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Hospital ward in convalescent Camp at Alexandria This is where thousands of fortunate soldiers got well from their wounds. When the regiments marched away to the front, their barracks and other available buildings were turned into improvised hospitals. Where the intended capacity was exceeded, tent wards were often pitched to supply the deficiency. Generally, however, other buildings were taken over to provide for the surplus wounded. These offshoots themselves were frequently forced to enlarge and, for facility of administration, were detached from the parent institution. For instance, in the middle of December, 1864, there were sixteen such institutions within the corporate limits of the city of Washington alone, and a total of twenty-five, with an aggregate bed capacity of 21,426, almost within cannon-shot of the Capitol. On this same date there were 187 general hospitals in operation, scattered all over the country from New England to New Orleans and from the Missouri to the Atlantic, and having the enormous total capacity of 118,057 beds, of which but 34,648 were then vacant.

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