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May 26.

We are having busy times here with the sick, and are expecting still busier when the wounded come from the anticipated battle. To-day we sent off the steamer Spaulding with three hundred and twenty-five sick men. Perhaps I have not written enough of our method of procedure here for you to know how we manage. The Commission has had several steamers placed in its charge by government, which it has agreed to fit up with beds, &c., and to provide with surgeons for the transportation of the sick. Want of hospital room either here or at Yorktown forces men to be carried to the hospitals at Washington, and they being now full, even farther North; and in this work we are engaged. Mr. Olmsted, with some others who have been long attached to the Commission, including myself, constitute a sort of permanent staff, and see to the selecting of patients, the fitting up of the steamers, &c. With us are engaged several New York ladies, who are most useful and efficient. . . . . I should not have supposed that women of their [226] breeding and habits could go through with so much and such fearfully disagreeable work, but they are untiring, always cheerful, ready, and uncomplaining; and by their very presence, apart from the actual assistance in nursing, soften the treatment which, at the hands of the best-intentioned men, is somewhat rough and harsh. They are charming company, and I am rapidly learning to eat with my fork–when I can get one. We take our quinine regularly in a jovial company, and laugh at each other's wry faces over the bitterness.

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