From William A. Carrington CSR (M331): Inspection report, dated 11/20/62, of 3rd Alabama Hospital.
Richmond, November 20th, 1862
Surgeon E. S. Gaillard, Medical Director
I have the honour to report that I have this day inspected the 3rd Alabama Hospital on Franklin Street, corner of 21st in the 4 storied brick factory rented by the Financial agent of the State of Alabama from Wm. Robinson at $200 per month, and occupied since April 1st, 1862.
Twenty-first Street is not continued through Church Hill, which rises prominently in the immediate rear of the small yard. The yard contains a small, insufficient Privy, Kitchen, Wood house, and Laundry. On the first floor, partly retained by the proprietor, is an office and two storerooms. On the 2nd is an Apothecary Shop, Mess room (also used as a laundry, and other rooms rented in the vicinity serve as quarters for some of the employees, a large number of whom lodge at their private dwellings. There is no Guard house or dead house. A small building in the yard formerly appropriated to this purpose is used as a stable, and a requisition has been made for lumber to construct a proper dead house.
The capacity of this building is estimated at 166 patients. The Medical Staff consists of Surgeon C. J. R. Clark (in charge), A.S. J. N. Boggs and A.A.S. J. R. Fletcher. The attendants consist of 1 Steward, 20 nurses, 6 Cooks and 6 Laundresses. Allowing the nurses each as Clerk, wardmaster and Apothecary, there is not an excess of the allowance. 1 man is detailed as nurse. The Surgeon admits (what I had surmised(?) from seeing only 10 transfers reported for the month of October from an aggregate of 284) that Par IX General Orders Sept 20th has not been obeyed. Convalescents are retained until sent to their regiments or furloughed, and several enlisted men are kept as nurses without details for that duty on the opinion of the Surgeon in charge that they are useful for field duty.
The Surgeon's duties in regard to requisitions and receipts for Medical supplies, numbering his wards and beds, daily inspections, division of the Hospital among his assistants, Officers of the day, Steward issues, Hospital Records, expenditure of the Hospital fund and preservation of discipline seem to have been observed.
The wardmaster has kept a register of the effects of all patients received, but the Surgeon in charge has not turned over to Capt. C. Morfitt Q.M. the effects of deceased soldiers as directed in a former circular. Capt. M. is at all times in readiness to receive valuable effects and if directed as to do will receive all the property and store it until called for.
The Surgeon General has directed that only valuables be handed over to him. Under this head are included money, pocket books, weapons, daguerrotypes, letter and valuable uniforms. Capt. M. has given all applying to him, all the facilities in his power for transacting their business without delay. I would advise that as soon as possible after the death of any soldier in the Hospital, all the valuable effects be turned over to Capt. Morfitt, unless the legal claimant or his agent shall be on hand to receive them.
In regard to numbering the wards, I recommend that a number of cards be printed on pasteboard with the word WARD, and also a number of large letters A, B, C, D, E, & F principally as few Hospitals have more than this number and also a number of cards (as the blank enclosed from Winder Hospital) to be placed at the head of each bed, and filled up for every patient, and that there be furnished on requisition to each, and all the Hospitals. The wards are generally known as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, &c, and some are marked as above - the beds in some Hospitals are marked on the head board, some on the foot board, some marked on the walls opposite each bed. This little matter will secure uniformity, neatness and order & will prove the truth of Golin's Law: In medicina nihil exigeran cit.
The Surgeon in charge has no rules or regulations framed or posted for the discipline and comfort of the attendants and patients, and requests that a cook be furnished which he will use as required in Par 28 Medical Regulations.
The Hospital fund is expended and in addition, the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Alabama Hospitals have expended the largest part of $20,000, expended form $30,000 appropriated by the State of Alabama. I examined the food prepared and meted out for each patient for the dinner this day and found it not better in quality and preparation or greater in quantity than that of many of our Hospitals which receive no State aid, who keep within the Hospital fund and depend on it entirely. In this Hospital officers are admitted and charged. I recommend that hereafter, unless in emergencies, officers be not admitted entrance in a public Military Hospital, and that the Surgeons in charge be informed by circular that they shall admit no more, transfer those now in their Hospitals, capable of transportation, to some of the excellent private Hospitals (Medl College, St. Francis de Sales, and Bellevue) or to private quarters as the patient may select, there to be attended by some of the Medical staff of the Hospital or the Surgeon detailed for that purpose.
One matron superintends the Laundry and Pantry.
There has been and is now Hospital Gangrene in this Hospital. 4 tents are pitched outside of the enclosure of the Hospital for the reception of such cases - they will now be taken down and turned over to the Q. M. for storage. I saw one case in the Hospital being a return of the Gangrene after several weeks [had made] apparent progress to recovery and resulting from a slight injury originally.
The wards (floors, walls and windows) were in tolerable order - the walls were not whitewashed as often as necessary during the existence of Hospital Gangrene - now and especially it is well to have whitewashing (the best disinfectant remedy we have) done daily over such places as are found to need it. The bedding is sufficient and cleanly, and of a linen material [rather] than supplied by the Purveyor, having been contributed by the Citizens of Alabama or purchased by the furniture(?) agent.
I consider it my duty to report that in none of the elements of comfort or order is this, or its sister Hospital, superior to many of the Military Hospitals, who have no aid or facilities otherwise than that supplied by rations and attendants allowed by the Regulations of the C. S. Army.
Your Obedient Servant,
Wm. A. Carrington
Surgeon & Inspector of Hospitals