From the Confederate States of America, Department of Henrico Collection; Virginia Historical Society Mss3C7604a. Reel 1, Frame 00744
Gen. Hospital No. 13
9th Nov. 1863
The attention of the General Commanding this Department is respectfully requested to the following statements and suggestions - to wit: -
There are several persons now in this hospital, who are in feeble health, confined for political reasons, (they suppose) who profess loyalty to the Confederate Government; or, are willing to take the oath of allegiance. As we can make the capacity of the hospital accommodate the large number of sick sent from Castle Thunder, only by returning the convalescents at a period too early to ensure their entire recovery - many releases occurring among them, necessitating their admission into hospital -, I would respectfully suggest that the class of persons, mentioned above, be permitted to have a hearing before one of the C. S. Commissioners - in order that those who are [page break] worthy may be sent to their home - allowing others, who may become sick, to occupy their beds.
There are also several Confederate soldiers in the hospital who will, in some cases, certainly never be fit for duty of any kind; and in others, the probability is altogether against their ability to return to any duty for a long time to come.
I would respectfully suggest that these cases be examined by a commissioner as to the charges against them, and where the nature of the offence is such that the good of the Government would not suffer thereby, that they be permitted to go before the Medical Board of Examiners, with a view to their discharge from service.
I am prompted to make these statements and suggestions by a desire to render the patients as comfortable as possible. So great has been the number of sick sent us from the Castle for the last ten days that we have been compelled to put some (too many) on the floor. I am well aware that the commanding General is unwilling that such [page break] should be the case - and the plan to reduce the number of sick and increase the accommodation, that is suggested in this letter, is the only one that I have been able to devise, after much consideration. By giving this letter an early consideration, the General commanding will confer a very great favor on the class of patients mentioned and greatly oblige
Your Obt Servant
M. T. Bell, Asst. Surg,
in the absence of Dr. Barton.
Brig - Gen. J. H. Winder,