from The Southbridge Journal, 4 Sep 1863 (Volume 3 #29), contributed by Mike Branniff
| From a Hero of the Gallant Fifteenth
From Our Own Correspondent
Hammond General Hospital
Mr. Editor: Again we find that Uncle Sam has seen proper to change five hundred of us from Jarvis hospital, Baltimore, to this point. We came on July 3d, so that we had the pleasure of enjoying the glorious 4th in a very quiet manner. The change from inland to seashore I think is beneficial to the convalescent, as likewise are the rules of the hospital. The doctor in charge, I notice, is not over nice in regard to the different wards. His aim is to have the men comfortable. And the meals, I am happy to say, are daily inspected by him, and are served out in liberal allowances to each man, besides being cooked in a manner to be palatable. This is truly a model hospital, and makes the sixth one I have been in. And I can say that we have better accommodations, and one third more rations than in ant other that I have been obliged to stop in.
There is a large washing room which washes the cloths by steam power, also a large bakery which furnishes us with excellent bread. I understand this has been a summer resort of the rich Southerners, therefore, we have the large hotel, and numerous small tenements, besides some seventeen other large buildings that have been put up lately for the wounded soldiers accommodation, being all lathed and plastered.
I am told there is convenience here for twenty-four hundred patients. We have two dining halls that will seat six hundred at each place. Each ward, or building, will accommodate seventy-five patients without crowding. I will give you a slight idea if the manner in which the Sisters of Charity and other ladies have adorned the ceiling of our ward, which is the sample of all. I must admit that the mottos and emblems are very appropriate throughout every department, which makes the room cheerful for the soldiers. On the front entrance in a circular form in large letters of evergreen, are the words God is Everywhere; on the wide entrance, ; on the opposite side is This be our Motto, In God is our Trust; on the lower entrance, Honor to the Brave; with pictures of prominent battles hanging over every other bed. Also, pictures at each end of the room of prominent Generals who have served in this war. The frames are pine burs ingeniously put around the edge, making forty odd pictures that are in this room.
These buildings are arranged in a circular form, each extending out over the point to near the water on the outside. The inside is connected with a covered platform extending from one to the other, so on to the center, where a large reservoir or water tank supplies us with water. Under the same and around it is a sink with fifty wash basins for our daily use. We also have building for the chaplain to preach in, and another room is filled up with books, pamphlets and papers at one end of the same, while there are tables fitted up convenient for four to play a game of dominoes, cards, and other games that the soldiers desire to.
The bathing facilities are excellent, both on the sea-shore and in the bath rooms. I have noticed that the females enjoy a half hour in the surges of the sea, and some are quite excellent swimmers.
We have two sutler stands here, and they have learned how to charge for what they sell. I presume they have been in the front which no doubt accounts for their prices.
The mail is intended to arrive daily by hand from Washington and Baltimore, although one week we did not get it but twice, on account of the freshet. The daily papers of Baltimore reach us thirty-six hours after they leave the press. I must say it is somewhat laughable to see the mail carriers equipage, he having an old blind horse, that looks as if the crows might be picking his bones by the time Fall sets in, his harness being on the same pattern; but what shall I say of the man, who appears to be about as dull as the animal he drives, keeping perfectly stupefied with that vile stuff called whiskey.
I have thought to myself, can it be possible that Government will allow such a person to carry the mails, when it is known that in this vicinity the rebels are prowling about constantly and running the blockade. I leave the subject for their high and important consideration, hoping that before Uncle Sam pays us off he will make sure to arrange this mail business so that we shall have confidence enough to send our money if we desire to do so. We have a regular steamboat that comes from Baltimore twice every week.
I notice that President Lincoln has turned out of office commissioned officers for being drunk and acting unbecoming an officer. This is certainly right and proper. Query, Are there not medical officers, high in position that also claim his especial attention? I think so.