Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/103

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History of Chimborazo Hospital.

have to be sent back to Richmond for admittance to hospitals before his army could proceed.

That grand old Roman and Chief, Surgeon-General S. P. Moore, at once went to see Dr. James B. McCaw, of Richmond (who was not then in the medical service, having enlisted in a cavalry company,) and as the result of conference held and at the suggestion of Dr. McCaw, Chimborazo Hill was selected as the most favorable site, and early in 1862 the hospital was opened and in one week two thousand soldiers were admitted, and in two weeks' time there were in all four thousand.

The surgeon-general had only twenty-five hundred beds when General Johnston made his report. Work was at once commenced, and one hundred and fifty well-constructed and ventilated buildings were erected, each one hundred feet in length, thirty feet in width, and one story high, though not all built at one time, but as needed to furnish comfortable quarters for the sick and wounded. Five large hospitals or divisions were organized : thirty wards to each division. These dimensions allowed of two rooms of cots on each side of central aisle; the capacity of each ward from forty to sixty. The buildings were separated from each other by wide alleys or streets, ample spaces for drives or walks, and a wide street around entire camp or hospital. The hospitals presented the appearance of a large town, imposing and attractive, with its alignment of buildings kept whitened with lime, streets and alleys clean, and with its situation on such an elevated point it commanded a grand, magnificent and pleasing view of the surrounding country for many miles.

The divisions of this immense hospital were five, or five hospitals in one, and five surgeons, each one of the five in charge of a division; also a number of assistants and acting assistant surgeons (forty-five to fifty), each in charge of several wards or buildings, and subject to surgeons of divisions, and all subject to Surgeon James B. McCaw, in charge of executive head.

With natural drainage, the best conceivable on the east, south and west; good water supply; five large ice houses; Russian bath house; cleanliness and excellent system of removal of wastes, the best treatment, comforts and result in a military hospital in times of war were secured.