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Assistant Surgeon C. C. Gray's Report

A Surgeon's report on the Campaign

[author biography]

I arrived at Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 19, 1862, and was assigned by Medical Director Letterman to the charge of a hospital in Keedysville, and, a few days afterward, the army having advanced, was made a sort of issuing commissary for the wounded in and about Keedysville. My instructions were to hire transportation from the citizens, and to draw and deliver all rations, preventing the use of ambulances for this purpose. The cattle furnished me being of poor quality, I exchanged a considerable portion of the meat with citizens, receiving therefor milk, eggs, vegetables, etc. At the time of my arrival at this battlefield, I consider that the wounded were as well cared for as it was possible they could be. Abundance of supplies soon poured in from a variety of sources. Of the strength of the army at the time of action, I know nothing. Medical and hospital stores were plentiful.

The wounded were attended to at sundry points, varying from half a mile to two miles from the field. They were not exposed to rain; the nights, however, were chilly, and there was considerable suffering on this account. The wounded were mostly removed in ambulances. Almost all the wounds I saw were from conoidal balls, and a large number, I should suppose, received at short range. So many of the wounded as were deemed capable of bearing an ambulance transportation of eighteen miles, were sent to Frederick, Maryland. The remainder, especially such as had undergone capital operations, were collected in two permanent field hospitals, where it was contemplated to afford every advantage of our best general hospitals. It appears to me that this arrangement was wise, and must have saved lives.

Amputations were the rule, and in general promised well. I saw but two or three excisions. There were, however, a considerable number of tetanus cases. All under my observation resulted in death. Chloroform was the anaesthetic generally used. I observed no bad results therefrom. I operated but twice: first, an amputation of the leg at the point of election, which was successful; second laryngotomy for oedema glottidis, which was unsuccessful. The larynx and trachea in the latter case were sent to the Army Medical Museum.


Source: Second Extract from a Report of Services, MSHWR 1


1   Barnes, Joseph K., and US Army, Office of the Surgeon General, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, 6 books, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1870, Part. 1, Vol. 1, Appendix, pp. 105 - 106  [AotW citation 19733]


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