previous next


I remember, and very clearly, that about this time it was well understood that General Jackson regarded the medical officers of the opposing army as non-combatants and not amenable to the same restrictions as other prisoners of war. And this is in perfect harmony with the Christian character of this great soldier. His courage, fidelity to duty, and loyalty to his native State and the cause he loved were equaled only by his humanity. No matter what the conditions were—whether in camp or on the march, in battle, flushed with victory or falling back before an overwhelming force, as he once or twice did, he never failed to require the utmost care on the part of his medical officers for his own sick and wounded, and a feeling of compassion, akin to sympathy, for a maimed and crippled foe was manifest in all that he did.

So great was General Jackson's concern for the sick and wounded of his army and the efficiency of his medical corps he encouraged the organization of a travelling hospital or field infirmary. This was put into operation just before the battle of Fredericksburg, in December, 1862, and it has been a question with me whether or not this was the first undertaking of the kind in either army. It was a distinct organization, reporting directly to headquarters. It had its commissary and quartermaster, ambulances, transportation wagons, hospital tents, medical supplies, stewards, detailed nurses and matron in addition to a sufficient number of commissioned medical officers. As an interesting fact, there were also, as a part of this outfit, some ten or twelve milch cows, a part of which accompanied the army through the Pennsylvania campaign and back to Virginia. Surgeon H. Black was put in charge of this department at the time of its organization, and remained in charge of it until the war closed.

At the present time, some of us who served the Southern Confederacy through the four years of the Civil war, and who know from personal experience the hardships and actual want induced by the scarcity of food, clothing, medicines, and war equipments of every kind in the Southern army, have been, at times, amusingly entertained by the complaints we hear from the army sent out this year in the recent war with Spain.

I am sorry, Doctor, that I cannot, through you, help Dr. Lewis more than this letter will. His effort is a laudable one. If it does nothing more it will afford much indisputable evidence that the humane exchange of medical officers was first suggested and practiced by General Jackson, and if it had been carried out in good faith, as

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
T. J. Jackson (3)
Samuel E. Lewis (1)
Harvey Black (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: