Lincoln's Fifth Wheel: the Political History of the United States Sanitary Commission

By William Quentin Maxwell; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
Wheels of Battle

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VILE, stinking, and miserable was all Aquia Creek, said Dr. Steiner--a town of wharves and mushrooming tents. Here the army kept ten days' provisions in advance. Six mules drew large and small trains of covered wagons; their going and coming was constant, they transported stores to various parts of the army. About 60,000 horses ate 800 tons of forage daily; the men required 700 tons of food. Government provisions came from Alexandria on some twenty-five vessels, besides many others engaged in delivering forage. Goods bound for Falmouth, the distributing depot, went from Aquia Creek by rail.

The commission set up headquarters on a hillside--living quarters, kitchen, dining room, storehouses, and stable; workers and guests found themselves as much at home as "pigs in a sty." Dr. I. N. Kerlin knew no end of interruptions--perhaps a half-drowned man, then one with a stomachache, and now three ladies in the kitchen clamoring to go to bed. There were deserving cases to feed and there were parasites--"bespectacled sutlers and chubby newsmen"--to keep from the trough. A dozen doctors added to the din, arguing the "eternal nigger question." In days of battle "straggling wounded soldiers and a heavy percentage of clericals, doctorates, and hospital stewards" filled the lodge. Such was the pressure, said Kerlin, that the commission's demand for a "weakly" report seemed very unjust.

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Lincoln's Fifth Wheel: the Political History of the United States Sanitary Commission
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter I Making and Testing the Fifth Wheel 1
  • Chapter II The Soldier and the Sanitary Commission, 1861 31
  • Chapter III The Army Hospitals, Surgeons, and Nurses, 1861 50
  • Chapter IV Ambulance Corps, General Supplies, And Medicines, 1861 70
  • Chapter V 93
  • Chapter VI Mixed Blessings 116
  • Chapter VII The Melancholy Battles 144
  • Chapter VIII Battles Within Battles 164
  • Chapter IX The Ledger of Battle 185
  • Chapter X Wheels of Battle 202
  • Chapter XI The Wheel of Fortune 216
  • Chapter XII The Nettles of War 248
  • Chapter XIII From Fifth Wheel to Red Cross 267
  • Chapter XIV Conclusion 292
  • Biographical Notes 317
  • Sources 351
  • Bibliography 355
  • Index 361
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