The sick soldiers.
--We hear every day complaints of the manner in which sick soldiers are treated, and these complaints come from such sources that we feel it our duty once more to call the attention of the authorities to the subject.
Patting out of the question all considerations of policy; laying aside the well known fact that the health of troops is some what important to the winning of victories, and is so considered in all civilized countries; that even the physical condition of slaves is a subject of constant attention to the master, who feels it to be his interest as well as duty to have his negroes carefully housed, well fed, and when they are sick, taken good care of, and attended by skillful surgeons, and not by miserable pretenders and quacks; that even horses, oxen, and mules are looked after by their masters and owners, carefully protected from the weather, and from everything that may impair their efficiency,--putting aside, we say, the question of policy, we demand to know whether the sick soldiers of the Confederate. Army do not deserve, on the score of humanity — as gentle and humane treatment as negroes, horses, and asses receive from their masters!
If they do, if these men, every one of whom has entered the army from a sense of duty to his country, and not from the miserable ambition to exalt his little self amid a nations sufferings, have any claim to the mercy which the merciful man showeth unto his beast, then how can sick soldiers be left to be down in the drenching rain on the cold ground, or to be unprovided with adequate nourishment at hospitals, or to be turned over by negligent stewards to the tender mercies of negro attendants?
We do not say that this is the universal treatment; it may be, and probably is, exceptional, but these exceptions it all we hear be true, are a good many more than are required to establish a general rule.
We have referred to this subject again and again, and, in the name of humanity, of civilization, of duty to the people of this Republic, we invoke the proper authorities to investigate this matter and have these alleged abuses probed to the bottom.
But who are the ‘"proper authorities?"’ We don't know; but knowing that the military, as well as the civil, head of the Government
is the President
of the Confederate States
, we invoke him to direct an investigation of a subject which vitally concerns the efficiency of the army and the character of the Southern
If the accusations of neglect, inefficiency, incompetent medical attendance, privation of food, exposure to weather which no one would expose a sick dog to, and other such occasional, and perhaps exceptional, examples, are true, they are a disgrace to the nineteenth century; if false, then let their falsity be shown, and the public mind will be relieved of a heavy burthen.
The private soldiers of the Confederate army are the jewels of their country.
They may be in poor raiment, but they have manly and noble hearts, and we confess that we have yet to see the humblest of them, and in the plainest garb, when we did not feel more reverence for than for the most aspiring pretender, as destitute of military knowledge as of common sense, who ever entered an army to strut and swell in the gaudy plumage of a military popinjay, and clothed in a little brief authority, play such fantastic tricks before high Heaven as might make angels weep.