Part 4 out of 5
diseases, making 12,535 deaths. Besides these, 12,252 were discharged
for disability. The mortality from disease was almost equal to the
annual rate of 11 per cent., which is about ten times as great as that
of men in ordinary civil life at home.
SICKNESS IN THE PRESENT UNION ARMY.
There are not as yet, and for a long time there cannot be, any full
Government reports of the amount and kind of sickness in the present
army of the United States. But the excellent reports of the inquiries of
the Sanitary Commission give much important and trustworthy information
in respect to these matters. Most of the encampments of all the corps
have been examined by their inspectors; and their returns show, that the
average number sick, during the seven months ending with February last,
was, among the troops who were recruited in New England 74.6, among
those from the Middle States 56.6, and, during six months ending with
January, among those from the Western States 104.3, in 1,000 men. From
an examination of 217 regiments, during two months ending the middle of
February, the rate of sickness among the troops in the Eastern Sanitary
Department was 74, in the Central Department, Western Virginia and Ohio,
90, and in the Western, 107, in 1,000 men. The average of all these
regiments was 90 in 1,000. The highest rate in Eastern Virginia was 281
per 1,000, in the Fifth Vermont; and the lowest, 9, in the Seventh
Massachusetts. In the Central Department the highest was 260, in the
Forty-First Ohio; and the lowest, 17, in the Sixth Ohio. In the Western
Department the highest was 340, in the Forty-Second Illinois; and the
lowest, 15, in the Thirty-Sixth Illinois.
On the 22d of February, the number of men sick in each 1,000, in the
several divisions of the Army of the Potomac, was ascertained to be,--
| Keyes's, | 30.3 |
| Sedgwick's, | 32.0 |
| Hooker's, | 43.7 |
| McCall's | 44.4 |
| Banks's, | 45.0 |
| Porter's, | 46.4 |
| Blenker's, | 47.7 |
| McDowell's, | 48.2 |
| Heintzelman's | 49.0 |
| Franklin's | 54.1 |
| Dix's, | 71.8 |
| United States Regulars,| 76.0 |
| Sumner's, | 77.5 |
| Smiths's, | 81.6 |
| Casey's | 87.6 |
Probably there has been more sickness in all the armies, as they have
gone farther southward and the warm season has advanced. This would
naturally be expected, and the fear is strengthened by the occasional
reports in the newspapers. Still, taking the trustworthy reports herein
given, it is manifest that our Union army is one of the healthiest on
record; and yet their rate of sickness is from three to five times as
great as that of civilians of their own ages at home. Unquestionably,
this better condition of our men is due to the better intelligence of
the age and of our people,--especially in respect to the dangers of the
field and the necessity of proper provision on the part of the
Government and of self-care on the part of the men,--to the wisdom,
labors, and comprehensive watchfulness of the Sanitary Commission, and
to the universal sympathy of the men and women of the land, who have
given their souls, their hands, and their money to the work of lessening
the discomforts and alleviating the sufferings of the Army of Freedom.
OTHER LIGHTER AND UNRECORDED SICKNESS.
The records and reports of the sickness in the army do not include all
the depreciations and curtailments of life and strength among the
soldiers, nor all the losses of effective force which the Government
suffers through them, on account of disease and debility. These records
contain, at best, only such ailments as are of sufficient importance to
come under the observation of the surgeon. But there are manifold
lighter physical disturbances, which, though they neither prostrate the
patient, nor even cause him to go to the hospital, yet none the less
certainly unfit him for labor and duty. Of the regiment referred to by
Dr. Mann, and already adduced in this article, in which 700 were unable
to attend to duty, 340 were in the hospital under the surgeon's care,
and 360 were ill in camp. It is probable that a similar, though smaller,
discrepancy often exists between the surgeon's records and the absentees
from parades, guard-duty, etc.
It is improbable, and even impossible, that complete records and reports
should always be made of all who are sick and unfit for duty, or even of
all who come under the surgeon's care. Sir John Hall, principal Medical
Officer of the British army in the Crimea, says that there were "218,952
admissions into hospital." "The general return, showing the primary
admissions into the hospitals of the army in the East, from the 10th
April, 1854, to the 30th June, 1856, gives only 162,123 cases of all
kinds." But another Government Report states the admissions to be
162,073. Miss Nightingale says, "There was, at first, no system of
registration for general hospitals, for all were burdened with work
beyond their strength." Dr. Mann says, that, in the War of 1812, "no
sick-records were found in the hospital at Burlington," one of the
largest depositories of the sick then in the country. "The
hospital-records on the Niagara were under no order." It could
hardly have been otherwise. The regimental hospitals then, as frequently
must be the case in war, were merely extemporized shelters, not
conveniences. They were churches, houses, barns, shops, sheds, or any
building that happened to be within reach, or huts, cabins, or tents
suddenly created for the purpose. In these all the surgeons' time,
energy, and resources were expended in making their patients
comfortable, in defending them from cold and storm, or from suffering in
their crowded rooms or shanties. They were obliged to devote all their
strength to taking care of the present. They could take little account
of the past, and were often unable to make any record for the future.
They could not do this for those under their own immediate eye in the
hospital; much less could they do it for those who remained in their
tents, and needed little or no medical attention, but only rest.
Moreover, the exposures and labors of the campaign sometimes diminish
the number and force of the surgeons as well as of the men, and reduce
their strength at the very moment when the greatest demand is made for
their exertions. Dr. Mann says, "The sick in the hospital were between
six and seven hundred, and there were only three surgeons present for
duty." "Of seven surgeons attached to the hospital department, one died,
three were absent by reason of indisposition, and the other three were
sick." Fifty-four surgeons died in the Russian army in Turkey in the
summer of 1828. "At Brailow, the pestilence spared neither surgeons nor
nurses." Sir John Hall says, "The medical officers got sick, a great
number went away, and we were embarrassed." "Thirty per cent. were
sometimes sick and absent" from their posts in the Crimea. Seventy
surgeons died in the French army in the same war. It is not reasonable,
then, to suppose that all or nearly all the cases of sickness, whether
in hospital or in camp, can be recorded, especially at times when they
are the most abundant.
Nor do the cases of sickness of every sort, grave and light, recorded
and unrecorded, include all the depressions of vital energy and all the
suspensions and loss of effective force in the army. Whenever any
general cause of depression weighs upon a body of men, as fatigue, cold,
storm, privation of food, or malaria, it vitiates the power of all, in
various degrees and with various results; the weak and susceptible are
sickened, and all lose some force and are less able to labor and attend
to duty. No account is taken, none can be taken, of this discount of the
general force of the army; yet it is none the less a loss of strength,
and an impediment to the execution of the purposes of the Government.
The loss of force by death, by sickness in hospital and camp, and by
temporary depression, is not all that the army is subject to. Those who
are laboring under consumption, asthma, epilepsy, insanity, and other
incurable disorders, and those whose constitutions are broken, or
withered and reduced below the standard of military requirement, are
generally, and by some Governments always, discharged. These pass back
to the general community, where they finally die. By this process the
army is continually sifting out its worst lives, and at the same time it
fills their places with healthy recruits. It thus keeps up its average
of health and diminishes its rate of mortality; but the sum and the
rates of sickness and mortality in the community are both thereby
During the Crimean War, 17.34 per cent, were invalided and sent home
from the British army, and 21 per cent, from the French army, as unable
to do military service. By this means, 11,994 British and 65,069
French soldiers were lost to their Governments. The army of the United
States, in the Mexican War, discharged and sent home 12,252 men, or 12
per cent, of the entire number engaged in that war, on account of
The causes of this exhaustion of personal force are manifold and
various, and so generally present that the number and proportion of
those who are thus hopelessly reduced below the degree of efficient
military usefulness, in the British army, has been determined by
observation, and the Government calculates the rate of the loss which
will happen in this way, at any period of service. Out of 10,000 men
enlisted in their twenty-first year, 718 will be invalided during the
first quinquennial period, or before they pass their twenty-fifth year,
539 in the second, 673 in the third, and 854 in the fourth,--making
2,784, or more than one-quarter of the whole, discharged for disability
or chronic ailment, before they complete their twenty years of military
service and their forty years of life.
It is further to be considered, that, during these twenty years, the
numbers are diminishing by death, and thus the ratio of enfeebled and
invalided is increased. Out of 10,000 soldiers who survive and remain in
the army in each successive quinquennial period, 768 will be invalided
in the first, 680 in the second, 1,023 in the third, and 1,674 in the
fourth. In the first year the ratio is 181, in the fifth 129, in the
tenth 165, in the fifteenth 276, and in the twentieth 411, among 10,000
surviving and remaining.
The depressing and exhaustive force of military life on the soldiers is
gradually accumulative, or the power of resistance gradually wastes,
from the beginning to the end of service. There is an apparent exception
to this law in the fact, that, in the British army, the ratio of those
who were invalided was 181 in 10,000, but diminished, in the second,
third, and fourth years, to 129 in the fifth and sixth, then again rose,
through all the succeeding years, to 411 in the twentieth. The
experience of the British army, in this respect, is corroborated by that
of ours in the Mexican War. From the old standing army 502, from the
additional force recently enlisted 548, and from the volunteers 1,178,
in 10,000 of each, were discharged on account of disability. Some part
of this great difference between the regulars and volunteers is
doubtless due to the well-known fact, that the latter were originally
enlisted, in part at least, for domestic trainings, and not for the
actual service of war, and therefore were examined with less scrutiny,
and included more of the weaker constitutions.
The Sanitary Commission, after inspecting two hundred and seventeen
regiments of the present army of the United States, and comparing the
several corps with each other in respect of health, came to a similar
conclusion. They found that the twenty-four regiments which had the
least sickness had been in service one hundred and forty days on an
average, and the twenty-four regiments which had the most sickness had
been in the field only one hundred and eleven days. The Actuary adds, in
explanation,--"The difference between the sickness of the older and
newer regiments is probably attributable, in part, to the constant
weeding out of the sickly by discharges from the service. The fact is
notorious, that medical inspection of recruits, on enlistment, has been,
as a rule, most imperfectly executed; and the city of Washington is
constantly thronged with invalids awaiting their discharge-papers, who
at the time of their enlistment were physically unfit for service."
In addition to this, it must be remembered, that, although all recruits
are apparently perfect in form and free from disease when they enter the
army, yet there may be differences in constitutional force, which cannot
be detected by the most careful examiners. Some have more and some have
less power of endurance. But the military burden and the work of war are
arranged and determined for the strongest, and, of course, break down
the weak, who retire in disability or sink in death.
GENERAL VITAL DEPRESSION
Two causes of depression operate, to a considerable degree in peace and
to a very great degree in war, on the soldier, and reduce and sicken him
more than the civilian. His vital force is not so well sustained by
never-failing supplies of nutritious and digestible food and regular
nightly sleep, and his powers are more exhausted in hardships and
exposures, in excessive labors and want of due rest and protection
against cold and heat, storms and rains. Consequently the army suffers
mostly from diseases of depression,--those of the typhoid, adynamic, and
scorbutic types. McGrigor says, that, in the British army in the
Peninsula, of 176,007 cases treated and recorded by the surgeons, 68,894
were fevers, 23,203 diseases of the bowels, 12,167 ulcers, and 4,027
diseases of the lungs. In the British hospitals in the Crimean War,
39 per cent. were cholera, dysentery, and diarrhoea, 19 per cent.
fevers, 1.2 per cent. scurvy, 8 per cent. diseases of the lungs, 8 per
cent. diseases of the skin, 3.3 per cent. rheumatism, 2.5 per cent.
diseases of the brain and nervous system, 1.4 per cent. frost-bite or
mortification produced by low vitality and chills, 13, or one in 12,000,
had sunstroke, 257 had the itch, and 68 per cent. of all were of the
zymotic class, which are considered as principally due to privation,
exposure, and personal neglect. The deaths from these classes of causes
were in a somewhat similar proportion to the mortality from all stated
causes,--being 58 per cent. from cholera, dysentery, and diarrhoea, and
1 per cent. from all other disorders of the digestive organs, 19 per
cent. from fevers, 3.6 per cent. from diseases of the lungs, 1.3 per
cent. from rheumatism, 1.3 per cent. from diseases of the brain and
nervous system, and 79 per cent. from those of the zymotic class. The
same classes of disease, with a much larger proportion of typhoid,
pneumonia, prostrated and destroyed many in the American army in the War
In paper No. 40, p. 54, of the Sanitary Commission, is a report of the
diseases that occurred in forty-nine regiments, while under inspection
about forty days each, between July and October, 1861. 27,526 cases were
reported; of these 67 per cent. were zymotic, 41 per cent. diseases of
the digestive organs, 22 per cent. fevers 7 per cent. diseases of the
lungs, 5 per cent. diseases of the brain. Among males of the army-ages
the proportions of deaths from these classes of causes to those from all
causes were, in Massachusetts, in 1859, zymotic 15 per cent., diseases
of digestive organs 3.6 per cent., of lungs 50 per cent., fevers 9 per
cent., diseases of brain 4.6 per cent. According to the
mortality-statistics of the seventh census of the United States, of the
males between the ages of twenty and fifty, in Maryland, Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, whose deaths in the year ending
June 1st, 1850, and their causes, were ascertained and reported by the
marshals, 34.3 per cent. died of zymotic diseases, 8 per cent. of all
the diseases of the digestive organs, 30.8 per cent. of diseases of the
respiratory organs, 24.4 per cent. of fevers, and 5.7 per cent. of
disorders of the brain and nervous system. In England and Wales, in
1858, these proportions were, zymotic 14 per cent., fevers 8 per cent.,
diseases of digestive organs 7.9 per cent., of lungs 8 per cent., and of
the brain 7 per cent.
If, however, we analyze the returns of mortality in civil life, and
distinguish those of the poor and neglected dwellers in the crowded and
filthy lanes and alleys of cities, whose animal forces are not well
developed, or are reduced by insufficient and uncertain nutrition, by
poor food or bad cookery, by foul air within and stenchy atmosphere
without, by imperfect protection of house and clothing, we shall find
the same diseases there as in the army. Wherever the vital forces are
depressed, there these diseases of low vitality happen most frequently
and are most fatal.
Volumes of other facts and statements might be quoted to show that
military service is exhaustive of vital force more than the pursuits of
civil life. It is so even in time of peace, and it is remarkably so in
time of war. Comparing the English statements of the mortality in the
army with the calculations of the expectation of life in the general
community, the difference is at once manifest.
Of 10,000 men at the age of twenty, there will die before they complete
their fortieth year,--
British army in time of peace, 3,058
England and Wales, English Life-Table, 1,853
According to tables of Amicable and
Equitable Life-Insurance Companies, 1,972
New England and New York, according
to the tables of the New-England
Mutual Life-Insurance Company, 1,721
DANGERS IN LAND-BATTLES.
This large amount of disease and mortality in the army arises not from
the battle-field, but belongs to the camp, the tent, the barrack, the
cantonment; and it is as certain, though not so great, in time of peace,
when no harm is inflicted by the instruments of destruction, as in time
of war. The battle, which is the world's terror, is comparatively
harmless. The official histories of the deadly struggles of armies show
that they are not so wasteful of life as is generally supposed. Mr.
William Barwick Hodge examined the records and despatches in the
War-Office in London, and from these and other sources prepared an
exceedingly valuable and instructive paper on "The Mortality arising
from Military Operations," which was read before the London Statistical
Society, and printed in the nineteenth volume of the Society's journal.
Some of the tables will be as interesting to Americans as to Englishmen.
On the following page is a tabular view, taken from this work, of the
casualties in nineteen battles fought by the British armies with those
of other nations.
TABLE 1.--NINETEEN LAND-BATTLES.
Killed in battle
and men Per 1000
Date. Battles. engaged Number engaged
------------------------ -------------------- ------ ---- ----
1801, March 21, . . . . . Alexandria . . . . . 14,000 243 17.3
1806, July 4, . . . . . . Maida . . . . . . . 5,675 45 7.9
1808, August 21, . . . . Vimiciro . . . . . . 19,200 135 7.
1809, January 16, . . . . Corunna . . . . . . 16,700 158 9.4
" July 28, . . . . . Talavera . . . . . . 22,100 801 3.6
1810, September . . . . . Busaco . . . . . . . 27,800 106 3.9
1811, March 5, . . . . . Barrosa . . . . . . 5,230 202 38.6
" May 5, . . . . . . Fuentes de Onore . . 22,900 170 7.4
" " 16, . . . . . . Albuera . . . . . . 9,000 882 98.
1812, July 22, . . . . . Salamanca . . . . . 30,500 388 12.7
1813, June 21, . . . . . Vittoria . . . . . . 42,000 501 11.9
" July 25 to August 2 Pyrenees . . . . . . 30,000 559 18.6
" November 10, . . . Nivelle . . . . . . 47,600 277 5.7
1814, February 27, . . . Orthes . . . . . . . 27,000 210 7.7
" April 10, . . . . . Toulouse . . . . . . 26,800 312 11.6
1815, January 8, . . . . New Orleans . . . . 6,000 386 64.3
" June 16-18, . . . . Waterloo . . . . . . 49,900 2,126 42.6
1854, September 20, . . . Alma . . . . . . . . 26,800 353 13.1
" November 5, . . . . Inkerman . . . . . . 9,000 632 70.2
------- ----- ----
438,205 8,486 19.3
Estimated deaths among the wounded . . . . . . 4,894
Estimated casualties among the missing . . . . 1,137
Total 14,517 33.1
TABLE 1.--NINETEEN LAND-BATTLES. (cont.)
Deaths in battle
Casualties (cont.) from wounds, and
Wounded among the missing.
Number. Per 1000 Number. Per 1000
Battles. engaged engaged
-------------------- ----- ----- ----- -----
Alexandria . . . . . 1,193 85.2 393 28.1
Maida . . . . . . . 282 49.1 87 15.3
Vimiciro . . . . . . 534 27.7 215 11.2
Corunna . . . . . . 634 37.9 257 15.4
Talavera . . . . . . 3,913 17.7 1,455 65.8
Busaco . . . . . . . 500 18. 183 6.6
Barrosa . . . . . . 1,040 198.8 360 68.8
Fuentes de Onore . . 1,043 45.5 379 16.6
Albuera . . . . . . 2,672 296.6 1,358 151.
Salamanca . . . . . 2,714 89. 770 25.2
Vittoria . . . . . . 2,807 66.8 890 21.2
Pyrenees . . . . . . 3,693 123.1 1,197 39.9
Nivelle . . . . . . 1,777 37.3 675 14.2
Orthes . . . . . . . 1,411 52.2 404 15.
Toulouse . . . . . . 1,795 66.9 582 21.7
New Orleans . . . . 1,516 252.6 625 104.2
Waterloo . . . . . . 8,140 163.1 3,245 65.
Alma . . . . . . . . 1,619 60.4 559 20.9
Inkerman . . . . . . 1,878 208.6 883 98.1
----- ----- ----- -----
39,161 89.3 14,517 33.
TABLE 1.--NINETEEN LAND-BATTLES. (cont.)
BRITISH AND ALLIES.
Battles. engaged. Number. Per 1000
Alexandria . . . . .
Maida . . . . . . .
Vimiciro . . . . . .
Corunna . . . . . .
Talavera . . . . . . 56,000 6,268 112
Busaco . . . . . . . 57,000 1,300 23
Barrosa . . . . . . 14,500 1,610 111
Fuentes de Onore . . 35,200 1,469 42
Albuera . . . . . . 37,000 6,500 176
Salamanca . . . . . 54,200 4,964 92
Vittoria . . . . . . 95,800 4,829 50
Pyrenees . . . . . . 65,000 6,540 101
Nivelle . . . . . . 90,600 2,621 29
Orthes . . . . . . . 43,600 2,200 50
Toulouse . . . . . . 54,400 4,641 85
New Orleans . . . .
Waterloo . . . . . . 230,600 36,590 159
Alma . . . . . . . . 55,000 3,545 64
Inkerman . . . . . .
------- ------ ---
888,900 83,077 92
among the missing . . . . 3,787
Of those who were engaged in these nineteen battles one in 51.6, or 1.93
per cent., were killed. The deaths in consequence of the battles,
including both those who died of wounds and those that died among the
missing, were one in 30, or 3.3 per cent. of all who were in the fight.
It is worth noticing here, that the British loss in the Battle of New
Orleans was larger than in any other battle here adduced, except in that
of Albuera, in Spain, with the French, in 1811.
In the British army, from 1793 to 1815, including twenty-one years of
war, and excluding 1802, the year of peace, the number of officers
varied from 3,576 in the first year to 13,248 in 1813, and the men
varied from 74,500 in 1793 to 276,000 in 1813, making an annual average
of 9,078 officers and 189,200 men, and equal to 199,727 officers and
4,168,500 men serving one year. During these twenty-one years of war,
among the officers 920 were killed and 4,685 were wounded, and among the
men 15,392 were killed and 65,393 were wounded. This is an annual
average of deaths from battle of 460 officers and 369 men, and of
wounded 2,340 officers and 1,580 men, among 100,000 of each class. Of
the officers less than half of one per cent., or 1 in 217, were killed,
and a little more than two per cent., or 1 in 42, were wounded; and
among the men a little more than a third of one per cent., 1 in 271,
were killed, and one and a half per cent., 1 in 63, wounded, in each
year. The comparative danger to the two is, of death, 46 officers to 37
men, and of wounds, 234 officers to 158 men. A larger proportion of the
officers than of the soldiers were killed and wounded; yet a larger
proportion of the wounded officers recovered. This is attributed to the
fact that the officers were injured by rifle-balls, being picked out by
the marksmen, while the soldiers were injured by cannon- and
musket-balls and shells, which inflict more deadly injuries.
DANGERS IN NAVAL BATTLES.
It may not be out of place here to show the dangers of naval warfare,
which are discussed at length by Mr. Hodge, in a very elaborate paper in
the eighteenth volume of the Statistical Society's journal. From one of
his tables, containing a condensed statistical history of the English
navy, through the wars with France, 1792-1815, the following facts are
During those wars, the British Parliament, in its several annual grants,
voted 2,527,390 men for the navy. But the number actually in the service
is estimated not to have exceeded 2,424,000 in all, or a constant
average force of 110,180 men. Within this time these men fought five
hundred and seventy-six naval battles, and they were exposed to storms,
to shipwreck, and to fire, in every sea. In all these exposures, the
records show that the loss of life was less than was suffered by the
soldiers on the land. There were--
Killed in battle, officers, . . . 346
" " men, . . . 4,441
Wounded, officers, . . . . 935
" men, . . . . 13,335
Drowned and otherwise destroyed in
battle, . . . . . . 449
Estimated deaths among the wounded, 1,427
Total destroyed by battle, . . . 6,663
Lost by shipwreck, accidental drowning
and by fire, . . . . . 13,621
Total deaths, from other causes than
disease, . . . . . . 20,284
Comparing the whole number of men in the naval service, during this
period, with the mortality from causes incidental to the service, the
average annual loss was--
Killed in battle, . . . . one in 506, or .197 per cent.
Drowned and lost in battle, and died
of wounds . . . . . one in 1,292, or .077 per cent.
Wounded, . . . . . one in 169, or .588 per cent.
Drowned and lost by shipwreck, fire,
etc., otherwise than by battle, . one in 178, or .561 per cent.
Total annual loss by battle and the
special dangers of the sea, . . one in 119, or .836 per cent.
TABLE II.--BATTLES BETWEEN FLEETS OR SQUADRONS
Date. Place. Ships. Broadside. Men.
1782, April 12, West Indies 36 1,315 21,608
1794, June 1, English Channel 26 1,087 17,241
1795, March 14, Genoa 14 557 8,810
1797, February 14, Cape St. Vincent 15 620 9,508
" October 11, Camperdown 16 575 8,221
1798, August 1, Nile 14 507 7,985
1801, July 12, Algeziras 5 188 3,100
1805, July 22, Cape Finisterre 15 596 10,500
" October 21, Trafalgar 27 1,074 16,826
" November 4, Bay of Biscay 9 262 4,186
1806, February 6, San Domingo 7 257 4,094
1811, March 12, Lissa 4 59 886
" May 20, Madagascar 4 73 903
--- ----- -------
192 7,170 113,863
TABLE II.--BATTLES BETWEEN FLEETS OR SQUADRONS (cont.)
Number. Per 1000. Number. Per 1000.
West Indies 250 11 810 37 French.
English Channel 290 16 858 47 do.
Genoa 71 8 266 30 do.
Cape St. Vincent 73 7 227 29 Spanish.
Camperdown 203 24 622 75 Dutch.
Nile 218 27 678 84 French.
Algeziras 18 6 102 33 French and Spanish.
Cape Finisterre 39 3 159 15 do.
Trafalgar 449 26 1241 73 do.
Bay of Biscay 24 5 111 26 French.
San Domingo 74 1.8 264 64 do.
Lissa 44 49 144 162 French and Italian.
Madagascar 25 27 89 98 French.
---- ---- ---- -----
1778 15.6 5571 48.9
TABLE III.--BATTLES BETWEEN BRITISH AND AMERICAN SHIPS.
Date. of action. Ship. side. Men. Killed. Wounded. Casualties.
H. M. 1000.
1812, August. 19, 1 55 Guerriere 24 244 15 63 78 320
" September 17, 43 Frolic 9 92 15 47 62 674
" October 25, 2 40 Macedonian 24 254 31 64 95 374
" December 20, 3 Java 24 379 22 102 124 379
1813, February 14, 25 Peacock 9 110 4 33 37 336
" June 1, 15 Shannon 25 306 24 59 83 271
" August 12, 45 Pelican 9 101 2 5 7 69
1814, August 27, 45 Reindeer 9 98 25 41 66 673
1815, January 15, 5 58 Endymion 24 319 11 14 25 78
--- ----- --- --- --- ---
157 1,903 149 428 577 303
TABLE III.--BATTLES BETWEEN BRITISH AND AMERICAN SHIPS. (cont.)
Ship. Broadside. Men. Killed and wounded.
Number. Per 1000.
1812, August. 19, Constitution 28 460 20 43
" September 17, Wasp 9 135 16 119
" October 25, United States 28 474 6 13
" December 20, Constitution 28 480 34 71
1813, February 14, Hornet 10 162 5 31
" June 1, Chesapeake 25 376 146 389
" August 12, Argus 10 122 24 397
1814, August 27, Wasp 11 173 26 150
1815, January 15, President 28 465 105 226
--- ----- --- ---
177 2,847 382 133
Mr. Hodge's second table shows the conditions and casualties of thirteen
battles between fleets and squadrons. This is condensed and quoted on
the preceding page.
His third table includes thirty-five actions with single ships on each
side, between the years 1793 and 1815. 8,542 men were engaged, and 483,
or 56.5 per 1,000, were killed, and 1,230, or 144 per 1,000, wounded.
Twenty-six of these actions were with French ships, which are here
omitted, and nine with American ships, which are shown in the second
table on the preceding page.
There is a very remarkable difference in the loss which the British
suffered in naval and in land battles:--
No. of Vessels. Killed. Wounded.
Battles One in One in
13 Fleets.............. 64.0 20.4
35 Single ships........ 17.7 6.9
28 French single ships. 19.8 10.6
9 American do. do. .. 12.7 4.4
19 Land battles........ 30.0 11.0
The danger both of wounds and death in these contests was three times as
great in the single ships as in fleets, and about five times as great in
battles with the Americans as in fleet-battles with other nations. The
dangers in fleet-battles were about half as great as those in
land-battles, and these were but little more than half as great as those
in fights with single ships.
COMPARATIVE DANGER OF CAMP AND BATTLE-FIELD.
These records of land-battles show that the dangers from that cause are
not very great; probably they are less than the world imagines;
certainly they are much less than those of the camp. Of the 176,007
admitted into the regimental hospitals during the Peninsular War, only
20,886 were from wounds, the rest from diseases; fourteen-fifteenths of
the burden on the hospitals in that war, through forty-two months, were
diseased patients, and only one-fifteenth were wounded. In the Crimean
War, 11.2 per cent. in the hospitals suffered from injuries in battle,
and 88.8 per cent. from other causes. 10 per cent. of the French
patients in the same war were wounded, and 90 per cent. had fevers, etc.
In the autumn of 1814, there were 815 patients in the great military
hospital at Burlington, Vermont. Of these 50 were wounded, and the rest
had the diseases of the camp.
In the Crimean War, 16,296 died from disease, and 4,774 from injuries
received in battle. In the Peninsular War, 25,304 died of disease, and
9,450 from wounds.
During eighteen years, 1840 to 1857, 19,504 were discharged from the
home, and 21,325 from the foreign stations of the British army. Of
these, 541, or 2.7 per cent. of those at home, and 3,708, or 17.3 per
cent. abroad, were on account of wounds and fractures, and the others on
account of disease, debility, and exhaustion.
NATIONS DO NOT LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE TO PREPARE FOR ARMY-SICKNESS.
Nations, when they go to war, prepare to inflict injury and death on
their opponents, and make up their minds to receive the same in return;
but they seem neither to look nor to prepare for sickness and death in
their camps. And when these come upon their armies, they seem either to
shut their eyes to the facts, or submit to the loss as to a disturbance
in Nature, a storm, a drought, or an earthquake, which they can neither
prevent nor provide for, and for which they feel no responsibility, but
only hope that it will not happen again. Nevertheless, this waste of
life has followed every army which has been made to violate the laws of
health, in privations, exposures, and hardships, and whose internal
history is known. The experience of such disastrous campaigns ought to
induce Governments to inquire into the causes of the suffering and loss,
and to learn whether they are not engaged in a struggle against Nature,
in which they must certainly fail, and endeavoring to make the human
body bear burdens and labors which are beyond its strength. But
Governments are slow to learn, especially sanitary lessons. The British
army suffered and died in great numbers at Walcheren and South Beveland,
in the middle of the last century. Pringle described the sad condition
of those troops, and warned his nation against a similar exposure; yet,
sixty years later, the Ministry sent another army to the same place, to
sink under the malarious influences and diseases in the same way. The
English troops at Jamaica were stationed in the low grounds, where, "for
many generations," "the average annual mortality was 13 per cent." "A
recommendation for their removal from the plains to the mountains was
made so far back as 1791. Numerous reports were sent to the Government,
advising that a higher situation should be selected"; but it was not
until 1837, after nearly half a century of experience and warning, that
the Ministry opened their eyes to this cost of life and money in
excessive sickness and mortality, and then removed the garrison to
Maroontown, where the death-rate fell to 2 per cent., or less than
one-sixth of what it had been.
The American army, in the war with Great Britain fifty years ago,
suffered from the want of proper provision for their necessities and
comfort, from exposures and hardships, so that sometimes half its force
was unavailable; yet, at the present moment, a monstrous army is
collected and sent to the field, under the same regulations, and with
the same idea of man's indefinite power of endurance, and the
responsibility and superintendence of their health is left, in large
measure, to an accidental and outside body of men, the Sanitary
Commission, which, although an institution of great heart and energy,
and supported by the sympathies and cooperation of the whole people, is
yet doing a work that ought to be done by the Government, and carrying
out a plan of operations that should be inseparably associated with the
original creation of the army and the whole management of the war.
The lesson which the experience of the Russian army of 1828 and 1829
taught the world of the mortal dangers of Bulgaria was lost on the
British Government, which sent its own troops there in 1854, to be
exposed to, and wither before, the same destructive influences. But at
length sickness prevailed to such an extent, and death made such havoc,
in the army in the East, that England's great sympathies were roused,
and the Ministers' attention was drawn to the irresistible fact, that
the strongest of Britain's soldiers were passing rapidly from the camp
to the hospital, and from the hospital to the grave. Then a doubt
occurred to the minds of the men in power, whether all was right in the
Crimea, and whether something might not be done for the sanitary
salvation of the army. They sent a commission, consisting of Dr. John
Sutherland, one of the ablest sanitarians of the kingdom, Dr. Hector
Gavin, and Robert Rawlinson, civil engineer, to the Black Sea, to
inquire into the state of things there, to search out the causes of the
sufferings of the army, and see if there might not be a remedy found and
applied. At the same time, Miss Nightingale and a large corps of
assistants, attendants, and nurses, women of station and culture and
women of hire, went to that terrible scene of misery and death, to aid
in any measures that might be devised to alleviate the condition of the
men. Great abuses and negligence were found; and the causes of disease
were manifest, manifold, and needless. But a reform was at once
instituted; great changes were made in the general management of the
camp and hospitals and in the condition of the soldiers. Disease began
to diminish, the progress of mortality was arrested, and in the course
of a few months the rate of death was as low as among men of the same
ages at home.
This commission made a full report, when they returned, and described
the state of things they found in the Crimea and on the shores of the
Black Sea,--the camps, barracks, huts, tents, food, manner of life, and
general sanitary condition of the troops, their terrible sufferings, and
the means and ways of caring for the sick, the measures of reform which
they had proposed and carried out, and their effects on the health of
the men. This report was published by the Government.
Besides this commission, the Government sent Dr. Lyons, a surgeon and
pathologist of great learning and acumen, to investigate the pathology
or morbid condition of the army. According to his instructions, he spent
four months in the Crimea and at the great hospitals on the Bosphorus.
He examined and traced the course of disease and disturbance in the sick
and wounded. He made very many thorough examinations after death, in
order to determine the effects of vitiating influences upon the
organization, and the condition of the textures and organs of the body
in connection with the several kinds of disorders. Dr. Lyons's extremely
instructive report was published by national authority as one of the
Parliamentary folio volumes. After the war was over, Dr. W. Hanbury and
Staff-Surgeon Matthew, under the direction of the Secretary of War,
gathered, analyzed, and prepared the records of all the surgeons of the
several corps of the Crimean army. To these they added a long and
valuable treatise on the nature and character of the diseases, and their
connection with the condition and habits of the men. These are published
in two very thick folio volumes, and give a minute and almost daily
history of the life, labors, exposures, privations, sufferings,
sickness, and mortality of each regiment. These two works, of Dr. Lyons
and Drs. Hanbury and Matthew, show the inseparable connection between
the manner of living and the health, and demonstrate that the severe
life of war, with its diminished creation of vital force, by imperfect
and uncertain nutrition and excessive expenditure in exposures and
labors, necessarily breaks down the constitution. It subjects the body
to more abundant disorders, and especially to those of the depressive,
adynamic type, which, from the want of the usual recuperative power, are
more fatal than the diseases of civil life. These works may be
considered generic as well as specific. They apply to and describe the
sanitary condition and the pathological history of all armies engaged in
hard and severe campaigns, as well as those of the Crimea. They should,
therefore, be read by every Government that engages in or is forced into
any war. They should be distributed to and thoroughly understood by
every commander who directs the army, and every surgeon who superintends
the sanitary condition of, and manages the sickness among, the men; and
happy will it be for those soldiers whose military and sanitary
directors avail themselves of the instructions contained in these
There are several other works on the Crimean War, by surgeons and other
officers, written mainly to give a knowledge of the general facts of
those campaigns, but all incidentally corroborating and explaining the
statements in the Government Reports, in respect to the health and
sufferings of the British and French armies. In this view, Dr. Bryce's
book, "England and France before Sebastopol," and M. Baudens's and M.
Scrive's medical works in French, are worthy of great attention and
The most important and valuable work, in this connection, is the Report
of the British Commission appointed in May, 1854, "to inquire into the
regulations affecting the sanitary condition of the British army, the
organization of the military hospitals, and the treatment of the sick
and wounded." This commission included some of the ablest and most
learned physicians and surgeons in the civil and military service, some
of the most accomplished statisticians, sanitarians, army-officers, and
statesmen in the United Kingdom. They were authorized to inquire into
the habits and duties, the moral and sanitary condition of the army, the
amount and kinds of sickness, the causes and frequency of death, and the
means of improvement. This commission sat for a long time in London.
They called before them fifty-three witnesses, among whom were Sir
Benjamin Brodie, the leading surgeon of England, Dr. Andrew Smith,
Director-General of the Medical Department of the Army, Thomas
Alexander, Inspector-General of Hospitals, Major-General Airey,
Quartermaster-General, Dr. John Sutherland, late Crimean Commissioner,
and one of the leading authorities of Great Britain in all sanitary
matters, Dr. William Fair, the chief and master-spirit of the
Registry-Office, and the highest authority in vital statistics, Colonel
Sir Alexander Tulloch, author of the elaborate and valuable reports on
the mortality in the British army, Francis G. P. Neison, author of
"Contributions to Vital Statistics," Miss Nightingale, and others,
surgeons, officers, purveyors, engineers, soldiers, and medical and
The commission put forth 10,070 interrogatories relating to everything
connected with the army, the persons and the _materiel_, to officers,
surgeons, physicians, health-officers, soldiers, nurses, cooks,
clothing, food, cooking, barracks, tents, huts, hospitals, duties,
labors, exposures, and privations, and their effects on health and life,
in every climate, wherever British troops are stationed or serve, at
home and abroad. The same inquiry was extended to the armies of other
nations, French, Turkish, Russian, etc. To these questions the witnesses
returned answers, and statements of facts and opinions, all carefully
prepared, and some of great length, and elaborate calculations in
respect to the whole military and sanitary science and practice of the
age. A large part of the inquiry was directed to the Crimean army, whose
condition had been, and was then, a matter of the most intense interest.
Many of the witnesses had, in various ways, been connected with that
war: they were familiar with its history, and their answers revealed
much that had not before been known. The result of all this
investigation is published in a folio volume of 607 pages, filled with
facts and principles, the lamentable history of the past, painful
descriptions of the present, and wise suggestions for the future
management of the army; and the whole is worthy of the careful attention
of all who, as projectors, leaders, or followers, have anything to do
with the active operations of war.
The Crimean War has this remarkable interest, not that the suffering of
the troops and their depreciation in effective power were greater than
in many other wars, but that these happened in an age when the
intelligence and philanthropy, and even the policy of the nation,
demanded to know whether the vital depression and the loss of martial
strength were as great as rumor reported, whether these were the
necessary condition of war, and whether anything could be done to lessen
them. By the investigations and reports of commissions, officers, and
others, the internal history of this war is more completely revealed and
better known than that of any other on record. It is placed on a hill,
in the sight of all nations and governments, for their observation and
warning, to be faithful to the laws of health in providing for, and in
the use of, their armies, if they would obtain the most efficient
service from them.
WANT OF SANITARY PREPARATIONS FOR WAR.
There are, and have been, faults--grievous, destructive, and costly
faults--in all connected with armies, from the Governments at the head,
down through all grades of officers, to the men in the ranks: they are
faults of theory and faults of practice,--of plan in those who direct,
and of self-management in those whose whole duty is to obey. The root of
this is the failure to fully understand and count the cost, and to
prepare to meet it as men generally do in the management of their common
affairs. In civil life, when prudent men intend to effect any purpose by
the aid of motive power, whether of water, steam, horse, or other kind,
they carefully consider the means of generating that power, and the best
and safest ways of applying and expending it. They include this in their
plans, and make provision accordingly. Precisely determining the extent
of the purpose they design to effect, and the amount of force that is
and will be needed, they make their arrangements to provide or generate
and maintain so much as long as they intend to do the work. During the
whole process, they carefully guard and treasure it up and allow none to
be wasted or applied to any other than the appointed purpose. But in the
use and management of the vital machines, the human bodies, by which the
purposes of war are to be accomplished, nations are less wise. There are
few, perhaps no records of any Government, which, in creating,
maintaining and operating with an army, has, at and during the same
time, created and established the never-failing means of keeping the
machinery of war in the best working order, by sustaining the health and
force of the men in unfailing fulness.
War is carried on by a partnership between the Government and soldiers,
to which the Government contributes money and directing skill, and
assumes the responsibility of management, and the soldiers contribute
their vital force. In the operation of this joint concern, both the
money of the nation and the lives of the men are put at risk. Although,
by the terms of the contract, the Government is presumed to expend its
money and the soldiers' vital force to the extent that may be necessary
to effect the objects of the association, it has no right to do this for
any other purpose or on any other condition. It may send the men to
battle, where they may lose in wounds or in death a part or all that
they have contributed; but it has no right, by any negligence or folly
on its own part or in its agents, to expend any of the soldiers' health
or strength in hunger, nakedness, foul air, miasma, or disease. There is
a received glory attached to wounds, and even to death, received in a
struggle with the enemies of one's country, and this is offered as a
part of the compensation to the warrior for the risk that he runs; but
there is no glory in sickness or death from typhus, cholera, or
dysentery, and no compensation of this kind comes to those who suffer or
perish from these, in camp or military hospital.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CIVIL AND MILITARY LIFE.
Military life, with the labors, exposures, and circumstances of war,
differs widely from civil life. The social and domestic machinery of
home spontaneously brings within the reach of families the things that
are needful for their sustenance, comfortable for their enjoyment, and
favorable to their health. But this self-acting machinery follows not
the soldier through his campaigns. Everything he needs or enjoys is to
be a matter of special thought, and obtained with a special effort and
often with difficulty. Much that was very comfortable and salutary in
civil life must be given up in the camp. The government is the purveyor
for and the manager of the army; it undertakes to provide and care for,
to sustain and nourish the men. But, with all its wisdom, power, and
means, it is not equal to the thousand or thousands of housekeepers that
cared and provided for these men when at home; and certainly it does
not, and probably cannot, perform these domestic offices as well and as
profitably for the soldiers as their natural providers did.
Nevertheless, the Government is the sole provider for the army, and
assumes the main responsibility of the physical condition of its
Starting with the very common belief that the human body has an
indefinite power of endurance, or, if it suffer from disease, or fall in
death, it is from causes beyond man's control,--seeing, also, that it is
impossible to carry the common means of sustaining life into the camp,
Governments seem willing to try the experiment of requiring their men to
do the hard work of war without a certain, full supply of sustenance.
They expect from the army the largest expenditure of force, but
sometimes give it the smallest means and poorest conditions of
The business of war is not constant and permanent, like the pursuits of
peace. It therefore comes to most managers as a new and unfamiliar work,
to which they can bring little or no acquaintance from experience. They
enter upon untried ground with imperfect knowledge of its
responsibilities and dangers, and inadequate conceptions of the
materials and powers with which they are to operate. They therefore make
many and some very grave mistakes, every one of which, in its due
proportion, is doubly paid for in drafts on the nation's treasury and on
the soldiers' vital capital, neither of which is ever dishonored.
Military life is equally new to the soldier, for which none of his
previous education or experience has fitted him. He has had his mother,
wife, sister, or other housekeeper, trained and appointed for the
purpose, to look after his nutrition, his clothing, his personal
comfort, and, consequently, his health. These do not come without
thought and labor. The domestic administration of the household and the
care of its members require as much talent, intelligence, and discipline
as any of the ordinary occupations of men. Throughout the civilized
world, this responsibility and the labor necessary for its fulfilment
absorb a large portion of the mental and physical power of women.
When the new recruit enters the army, he leaves all this care and
protection behind, but finds no substitute, no compensation for his loss
in his new position. The Government supposes either that this is all
unnecessary, or that the man in arms has an inspired capacity or an
instinctive aptitude for self-care as well as for labor, and that he can
generate and sustain physical force as well as expend it. But he is no
more fitted for this, by his previous training and habits, than his
mother and wife are for making shoes or building houses by theirs.
Nevertheless he is thrown upon his own resources to do what he may for
himself. The army-regulations of the United States say, "Soldiers are
expected to preserve, distribute, and cook their own subsistence"; and
most other Governments require the same of their men. Washing, mending,
sweeping, all manner of cleansing, arrangement and care of whatever
pertains to clothing and housekeeping, come under the same law of
prescription or necessity. The soldier must do these things, or they
will be left undone. He who has never arranged, cared for, or cooked his
own or any other food, who has never washed, mended, or swept, is
expected to understand and required to do these for himself, or suffer
the consequences of neglect.
The want of knowledge and training for these purposes makes the soldier
a bad cook, as well as an indiscreet, negligent, and often a slovenly
self-manager, and consequently his nutrition and his personal and
domestic habits are neither so healthy nor so invigorating as those of
men in civil life; and the Government neither thinks of this deficiency
nor provides for it by furnishing instruction in regard to this new
responsibility and these new duties, nor does it exercise a rigid
watchfulness over his habits to compel them to be as good and as healthy
as they may be.
MUCH SICKNESS DUE TO ERRORS OF GOVERNMENT.
Whatever may be the excess of sickness and mortality among soldiers over
those among civilians, it is manifest that a great portion is due to
preventable causes; and it is equally manifest that a large part of
these are owing to the negligence of the Government or its agents, the
officers in command or the men themselves, in regard to encampments,
tents, clothing, food, labors, exposures, etc.
The places of encampment are usually selected for strategic purposes, or
military convenience, and the soldiers are exposed to the endemic
influences, whatever they may be. In some localities these influences
are perfectly salubrious; in others they are intensely destructive.
Malaria and miasms offer to the unpractised eye of the military officer
no perceptible signs of their presence. The camp is liable to be pitched
and the men required to sleep in malarious spots, or on the damp earth,
or over a wet subsoil, exposed to noisome and dangerous exhalations from
which disease may arise. Pringle says, that, in 1798, the regiment which
had 52 per cent, sick in two months, and 94 per cent, sick in one
season, "were cantoned on marshes whence noxious exhalations
emanated." "Another regiment encamped where meadows had been flowed
all winter and just drained, and half the men became sick." Lord
Wellington wrote, August 11, 1811, "Very recently, the officer
commanding a brigade encamped in one of the most unwholesome situations,
and every man of them is sick." One of our regiments encamped at
Worcester, Massachusetts, on the Agricultural Society's grounds, where
the upper soil was not dry and the subsoil was wet. The men slept in
tents on the ground, consequently there were thirty to forty cases of
disordered bowels a day. The surgeon caused the tents to be floored, and
the disease was mitigated. The Eleventh Massachusetts Regiment were
encamped on a wet soil at Budd's Ferry, in Maryland. In a week, thirty
cases of fever appeared. Dr. Russell, the surgeon, ordered the camp to
be removed to a dry field, and the tents to be floored with brush; no
new cases of fever appeared afterward. Moltka says that "the Russian
army which suffered so terribly and fatally in 1828 and 1829 was badly
clothed and badly nourished, and in no way protected against the climate
of the Danubian Provinces, and especially of Bulgaria, where the
temperature varies from 58 deg. in the day to 29 deg. at night, and where the
falling dew is like a fine and penetrating rain."
Lord Wellington was a sagacious observer and a bold speaker. His
despatches to his Government frequently mention, the errors of those who
should provide for the army, and the consequent sufferings of the
soldiers. November 14, 1809, he says, "In the English army of 30,000
men, 6,000 are sick." "Want of proper food increases sickness." "With
nothing but water for drink, with meat, but no salt, and bread very
rarely for a month, and no other food; consequently, few, if any, were
not affected with dysentery." Again he writes, "Men cannot perform the
labors of soldiers without food. Three of General Park's brigade died of
famine yesterday, on their march; and above a hundred and fifty have
fallen out from weakness, many of whom must have died from the same
cause." August 9, 1809, he wrote to Lord Castlereagh, "No troops can
serve to any good purpose, unless they are regularly fed. It is an error
to suppose that a Spaniard, or any man or animal of any country, can
make an exertion without food." In February, 1811, he wrote, "The
Portuguese army of 43,000 or 44,000 men has about 9,000 sick, which is
rather more than a fifth. This is caused by want of proper and regular
food, and of money to purchase hospital-stores. If this be continued,
the whole army will be down, or must be disbanded."
The British army in Spain suffered from want of clothing as well as of
food. The Duke, who did not intend to be misunderstood, nor believe that
this was without somebody's fault, wrote, November 3, 1810, to General
Pane, "I wish it were in my power to give you well-clothed troops or
hang those who ought to have given them clothing."
The diaries of the medical officers in the Crimean army, quoted in the
"Medical and Surgical History" of that war, already referred to, are
full of similar complaints, and these are supported by Dr. Lyons's
"Pathological Report." One says, "Some of the camps were very
injudiciously chosen." "The men were very much weakened," "unable to
undergo any fatigue," even "to carry their knapsacks." "At Balaklava,
they built their huts on a very unhealthy site." Sir John Hall,
Inspector-General of Hospitals, referring to this, said, "I protested
against it, in the strongest way I could, but without effect; and the
consequence was that shortly after the men had spotted fever." Dr.
Hanbury says: "November, 1854. Health of the army rapidly deteriorated
from defective diet, harassing duties, hardships, privations, and
exposures to the inclement season." "Cholera increased; cold, wet,
innutritious and irritating diet produced dysentery, congestion and
disorganization of the mucous membrane of the bowels, and scurvy."
January, 1855, he says, "Fever and bowel affections indicated morbid
action; scurvy and gangrene indicated privation and exposures."
The surgeon of the Thirty-Fourth Regiment writes: "November, 1854.
Cholera broke out. It rained constantly. Troops had no other protection
from the damp ground than a single wet blanket." "Without warm clothing,
on short allowance of provisions, in want of fuel." "The sanitary
condition of the regiment deteriorated rapidly: 56 per cent. of the men
admitted to the hospital."
Forty-First Regiment, November and December. "No respite from severe
duties; weather cold and wet; clothing ill-adapted for such climate and
service; disease rapidly increased; 70 per cent. of the men in the
hospital in two months."
Thirty-Third Regiment, December, 1854. "Cold and wet weather, coupled
with insufficient food, fuel, and clothing, and severe and arduous
duties, all combined to keep up the sickness; 48.8 per cent. admitted to
the hospital in this month."
Twentieth Regiment. "The impoverished condition of the blood, dependent
on long use of improper diet, exposure to wet and cold, and want of
sufficient clothing and rest, had become evident." "Scurvy, diarrhoea,
frost-bite, and ulceration of the feet followed."
First Regiment. "December, 1854. Scarcely a soldier in perfect health,
from sleeping on damp ground, in wet clothing, and no change of dress;
cooking the worst; field-hospital over-crowded." "January, 1855. Type of
disease becoming more unequivocally the result of bad feeding, exposure,
and other hardships."
Thirtieth Regiment. "Duties and employments extremely severe; exposure
protracted; no means of personal cleanliness; clothing infested with
vermin; since Nov. 14, short allowance of meat, and, on some days, of
biscuit, sometimes no sugar, once no rice; food sometimes spoiled in
cooking; tents leaked; floors and bedding wet; sanitary efficiency
deteriorated in a decided manner."
These quotations are but samples of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of
similar statements, showing the immediate connection between privations,
exposures, and hardships, and depression of life and abundant disease.
Dr. Sutherland went through all the camps, and makes similar statements.
"The damp, unventilated, and undrained huts, in some parts of the camp,
produced consequences similar to those in cellar-dwellings at
home,"--that is, typhus and typhoid diseases. "The half-buried huts of
the Sardinian camp furnished a large proportion of fever cases among
their occupants," "That beautiful village of Balaklava was allowed to
become a hot-bed of pestilence, so that fever, dysentery, and cholera,
in it and its vicinity and on the ships in the harbor, were abundant."
"Filth, manure, offal, dead carcasses, had been allowed to accumulate to
such an extent, that we found, on our arrival, in March, 1855, it would
have required the labor of three hundred men to remove the local causes
of disease before the warm weather set in." General Airey said: "The
French General Canrobert came to me, complaining of the condition in
which his men were. He said 'they were dying in the mud.'"
Dr. Bryce, one of the army-surgeons in that war, says, in his book: "The
British army was exhausted by overwork and the deficiency of everything
that would sustain health and strength."
When the soldier, overcome by these morbific influences, became sick,
and was taken to the hospital, he was still compelled to suffer, and
often sank under, the privation of those comforts and means of
restoration which the sick at home usually enjoy.
Dr. Sutherland says: "The hospitals at Scutari were magnificent
buildings, apparently admirably adapted to their purpose; but, when
carefully examined, they were found to be little better than
Under direction of the Sanitary Commission, the hospitals were cleansed
and ventilated, and the patients allowed more room. In the first three
weeks of these improvements, the mortality from diseases fell to
one-half; in the second three weeks, to one-third; in the third, to
one-fifth; and in the fourth and fifth periods, to one-tenth of that
which prevailed be before they were begun.
The reform was carried through the whole army, camp and barracks,
Government supplies, and soldiers' habits and exposures; and the
mortality from diseases, which had been at the annual rate of 114 per
cent. in January, and 83 per cent. in February, fell to 19 per cent. in
April and May, 5 per cent. in the autumn, and 1.6 per cent. in the
The exposures, privations, and sufferings of our own army in the last
war with Great Britain, heart-rending even at this distance of time,
were sufficient to account for much of the terrible sickness and
mortality that prostrated and destroyed the men. They were at times in
want of food, clothing, and tents; and yet, in the new and unsettled
country, in the wilderness and forest, they performed great labors.
"Long and unremitting exposures to wet, cold, and fatigue, with a diet
which, under existing circumstances, could not prove nutritious,
exhausted the vital principle, and diarrhoea and typhus fever
supervened. The production of animal putrefaction and excrementitious
materials were also sources of these diseases. Armies always accumulate
these noxious principles about their encampments in a few days, when
attention is not called to their daily removal." Feeble, and
destitute of clothing and provisions, they invaded Canada at the end of
the autumn in 1813. "During the whole of October and part of November,
most of them were subjected to excessive fatigues, and exposed in open
boats on the lake, when it rained almost every day." "On the 14th of
November the weather became intensely cold, and remained so all winter.
In addition to their great fatigue, most of them lost their extra
clothing and blankets on their march and in the battle of the 11th. Even
the sick had no covering but tents until January. Provisions were
scarce, and of a bad quality. Under these circumstances, sickness and
mortality were very great." "Nearly one-half of the army," 47 per cent.,
"were unfit for duty."
"Through the following winter, the want of necessaries for the support
of the enfeebled and wretched soldier was most severely felt. The poor
subsistence which bread of the worst quality afforded was almost the
only support which could be had for seven weeks." "The sickness, deaths,
and distress at French Mills excited much alarm. This great mortality
had obvious causes for its existence." "Predispositions to sickness, the
effects of obvious causes, the comfortless condition of men exposed to
cold, wanting the common necessaries of life to support them in their
exhausted states." Dr. Lovell adds: "It was impossible for the sick to
be restored with nothing to subsist upon except damaged bread."
Among the causes of the abundant sickness, in March, along the Niagara
frontier, given by the surgeons, were "severe duty during the inclement
weather, exposure on the lake in open transports, bad bread made of
damaged flour, either not nutritious or absolutely deleterious, bad
water impregnated with the product of vegetable putrefaction, and the
effluvia from materials of animal production with which the air was
replete." "The array, in consequence of its stationary position,
suffered from diseases aggravated by filth accumulated in its vicinity."
"The clothing was not sufficient to protect the men on the northern
frontier, and even this short allowance failed to reach them in due
season." "The woollen garments have not been issued until the warm
weather of summer commenced, when winter finds them either naked or clad
in their summer dresses, perishing with cold."
The camps were sometimes in malarious districts. "At Fort George and the
vicinity, the troops were exposed to intense heat during the day and to
cold and chilly atmosphere at night." "The diseases consequent to this
exposure, typhus and intermittent fever, dysentery and diarrhoea," and
"but little more than half of the men were fit for duty."
Gen. Scott wrote from Mexico, February 14, 1848: "The army is also
suffering from the want of necessary clothing. The new troops are as
destitute as the others. They were first told that they should find
abundant supplies at New Orleans, next at Vera Cruz, and finally
There is ever a danger of the sensibilities and perceptive faculties
becoming blunted by exposure to and familiarity with offensive effluvia.
"The General repeatedly called the attention of the officers at Fort
George to the filthy state and foul effluvia of their camp, but they
perceived no offensive odor; their olfactories had lost their acuteness,
and failed to warn them of the noisome gases that pervaded the
atmosphere." If the officers fail of their duty as housekeepers to
see that everything in the camp and tents is clean and healthy, the men
fall into negligent habits, and become dirty and sick. It was the "total
want of good police" that reduced the regiment already referred to from
900 to 200 fit for duty. On the other hand, "The regiment of artillery,
always subject to correct discipline, with quarters and encampments
always in the best state, and the men mostly neat and clean, suffered
less by disease than any on the northern frontier. Their better health
may be much imputed to cleanliness."
Itch and lice, the natural progeny of negligence and uncleanness, often
find their home in the army. Pringle, more than a hundred years ago,
said that "itch was the most general distemper among soldiers." Personal
and household vermin seem to have an instinctive apprehension of the
homes that are prepared for them, and flock to the families and
dwellings where washing and sweeping are not the paramount law and
unfailing habit. They are found in the houses and on the bodies of the
filthy and negligent everywhere. They especially delight in living with
those who rarely change their body-linen and bedding. They were carried
into and established themselves in the new barracks of Camp Cameron in
Cambridge, Massachusetts; but they are never found in the Boston House
of Correction, which receives its recruits from the filthiest dens of
iniquity, because the energetic master enforces thorough cleansing on
every new-comer, and continues it so long as he remains.
The camps and police of the present Union army, though better than the
average of others and far above some, are yet not in as healthy
condition as they might be. The Report of the Sanitary Commission to the
Secretary of War, December, 1861, says: "Of the camps inspected, 5 per
cent, were in admirable order, 45 per cent, fairly clean and well
policed. The condition of 26 per cent, was negligent and slovenly, and
that of 21 per cent, decidedly bad, filthy, and dangerous."  The
same Report adds: "On the whole, a very marked and gratifying
improvement has occurred during the summer." And that improvement has
been going on ever since. Yet the description of a camp at Grafton,
Virginia, in March, shows that there a very bad and dangerous state of
things existed at that time, and "one-seventh of the regiment was sick
and unfit for duty"; but the bold and clear report of Dr. Hammond of the
United States Army produced a decided and favorable change, and "the
regiment has now less than the average amount of sickness." 
The hospitals of the army are mostly buildings erected for other
purposes, and not fitted for their present use; and the sudden influx of
a large military population, with its usual amount of sickness, has
often crowded these receptacles of the suffering soldiers. For want of
experience on the part of the officers, surgeons, nurses, and men, in
the management of such establishments, they are sometimes in very bad
and unhealthy condition. In Cumberland, Maryland, fifteen buildings were
occupied by about five hundred patients. These buildings had been
warehouses, hotels, etc., with few or none of the conveniences for the
sick. They were densely crowded; in some the men were "lying on the
floor as thickly as they could be packed." One room with 960 feet of air
contained four patients. Dr. Hammond's description of the eighty-three
rooms and the condition of the patients in them seems to justify the
terms he frequently uses. "Halls very dirty." "Rooms dismal and badly
ventilated." "Utmost confusion appears to exist about each hospital;
consequently, duties are neglected, and a state of the most disgusting
want of cleanliness exists."  Happily, the wise and generous
suggestions of the surgeon were carried out, and with the best results.
This hospital was an exception; but it shows the need of intelligent
watchfulness on the part of the Government.
It is to be expected that the soldier's dwelling, his tent and barrack,
will be reduced to the lowest endurable dimensions in the campaign, for
there is a seeming necessity for this economy of room; but in garrisons,
stations, and cantonments, and even in encampments in, time of peace,
this necessity ceases, and there is a power at least, if not a
disposition, to give a more liberal supply of house--and lodging-room to
the army, and a better opportunity for rest and recuperation. In common
dwelling-houses, under favorable circumstances, each sleeper is usually
allowed from 500 to 1,000 cubic feet of space: a chamber fifteen or
sixteen feet square and eight feet high, with 1,800 to 2,048 feet of
air, is considered a good lodging-room for two persons. This gives 900
to 1,024 feet of air for each. The prudent always have some means of
admitting fresh air, or some way for the foul air to escape, by an open
window, or an opening into the chimney, or both. If such a room be
occupied by three lodgers, it is crowded, and the air becomes
perceptibly foul in the night. Sometimes more are allowed to sleep
within a room of this size; but it is a matter of necessity, or of lower
sensibility, and is not healthy. They do not find sufficient oxygen to
purify or decarbonize their blood through the night; they consequently
are not refreshed, nor invigorated and fully prepared for the labors of
the following day.
No nation has made this liberal and proper provision of lodging-room for
its sleeping soldiers in peace or in war, in garrison or in the
The British army-regulations formerly allowed 400 to 500 cubic feet for
each soldier in barracks in temperate climates, and 480 to 600 in
tropical climates. The new regulations allow 600 feet in temperate
climates. But the 356 barracks at the various military stations in
Great Britain and Ireland give the soldiers much less breathing-room
than the more recent regulations require. Of these,
3 allow 100 to 200 feet for each man.
27 " 200 to 300 " "
123 " 300 to 400 " "
125 " 400 to 500 " "
59 " 500 to 600 " "
19 " 600 to 800 " " 
The French Government allows 444 feet for each infantry soldier, and 518
feet for each man in the cavalry.
The British soldiers, at these home-stations, have less breathing-space
and are subject to more foulness of air than the people of England in
civil life; and the natural consequence was discovered by the
investigation of the Military Sanitary Commission, that consumption and
other diseases of the lungs were much more prevalent and fatal among
these soldiers, who were originally possessed of perfect constitutions
and health, than among the people at large. The mortality from
consumption and other diseases of the respiratory organs, among the
Household Cavalry, the Queen's Body-Guard, and the most perfectly formed
men in the kingdom, was 25 per cent., among the Dragoon Guards 59 per
cent., among the Infantry of the Line 115 per cent., and among the
Foot-Guards 172 per cent. greater than it was among the males of the
same ages throughout England and Wales, and consumption was the
prevailing cause of death.
The huts of the British army are of various sizes, holding from
twenty-five to seventy-two men, and allowing from 146 to 165 cubic feet
for each. The "Portsmouth hut" is the favorite. It is twenty-seven feet
long, fifteen feet wide, walls six feet, and ridge twelve feet high.
This holds twenty-five men, and allows 146 feet of air to each man. All
these huts have windows, and most of them are ventilated through
openings under the eaves or just below the ridge, and some through both.
Some of the temporary barracks erected at Newport News, Virginia, are
one hundred feet long, twenty-two feet wide, and twelve and a half feet
high at the ridge, and accommodate seventy-six men, giving each 360 feet
of air. Some are larger, and allow more space; others allow less; in one
each man has only 169 feet of breathing-space. All these buildings are
well supplied with windows, which serve also for ventilators.
In forts, the garrisons are usually more liberally supplied with
sleeping-room, yet, on emergencies, they are densely crowded. At Fort
Warren, in Boston Harbor, two regiments were temporarily stationed, in
the summer of 1861. There was one large barrack divided into some large
and many small rooms, and there was the usual supply of rooms in the
casemates. There was one range of rooms in the barrack, each sixteen
feet six inches long, seven feet four inches high, and varying in width
from ten feet eight inches to thirteen feet two inches. In most of these
rooms, including two of the narrowest, twelve men slept. They had from
105 to 119 feet of air for each one. There was a large window in each
room, which was opened at night, and might have served for healthy
ventilation, except that there was an accumulation of disgusting filth
within a few feet of the building, on that side, sending forth offensive
and noisome effluvia, and rendering it doubtful which was the most
disagreeable and dangerous, the foul air within or the foul atmosphere
without. In two of the casemate-rooms, holding sixty and seventy-five
men respectively, each man had 144 and 180 feet of air. At Fort
Independence, in the same harbor, a battalion was stationed, and slept
in thirteen casemate-rooms, where the men had from 150 to 297 feet of
air. All the casemate-rooms, being in the thick walls, and covered with
earth, in both forts, were cold and damp, and many of them were kept
comfortable only by fires, even in June.
The ten new barracks at Camp Cameron, in Cambridge, when full, according
to the plan, give each soldier 202 feet of air for respiration; but in
August last, when densely filled, as some of them were, the proportion
of air for each man was reduced to 120 feet. The doors and windows were
left open at night, however, and obviated in some degree the evil
effects of the crowding.
The portable house must necessarily be as small as possible, and must be
made to give its occupants the smallest endurable space. The English
bell-tent contains 512 cubic feet, and lodges twelve to fifteen men,
when on march, and eight to twelve men in camp, affording 34 to 64 feet
of breathing-space for each. Quartermaster-General Airey says this is
the best tent in use.
The American tents are of many varieties in shape and size. The Sibley
tent gives 1,052 feet to seventeen or eighteen, and sometimes to twenty
men, being 53 to 62 feet for each. The Fremont tent is somewhat larger,
and, as used in the cavalry camp at Readville, gave the men more air
than the Sibley. Both of these have means of ventilation. The
wedge-tent, being the simplest in structure, is most easily pitched,
struck, and packed by the soldiers, and therefore used by 58 per cent,
of the regiments of the Union army, six me sleeping in each. But as
occupied by two of the regiments in Massachusetts, in the summer of
1861, it was the most crowded and unhealthy. Those used by the Second
Regiment at West Roxbury, and the Ninth at Long Island, (in Boston
Harbor,) were twelve and a half feet long, eight feet wide, and six feet
high to the ridge, and held twelve men. Each sleeper had 8-1/3 square
feet of floor to rest upon, and 25 cubic feet of air to breathe through
the night, with no ventilation, except what air passed in through the
door-way, when left open, and through the porous cloth that covered the
tent. Some of the tents of one of the regiments encamped at Worcester
had 56 feet of floor-surface, and 160 feet of air, which was divided
among six men, giving each 27 feet of air.
In all the camps of Massachusetts, and of most armies everywhere,
economy, not only of room within the tents, but of ground where they are
placed, seems to be deemed very important, even on those fields where
there is opportunity for indefinite expansion of the encampment. The
British army-regulations prescribe three plans of arranging the tents.
The most liberal and loose arrangement gives to each soldier eighty
square feet of ground, the next gives forty-two, and the most compact
allows twenty-seven feet, without and within his tent. These are
densities of population equal to having 348,000, 664,000, and 1,008,829
people on a square mile. But enormous and incredible as this
condensation of humanity may seem, we, in Massachusetts, have beaten it,
in one instance at least. In the camp of the Ninth Regiment at Long
Island, the tents were placed in compact rows, and touched each other on
the two sides and at the back. Between the alternate rows there were
narrow lanes, barely wide enough for carriages to pass. Thus arranged,
the men, when in their tents, were packed at the rate of 1,152,000 on a
square mile, or one man on every twenty--two square feet, including the
lanes between, as well as the ground under, the tents.
The city of London has 17,678 persons on a square mile, through its
whole extent, including the open spaces, streets, squares, and parks.
East London, the densest and most unhealthy district, has 175,816 on a
mile. Boston, including East and South Boston, but not Washington
Village, has 50,805 on a mile; and the Broad-Street section, densely
filled with Irish families, had, when last examined for this purpose, in
1845, a density of population at the rate of 413,000 on the same space.
RESULTS OF SANITARY REFORMS.
The errors and losses which have been adverted to are not all constant
nor universal: not every army is hungry or has bad cookery; not every
one encamps in malarious spots, or sleeps in crowded tents, or is cold,
wet, or overworked: but, so far as the internal history of military life
has been revealed, they have been and are sufficiently frequent to
produce a greater depression of force, more sickness, and a higher rate
of mortality among the soldiery than are found to exist among civilians.
Every failure to meet the natural necessities or wants of the animal
body, in respect to food, air, cleanliness, and protection, has, in its
own way, and in its due proportion, diminished the power that might
otherwise have been created; and every misapplication has again reduced
that vital capital which was already at a discount. These first bind the
strong man, and then, exposing him to morbific influences, rob him of
his health. Perhaps in none of the common affairs of the world do men
allow so large a part of the power they raise and the means they gather
for any purpose to be lost, before they reach their object and strike
their final and effective blow, as the rulers of nations allow to be
lost in the gathering and application of human force to the purposes of
war. And this is mainly because those rulers do not study and regard the
nature and conditions of the living machines with which they operate,
and the vital forces that move them, as faithfully as men in civil life
study and regard the conditions of the dead machines they use, and the
powers of water and steam that propel them, and form their plans
But it is satisfactory to know that great improvements have been made in
this respect. From a careful and extended inquiry into the diseases of
the army and their causes, it is manifest that they do not necessarily
belong to the profession of war. Although sickness has been more
prevalent, and death in consequence more frequent, in camps and military
stations than in the dwellings of peace, this excess is not unavoidable,
but may be mostly, if not entirely, prevented. Men are not more sick
because they are soldiers and live apart from their homes, but because
they are exposed to conditions or indulge in habits that would produce
the same results in civil as in military life. Wherever civilians have
fallen into these conditions and habits, they have suffered in the same
way; and wherever the army has been redeemed from these, sickness and
mortality have diminished, and the health and efficiency of the men have
Great Britain has made and is still making great and successful efforts
to reform the sanitary condition of her army. The improvement in the
health of the troops in the Crimea in 1856 and 1857 has already been
described. The reduction of the annual rate of mortality caused by
disease, from 1,142 to 13 in a thousand, in thirteen months, opened the
eyes of the Government to the real state of matters in the army, and to
their own connection with it. They saw that the excess of sickness and
death among the troops had its origin in circumstances and conditions
which they could control, and then they began to feel the responsibility
resting upon them for the health and life of their soldiers. On further
investigation, they discovered that soldiers in active service
everywhere suffered more by sickness and death than civilians at home,
and then they very naturally concluded that a similar application of
sanitary measures and enforcement of the sanitary laws would be as
advantageous to the health and life of the men at all other places as in
the Crimea. A thorough reform was determined upon, and carried out with
signal success in all the military stations at home and abroad. "The
late Lord Herbert, first in a royal commission, then in a commission for
carrying out its recommendations, and lastly as Secretary of State for
War in Lord Palmerston's administration, neglecting the enjoyments which
high rank and a splendid fortune placed at his command, devoted himself
to the sanitary reform of the army." He saw that the health of the
soldiers was perilled more "by bad sanitary arrangements than by
climate," and that these could be amended. "He had some courageous
colleagues, among whom I must name as the foremost Florence Nightingale,
who shares without diminishing his glory." Both of these great
sanitary reformers sacrificed themselves for the good of the suffering
and perishing soldier. "Lord Herbert died at the age of fifty-one,
broken down by work so entirely that his medical attendants hardly knew
to what to attribute his death." Although he probed the evil to the
very bottom, and boldly laid bare the time-honored abuses, neglects, and
ignorance of the natural laws, whence so much sickness had sprung to
waste the army, yet he "did not think it enough to point out evils in a
report; he got commissions of practical men to put an end to them."
A new and improved code of medical regulations, and a new and rational
system of sanitary administration, suited to the wants and liabilities
of the human body, were devised and adopted for the British army, and
their conditions are established and carried out with the most happy
These new systems connect with every corps of the army the means of
protecting the health of the men, as well as of healing their diseases.
"The Medical Department of the British army includes,--
"1. Director-General, who is the sole responsible administrative head
of the medical service.
"2. Three Heads of Departments, to aid the Director-General with
their advice, and to work the routine-details.
"A Medical Head, to give advice and assistance on all subjects
connected with the medical service and hospitals of the army.
"A Sanitary Head, to give advice and assistance on all subjects
connected with the hygiene of the army.
"A Statistical Head, who will keep the medical statistics,
case-books, meteorological registers," etc.
Besides these medical officers, there are an Inspector-General of
Hospitals, a Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals, Staff and Regimental
Surgeons, Staff and Regimental Assistant-Surgeons, and Apothecaries.
The British army is plentifully supplied with these medical officers.
For the army of 118,000 men there were provided one thousand and
seventy-five medical officers under full pay in 1859. Four hundred and
seventy surgeons and assistant-surgeons were attached to the hundred
regiments of infantry.
It is made the duty of the medical officer to keep constant watch over
all the means and habits of life among the troops,--"to see that all
regulations for protecting the health of troops, in barracks, garrisons,
stations, or camps, are duly observed." "He is to satisfy himself as to
the sanitary condition of barracks," "as to their cleanliness, within
and without, their ventilation, warming, and lighting," "as to the
drainage, ash-pits, offal," etc. "He is to satisfy himself that the
rations are good, that the kitchen-utensils are sufficient and in good
order, and that the cooking is sufficiently varied."
Nothing in the condition, circumstances, or habits of the men, that can
affect their health, must be allowed to escape the notice of these
In every plan for the location or movement of any body of troops, it is
made the duty of the principal medical officer first to ascertain the
effect which such movement or location will have upon the men, and
advise the commander accordingly. It is his duty, also, to inspect all
camp-sites and "give his opinion in writing on the salubrity or
otherwise of the proposed position, with any recommendations he may have
to make respecting the drainage, preparation of the ground, distance of
the tents or huts from each other, the number of men to be placed in
each tent or hut, the state of cleanliness, ventilation, and
water-supply." "The sanitary officer shall keep up a daily
inspection of the whole camp, and especially inform himself as to the
health of the troops, and of the appearance of any zymotic disease among
them; and he shall immediately, on being informed of the appearance of
any such disease, examine into the cause of the same, whether such
disease proceed from, or is aggravated by, sanitary defects in
cleansing, drainage, nuisances, overcrowding, defective ventilation, bad
or deficient water supply, dampness, marshy ground, or from any other
local cause, or from bad or deficient food, intemperance, unwholesome
liquors, fruit, defective clothing or shelter, exposure, fatigue, or any
other cause, and report immediately to the commander of the forces, on
such causes, and the remedial measures he has to propose for their
removal." "And he shall report at least daily on the progress or decline
of the disease, and on the means adopted for the removal of its
Thus the British army is furnished with the best sanitary instruction
the nation can afford, to guide the officers and show the men how to
live, and sustain their strength for the most effective labor in the
service of the country.
To make this system of vigilant watchfulness over the health of the men
the more effectual, the medical officer of each corps is required to
make weekly returns to the principal medical officer of the command, and
this principal officer makes monthly returns to the central office at
London. These weekly and monthly returns include all the matters that
relate to the health of the troops, "to the sanitary condition of the
barracks, quarters, hospitals, the rations, clothing, duties, etc., of
the troops, and the effects of these on their health."
Under these new regulations, the exact condition of the army everywhere
is always open to the eyes of medical and sanitary officers, and they
are made responsible for the health of the soldiers. The consequence has
been a great improvement in the condition and habits of the men. Camps
have been better located and arranged. Food is better supplied. Cooking
is more varied, and suited to the digestive powers. The old plan of
boiling seven days in the week is abolished, and baking, stewing, and
other more wholesome methods of preparation are adopted in the
army-kitchens, with very great advantage to the health of the men and to
the efficiency of the military service. Sickness has diminished and
mortality very greatly lessened, and the most satisfactory evidence has
been given from all the stations of the British army at home and abroad,
that the great excess of disease and death among the troops over those
of civilians at home is needless, and that health and life are measured
out to the soldier, as well as to the citizen, according to the manner
in which he fulfils or is allowed to fulfil the conditions established
by Nature for his being here.
The last army medical report shows the amount and rate of sickness and
mortality of every corps, both in the year 1859, under the new system of
watchfulness and proper provision, and at a former period, under the old
_regime_ of neglect.
THE NUMBER OF DEATHS IN 100,000.
Annual Average for
10 years, 1837 to 1846. 1859.
Household Cavalry 1,039 427
Dragoon-Guards 1,208 794
Foot-Guards 1,872 859
Infantry Regiments 1,706 758
Men in healthy
districts of England 723
The Foot-Guards, which lost annually 1,415 from diseases of the chest
before the reform, lost only 538 in 100,000 from the same cause in
Among the infantry of the line, the annual attacks of fever were reduced
to a little more than one-third, and the deaths from this cause to
two-fifths of their former ratio. The cases of zymotic disease were
diminished 33 per cent., and the mortality from this class of maladies
was reduced 68 per cent.
The same happy accounts of improvement come from every province and
every military station where the British Government has placed its
Our present army is in better condition than those of other times and
other nations; and more and more will be done for this end. The
Government has already admitted the Sanitary Commission into a sort of
copartnership in the management of the army, and hereafter the
principles of this excellent and useful association will be incorporated
with, and become an inseparable part of, the machinery of war, to be
conducted by the same hands that direct the movements of the armies,
ever present and efficient to meet all the natural wants of the soldier,
and to reduce his danger of sickness and mortality, as nearly as
possible, to that of men of the same age at home.
AN ARAB WELCOME.
Because thou com'st, a tired guest,
Unto my tent, I bid thee rest.
This cruse of oil, this skin of wine,
These tamarinds and dates, are thine:
And while thou eatest, Hassan, there,
Shall bathe the heated nostrils of thy mare.
_Allah il Allah_! Even so
An Arab chieftain treats a foe:
Holds him as one without a fault,
Who breaks his bread and tastes his salt;
And, in fair battle, strikes him dead
With the same pleasure that he gives him bread!
ELIZABETH SARA SHEPPARD
You ask from me some particulars of the valued life so recently closed.
Miss Sheppard was my friend of many years; I was with her to the last
hour of her existence; but this is not the time for other than a brief
notice of her career, and I comply with your request by sending you a
slight memorial, hardly full enough for publication.
Elizabeth Sara Sheppard, the authoress of "Charles Auchester,"
"Counterparts," etc., was born at Blackheath, in England. Her father was
a clergyman of unusual scholastic attainments, and took high honors at
St. John's College, Oxford. Mr. Sheppard, on the mother's side, could
number Hebrew ancestors, and this was the pride of his second daughter,
the subject of this notice. Her love for the whole Hebrew race amounted
to a passion, which found its expression in the romance of "Charles
Very early she displayed a most decided poetic predisposition,--writing,
when but ten years old, with surprising facility on every possible
subject. No metre had any difficulties for her, and no theme seemed dull
to her vivid intelligence,--her fancy being roused to action in a
moment, by the barest hint given either by Nature or Art. Her first
drama was written at this early age; it was called "Boadicea," and was
composed immediately after she had been shown a field at Islington where
this queen is said to have pitched her tent. Any one who asked was
welcome to "some verses by 'Little Lizzie,'" written in her peculiar and
fairy-like hand, (for when very young, her writing was remarkable for
its extreme smallness and finish.) given with childlike simplicity, and
artless ignorance of the worth of what she bestowed with a kiss and a
Her poems were composed at once, with scarcely a correction. Her earlier
ones, for the most part, were written at the corner of a large table,
covered with the usual heaps of "after-lessons," in a school-room, where
some twenty enfranchised girls were putting away copybooks, French
grammars, etc., and getting out play-boxes and fancy-work, with the
common amount of chatter and noise. Contrasted with such young persons,
this child looked a strange, unearthly creature,--her large, dark gray
eye full of inspiration, and every movement of her frame and tone of her
voice instinct with delicate energy.
At the same age she would extemporize for hours on the organ, after
wreathing the candlesticks with garden-flowers which she had brought in
her hand,--their scent, she would say, suggesting the wild, sweet
fancies which her fingers seemed able to call forth on the shortest
notice. Persons straying into the church, as they often did, attracted
by the sound of music, would declare the performer to be an experienced
When but a year older, she was an excellent Latin scholar, and, to use
her father's words, she might then have "gone in for honors at Oxford."
French she spoke and wrote fluently, besides reading Goethe and Schiller
with avidity, and translating as fast as she read,--Schiller having
always the preference. At fourteen she began the study of Hebrew, of
which language she was a worshipper, and could not at that early age
even let Greek alone. Her wonderful power of seizing on the genius of a
language, and becoming for the time a foreigner in spirit, was noticed
by all her teachers; her ear was so delicate that no subtile inflection
ever escaped her, nor any idiom.
And now she surprised her most intimate friend by the present of a prose
story, sent to her, when absent, in chapters by the post. This was
succeeded by many other tales, and finally by "Charles Auchester,"
--which romance, as well as that of "Counterparts," was written
in the few hours she could command after her teaching was over:
for in her mother's school she taught music the greater part of every
day,--both theoretically and practically,--and also Latin.
Her health, always delicate, suffered wofully from this constant strain,
and caused her to experience the most painful exhaustion, which,
however, she never permitted to be an excuse for shirking an occupation
naturally distasteful to her,--and doubly so, that through all the din
of practice her thousand fancies clamored like caged birds eager for
The moment her hour of leisure came, she would hide herself with her
best loved work in the quietest corner she could find; sometimes it was
a little room in-doors, sometimes the summer-house, sometimes under a
large mulberry-tree; and thus "Charles Auchester" and "Counterparts"
were written, the former without one correction,--sheet after sheet,
flung from her hand in the ardor of composition, being picked up and
read by the friend who was in all her literary secrets. At last this
same friend, finding she had no thought of publication, in a moment of
playful daring, persuaded her to send the manuscript to Benjamin
Disraeli, and he introduced it to his publishers. I quote from his
letter to the author, which may not be out of place here:--
"No greater book will ever be written upon music, and it will one day be
recognized as the imaginative classic of that divine art."
"Counterparts" and other tales soon followed. And about the same date
she presented, anonymously, a volume of stories to the young daughter of
Mr. John Hullah, of "Part Music" celebrity. They were in manuscript
printing, (if such a term may be used,) written by her own hand, and
remarkable for their curious beauty. The heading of each story was
picked out in black and gold. The stories are named "Adelaide's Dream,"
"Little Wonder, or, The Children's Fairy," "The Bird of Paradise,"
"Sproemkari," (from a Scandinavian legend,) "The First Concert," "The
Concert in the Hollow Tree," "Uncle, or, Which is the Prettiest?"
"Little Ernest," "The Nautilus Voyage." These stories are illustrated,
and have a lovely dedication to the little lady for whom they were
The author had attended the "Upper Singing-Schools" for the sake of more
musical experience. Yet she then sang at sight perfectly, with any
number of voices. She has left three published songs, dedicated to the
Marchioness of Hastings, and a large number of manuscript poems.
Her character was in perfect keeping with the high tone of her books.
Noble, generous, and self-forgetting, tender and most faithful in
friendship, burning with indignation at injustice shown to another,
longing to find virtues instead of digging for faults,--her greatest
suffering arose from pained surprise, when persons proved themselves
less noble than she had deemed them.
Her rich imagination and slender purse were open to all beggars, but for
herself she asked nothing, and was constantly a willing sufferer from
her own inability to toady a patron or to make a good bargain with a
She felt most warmly for her friends in America, whose comprehension of
her views, and honest, open appreciation of her books, inspired her with
an ardent desire to write for them a romance in her very best manner.
She had sketched two, and, doubtful which to proceed with first,
contemplated sending both to an American friend for his decision; but
constant suffering stayed her hand.
In the early spring she grew weaker day by day, and died on the 13th of
March, at Brixton, in England, at the age of thirty-two.
Those who loved either her person or her works will find her place
Among her manuscript papers I found this sketch, which has a peculiar
significance now that the writer has passed away. It has never been
A NICHE IN THE HEART.
I had been wandering, almost all day, in the cathedral of a town at some
distance from London. I had sketched its carved pulpit, one or two
cherub faces looking down from its columns, some of its best reliefs,
and its oldest monument. It was evening, and I could no longer see to
draw, though pencillings of light still fell on the pavement through the
larger windows, whose colors were softened like those of the lunar
rainbow; and still the edges of the stalls were gilded with the last
gleams of sunset, though the seats were filled already with those
phantoms which twilight seems to create in such a place. The monuments
looked calmer and less formal than when daylight bared all their defects
of design or finish; they seemed now worthy of their position beneath
the vaulted roof, and even, adjuncts themselves to the harmony of the
architecture. One among them, noticeable in the daytime for its refined
workmanship, now gleamed out fresher and whiter than the rest, as was
natural, for it had been placed there but a little while; but it had
besides more _expression_, in its very simplicity, than such-like
mementos of stone or marble usually contain. This was the memento of a
husband's regret, and, as such, touching, however vain: a delicate form
drooping on a bier, at whose head stood an angel, with an infant in his
arms, which he raised to heaven with an air of triumph; while at the
foot of the death-bed a figure knelt, in all the relaxed abandonment of
woe. Marvellously, and out of small means, the chisel had conveyed this
impression; for the kneeling figure was mantled from head to foot, and
had its face hidden in the folds of the drapery which skirted the
bier,--veiled, like the face of the tortured father in the old tragic
While I gazed, I insensibly approached the still group; and while musing
what manner of grief it might be, which could solace by perpetuating its
mere image, I observed two other persons, whose entrance I had not been
aware of, but whose attention was evidently directed to what had
attracted mine. They were a lady and a gentleman, and the latter seemed
actually supporting the former, who leaned heavily upon his arm, as it
appeared from her manner of carriage, so weakly and wearily she stood.
Her form was extremely slight, and the outline of her countenance sharp
from attenuation, and in that uncertain light, or rather shade, she
looked almost as pale as the carved faces before us. The gentleman, who
was of a stately height, bent over her with an anxious air, while she
gazed fixedly upon the monument. Her silence seemed to oppress him, for
after a minute or two he asked her whether it was not very beautiful.
"You know," she answered, in one of those low voices that are more
impressive than the loudest, "You know I always suspect those memorials.
I would rather have a niche in the heart."
They passed on, and left me standing there. I know not whether the
fragile speaker has earned the monument she desired, whether those
feeble footsteps have found their repose,--"a quiet conscience in a
quiet breast,"--but her words struck me, and I have often thought of
There is always something which seems less than the intention in a
monument to heroism or to goodness, the patriot of the country, or the
missionary of civilization. Every one feels that the graves of War, the
many in the one, where link is welded to link in the chain of glory, are
more sublime, more sacred, than the exceptional mausoleum. Every one has
been struck with repugnant melancholy in the city church-yard, where
tomb presses against tomb, and multitude in death destroys identity,
saving where the little greatness of wealth or rank may provide itself a
separate railing or an overtopping urn. Even in the more suggestive
solitude of the country, one cannot but contrast the few hillocks here
and there carefully weeded, and their trained and tended rose-bushes,
with the many more neglected and sunken, whose distained stones the
brier-tangle half conceals, and whose forget-me-nots have long since
died for want of water. One may even muse unprofitably (despite the
moralist) in our picturesque cemeteries, and as unprofitably in those
abroad, with their crowds of crosses and monotony of immortal wreaths.
In fact, whether on grounds philosophical or religious, it is not good
to brood on mortality for itself alone; better rather to recall the
living past, and in the living present prepare for the perfect future.
None die to be forgotten who deserve to be remembered. Even the fame for
which some are ardent to sacrifice their lives, enjoyed early at that
crisis of existence we call _success_, will in most cases change the
desire for renown into a necessity, and stimulate the mind to the lowest
motive but one, ambition,--possibly, to emulation, the lowest of all.
Fame is valuable simply as the test of excellence; and there is a
certain kind of popularity, sudden alike in its rise and subsidency,
which deserves not the other and lasting name, for it fails to soothe
that intellectual conscience which a great writer has declared to exist
equally with the moral conscience. After all, it is a question whether
fame is as precious to the celebrated during their lifetime as it is to
those who love them, or who are attached to them by interest.
There are persons who die and are forgotten, when their exit from the
stage of human affairs is a source of advantage to their survivors.
Witness those possessed of large fortunes, which they have it in their
power to bequeath, and over whose dwellings of mortality vigilant
relations hover like the carrion-fowl above the dying battle-steed. I
remember a good story to this effect, in which a lady and gentleman took
a grateful vow to pic-nic annually, on the anniversary of his death, at
the tomb of a relation who had greatly enriched them. They did so,
actually, _once_; succeeding years saw them no more at the solemn tryst.
Even as to those who have excelled in art, or portrayed in language the
imaginative side of life, it may be that their works abide and they not
be recognized in them, that their words may be echoed in many tongues
while the writer is put out of the question almost as entirely as he who
carved the first hieroglyph on the archaic stone. It will ever be found,
whether in works or words, that what touches the heart rather than what
strikes the fancy, what draws the tear rather than excites the smile,
will embalm the memory of the man of genius. But of all posthumous
distinctions the noblest is that awarded to the philanthropist; even the
meed of the man of science, which consists in the complete working of
some great discovery skilfully applied, falls short of the reward of
those who have contributed their utmost to the physical improvement and
social elevation of man,--from the munificent endowment whose benefits
increase and multiply in each succeeding generation, to the smallest
seed of charity scattered by the frailest hand, as sure as the strong to
gather together at the harvest its countless sheaves. To fill a niche in
a heart, or a niche in each of a thousand hearts,--_either_ a holier
place than that of the poet, who lives in the imagination he renders
restless, or that of the hero, who renders the mind more restless still
for his suggestion of the glory which may surround a name, a glory
rather to be dreaded than desired,--too often, in such cases, must evil
be done or tolerated that good may be brought forth.
Then there is consolation for those not gifted either with worldly means
or powers of mind or healthful daring. Some will ever remember and
regret the man or woman who carries true feeling into the affairs of
life, important or minute: gentle courtesies, heart-warm words, delicate
regards,--as surely part of consummate charity as the drop is a portion
of the deep whose fountains it helps to fill. Precious, too, is
self-denial, not austerely invoked from conscience by the voice of duty,
but welling from the heart as a natural and necessary return for all it
owes to a Power it cannot reward. It has been said, that, to be
respected in old age, one should be kind to _little children_ all one's
life. May we not, therefore, show just such helpful tenderness to the
childlike or appealing weakness of every person with whom we have to
do?--for few hearts, alas! have not a weak string. Then no burden shall
be left to the last hour, except that of mortality, of which time itself
relieves us kindly,--nor shall we have an account to settle with the
future to which it consigns the faithful.
RESOURCES OF THE SOUTH.
In the spring of 1860, a passenger left Massachusetts for the sunny
South. As he passed slowly down to the Battery to embark from New York,
the sun shone brightly on acres of drays awaiting their turn to approach
the Southern steamers. Some of them had waited patiently from early morn
for an opportunity to discharge, and it was a current rumor that twenty
dollars had been paid for a chance to reach the steamers. The previous
season had been a good one, and Cotton wore its robes of royalty.
Southern credit stood at the highest point, while the West was out of
favor; and doubtless many of the keen traders of the South, having some
inkling of coming events, were preparing for future emergencies.
In the spring of 1860, the South was literally overrun with goods. Some
sixteen powerful steamers were running between Savannah and New York; an
equal number were on the line to Charleston; steamers and flat-boats in
countless numbers were bearing down the Mississippi their tribute of
flour, lard, and corn. The Northern and Western merchants were counting
down their money for rice, cotton, and sugar, and giving long credits on
the produce of the North and West.
Before hostilities began, the South was allowed to supply itself freely
with powder and arms, and for months after they had begun, large
supplies of fire-arms were drawn through Kentucky. Down to a recent
period the South has continued to receive supplies from Missouri,
Virginia, and Tennessee. With these resources, and with a capital drawn
from a debt of two hundred millions to the North and West, it has been
able to support, for the first fifteen months at least, three hundred
thousand men in the field, and successfully to resist, in some cases,
the advance of the Federal Army. While these resources lasted, while the
blockade was ineffective, while the Confederacy could produce men to
replace all who fell, while a paper currency and scrip could be floated,
and while the nation hesitated to put forth its strength, the South was
able to maintain a strong front, although driven successively from
Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Western Virginia, and Tennessee, and thus
deprived of nearly half the population and resources on which it
The enlarged canal of New York, and the great railways which furnish
direct routes from the West to the Atlantic, have of late years diverted
from the Father of Waters a very large proportion of the exports of the
West, but the steamers and flat-boats which floated down the Mississippi
literally fed the Cotton States. Laden with corn, flour, and lard, with
ploughs, glass, and nails, with horses and mules, and live stock of
every description, they distributed their cargoes from Memphis to New
Orleans, and came back freighted with sugar and cotton.