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    Description

    Major General John A. McClernand Letter Signed "John A. McClernand." Two pages of a bifolium, 7.75" x 9.75", "Before Vicksburgh"; February 25, 1863. A letter addressed to Wisconsin Governor Edward Soloman and signed by McClernand, regarding the sanitary conditions of the Army and vacancies in the Wisconsin Medical Department. It reads, in full:

    "The low and wet situation of the camp of the Federal Army before Vicksburgh [sic], together with the exposure of the men to drenching, and almost incessant rains, and the unavoidable fatigue they have encountered, in throwing up levees to shield themselves from inundation, and to make roads for the transportation of supplies, and in enlarging the canal here, has caused considerable mortality, and still more sickness. Physicians, rather than surgeons, are needed to diminish the evil. In many instances, surgeons have been sent away with the sick, on boats; in others, they are retained in Hospitals at Memphis and other distant places; in others, they have resigned, or are useless; and all this, while the former complement of Surgeons is diminished by the abolition of Surgeons of Artillery Regiments and the emergency requires an increase above any former authorized member. I have already called the attention of the General Commanding this Department to this subject and suggested alternatively the expediency of calling on the Governers of States, for additional Surgeons, or rather Physicians, if they cannot be furnished by the Federal Authorities in time, and, it may be that he has anticipated this communication. Artillery, Cavalry, and Pioneer Companies, and Signal Corps are not allowed Medical Officers, but must be supplied from the Infantry, according to late orders from the War Department. But under existing circumstances, a Surgeon for at least every two of such companies, is needed. The following vacancies exist in Regiments from your State: 23d Infantry, One Surgeon, which should be filled immediately. The full complement of such officers should always be kept up, and even more than that complement is required under existing circumstances, to meet the increased demand for Medical aid, resulting from increased sickness. It might not be amiss, also, to send a supply of Sanitary Stores, including dried and green fruit, [illegible], onions & potatoes."

    John A. McClernand (1812-1900) was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln and raised his own brigade in Illinois when the Civil War began. He briefly served under Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Belmont and at Fort Donelson. However, the relationship between the two men deteriorated during the Vicksburg Campaign, with McClernand calling into question Grant's conduct and drinking habits. McClernand became even more embittered at the conditions in which his troops were subjected to while stationed at Young's Point on the Mississippi River. The men were not issued tents, and soldiers were forced to live in holes covered by tarps. Due to the heavy rainstorms, the ground became a virtual mud pit, and the men, already exhausted from previous engagements, contracted smallpox and other diseases by the thousands. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: Flattened mail folds, with light toning at the edges. Darker toning on verso. The pages are nearly completely separated at the centerfold. There are a few small tears at the edges where the folds created weaknesses. Else very good.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 166

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