Woman's Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience

By L. P. Brockett; Mary C. Vaughan | Go to book overview

HOSPITAL TRANSPORT SERVICE.

AMONG the deeds which entitle the United States Sanitary Commission to the lasting gratitude of the American people, was the organization and maintenance of the "Hospital Transport Service" in the Spring and Summer of 1862. When the Army of the Potomac removed from the high lands about Washington, to the low marshy and miasmatic region of the Peninsula, it required but little discernment to predict that extensive sickness would prevail among the troops; this, and the certainty of sanguinary battles soon to ensue, which would multiply the wounded beyond all previous precedents, were felt, by the officers of the Sanitary Commission, as affording sufficient justification, if any were needed for making an effort to supplement the provision of the Medical Bureau, which could not fail to be inadequate for the coming emergency. Accordingly early in April, 1862, Mr. F. L. Olmstead, the Secretary of the Commission, having previously secured the sanction of the Medical Bureau, made application to the Quartermaster-General to allow the Commission take in hand some of the transport steamboats of his department, of which a large number were at that time lying idle, to fit them up and furnish them in all respects suitable for the reception and care of sick wounded men, providing surgeons and other necessary attendance without cost to Government. After tedious delays and disappointments of various kinds--one fine large boat having been assigned, partially furnished by the Commission, and then withdrawn--an

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