ITS machinery worked steadily as the commission grew in prestige. The uninformed feared and hated it; those who understood its operations showed increasing respect. But the Sanitary prospect was one of drift. President, Congress, and the people, thought Olmsted, still failed to grasp the commission's importance. World, Tribune, and Post clamored for medical reorganization. They reminded readers that since June, 1861, disease had disabled thirty for every one man incapacitated by violence or accident; at least fifteen of these had sickened as the result of neglect. An efficient surgeon general was becoming as imperative as an able commanding general.
Olmsted, anything but hopeful, was prepared for "entire indifference" in Congress. Senator Dixon, knowing nothing of the bill, thought he might support it. An obstinate opposition was making Senator Wilson wish he had never proposed reorganization. Threatening was the turn of affairs in the House of Representatives. As an act of friendship, Frank P. Blair, Jr., chairman of the House Military Committee, presented a bill drawn up by Dr. Wood, heir apparent by seniority. It received the backing of a strong lobby, whose operations had been limited and retarded by hatred of the Sanitary Commission. The House would act when Blair chose to push the measure vigorously. The commissioners themselves were not of one mind. In distress Dr. Wood had called