From William A. Carrington CSR (M331): Inspection report, dated 10/31/1862, of St. Francis De Sales, Medical College, and Bellevue Hosp.
213 Main St., October 31st 1862
Surgeon E. S. Gaillard, Med'l Director,
I have the honor to report the results of the Inspector of the 3 private Hospitals in Richmond.
1st. The Infirmary of "St. Francis De Sales" is situated on Brook turnpike on the Bacon quarter branch.-
The Buildings consist of a two storied house fronting the street, a similar house about 60 feet in the rear, & a wood one-storied house connecting them. This is of recent construction & being designed exclusively for the sick and wounded of the Texas soldiers (& especially for the 4th Texas Regt.) is called the Texas Ward. Its capacity is 40 & that of the rest of the Hospital 60. This Hospital is owned by the Romish Church & is in charge of "Sisters of Charity" – Dr. D. W. Thomas, a practicing physician in this city is the attending Surgeon – the attendants are sufficient in no. A large spring of water wells up in the yard between the two houses, the water passing through a large refrigerator (sunk in the earth for the purpose of preserving meats, milk, etc.).
A dairy sufficient for all the wants of the house is attached. The condition of the whole Hospital is neat, orderly & quiet.
Report for September: 52 remaining from August. Admitted 74. Rem(aining) 64.
2nd. "The Medical College Hospital" is the infirmary attached to "the Medl College of the State of Va" situated on Marshall St. on the brow of the hill overlooking "the valley." – It is a large (4 story) brick house built regardless of expense with all the appertenances of a first class hospital for comfort & convenience – Its capacity is 100 - & having been transferred to the ownership of the State of Va is managed by two(?) for the state & the faculty of the college – The Medical attendants are the faculty of the college – a Resident physician & resident students.
The hygienic condition & circumstances & general management of the institution is unexceptionable.
The report for Sept. shows 51 Remaining from Aug; 45 admitted during the month & 51 Remaining Sept 30th. – 83 now in the Hosl.
3rd. Bellevue Hospital – situated on Broad street on the brow of Church Hill and surrounded by a large yard – Its capacity is for 40 – The building is not as commodious as the 2 preceeding. Its September Report shows 33 remaining from Aug, 13 admitted during the mo. – 43 remaining at the commencement of October – There are now 3 remaining in the Hosl. It is now fitting up to accommodate officers & men in private quarters with the permission of the Medical Director to charges of $2 per diem – Surgeon Bolton P.A.C.S. is the proprietor & attendant. He is also detailed to attend officers in private quarters. The above institutions were all in existence before the war. They draw no rations, medicines, or medical stores – The government does not pay the rent or the wages of the attendants but in lieu of all this pays $6 per week for each patient; After Nov. 1st they wish $7 per week. The bills are approved monthly by the Surgeon General & paid by the Commisary Department. From the reports it may be supposed that
St. Francis de Sales received monthly from $1500 to 2400
Medical College Hosl received monthly from $2000 to 2500
Bellevue Hospital received monthly from $1000 to 1500
Probably at least $5500 per month
There is a great necessity for such accommodation for sick & wounded officers & soldiers as the well ordered & officers' private Hosls afford. The Hotels & boarding houses are not "maisons de Saule" but forth healthy & charge exorbitant rates for board & extra nursing, The Medical Department of the Army should not by absorbing these accomodations prevent their being turned to this use only, a stern military necessity exists for it. –
It is a fair subject for investigation & discussion for the low making power whether the private enterprise could not be made more available with benefit to the patient & economy to the government. The compensation is not excessive – But the government prescribes the mode of organization & executive management of the Hospital for the army - & we have now many large hospitals fitted with furniture & supplies at great expense officers with officers & an army of attendants some of them employed at great expense & others detailed from the army at the additional expense of weakening the defenses of the country against invasion.
Can it be true economy to pay $7 per week for these sick and wounded when we have had for some time from 2500 to 4000 empty beds here in Richmond, & by their sides we may suppose 200 to 450 detailed nurses – attendants, all idle bayonets – By withdrawing our privates from these institutions we do not diminish the capacity for the sick by one bed, for they will still be in operation, fill a need much felt & can be occupied temporarily by the government in case of exigencies – The forum of military hospitals enjoined by the Government is simple & sufficient & requires only to be well administered to be the best –
I would respectfully recommend that as long as we have an empty bed in the military hospitals that no sick or wounded soldier be sent to these private Hosls at the expense of the C.S.A. That power be given to this effort to the Surgeon in Charge of the Receiving Hosl (General Hospital No. 9) & to the Capt. Of the Corps of ambulances. That the proprietors & managers of these hospitals be informed that they must main(tain) no patient with expense of the C.S. unless on an order from the Medl Director. - & Lastly, that if the private system is not abolished that they send their bills to the Medl Director for comparison with the morning reports of admission &c & for this purpose that a recording clerk ______ a form written so that he may abstract & write down in one form all the morning reports for one month occupying 31 successive lines – thus if adapted with use the Hospitals will act as a check on the monthly reports & ensure quarters necessary.
Your Obedient Servant
Wm. A. Carrington
Surgeon & Inspector of Hosls