Brooks, W.T./ Theodore Read document/ Sickness in regiment
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Brooks, William T.H. (1821-70), Major General, USA (OH). Participated in the Peninsula campaign, Seven Days, Antietam (WIA), Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Cold Harbor.

Theodore Read (1835-65), Brevet Brigadier General, USA (OH). Killed in action on 4/6/65 at High Bridge, VA.

The lot consists of two letters written by Samuel Haven (Surgeon, US Volunteers Medical Staff) and Henry James (3rd Vermont Infantry, Surgeon in charge of the Gettysburg battlefield hospitals), with endorsements on James's letter by Brooks and Read.

In the first letter Brigade aide Surgeon S. R. Haven writes to the Surgeon of the 3rd VT., Henry James, pertaining to the increase of sickness in the Regiment:

"Hd. Qrs. Smith's Division, Camp Griffin, Jan. 10th 1862,

Sir, You are requested to report to me the probable cause in your opinion for the remarkable increase of sickness in your Regiment during the last day or time..."

In his response to Haven's letter, James writes:

"Camp Griffin, Jany. 10th 1862

Sir, Yours requesting a report of the cause, in my opinion, of the remarkable  increase of sickness in our Regiment, is just recurred.

In reply I have to say that on the 7th our men went on a forage expedition on which occasion they marched some twelve or fourteen miles. 

On the 8th they were sent off on pickett duty. The night of the 8th was very rainy so that those on the reserve were unable to sleep. Many of the men in consequence came back completely exhausted, others were foot sore, lame, or had colds, and were excused from Brigade drill, it not being safe, in my opinion, (in view of the prevalence of Diphtheria in our Regimen) for them to drill all the afternoon in deep mud...

In my opinion as a medical officer, much sickness would be prevented, by having as a rule, those men who have been on picket duty, excused from all drills the next day."

In his response to James's recommendation Genl. Brooks writes:

"There would be much sickness saved if the war was over and those men sent to their homes...the troops are here for war purposes. It is not becoming a Surgeon to minimize ineffiency ...W.T.H. Brooks, B.G. Comdg. Brig."

Following is a note from Read:

"Colonel, In forwarding the above through you I am directed by Genl. Brooks to inquire whether the order in regards to providing shoes for your Regiment has been complied with...Theodore Read, A.A.G."

Interesting letters depicting the difference of attitude towards the harsh condition the soldiers had to face during the war between the surgeons and the officers.

Very Fine.

  • Item #: 95/62

Brooks, W.T./ Theodore Read document/ Sickness in regiment

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