and the kettles,tins, &c., in the ambulances. The supplies of beef stock and bread in the ambulances, and of arrowroot, tea, &c., in the hospital wagon, will enable him to prepare quickly a sufficient quantity of palatable and nourishing food. All the cooks, and such of the hospital stewards and nurses as may be necessary, will be placed under his orders for these purposes.

He will detail another assistant surgeon, whose duty it shall be to keep a complete record of every case brought to the hospital, giving the name, rank, company, and regiment; the seat and character of injury; the treatment; the operation, if any be performed, and the result, which will be transmitted to the medical director of the corps and by him sent to this office.

This officer will also see to the proper interment of those who die, and that the grave is marked with a head-board with the name, rank, company, and regiment legibly inscribed upon it.

He will make out two tabular statements of wounded, which the surgeon-in-chief of division will transmit within thirty-six hours after a battle, one to this office (by a special messenger, if necessary) and the other to the medical director of the corps to which the hospital belong.

There will be selected from the division by the surgeon-in-chief, under the direction of the medical director of the corps, three medical officers, who will be the operating staff of the hospital, upon whom will rest the immediate responsibility of the performance of all important operations. In all doubtful cases they will consult together, and a majority of them shall decide upon the expediency and character of the operation. These officers will be selected from the division without regard to rank, but solely on account of their known prudence, judgment, and skill. The surgeon-in-chief of the division is enjoined to be especially careful in the selection of these officers, choosing only those who have distinguished themselves for surgical skill, sound judgment, and conscientious regard for the highest interests of the wounded.

There will be detailed three medical officers to act as assistants to each one of these officers, who will report to him and act entirely under his direction. It is suggested that one of the assistants be selected to administer the anaesthetic. Each operating surgeon will be provided with an excellent table from the hospital wagon, and, with the present organization for field hospitals, it is hoped that the confusion and the delay in performing the necessary operations so often existing after a battle will be avoided, and all operations hereafter be primary.

The remaining medical officers of the division, except one to each regiment, will be ordered to the hospitals to act as dressers and assistants generally. Those who follow the regiments to the field will establish themselves, each one at a temporary depot, at such a distance or situation in the rear of his regiment as will insure safety to the wounded, where they will give such aid as is immediately required; and they are here remended that, whilst no personal consideration should interfere with their duty to the wounded, the grave responsibilities resting upon them render any unnecessary exposure improper.

The surgeon-in-chief of the division will exercise general supervision, under the medical director of the corps, over the medical affairs in his division. He will see that the officers are faithful in the performance of their duties in the hospital and upon the field, and that by the ambulance corps, which has heretofore been so efficient, the wounded are removed from the field carefully and with dispatch.

Whenever his duties permit, he will give his professional services at the hospital, will order to the hospital as soon as located all the hospital wagons of the brigade, the hospital tents and furniture, and all the hospital stewards and nurses. He will