soon after increased the sick and wounded to sixty hospitals, which were filled.
The first business of the agent was to ascertain the number of Massachusetts
soldiers among the sick and wounded, also their condition, the regiments to which they belonged, and what assistance they required.
Nearly five hundred of our men were in these hospitals; and the whole number upon the books of the agency, as having been in the hospitals in that department, during the war, was seventeen thousand four hundred and eighty-eight, of which seven hundred and thirty-six died.
Soon after the appointment of Mr. Tufts
, another society, composed of Massachusetts
men, living in the district, was organized, under the name of the ‘Massachusetts
Soldiers' Relief Association,’ the members of which visited the hospitals regularly, and ascertained the name and condition of every Massachusetts
soldier, and relieved his wants.
This organization ceased some time in 1863; and the labor which the members had performed devolved upon the State
agent, who was empowered to employ persons to visit the soldiers, for which they were paid by the Commonwealth
By systematic effort, the agent, during the entire war, was enabled to ascertain the exact condition of every patient belonging to the State
, and to have a perfect record in his office.
The greatest number of persons employed at any one time was eighteen.
This was in December, 1864.
All accessible battle-fields were visited by the agent, a knowledge of our wounded obtained, and assistance rendered.
In May, 1864, when General Grant
began his memorable advance toward Richmond
from the Rapidan
, a field-agency was established, following the army, which continued in successful operation until the end of the war. During the general exchange of prisoners, which began in December, 1864, a force of the agency was maintained at Annapolis, Md.
, and information of great value obtained in regard to our men who had suffered and who had died in rebel prisons, and much needed assistance was rendered.
Up to Jan. 1, 1867, over twenty-five thousand letters had been written at the agency at Washington
, which covered twenty thousand pages of letterpress.
During the same period, about five hundred and sixty thousand dollars had