from The Southbridge Journal, 5 July 1863 (Volume 3 #20), contributed by Mike Branniff
| From our Own Correspondent
U. S. General Hospital
Mr. Editor: The last time we communicated to our family and friends through your paper, we were situated about two miles from here, in what was termed Camp A. You will remember that we had some grievances under the management then, that were fully set forth at the time. we have no complaints to make about this precinct, as they are entirely obviated here. amps A and B were broken up in the middle of March, and those who were not able to go to Baltimore were obliged to, stop here.
Therefore there were over forty Massachusetts boys left here. Little did we think that when we were wounded at the battlefield of Antietam we should have to stay in hospital nine long months, in consequence of our wounds and sickness. But such is the fact; and we are still under treatment. As we wrote you last Fall our grievances, we will now give you a partial outline of affairs here.
We are on the ground that has a history of the revolutionary times. Here are the large stone barracks that were erected by the English; but before they had time to occupy them, Gen. Washington compelled them to leave the place. The U. S. Government owns the premises; and of late the ground have been used as a fair and horse racing park, by the people of Frederick. it is said that there are nine thousand inhabitants here, about one third of whom are colored. In this enclosure there are fifteen barracks, besides the stone buildings and clothing rooms; besides a building used for a library of one thousand volumes, consisting of histories, biographies, and numerous miscellaneous works, furnished by the good people of Philadelphia. In one end of the building the chaplain is fitted for preaching. The ground is fitted up with flower gardens, in front of each barrack, and each nurse is trying to out vie the other in the manner of cultivating the different plots of ground.
June 14th, 1863
Nearly four hundred wounded and sick took the box and platform cars , and as we were rapidly carried over the railroad, we passed many who were on the main traveled road making their way for this city. We arrived at the rebel General Stuart’s Mansion at daylight on Tuesday morning, pretty well tired out. we learn that this property is confiscated for hospital purposes, and the name has been changed and called Jarvis U. S. General Hospital, in honor of a celebrated army surgeon, who died lately.
Jarvis Hospital Ward #12
Among the many incidents of the past three days, I will select the following: One colored man returning from his six days work was ordered by the military police to fall in with the crowd, when the following dialogue ensued. “Why, massas, whats dat you gwine to do wid me?” “No Matter fall in,” “Why, massa, I hab been to work hard all de week, an hab plenty of money.” “I tell you fall in, I have nothing to do with your money: thus the poor fellows have been made to work, while the military are in front doing the fighting. Query, would the colored men have been allowed to sing and shout for Gen. Hooker two years ago in Baltimore?
There are also two thousand citizens at work on the entrenchments so that we have six thousand at work. Cannons were brought out this morning and placed on some entrenchments, and I am of the opinion that if the rebels come this way they will get more than they have bargained for. One colored man said he had not seen his family since Saturday morning; he thought it rather hard to be compelled to work and not have the privilege of going home to see them.