Today in History:

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

Page 116 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

notify the captain commanding the ambulance corps, or, if this be impracticable, the first lieutenant commanding the division ambulances, of the location of the hospital.

No medical officer will leave the position to which he shall have been assigned without permission, and any officer so doing will be reported to the medical director of the corps, who will report the who will report the facts to this office.

The medical directors of corps will apply to their commanders on the eve of a battle for the necessary guard and men for fatigue duty. This guard will be particularly careful that no stragglers be allowed about the hospital, using the food and comforts prepared for the wounded.

No wounded will be sent away from any of these hospitals without authority from this office.

Previous to an engagement, a detail will be made by medical directors of corps of a proper number of medical officers, who will, should a retreat be found necessary, remain and take care of the wounded. This detail medical directors will request the corps commanders to announce in orders.

The skillful attention shown by the medical officers of this army to the wounded upon the battle-fields of South Mountain, Crampton's Gap, and the Antietam, under trying circumstances, gives the assurance that, with this organization, the medical staff of the Army of the Potomac can with confidence be relied upon under all emergencies to take charge of the wounded intrusted to its care.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JONA. LETTERMAN, Medical Director.

As both of these circulares met the approval of the commanding general and were issued under his auspices, it may not be amiss to say that at the battle of Fredericksburg, on the 13th of December, 1862, when they were first tried, and when from the nature of the action they were severely tested, they fulfilled in a great degree the expectations hoped for at the time of their adoption.

I have alluded to the loss of medical officers in battle. Two of them fell upon the battle-field of Antietam, whose devotion to duty i cannot pass over. Surg. W. J. H. White, U. S. Army, medical director of the Sixth Corps, under General Franklin, was killed on that field by a shot from the enemy. He was a skillful surgeon, a gallant officer, and a gentleman whose deportment was kind and courteous to all who had intercourse with him. These admirable traits, together with his familiarity with the medical affairs of that corps, made his loss, and especially on that day, deeply to be deplored. Assistant Surgeon Revere, of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, accompanying his regiment into the midst of the fight, fell by the hands of the enemy, nobly and fearlessly discharging his duty to the wounded.

I cannot act justly without mentioning the faithful services of Hospital Steward Robert Koldeway, U. S. Army, who has been constantly with me. His attention to duty has been invariably most marked. Shrinking from no labor by day or by night, in everything he has acquitted himself to my entire satisfaction, and it gives me no little pleasure to bring to the notice of the general commanding a non-commissioned officer who has acted so well.

I may have gone more fully into the details of the operations of the medical department of the Army of the Potomac than will be considered necessary, but upon my first interview with the commanding general at Harrison's Landing, I perceived the deep interest taken by him in everything connected with it. Time only strengthened my convictions and continued to assure me of his constant solicitude for the welfare of the sick and wounded, and I feel the most grateful remembrance of the unvarying confidence and support he gave me in everything which I conducive to that end.

The efficiency of the medical department of this army owes much to the Surgeon-General. His advice and authority upon all occasions were freely five, and enabled me to act without restraint. I beg to

Page 116 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.