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[334] by committees of eminent medical men were distributed to the regimental surgeons and the commanding officers. Since these surgeons had been almost wholly drawn from civil life and as the Medical Department had not issued any such treatises to them, these little books were of inestimable value.

The ideas of the members of the commission, which included some of the best-known physicians in the country as well as men of affairs, were large. The members of the Sanitary Commission felt that only a young man was capable of making the organization effective, and they were successful in so influencing public opinion that a bill was passed destroying to a large extent the system of promotion by seniority and allowing the appointment of William A. Hammond as surgeon-general.

The third phase, that of relief, began with the care of the fugitives of the battle of Bull Run. Many regiments had been scattered, and the men came pouring into Washington, separated from their officers and surgeons, and but for the work of the commission, much more suffering would have resulted. Relief was also sent to the wounded after the battles at Edwards' Ferry, Ball's Bluff, and Dranesville.

The collection of supplies in kind was left largely to the branches, which were made almost entirely independent of the parent organization. In all of these women were prominent. The Women's Central Relief Association of New York was the first one recognized, though the branch in northern Ohio was the first association of women organized. The chief branches in the East were those in New York, Boston, Buffalo, and Philadelphia. There were other branches at Cincinnati, Louisville, Chicago, Troy, Detroit, and elsewhere. Far-off California sent a large contribution in money. These branches were best able to deal with local conditions, as through them were collected such diverse articles as quilts, blankets, pincush-ions, butter, eggs, sauerkraut, cider, chickens, and many other things. The standard set by the branch for the local-aid societies was ‘a box a month for the soldiers.’

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