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[330] in the problem, he went to Washington to study the situation. The idea of the Sanitary Commission was a natural outgrowth of what they saw, but the plan at first met with little favor. The medical corps was indifferent if not actually hostile; the War Department was in opposition; President Lincoln feared that it would be a ‘fifth wheel to the coach.’ But finally the acting surgeon-general was won over and recommended the appointment of ‘a commission of inquiry and advice in respect to the sanitary interests of the United States forces,’ to act with the medical bureau. The committee was invited to put into a definite form the powers desired, and on May 23d suggested that an unpaid commission be appointed for the following purposes:

To inquire into the recruiting service in the various States and by advice to bring them to a common standard; second, to inquire into the subjects of diet, clothing, cooks, camping-grounds, in fact everything connected with the prevention of disease among volunteer soldiers not accustomed to the rigid regulations of the regular troops; and third, to discover methods by which private and unofficial interest and money might supplement the appropriations of the Government.

The plan was approved and, on the 9th of June, Henry W. Bellows, D. D.; Professor A. D. Bache, Ll.D.; Professor Jeffries Wyman, M. D.; Professor Wolcott Gibbs, M. D.; W. H. Van Buren, M. D.; Samuel G. Howe, M. D.; R. C. Wood, surgeon of the United States Army; G. W. Cullum, United States Army, and Alexander E. Shiras, United States Army, were appointed by the Secretary of War, and his action was approved by the President on the 13th of the same month. The Government promised to provide a room in Washington for their use. The men at first appointed soon added others to their number, and as the movement spread over the country additional members were appointed until the commissioners numbered twenty-one. Frederick Law Olmsted, the distinguished landscape architect, was chosen general secretary

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