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Rules for Preserving the Health of the
REPORT OF THE U. S. SANITARY
PUBLISHED AT THE REQUEST OF THE SANITARY
THE members of the Sanitary
Commission ordered by the President of the United States, and acting under the
direction of the Secretary of War, in co-operation with the Army Medical Bureau,
to secure by all possible means the health and efficiency of our troops now in
the field, and to prevent unnecessary disease and suffering, do most earnestly
and affectionately request their brethren of the volunteer and militia to adopt
and carry out the following " RULES FOR PRESERVING THE HEALTH OF THE SOLDIER."
They are derived from the highest authority and the largest experience of
military and medical men ; and it is believed that, if followed with the
intelligence and honesty of purpose which characterize the American soldier,
they will save the lives of thousands of brave men who would be otherwise lost
to the service of their country.
They are addressed alike to
officers and privates, inasmuch as the latter are liable to promotion, and upon
their officers devolves the responsibility of securing their health, safety, and
comfort. They will be found in no instance to conflict with the "Army
Regulations," by which all ranks are governed, and with which every good soldier
should be familiar.
It is absolutely necessary, for
the sake of humanity and the efficiency of the army, that every man laboring
under any physical infirmity which is liable to unfit him for bearing without
injury the fatigues and hardships of a soldier's life in the field, should be
promptly discharged from the service by his commanding officer on a surgeon's
certificate of disability. (Army Regulations; par. 159-167, and 1134, 1135,
It is the duty of every good
soldier who is conscious of any such disease or defect, which may have been
overlooked on inspection, to report himself to the surgeon for advice.
In case of discharge, means are
provided for his prompt payment and conveyance to his home.
Every officer and soldier should
be carefully vaccinated with fresh vaccine matter, unless already marked by
small-pox ; and in all cases where there is any doubt as to the success of the
operation it should be repeated at once.
"Good vaccine matter will be kept
on hand by timely requisition on the Surgeon-General." (General Regulations,
par. 1105, 1134.)
Medical officers are earnestly
advised to make themselves familiar with the " Revised Regulations
for the Medical Department of the
Army," a copy of which should be obtained by application to the Surgeon-General.
They will thus learn the proper modes of securing supplies of medicines,
instruments, and hospital stores, and rules for official conduct under all
The articles of food composing
the rations issued by the United States Commissary Department have been proved,
by sound experience, to be those best calculated for the food of the soldier.
The amount allowed for each man
is greater in quantity than the similar allowance for any European soldier. If
he understands his duties and manages well, any commissary of subsistence can
save from 15 to 30 per cent. out of the rations furnished by Government, and
with the money thus saved, fresh vegetables, butter, milk, etc., may be
When the surgeon considers it
"necessary for the health of the troops, the commanding officer, on his
recommendation, may order issues of fresh vegetables, pickled onions, sauer-kraut,
or molasses, with an extra quantity of rice and vinegar." (Army Regulations,
Dessicated vegetables and dried
apples may be obtained on similar authority.
When the rations furnished for
the troops are damaged, or in any way unfit for use, the Army Regulations
require the commanding officer to appoint a "Board of Survey," composed of
competent officers, by which they may be condemned, in which case, good
provisions are issued in their stead. (Par. 926.)
Soldiers should always eat at
regular hours, as far as the exigencies of service permit. Neglect of regular
hours for meals tends to disorder the digestion, and to invite diarrhea.
Each company should have its
regularly detailed cook and assistant, who should always, on a march, be allowed
to ride in one of the wagons, when practicable, inasmuch as their services are
more necessary for the health of the men than in the ranks, and they are often
required to cook at night the rations for the next day, while the men are
sleeping. The men should always willingly procure wood and water for the cooks,
whether detailed for such service or otherwise.
"Bread and soup are the great
items of a soldier's diet in every situation : to make them well is therefore an
essential part of his instruction. Those great scourges of a camp life, the
scurvy and diarrhea, more frequently result from a want of skill in cooking than
from the badness of the ration, or from any other cause whatever. Officers in
command, and more immediately regimental officers, will therefore give a strict
attention to this vital branch of interior economy." (Winfield Scott.)
The best mode of cooking fresh
meat is to make a stew of it, with the addition of such vegetables as can be
obtained. It may also be boiled; but roasting, broiling, or frying, in camp, are
wasteful and unhealthy modes of cooking.
" In camp or barracks the company
officers must visit the kitchen daily, and inspect the kettles. * * * The
commanding officer of the post or regiment will make frequent inspections of the
kitchens and messes. * * * The greatest
care will be observed in washing
and scouring the cooking utensils: those made of brass or copper should be lined
with tin. * * * The bread must be thoroughly baked, and not eaten until it is
cold. The soup must be boiled at least five hours, and the vegetables always
cooked sufficiently to be perfectly soft and digestible." (Regulations, par.
111, 112, 113.) Medical officers should frequently examine the articles of food
issued to the men, inspect and taste it when cooked, and scrutinize the goodness
of the cooking, and the condition, as to safety and cleanliness, of cooking
Spirits should only be issued to
the men after unusual exertion, fatigue, or exposure, and on the discretion of
Those men who drink spirits
habitually, or who commit excess in its use, are the first to fail when strength
and endurance are required, and they are less likely to recover from wounds and
Water should be always drank in
moderation, especially when the body is heated. The excessive thirst which
follows violent exertion, or loss of blood, is unnatural, and is not quenched by
large and repeated draughts ; on the contrary, these are liable to do harm by
causing bowel complaints. Experience teaches the old soldier that the less he
drinks when on a march the better, and that he suffers less in the end by
controlling the desire to drink, however urgent.
There is no more frequent source
of disease, in camp life, than inattention to the calls of nature. Habitual
neglect of nature's wants will certainly lead to disease and suffering. A trench
should always be dug, and provided with a pole, supported by uprights, at a
properly selected spot at a moderate distance from camp, as soon as the locality
of the latter has been determined upon ; one should be provided for the officers
and another for the men. The strictest discipline in regard to the performance
of these duties is absolutely essential to health, as well as to decency. Men
should never be allowed to void their excrement elsewhere than in the regularly
established sinks. In a well regulated camp the sinks are visited daily by a
police party, and a layer of earth thrown in, and lime and other disinfecting
agents employed to prevent them from becoming offensive and unhealthy. It is the
duty of the surgeon to call the attention of the commanding officer to any
neglect of this important item of camp police, and also to see that the
shambles, where the cattle are slaughtered, are not allowed to become offensive,
and that all offal is promptly buried at a sufficient distance from camp, and
covered by at least four feet c'' earth. (Regulations, par. 505, 513.)
Except when impossible for
military reasons, the site of a camp should be selected for the dryness of its
soil, its proximity to fresh water of good quality, and shelter from high winds.
It should be on a slight declivity, in order to facilitate drainage, and not in
the vicinity of swamps or stagnant water. A trench, at least eighteen inches
deep, should be dug around each tent, to secure dryness, and these should lead
into other main drains or gutters, by which the water will be conducted away
from the tents.
Sleeping upon damp ground causes
dysentery and fevers. A tarpaulin or India rubber cloth is a good protection ;
straw or hay are desirable, when fresh and frequently renewed ; fresh hemlock,
pine, or cedar boughs make a healthy bed. When occupied for any time, a flooring
of planks should be secured for the tents, if possible, but this must be taken
up, and the earth exposed to the sun, at least every week.
The tents for the men should be
placed as far from each other as the " Regulations" and the dimensions of the
camp permit (never less than two paces); crowding is always injurious to health.
(Regulations, p. 508.) No refuse, slops, or excrement should be allowed to be
deposited in the trenches for drainage around the tents. Each tent should be
thoroughly swept out daily, and the materials used for bedding aired and sunned,
if possible ; the canvas should be raised freely at its base, and it should be
kept open as much as possible during the daytime, in dry weather, in order to
secure ventilation, for tents are liable to become very unhealthy if not
constantly and thoroughly aired. Free ventilation should also be secured at
night by opening and raising the base of the tent to as great an extent as the,
weather will permit.
The crowding of men in tents for
sleeping is highly injurious to health, and will always be prevented by a
commanding officer who is anxious for the welfare of his men. Experience has
proved that sleeping beneath simple sheds of canvas, or even in the open air, is
less dangerous to health than overcrowding in tents.
No more than five men should ever
be allowed to sleep in a common army tent of the kind most commonly in use.
The men should sleep in their
shirts and drawers, removing the shoes, stockings, and outer clothing, except
when absolutely impracticable. Sleeping in the clothes is never so refreshing,
and is absolutely unhealthy.
The men should never be allowed
to sleep in wet clothing, or under a wet blanket, if it can be possibly avoided
; and, after being wetted, all articles of clothing and blankets should be
thoroughly dried and sunned before being used. After a thorough wetting there is
no serious danger as long as the body is kept in motion ; but the wet clothes
should be replaced by dry shirt and drawers before sleeping, otherwise there is
danger of talking cold, and of other grave forms of disease. If the men are
deficient in the necessary supply of clothing for a change, the surgeon should
report the fact to the commanding officer.
Camp fires should be allowed
whenever admissible ; they are useful for purifying the air, for preventing
annoyance from insect, for drying clothing, and for security against chilliness
during the night.
The under-clothing should be
washed and thoroughly dried once a week.
The men should bathe, or wash the
whole body with water, at least once a week, and oftener when
practicable, but the feet should
be bathed daily, and the stockings washed whenever soiled.
The hair and beard should be
closely cropped. If vermin make their appearance, apply promptly to the surgeon
for means to destroy them. Extra soap may be procured on recommendation of the
It is the immediate duty of
non-commissioned officers in command of squads to see that these, and all other
precautions required for the health of the men, are strictly carried out under
the orders of the company and medical officers.
When bowel complaints are
prevalent, be especially observant of the rules for preserving health, and apply
to the surgeon for a flannel bandage to be worn constantly around the belly.
It is wise and prudent, when ague
and fevers are prevalent, that every man should take a dose of quinine bitters
at least once in twenty-four hours. This will surely serve as a safeguard
against an attack of disease ; it has been practiced in Florida and elsewhere
with undoubted benefit.
The men should not be
over-drilled. It is likely to beget disgust for drill, and to defeat its object.
Three drills a day, of one hour each, for squads, and a proportionate length of
time, when sufficiently advanced, for battalion drill, is more profitable than
double the time similarly occupied.
When practicable, amusements,
sports, and gymnastic exercises should be favored among the men, such as
running, leaping, wrestling, fencing, bayonet exercise, cricket, base-ball,
foot-ball, quoits, etc., etc.
On a march take especial care
of the feet. Bathe them every night before sleeping, not in the morning. Select
a shoe of stout, soft leather, with a broad sole, and low heel.
Prefer woolen socks. If the feet
begin to chafe, rub the socks with common soap where they come in contact with
the sore places.
An old soldier drinks and eats as
little as possible while marching. The recruit, on the contrary, is continually
munching the contents of his haversack, and using his canteen ; it is a bad
habit, and causes more suffering in the end.
The commencement of the day's
march should be prompt. Nothing tires the men so much as hanging around a camp,
waiting for the word to start.
It is a great comfort to the men
to halt for ten or fifteen minutes at the end of the first half hour ; many,
about this time, require to attend to the calls of nature. After this there
should be a halt of ten or fifteen minutes at the end of every hour, with a rest
of twenty minutes in the middle of the day for lunch. A longer halt than this
stiffens the men and renders subsequent marching difficult. The best rule is to
get through the day's march, and rest in camp, if possible, by two o'clock P.M.
The best pace to adopt, in
marching, is from 90 to 100 steps (of 28 inches each) to the minute; this will
give a rate of from 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 miles to the hour.
In continuous marches, the
leading companies should be alternated each day, as it is always less fatiguing
to be in advance.
At the close of a day's march
every man should bathe his feet, and wash his stockings, and get his meal before
lying down to rest, removing and changing the under-clothing, if wet.
Whenever, on a march, facilities
of transportation are available, it is wise to allow the men to put their
knapsacks into the wagons ; this is an immense saving of strength, especially to
troops unaccustomed to marching.
When there is liability to
attack, and when the troops are going into battle, this measure is particularly
recommended, as the men, under these circumstances, are liable to lose their
knapsacks, overcoats, and blankets.
In action, the proper position in
which to place a wounded or fainting man is flat upon his back, with the head
very slightly raised.
The most urgent want of a wounded
man is water ; if a canteen or cup is not at hand, bring it in a hat or any
As a rule, cuts, even when
extensive, are less dangerous to life than they seem; the contrary is true of
bayonet and bullet wounds.
Whenever blood is flowing freely
from a wound by spirts or jets, there is immediate danger, and, if the wound is
situated in one of the limbs, a stout handkerchief or band should be promptly
tied loosely around it, between the wound and the heart; a drum-stick, bayonet,
ramrod, or jack-knife is to be then inserted between the skin and the bandage,
and twisted around until the strangulation of the limb stops the flow of blood,
and it should be held thus until the surgeon arrives.
In a less urgent case, or where
the wound is differently situated, pressure applied directly to its surface, and
kept up steadily, will often save life.
Wounded men should always be
handled with extreme care, especially if bones are broken. The medical
assistants are always provided with spirits and anodynes.
It is by no means necessary that
a bullet should always be extracted; they often remain in the body, and do
little or no harm, much less, in fact, than might be done in attempts to remove
WASHINGTON, July 12, 1861.
W. H. VAN BUREN, M.D.
Adopted and approved by the
Commission at a meeting held at Washington, July 12, 1861.
HENRY W. BELLOWS,
Prof. A. D. BACHE,
ELISHA HARRIS, M.D.,
GEORGE W. CULLUM, U. S. ARMY,
ALEXANDER E. SHIRAS, U. S. ARMY, ROBERT C. WOOD, M.D., U. S. ARMY, WILLIAM H.
VAN BUREN, M.D., WOLCOTT GIBBS, M.D.,
SAMUEL G. HOWE, M.D.,
CORNELIUS R. AGNEW, M.D.,
J. S. NEWBERRY, M.D.,
GEORGE T. STRONG,
FRED. LAW OLMSTED,
[Entered according to Act of
Congress, in the Year 1861, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the
District Court for the Southern District of New York.]
A STRANGE STORY.
SIR E. BULWER LYTTON.
ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN M'LENAN.
Printed from the Manuscript and
early Proof–sheets purchased by the Proprietors of "Harper's Weekly."
I HAVE given a sketch of the
outward woman of Mrs. Colonel Poyntz. The inner woman was a recondite mystery,
deep as that of the sphinx, whose features her own resembled. But between the
outward and the inward woman there is ever a third woman—the conventional
woman—such as the whole human being appears to the world—always mantled,
I am told that the fine people of
London do not recognize the title of "Mrs. Colonel." If that be true, the fine
people of London must be clearly in the wrong, for no people in the universe
could be finer than the fine people of Abbey Hill; and they considered their
sovereign had as good a right to the title of Mrs. Colonel as the Queen of
England has to that of "our Gracious Lady." But Mrs. Poyntz herself never
assumed the title of Mrs. Colonel ; it never appeared on her cards any more than
the title of " Gracious Lady" appears on the cards which convey the invitation
that a Lord Steward or Lord Chamberlain is commanded by her Majesty to issue. To
titles, indeed, Mrs. Poyntz evinced no superstitious reverence. Two peeresses
related to her, not distantly, were in the habit of paying her a yearly visit,
which lasted two or three days. The Hill considered these visits an honor to its
eminence. Mrs. Poyntz never seemed to esteem them an honor to herself; never
boasted of them ; never sought to show off her grand relations, nor put herself
the least out of the way to receive them. Her mode of life was free from
ostentation. She had the advantage of being a few hundreds a year richer than
any other inhabitant of the Hill ; but she did not devote her superior resources
to the invidious exhibition of superior splendor. Like a wise sovereign, the
revenues of her exchequer were applied to the benefit of her subjects, and not
to the vanity of egotistical parade. As no one else on the Hill kept a carriage,
she declined to keep one. Her entertainments were simple, but numerous. Twice a
week she received the Hill, and was genuinely at home to it. She contrived to
make her parties proverbially agreeable. The refreshments were of the same kind
as those which the poorest of her old maids of honor might proffer ; but they
were better of their kind, the best of their kind—the best tea, the best
lemonade, the best cakes. Her rooms had an air of comfort which was peculiar to
them. They looked like rooms accustomed to receive, and receive in a friendly
way ; well warmed, well lighted, card-tables and piano in the place that made
cards and music inviting. On the walls a few old family portraits, and three or
four other pictures, said to be valuable, and certainly pleasing — two Watteau's,
a Canaletti, a Weenix—plenty of easy-chairs and settees covered with a cheerful
chintz. In the arrangement of the furniture generally, an indescribable careless
elegance. She herself was studiously plain in dress, more conspicuously free
from jewelry and trinkets than any married lady on the Hill. But I have heard
from those who were authorities on such a subject, that she was never seen in a
dress of the last year's fashion. She adopted the mode as it came out, just
enough to show that she was aware it was out; but with a sober reserve, as much
as to say, " I adopt the fashion as far as it suits myself; I do not permit the
fashion to adopt me." In short, Mrs. Colonel Poyntz was sometimes rough,
sometimes coarse, always masculine; and yet, somehow or other, masculine in a
womanly way ; but she was never vulgar, because never affected. It was
impossible not to allow that she was a thorough gentlewoman, and she could do
things that lower other gentlewomen without any loss of dignity. Thus she was an
admirable mimic, certainly in itself the least lady-like condescension of humor.
But when she mimicked, it was with so tranquil a gravity, or so royal a
good-humor, that one could only say, "What talents for society dear Mrs. Colonel
has !" As she was a gentlewoman emphatically, so the other colonel, the
he-colonel, was emphatically a gentleman ; rather shy, but not cold ; hating
trouble of every kind, pleased to seem a cipher in his own house. If the sole
study of Mrs. Colonel had been to make her husband comfortable, she could not
have succeeded better than by bringing friends about him and then taking them
off his hands. Colonel Poyntz, the he-colonel, had seen in his youth actual
service; but had retired from his profession many years ago, shortly after his
marriage. He was a younger brother of one of the principal squires in the
county; inherited the house he lived in, with some other valuable property in
and about L—, from an uncle; was considered a good landlord; and popular in Low
Town, though he never interfered in its affairs. He was punctiliously neat in
his dress; a thin youthful figure, crowned with a thick youthful wig. He never
seemed to read any thing but the newspapers and the Meteorological Journal; was
supposed to be the most weather-wise man in all L-. He had another intellectual
predilection—whist. But in that he had less reputation for wisdom. Perhaps it
requires a rarer combination of mental faculties to win an odd trick than to
divine a fall in the glass. For the rest, the he-colonel, many years older than