Within his domain, which was a very extensive one, he had absolute power and the fiat
of an autocrat; the Emperor
of the Russias was not more autocratic.
He commanded and it was done.
He stood in terrorem
over the surgeon, whatever his rank or wherever he might be — from Richmond
to the trans Mississippi
, and to the extremest verge of the Confederate States
And though appearing to be cold and forbidding, we do not think that Surgeon Moore
was cruel, arbitrary, or insensible to conviction.
We have ourselves experienced some of his stern rulings, which were afterwards fully compensated for.
But where, or under what government so complicated and extensive as this, was there ever a department of the public service characterized by such order and precision?
Every paper emanating from that office was a model of despatch and neatness; and the chief introduced various measures for the relief of the medical department when the country was suffering privations, and in want of the ordinary necessaries of life.
It will be remembered, also, that included in the sphere of his duties was the providing the medical supplies needed for the entire army—which had to be imported in great measure; and the hospitals and other branches of the service were fairly supplied with quinia, morphia, iron, chloroform and surgical appliances
If the writer is permitted to say it here, the hospitals at Norfolk
under his care were never allowed to be without these essential articles—which were purchased when needed by private contributions from friends in Charleston
But that we may avoid the imputation of being indiscriminately a laudator temporis acti,
we think there were some grave mistakes committed.
One of the most serious was the failure to send surgeons of known skill and experience into positions where they might do most good—into the field or into large hospitals—in place of permitting them to remain in high cathedral places as medical examiners, medical directors, in charge of stations for purveying and distributing medical supplies, etc. Surgeons
of the first ability were appointed to these offices—doubtless of importance—but which could have been filled by others fully competent who had not devoted their lives to surgery.
It seems strange that men, just at the period when their special capacities could be applied to the greatest advantage, were indeed absolutely demanded by the exigency, were diverted from the branch in which they were particularly proficient to such peaceful pursuits, whilst the assistant surgeon
, sometimes the full