Dr. David Warman
April 4 - Sept. 20, 1864
was born in 1836 and died in 1918. He was a medical doctor in Trenton,
New Jersey between 1862 to 1912, except for the war service in 1864.
document in Word format]
We remained here until the spring of 1864 when the government advertised for
additional surgical help. I went to Philadelphia and contracted with Dr.
McCormack who was then Medical Director of the U.S. Army for the Department
of Virginia and North Carolina, and ordered to report to Dr. M'Clellan,
Surgeon in charge of the Hampton and Chesapeake Hospitals near Fortress Monroe,
later known as the Hospitals at Fort Monroe.
Contract Surgeon in Civil War, 1864
Accordingly, on April 4, 1864, I started for the seat of war as a Contract
Surgeon and was assigned to duty at Chesapeake Hospital to which none but
commissioned officers were admitted. So we had as patients Majors Generals down
to Second Lieutenants. The non-commissioned officers and privates were all taken
to Hampton Hospital across Hampton Creek. They were all brought down the James
River on hospital transports from General Grant's Headquarters in Front of
Petersburg, Virginia where General Lee's beleaguered army was facing the Union
Chesapeake Hospital before the war was a Female Seminary where the First
Families of Virginia sent their daughters to be educated. After the Rebel
General Magruder burned Hampton and was driven out of that territory, the
Seminary building was used as a hospital and the officers occupied the rooms of
the young ladies. Then we had two "Star Wards" outside the Seminary
building where we put our convalescents and tents along the Bay -- or Hampton
Roads as it was called -- where we placed our sloughing and erysipelous wounded.
There were five surgeons on duty here. When full, we could accommodate 500
patients and very many times we [doctors] had 100 of them a piece of sick and
The government only paid us $100 per month for our services and we certainly
earned our money. The medical staff had their quarters in what was known as the
Brown Cottage. [This cottage] was the residence of the President of the Seminary
before the War and stood directly facing the wrecked Rebel War vessel, "Merimac,"
which was sunk by the "Monitor" in a naval encounter during the Civil
War in Hampton Roads.
During my service there, I kept a Diary of events that occurred which I came
across. On reference thereto, I find that I made a mistake in regards to the
"Medical Director" of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina
whose name was McCormack instead of Campbell as I have previously recorded
My Diary from which I now quote says:
"Arrived at Fortress Monroe at 7:00AM and went directly to Dr.
McCormack's office. After some delay, was ordered to report at Chesapeake
Hospital where I arrived at 12:00 PM and was conducted to officers quarters by
Dr. Bayles, the Executive Officer and introduced to the staff and took up my
quarters with Dr. Lampson. The servant put me up a bed. I unpacked my belongings
and everything looks like living.
'Tis indeed a loving spot. I suppose I may as well like it. At any rate it's
a good deal more than I expected when I entered Uncle Sam's service. Engaged
board with the Mess at $4 per week. (We contract surgeons had to pay for our
food out of our $100 per month. We had all the comforts of city life in the
Brown Cottage, as it was called, such as bath tub and shower bath. We had a
large room and a good spring bed.) I began to feel almost at home.
The Mess are pleasant fellows and two of them have their wives with them.
Wish I had mine! Had a good night's sleep and breakfasted at 7:30AM. Then went
with Dr. Frick to Wards in Hospital and was assigned to Wards 8 and 9 for the
present. Not many sick or wounded left; many had been lately sent off to
Northern Hospitals. Wrote letters to wife and brother Harrison telling them of
my safe arrival and pleasant environments. Attended an amputation performed by
Dr. Garretson of Philadelphia, who was one of the Medical Inspectors on a visit
to the Hospital.
There was quite a library of books at the cottage, both miscellaneous and
medical. The weather was dull and rainy. I had not much to do so I went to the
Library and was soon in the midst of "Les Miserables" to drive away
the blues. Chatted awhile with our Mess: Dr. Young, Dr. Rush and Gregory and was
off to bed at an early hour and thus passed my first day at Hospital."
"The next day was the Sabbath and a lovely morning, the first time I
have seen old Sol's rays since I came here but he shines out splendidly
refreshing. Visited my Wards and found two new cases. The rest of the men
getting on well: one gunshot wound through the chest, rib broken, etc. Then I
went to the Soldiers Cemetery where is deposited daily all that's mortal of many
poor fellows. There is scarcely an hour but we hear the muffled drum and fife
and a volley fired over the graves. An order from General Butler forbids the
removal of any bodies until cold weather comes on for sanitary reasons.
From there, I went to a meeting in the Guard House of prison. Two ministers
addressed the meetings and there was singing and prayer. Thence to the Chapel, a
neat little building with a reading room attached with books, tracks on
newspapers. A chaplain preached a whole sermon for us upon the virtue of the
soul. The whole sermon was forcible, practical and earnest. After the service,
attended amputation of arm, upper third, performed again by Dr. Garretson.
In PM went to Sunday School and Bible class. The chaplain had a class of 24
men and a class of 5 boys and Mrs. Bayles a class of three girls. This comprised
the Sunday School. However, we had quite a pleasant time together. The chapel
was built in Boston, a portable one, and brought here and put up at the expense
of some Christian men there. It was comfortably seated with an aisle in the
center and provided with a melodeon. Mrs. Bayles plays and sings. The platform
is nicely carpeted and has a model little pulpit. I enjoyed my first Sabbath
here much better than I expected or anticipated under the circumstances. The
Sabbath was more generally observed than I supposed it would or could be where
all is confusion and excitement.
I have always made it a practice whenever away from home to go to church and
Sabbath School, and thus do work for God as well as humanity. This ends my first
Sabbath at Chesapeake Hospital, Fortress Monroe."
Quotations from Diary
June 6th: A beautiful morning. I arose at 6:00AM and took a walk on the
beach. Visited my Wards after breakfast. A few more cases were brought in
yesterday, principally diarrhea patients. Visited Fort Monroe in the PM. Called
on Lieut. Hawk and wife, residents of Morrisville and old friends. The lieut.
was connected with the 3rd Pennsylvania, heavy artillery [who were] on duty at
the Fort. He showed me around the Fort - went over the bastions, redoubts and
ramparts. It is a splendid place inside.
The officers have splendid quarters, especially that of Major General Butler
who has his headquarters here. Took tea with the Lieut. Hawk and wife. In the
evening, listened to the magnificent band of the Fort. Was so much interested in
everything here that I was too late for the last car that ran from the Fort to
Hampton and came near having trouble. I was about to leave the Fort at the outer
gate when a sentinel shouted, "Who goes there?" and pointed a bayonet
to my breast and demanded the countersign. Then I had to go back to officers in
command and get the countersign before I was let outside the stone walls of the
No deaths in our Wards or operations, all patients doing well. Some four
hundred transferred North from here and Hampton. However, more expected every
hour. Went to bed early but was roused up two or three times to look after cases
of secondary hemorrhage from wounded men.
June 7th: On the following day after attending to my duties here, [I] visited
Hampton Hospital. Here [I] saw several cases of gangrene and don't want to see
any more like them. (We did not have any antiseptics in those days that amounted
to much, such as Bromine ).
This day sent away nearly all of the men from my Wards.
One of the Staff, when I went to Chesapeake [Hospital], was a Turk by the
name of Dr. Caloosdian who had his wife with him. He came to this country to
translate the Bible into the language of his countrymen. While here, he studied
medicine and graduated from one of our medical colleges. At the suggestion of
his Preceptor, he applied for and got a commission as Contract Surgeon and was
sent here. But like a good many of these doctors who went South as surgeons, he
was entirely unfit for the duties required. As an example of this unfitness, he
would visit the officers in the Wards and request them to put out their tongues,
then he would feel of the pulse and order the nurse to give them fever compound
[and] Cathartic pills all around. He became so unpopular that the patients would
lock the doors of their rooms and would not admit him. He only stayed a few days
after I arrived at the Hospital and was sent down to Jamestown by the government
to look after a Negro camp there [full] of refuges from the south land. Dr.
Young, another of the staff, left for Norfolk and I took his place. He is going
to Portsmouth Hospital. [Refer to August 6th entry].
The weather is delightful - cool and pleasant. Had strawberries for tea.
June 8th: Don't feel good. Have an attack of the Blues and diarrhea both
together - puts me below par. A letter from my beloved wife, full of news from
home, cheered me up. The weather is delightfully cool and pleasant. Had
strawberries for tea. No deaths or operations in our Wards. All patients doing
well. Some 400 transferred from here and Hampton to Northern hospitals to make
room for others daily expected. Went to bed early but was roused-up twice to see
emergency calls at the Hospital. However, it was not as bad as practice at home
when quite frequently I would have to hitch my horse and go several miles in the
country through cold and storm and kept out the live long night.
June 9th: Dr. Young went with me through his Wards before leaving for good.
There were not many patients left. However, I did not have to wait long before
we received a new supply of patients. I was busy from early morning until
10:30PM at night making diagnosis and bed ticketing them and attending to the
most urgent cases. Got letter from wife - so glad to hear from home. Commenced
to write letter in reply but was disturbed by a call from hospital. Retired at
11:00PM very tired and sleepy. Was aroused again, just at day-break, to see a
sick man to use [a] catheter. Man had a perennial abscess which pressed upon the
urethra to such an extent that he could not urinate. At same time, saw two cases
-- serious -- of typhoid fever. Was very busy all day prescribing, dressing
wounds until 10:30PM. Patients getting along as well as could be expected.
Honest Old Abe renominated for President. No war news of special interest.
Went to bed at 10:30PM, tired as a dog but thankful that I am in the possession
of one of earth's greatest blessings: Health.
[June 10th:] Arose the next morning with the sun after a very refreshing
sleep. The weather continues remarkably cool for summer time - almost need an
overcoat. Another boatload of sick and wounded came in. We only received a few
officers. The balance were officers in Hampton Hospital. Have gotten my Wards in
good working order again. Finished letter from wife - nothing of importance has
transpired. The day had been almost as cold as November.
Did not sleep much. Disturbed by the nurses running after the doctors. Two
cases of secondary hemorrhage. The one poor fellow had to loose some more of his
arm before the bleeding could be arrested. In the PM, visited the soldiers. Saw
the grave of Capt. Lawrence of Belvidere who died in the Hospital a few days
before I came.
Hundreds of others we have buried here who have laid down their lives in
defense of our rights and the national honor. Also visited the ruins of the old
town of Hampton and got some relics of what was said to be the oldest grave yard
June 14th: Almost cold enough for winter. Had some very sick to attend to.
Just as I commenced to go the rounds of my Wards, I received notice to attend a
consultation of the staff of surgeons. Man had a wound of lower leg from minnie
rifle ball. Secondary hemorrhage had resulted at three different times. We
decided that the only chance for life was amputation which was accordingly done,
and the life saved. These "minnie" balls make an ugly wound.
No news of importance from the seat of War. Grant's Army said to be moving.
June 15th : Feels more like summer. Had some trouble with a man feigning
fits. Cases all doing well. There were a few more additions of officers. Went to
Old Point in the afternoon and saw them drill at the Fort. It was interesting,
especially the firing of the big guns at a target at the close. When I reached
my quarters, got a package and letter from wife by express. How I did enjoy both
especially the cakes. After all, there is no one who knows how to please a
husband so well as a good wife such as I have. God bless them!
June 16th: Lather kind of weather. Hot as Egypt! Don't feel well. Had slight
diarrhea and symptoms of chills. In the evening took a stroll along the beach.
Had intended taking a sail on the bay but there was not enough of a breeze. 'Tis
indeed a lovely light moon evening. We always get a cool breeze from the bay.
Indeed its always pleasant here evenings if the day be ever so hot and we could
never burn a light in our rooms after night without shutting door and windows.
The only thing that interferes with making this place a paradise is the pesky
plaguy mosquitoes that are very annoying. They beat the Jersey variety all to
June 17th: Arose at an early hour and was to see my patients before breakfast
however not any of them required attention. After breakfast went to Old Point
with friend Johnson a member of the "Christian Commission" that did so
much good work during the war and took the boat for Norfolk. We visited
Portsmouth and the ruins of Gosport Navy Yard which was burned by the Rebels.
Also, went on board a man-of-war lying out in Hampton Roads after which Mr.
Johnson left me. I called Capt. Charlie W. Butz from Warren County, NJ an old
acquaintance who had enlisted at the commencement of the war when a law student
in the office of J. G. Shipman of Belvidere. But [he] had resigned from the Army
during the last year of the war after he had married a southern girl of old
Virginia. Her father was a judge and loyal to the Union and whose property was
confiscated by the Confederates and sent him and family into our lines.
A Romantic Story
The daughter of the judge had a beautiful pony that she was allowed to take
with her. But before reaching our lines, some "Guerrillas" took the
pony away from her. She was inconsolable over the loss. Captain Butz agreed to
recapture it if possible. So he and his company started in pursuit and not only
got the pony but took the men prisoners, much to the delight and gratitude of
the young lady. As a result, they fell in love and were happily married a few
Then the gallant captain resigned and opened an office in Norfolk in
connection with his father-in-law judge, whose name I forget, for the practice
of law. It was altogether a most romantic affair which it ended as romances
So I was invited to dine with the Captain and the family of the Judge and we
had dinner. I enjoyed that [and also] the society of himself, [his] wife and
family so much that I was too late for the boat that had left for Old Point.
When I reached the wharf, I tried to have them send me up to the Hospital with a
tug or government transport, but twas no go and I was obliged to remain.
Then I called on Dr. Young and family and went with him to the Hospital to
see his patients. This doctor was a loyal man and practiced in Norfolk, Va.
"Befo-de-war" and served his country as a contract surgeon during the
last year of the Rebellion. He showed me all the places of special interest
about Norfolk. Its a beautiful town and does not show much of the effects of
war, notwithstanding the many trying scenes it passed through.
I was so much impressed with the place that I rather promised Charlie Butz
that I would come there to practice my profession after the Cruel War was over.
Took lodgings for the night at the Atlantic House. Thus early in the season,
there were plenty of new potatoes, peas and green beans. After breakfast at the
hotel, I took the 7 AM boat for Old Point and arrived at Chesapeake Hospital at
9 AM. Fortunately, nothing had turned up of a serious nature during my absence
and I was put in charge of Ward 4 - the best one in the Hospital. But now I will
have much more to attend to properly; however, I will do the best I can.
Received such a cheery letter from wife, also hers and baby Anna's picture.
Spent the day as usual. No deaths in our Wards. Weather splendid. In the
evening, wrote home.
June 19th: Went to see my patients early but could not get around in time for
church. This is one of the evils of military life. You cannot, as a general
thing, enjoy the quiet rest of the Sabbath day. Today we have been unusually
busy, 40 or more officers and over 300 sick and wounded men have been brought
from the Front. In the evening, went to church. Major (formerly Chaplain) Estall
addressed us in a most feeling and eloquent way.
June 20th: Been so busy that I had no time to write in my diary. Took charge
of Ward No. 1 for Dr. Gregory who left for home in New York State, his contract
with the Government having transpired. Received a whole lot of wounded officers.
Among them were Colonel DeForrest, 81st New Jersey Regiment; Lieut. Colonel
Goff, 22nd U.S. Colored Troop; Major McArthur of 8th Maine and later made Major
General, USA. Beside these, a large number of captains and lieuts., part of them
were officers of colored troops that fought bravely. Capt. Rudd of the 19th
Illinois seriously wounded and a doubtful case. I was very tired when night
June 21st: Busy as a bee all day. Nurses ain't good for much and I had to
dress a large part of the wounded myself. Don't feel a bit well - have every
symptom of chills and sure enough, before night-time, I began to shake. Didn't
eat any supper and was very sick all night. Confound the chills! I thought I was
proof against them here, but some of the malarial germs from old Morrisville
must have been lurking in my system and a little overwork has developed them
again. Was sent for during the night but could not go and sent a substitute.
June 22nd: Colored George, our cook, brought me some toast and tea. Had no
appetite but managed to get down some along with a huge dose of quinine. Then
went to see my patients and found them all doing well. Capt. Ranson better;
Capt. Rudd was the only exception. Capt. Mills and Small about the same. Had a
pretty hard day of it for one in my condition: walking up and down five long
pair of stairs. Took quinine and drank two bottles of Porter.
Not much war news of importance. Grant's army, however, has been having a big
fight at Petersburg, Va. and whipped the Rebels as he usually does.
June 23rd: Began to feel like myself again, worked hard all day. Had two
amputations of leg and one resection of arm. Day very warm, the warmest
decidedly of the season. This weather [is] not favorable for our wounded men or
for those in the field. Thermometer stood at 90 F in the shade. Got a letter
from Samuel Walker and Jennie Love.
June 24th: Arose at an early hour, was not disturbed and had a good sleep.
President Lincoln passed up the Bay returning from a visit to the Army of the
Potomac. Our ears were saluted with the roaring of canon and was soon
ascertained the cause when Old Abe made his appearance on the upper deck of the
vessel. He was too far out for a good look at of him. Got a letter from my
beloved wife and two newspapers.
June 25th: Patients all doing nicely. But oh dear, how hot! Thermometer
stands at 95 F at mid-day. If it gets much warmer, there won't be only a grease
spot of us left, I fear. It is altogether the warmest day of the season thus
far. In the evening, went out into the Bay to take a refreshing bath.
June 26th: Arose early so [as] to be able to attend church. Visited and
prescribed for all my patients and then went to chapel. Preaching [was
delivered] by Rev. E. M. Skimmer of Cambridge Mass.
Lieut. Hammond of the 6th Conn. Reg. was suddenly attacked with secondary
hemorrhage and almost as suddenly died. His father came in the morning to visit
him and he was apparently doing well. But in a few short hours after, his spirit
was in eternity. I shall never forget his death bed scene. He was said to have
been young and talented before engaging in the demoralizing business of war and
was a consistent Christian. It was indeed heart rendering to see the poor old
father bow down, with grief filled years spent over his son, praying. God would
have mercy and receive him to Himself. We all had reason to hope that the
prayers of his father and friends were heard and answered.
[I was] sent in Capt. Cameron's case. We had no grounds to hope, whatever. He
was suddenly taken with secondary hemorrhage and neither himself nor us expected
so sudden a demise. He was a gay, profligate young fellow. What sad scenes these
are that we are called upon to witness.
June 27th: Arose early so as to get through with my Wards before the heat of
the day. Thermometer stood at 103 F in the shade for the better part of the day.
In the evening, we had a slight shower that brought about an agreeable change.
Got a letter from home. Wife sick with the measles. Nothing of importance has
transpired worthy of note, save some amusing scenes with Wilcox, a red-headed
correspondent of the New York Tribune, who is sick with typhoid-malaria fever in
one of my Wards.
June 28th: Delightfully cool and pleasant this morning. We seem to breathe
another atmosphere. How I wish it would remain thus, not only for my own
comfort, but for the good of my patients. Had calls form Dr. Bancroft and Dr.
Davis, both from Jersey regiments and Lieut. Hawk.
A large lot more of sick and wounded came in taking the places of those who
have become convalescent. There is no rest for the wicked.
June 29th: Weather still remains cool. Oh, what an agreeable change! Got
letter from Brother Harrison. Patients all doing well. Wilcox better and has
gotten over his wild delirium. Capt. Stratton, who has charge of our invalid
corps, was doing guard duty.
Left for Philadelphia on short leave of absence. I went with him in ambulance
as far as the Fort. There called on friend Johnson of the Christian Commission
to get some delicacies for our sick men. This organization is doing a grand work
for the suffering soldiers. Had a pleasant call from our Chaplain Rev. Marshall.
He is a charming man and just fitted for the place. Again visited Hampton
Hospital and the Gangrene Camp. What a horrid disease and what human suffering.
June 30th: This was General Inspection Muster day. We all had to don the
regalia such as shoulder straps, badge and sword! Got letter from Dr. Lyman with
the glad information that wife and Baby Anna are doing as well as could be
expected. How it has relieved my suspense and anxiety!
July 1st: Weather warm again - thermometer at 92oF but to nothing more than
good summer-time. One thing about this locality is that we always have a cool
pleasant breeze form the bay, especially in the evening.
We had two operations today in the operating tent, where all operations are
performed by the surgeon from whom Wards they come in the presence of the Staff
who always assist. The great event of the day was a visit from General Ben
Butler and Medical Director McCormack. They both belong to the "Genus
Homo." The General is a live, looking Yankee who does things much to the
disgust of our Confederate foes.
July 2nd: Nothing of special importance has occurred worthy of notice here.
Patients doing well and no deaths. Went to the Fort to Dr. McCormack's office
and handed in my accounts for services for the last month. Had slight fall of
rain and a perfect tornado of wind and a shower of dust, accompanied with
terrific thunder. The thunder in this region beats anything I ever heard in
July 3rd: Had so much to do that I could not attend church. Dr Frick's wife
came and went with him on a short leave of absence. Dr. Brower took up quarters
with us, relieving Dr. Frick. Three more men came in my Wards, among them
Chaplain Barry from a Wisconsin Regiment. This has not been much like the
Sabbath to me as it has been spent entirely among the sick and suffering.
July 4th: The glorious old day of American Independence has again dawned. It
was ushered in here by the booming of cannon at sunrise at the Fort. We had no
demonstrations at the Hospital excepting the hoisting of a new flag. There was
too much else to attend to. What delight and satisfaction it would afford
throughout the entire North could we only be permitted to record some great
victory and the collapse of this wicked Rebellion.
July 5th: Was called out of bed early to see Lieut. Fredrick who was attacked
with secondary hemorrhage from femoral artery. It was arrested, but the poor
fellow died from exhausting loss of blood. Had operation for removal of bullet
and necrosis of tibia. Was very busy the entire day among the sick and wounded.
Felt much like a chill but kept it off with quinine and whiskey.
July 6th: Weather continues pleasant. Feel better this AM, only tired. Fact
is, I have too much to do. However, patients are doing better. Went to Fort and
attended to some business matters. Took tea with the "Christian
Commission" members. The Rev. Mr. Patton from Ohio called to see me - sick
with diarrhea. Was too late for cars as usual and had to walk home.
July 7th: Am well as usual. Had a good night's sleep. Patients all doing
well. Capt. Libby better although not out of the danger line. In the PM, took a
sail out on the bay. Got fast on a sandbar and had a great time getting off.
Enjoyed some real sport on the broad bay. Visited the Roanoke, Minnesota and
English and French frigates at anchor. Received three new patients: a major,
captain and lieutenant - all from the U.S.C.T troops.
July 8th: Things wag on as usual in hospital life. Nothing worthy of note has
occurred save a case of secondary hemorrhage from the arm of Capt. Fee. Got a
letter and papers from wife with the glad news that she and baby Anna were both
quite well again. Some things happened that tried my patience, but I will strive
to discharge my duty conscientiously. Then what need I care for man, however
mean he may be?
July 9th: Weather still remains warm and dry. How a nice a rain would refresh
and invigorate everything. But I will not complain as it is all right or it
would not be so, as it always comes in due season. Rebels again threatening
another invasion of the North. I do not sincerely hope they will do a sufficient
amount of damage to arouse the people of that region to a sense of their duty.
July 10th: I arose at an early hour and thought to get through with my
morning work so as to get at the chapel for services there, but could not make
it go. However, I managed to go in the evening. Lieut. Morrill, son of Senator
Morrill of Vermont, a Signal officer in the Service was attacked with tetanus.
Bad symptoms! All the rest are doing well. How demoralizing war is and what
suffering it produces.
July 11th: Today has been one of excitement and anxiety. There has been all
sorts of rumors in regards to another invasion by the Confederates. Report also
of a riot in New York and Baltimore. Nothing else has occurred outside of the
regular routine of everyday duties.
July 12th: Went through Ward one before breakfast. Lieut. Morrill about the
same. Has been taking a grain of morphine every hour with chloroform to spine
and occasional inhalation of same. Dr. McClenan went through my Wards, behaved
more like a gentleman. Had operation for bullet extraction from face. It had
passed through [the] nose.
July 13th: Day passed along as usual. Nothing of much note occurring. Had to
amputate Capt. Fees' arm. However, Mr. McDwitt of Trenton [NJ] came direct from
the Front and brought a letter from brother Harrison. He took tea with me and
remained all night. The Rebels said to be in strong force near Washington. The
people in the North are getting a good scare. Sincerely hope they do enough harm
to wake up the people there. Had a slight fall of rain last night that has
cooled off the atmosphere delightfully. Dr. Johnson relieved me of one Ward. So
glad. Hope I may get some rest now. Mr. McDwitt left for Washington. Went with
him as far as the Fort.
Called on Lieut. Hawk and wrote letter for Harrison. Had two more cases of
secondary hemorrhage. Capt. Smith of Brooklyn and Capt. Jones of Bridgeton, a
son of the Rev. Jones, pastor of 1st Presbyterian church there. Lieut. Ramson
and Lieut. Morrill both died today. The death of Lieut. Morrill was most
pathetic. He was conscious to the last. Chaplain Marshall wrote his Will. He
made several requests among his watch and signet ring to his sweetheart he was
to marry when this cruel war was over.
And thus it goes on. Every day, the brightest and best of our young men are
cut down in the flower of their young manhood and placed in untimely graves. How
long, Oh Lord, how long is this state of things going to last before we have
July 15th: Nothing worthy of note has happened. Weather pleasant. But oh, how
badly we need rain!
July 16th: Things jog along in the same old rut. Took a sail boat ride in the
evening with some of our staff and got caught in a squall. We were poor sailors
and came near having an upset in the deep waters of the Bay, said to be seventy
feet deep. Mr. Scott from Morrisville called to see me. He is a member of the
3rd Penn. Heavy Artillery stationed at the Fort.
July 17th: Went to church in the morning. Rev. Billingsby preached subject:
"The Kingdom of Christ." It was a tolerably good sermon considering
for he's rather small potatoes in my estimation. Oh, how I long for the means of
Grace at home with loved ones! Got letter from wife and sent letter and magazine
to her. Patients all doing well. Don't have to work so hard now.
July 18th: Went to the Fort and sent off my treasury warrant. Called on
friend Johnson of the Christian Commission. Went to Library and read awhile,
then chatted with Chaplain Marshall. Rumors of the capture of Atlanta, Georgia
and the taking of 15,000 Rebel prisoners of war. Only hope its true. Have been
reading "Scott's Poems" during my leisure hours. They are fine.
July 19th: The long wished for rain has at length come. It commenced to rain
about 8:00AM and kept it up almost incessantly during the day. Assisted Dr.
Brower and his Wards. My own are pretty well cleaned out. Wrote home and to Dr.
July 20th: Removed all my patients from Ward 4 preparatory to giving it a
thorough cleaning. Wrote letter to Mr. Farrad. The weather is fine; the rain has
revived up everything and everybody. Did expect to take a sail on the broad
Atlantic to New York with a lot of patients, but was disappointed at the last
Rev. Dr. Jones and wife of Bridgetown, NJ arrived to visit their son, Captain
Jones who is seriously wounded. Do not feel very bright and am beginning to tire
of this monotonous life!
July 21st: Had some idea of going to City Point but gave it up for the
present as I haven't much to do and am having a quiet little rest-up.
July 22nd: Took charge of Dr. Brower's Wards during his absence. Got letter
from Harrison and he writes that he is all right again. Wrote letter to Sister
Kate. Day quite warm. Nothing of special interest has transpired.
July 23rd: Dr. Johnson left and I am returned to Ward 1. Don't like it much.
Got letter from home. Wife and baby safely at Harmony.
Secretary Seward arrived at the Fort. There was firing of cannon, etc. Had
another chill about noon and was really sick the remainder of day. These horrid
chills! I did think I was entirely rid of them, but somehow, they still cling to
July 24th: Went down to breakfast but no appetite. Did not feel well enough
to see my patients or go to church. Dr. Raymond, former president of Seminary,
came this time as chaplain of the hospital.
July 26th: Went through my Wards as usual. Had new supply last night. We had
Ward 4 white-washed and painted. It looks as clean and grand as a parlor. We put
the new recruits in there. Among those received was a Rebel Colonel and Capt. My
time was spent as usual here. In the evening there was a row in the mess.
July 27th: Had a "right smart," as they say down here, sort of a
time with Dr. Bayles, the Executive Officer of the Hospital. What meanness man
will descend to for a few paltry dollars.
Got treasury check from Dr. McCormack - also letters from Phillip, Mrs.
Mills, McDevitt and Harrison.
In the evening, went in bathing - had a splendid time. Am trying to learn how
to swim. Rumors of Rebels going to North again. Lieut. Shields took charge of
the Mess on a new plan. Dr. Bayles retires and Dr. Blake is made executive
officer of Hospital.
July 28th: Got a nice long letter from wife. All well at home. Took a ride
out in the country in ambulance. Had a good time calling on the old farmers in
the vicinity and eating peaches. There seem to be an abundance of fruit of all
kinds. But there is not much else. 'Tis a fine farming region but shows the
affects of grim visages of War: fences nearly all gone, houses and barns burned,
In the evening, took another swim in the Bay. Weather very pleasant and a
slight fall of rain.
July 29th: Am quite busy again. Several very sick that require close
attention. Went to Hospital with Dr. Caloosdian. Sent off my account for last
In the evening, crossed over Hampton Creek to a Negro settlement. The whole
party enjoyed ourselves hugely, eating water melons, plums, peaches and figs.
Had considerable sport on the small boat crossing both ways. In evening, very
warm with swarms of mosquitoes. Did not go to bed until a late hour.
July 30th: Nothing of interest has occurred. Weather very warm. Had fine
showers in the evening.
July 31st: Attended to my patients. Went to church. Rev. Marshall preached
assisted by Dr. Raymond. The services were very interesting. I was called away
to answer a telegram about one of my patients before the services ended. Day was
melting hot. Thermometer 101 F.
August 1st: Oppressively hot. Attended to my patients. Times seem to hang
heavy on my hands. Indeed had a slight attack of the blues. In order to abate
them, [I] read awhile from Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" and found it
intensely interesting. So much originality about it. Wrote letter for Mrs.
In the evening, it blew up cool and pleasant. Took a nap out on the top of
the piazza of the cottage. Another invasion of Pennsylvania and Chambersburg
burned. Hope this will wake up the sleeping North.
August 2nd: Was very busy until the dinner hour. Received a lot more of sick
and wounded. In the PM, went out on the Bay fishing and sailing. We had a rough
time of it. The wind blew a gale, dashing the huge waves up over us, completely
drenching some of us. One of our boat's crew lost his hat, another his shoes
which he had taken off. All of us came near being upset in the turbulent water.
We did not get many fish but all enjoyed the trip save one poor fellow who got
August 3rd: Nothing has occurred to break-up the monotony of hospital life.
Have some very sick and wounded men whose time of probation is very short. Got
letter from wife and wrote one in return.
August 4th: Day very warm and sultry. Received eleven new patients - some of
them seriously wounded and others dangerously sick. Had letter from Mr.
Creveling and brother Alfred.
August 5th: Lieutenant Cooper, Adjutant Minburn and Lieut. Bloss all died
today. What mortality! And saddest of all, they were not prepared for the
change. Got letter from wife and Sister Jennie Love. Wrote Alfred and Jacob
Creveling of Morrisville. Lots of work on hand. We did intend taking another
sail, but there was no time for pleasure or play. No news from seat of war.
August 6th: Dr. Caloosdian and wife left for Yorktown to take charge of the
Negro Camp there. Our Mess is growing small by degrees. The day has been melting
warm but a shower of wind and rain cooled things off.
August 7th: Went to church and Dr. Raymond preached an excellent sermon. Got
letter from brother Harrison.
August 8th: Nothing special has occurred except another row in our domestic
affairs, this time with the servants. Ours is not a happy family, I am sorry to
say. However in the affair, I was left out and enjoyed it hugely. Human nature
is indeed a queer mixture.
August 9th: Engaged in earnest. More new patients and I have not time really
to write my loved ones as often as I should but managed to write my beloved wife
and brother. Weather continues warm.
August 10th: Lieut. O'Neil died this morning of typhoid fever combined with
Oh, how many of the officers that came here are addicted to the alcoholic
habit! This is another demoralizing result of war and its environments. Chaplain
Ambrose of the 6th Vermont was attacked with secondary hemorrhage but it was
arrested without much difficulty. Finished reading Woodward on camp diseases and
commenced [with] "Stille" on Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
August 11th: Had to attend to Dr. Brower's Ward again during his absence,
along with my own work. Was very tired when night came. Took a bath which was
delicious. We have all the conveniences of modern life here - even a shower bath
that I enjoy so much. Got a good long letter from wife and papers from
Morrisville. Rumors of changes in the cabinet again in Washington. No news of
interest save the attack upon Mobile, [Alabama] by our forces.
August 12th: Spent the day as usual in ministration to the sick and wounded.
Got another letter from my good wife with the welcome intelligence of all well
at home. In the PM, started out with my chances for another boat ride but was
very much disappointed. The boat had sunk in the Bay. It was an old craft and it
leaked. The last time we were out in it, one of us was kept busy bailing out the
water. Doesn't look much like another sail!
Went to my room and read "Stille" until I got sleepy and thus it
goes in Military Life - from grave to gay, from melancholy to serene, as one has
aptly expressed it.
August 13th: The day was hot. Wrote letter home and received one from
Treasury Department with check for another month's pay. Dr. Lewis from the
Monitor with us. Dr. Lampson, after being chaperoned by me, went to Norfolk.
After passing examination, [he] got a commission as Asst. Surgeon to U.S.E.T.
Regiment, stationed in Front of Petersburgh.
Terrible explosion at City Point and much destruction and loss of life
therefrom. Lieut. McVay attacked with secondary hemorrhage, and I am afraid will
not survive long.
August 14th: Went to church. Rev. Marshall preached from the text "The
fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom." Dr. Holstein and Dr. Browers'
mother came on a visit to the doctor. There was a lot more of wounded and sick
brought in and quite a number of convalescents left for Annapolis, Maryland.
This has been the hottest day of the season - thermometer 110 F. In the
hospital as usual. More sick and wounded brought in, many of them in a horrible
condition with their wounded parts full of maggots.
The evening was so hot that my roommate, Lampson, disrobed and said he was
going to take a dip in the Bay before going to bed. So he accordingly went out
in his nude state as the hour was late. He thought everybody was in bed and
rushed out of the house on the verandah, down the gaveled walk and plunged into
the water and back again to the Cottage. It happened that the wife of Dr. Bayles
was sitting on the end of the verandah, recognized him and told her husband of
the occurrence. He made a complaint to Dr. M'Clellan, the surgeon in charge,
that Dr. Lampson had insulted his wife.
The next day Lampson was summoned to Dr. M'Clellan's office to answer the
charge. Of course he had to acknowledge his guilt but plead that he did not know
that anyone was on the porch as the hour was late. Therefore, he did not intend
to insult the lady or anybody else.
Dr. Lampson, after getting this commission as assistant surgeon in 31st
U.S.C.T. at the suggestion and recommendation of the staff, was detailed by Dr.
M'Clellan, to remain at Chesapeake Hospital on account of the many sick and
wounded we had there as he was an expert wound dresser. Instead of allowing
Lampson to apologize for the act, M'Clellan said, "Damn you! I will send
you up to the Niggers."
August 16th: Chaplain Ambrose was again attacked with secondary hemorrhage
from femoral artery. The artery was ligated at both ends but when that was done,
he was thoroughly drained of blood. Poor man! I fear his days are numbered. Got
letters from Mrs. McDonald and Mr. Creveling; also one form Brother Harry that
he was quite ill at City Point Hospital and requested me to come and see him if
possible. More fighting is reported from Deep Bottom.
Goes to the Front at Petersburgh
Made an application to Dr. M'Clellan for leave of absence. After getting the
other surgeons to look after my Wards, he granted my request.
August 17th: Accordingly, I took the morning boat for City Point armed with
haversack and field glass loaned to me by one of the officers. Capt. Jones had
introduction to Prof. Stover and Mr. Brown of the Christian Commission. They,
together with Dr. Lampson who was going to his Colored Regiment on the edict of
Dr. M'Clellan for his episode of going bathing in his nude state, formed quite a
The day was warm but we had an interesting trip in the historic James River.
A fine shower cooled off the heated air. However, it continued to rain after we
reached City Point where we disembarked. One of our party, who said he was
posted, acted as guide to the Post Hospital where my brother wrote me he was
sick. But like a good many people, he was more knowing than wise. Instead of
taking us to where we wished to go, he conducted us from it to the operating
Hospital of the Army in Front of Petersburgh where General Grant's Army was
facing our foes. We were in a dilemma, when fortunately, we happened to meet Dr.
Glatifelter who came down on the hospital boats with the sick and wounded to
Chesapeake and Hampton Hospitals. He kindly took us in his tent and gave us
supper and a bed. It was all the time raining like fun and we were as wet as
rats. But we enjoyed everything in the primitive style here and retired early as
we were very tired.
About midnight, was suddenly aroused from sleep by the booming of cannon
which kept up a continuous roar for several hours. It was grand and terrific.
After which as I afterward learned, the Rebels made an attack upon a weak point
in our lines but was severely repulsed with heavy loss. The cannonading was only
the prelude to the attack. We arose early in the morning and after thanking our
host for the night's entertainment, started for Post Hospital, City Point. We
had a weary walk of five miles. The country through which we passed was most
lovely but, everywhere gave evidence of grim visaged war, such as desolated
homes, houses burned down in some places and in others, deserted. Fences torn
down and destroyed. In short, the whole region of country through which we
passed was devastated but with many marks of former prosperity. On the way, we
met army wagons and ambulances, officers and orderlies in profusion.
Droves of cattle huddled together or attempting to gather on the almost bare
and barren fields. The butchers of cattle were at work preparing them for food
for the butchers of men.
We finally got to our destination and found my Brother Harry in an old church
that had been turned into a hospital, named the Post Hospital at City Point, Va.
Herein lies another story. This brother of mine came to Trenton and entered
the State Normal School and lived with me at Morrisville across the Delaware
River. While here when Lincoln called the third time for volunteers for 3 years
or the war, he with 20 others at the Normal School enlisted.
When his term of enlistment had ended, he re-enlisted for 3 more years or
during the war in the 9th New Jersey Regiment, the great fighting regiment
during the Civil War. He, with others on their way to the Front [and] in care of
an officer who was drunk, was taken up as stragglers and brought to city and
placed under guard in the "bull ring" with no shelter from the hot sun
when one of the members was attacked with sunstroke. [The] surgeon on duty, Dr.
Gates, was summoned to attend to the stricken one. Then my brother complained to
the Doctor that he and others were unjustly confined there as nobody but the
drunken officer was to blame. He personally made an appeal to the Doctor and
mentioned the fact that he had a brother, a surgeon in the service, who he knew
would not allow for such a state of things should it come to his notice. When
Dr. Gates requested the name of himself and brother, it turned out that he, Dr.
Gates, was a student of mine at Medical College and that we were graduates of
the same class at Bellevue Hospital Medical College [later Columbia University].
At once, [Dr. Gates] had him released from the "bull ring" and
transferred to the Hospital as head nurse there and here I found him. When he
wrote me to come to see him, both he and the Doctor thought he was suffering
from typhoid fever, but it turned out to be malarial.
My brother informed me of all these facts and took me to the doctor's tent.
On invitation, we breakfasted with him. After which, he kindly furnished us with
an ambulance and driver. We all started out to the Front, my brother, Dr.
Lampson and myself.
We finally came to a hill overlooking Petersburgh when I took out my glass
and could distinctly see the doomed city. We then found out the Headquarters of
the 18th Army Corps and preceded thither. Called on Capt. Brown, General Ord's
Aid-de-camp and patient of mine at one time at Chesapeake Hospital. Chatted with
this gentlemanly officer. Thence to General Ames [Ammen] Headquarters and so
down the ravine Headquarters. of 31st U.C. Troop on right which my friend
Lampson was to report for duty. We asked if there was any danger at that
vicinity. One colored gentleman informed us we had better keep our eyes skinned
for shells. We preceded on down the ravine to the camp of the 9th New Jersey
Regiment and went to Colonel Stewart's tent with Lieut. Pullen and took some
refreshments and cigars. A shower of rain kept us here for sometime. We then
returned to the camp of the U.S.C.S. and dined on bacon, bread and coffee and
never enjoyed a meal more in my life! Then Colonel Stewart sent us in an
ambulance to this point. After our dinner was disposed of, Colonel Stewart and
Lieut. Pullen went with us out to the extreme left of our line and within a few
hundred yards of the enemy in the outer line of entrenchment's.
The picket firing and skirmishing was incessant. In my curiosity to look at
Rebels and sharpshooters, I mounted the outer earth works and pulled out my
field glass to have a good look at them when a mini ball was fired at me and
struck in the earth at my feet. A little higher and it would have gone through
my body. I saw the fellow who fired the shot in a tree with a gun and just
handed the glass to Colonel Stewart as the ball struck a few feet below where I
was standing! How instinctive it is to dodge when bullets come in close
proximity. The Rebels doubtless thought we were a reconnoitering party and the
shooting was like that of shooting for squirrels in the woods at home. We found
the vicinity rather hot and uncomfortable and concluded to vacate.
Another incident or two happened worthy of record in these sketches of Army
life. While sitting in front of the tent of the colonel of the Colored regiment,
a shell came thundering down. The colonel ordered us all to fall down flat on
the ground, faces downward, waiting for the shell to explode while we all held
our breaths. Fortunately for us, it struck in the soft earth and did not
explode. The colonel was the first to arise from the earth to his feet, went and
pulled it out and remarked that we would send it back to them with our
compliments! Here we left our friends and gave our driver orders to push for
City Point where we arrived about the time Old Sol was going to rest.
Again took tea with Dr. Gates [and] enjoyed a whiff of the comfort of a good
cigar. Chatted with the Doctor about old times and then retired on a hard cot
bed in an open tent. Was awakened again in the night-time by the booming of
cannon in Front of Petersburgh but was too tired and sleepy to be disturbed very
long by noisy cannon.
[August 19th:] Arose early next morning. Called on brother and together we
strolled around the old town of City Point. 'Tis indeed a city on a hill. We
passed through the house occupied by Major General Grant as his headquarters.
Took a view of the scene of the late terrible explosion. Breakfasted again with
Dr. Gates and gathered up my trophies or rather relics I had gathered on the
battlefield in Front of Petersburgh: one, a long cavalry saber that I found
sticking in the ground up to the hilt. (My son, Arthur, still has [the sword] in
his keeping as a memento of the War.)
Said good-bye to Brother Harry and Dr. Gates and left on the 1PM boat for
Fort Monroe. It commenced to rain soon after we left. We had a rough, rainy ride
all the way down the James and on the Bay. We came near making shipwreck. This
trip to the Front with two hostile armies facing each other gave me ideas of
real war that I could never have realized form History or the reading of books.
From personal observation, I saw an entrenched and encamped army with its
earthworks, rifle pits and bomb proofs, etc.
August 20th: On entering my Wards the next morning, I found an empty bed.
Chaplain Ambrose was no more. He died from a reoccurrence of the hemorrhage the
day I left. He was a brave and good man and always went to the Front with his
regiment. He was picked off by a sharpshooter while going from the breastworks
in front of the enemy to the toilet place in the rear. The ball entered the
thigh and passed out on the other side of the leg and grazed the femoral artery,
thus weakening the cords of the vessel. The wound healed, and he had applied for
a furlough to go home. He was warned not to use the leg for some time but to go
on his crutches for fear of the artery giving away. In the nighttime, he had
occasion to go to the toilet and not being able to find his crutches, and not
wishing to disturb the night nurse who was asleep, he started to go without the
aid of any support, bearing some weight on the injured limb when the vessel gave
[He] fell to the floor - the blood flowing from the wounded vessel in a huge
stream. The night watch was roused and rushed after me. He had then fainted from
loss of blood. I summoned help as I had to hold on to the vessel to keep him
from bleeding to death - it being so near the body that we could not apply the
tourniquet. The bleeding vessel was finally ligatured at both ends. When I left
him in the morning, he seemed bright and cheerful, but very weak from the loss
of blood. But the next night, the sluggish hemorrhage returned. When the
surgeons found the bleeding part, the deep profunda artery, and tied that, the
Chaplain was dead.
The saddest part was yet to come. He was the only son and support of a
widowed mother. She was telegraphed for immediately and came to the Hospital the
following day. At the same time, his furlough came through from Washington. The
weather was so warm that we disemboweled the body and embalmed it so that the
mother could take him home for burial.
While I was away, there was a large addition of patients, mostly wounded in
the late engagement at Deep Bottoms. Found two letters awaiting me. In the
evening, wrote home. Dr. Brower went to Norfolk and Dr. Rush and I ran the
August 21st Attended to my patients and then went to Church. Aw Sgt. of the
Christian Commission preached. Lieut. Turner died. He was only brought in a few
hours ago in a dying condition.
The day was very warm. The heat was oppressive, followed by a fine shower in
the evening, which cooled off the air. Took a bath in the Bay which I enjoyed to
Confederate Major General Walker's Stump
August 22nd: Was busy from morning till night among the sick and wounded.
Took measure and plaster cast of General Walker's stump.
(Thereby hangs a tale. This General was a graduate of West Point from
Mississippi and belonged to the Southern Chivalry. When war broke out, he joined
the Confederacy and commanded one of General Lee's corps. At Bermuda Hundred, he
went out to reconnoiter one gray morning and rode right into our lines. Our men
recognized him as a Rebel Officer and ordered him to surrender. But he concluded
he had a chance to escape and attempted to do so when a volley was fired from
our forces, which brought down horse and rider! The horse was killed on the spot
and the rider seriously wounded, being shot in four different places.
The worst wound was the leg, below the knee which was so shattered that we
had to amputate it to the upper third. Another shot passed through his right arm
between the two bones of the forearm and fractured both bones. On healing, the
power of supenation and rotation was lost and the arm in a measure, useless. He
learned to write with the left hand while in the hospital. Another ball struck
his sword hilt which diverted it and entered the gluteus muscles of the back and
was cut out from there. This would undoubtedly have killed the man him had it
not first struck the sword hilt. Still another ball went through his hat and
took out a portion of his scalp.
He told me that he had always had a horror of being shot in the belly. When
he found that the soldiers were going to shoot, he rode side-wise to them which
probably was the cause of saving his life. He had an Aunt living in Hoboken, NJ.
She offered to present him with an artificial leg if he would come on to New
York. He accordingly applied for a parole to go but was refused. It was then
that we took a Plaster of Paris cast of the stump and forwarded it to the
In due course of time, the artificial limb came and fitted nicely so that he
threw away his crutches and was on his pins again and could walk almost as well
as any of us.
General Ben Butler , who had his headquarters at Fort Monroe and was in
command at Bermuda Hundred and Dutch Gap, came to visit General Walker
occasionally. One day, he came out of Walker's room as I entered and I asked him
what he thought of Ben Butler? He replied that he was a very pleasant man to
chat with but that he had none of the noble bearing of a soldier about him. All
of which was very true as he was an ungainly looking chap with short legs,
squint eyes and bald head. He was especially an ungainly figure on horse back.
Ben Butler was a fine executive officer but not a well trained soldier to
command an army.
We have too many generals of that kind in the Union Army who know nothing
about the tactics of War. Whereas, the Confederate generals were mostly
graduates of West Point and far superior to ours. Too many of out generals were
politicians like Ben Butler and Logan . Then again, the Confederates had been
planning for some time in making preparation for the conflict.
The Confederate government at this period was very sanguine and treated war
prisoners most cruelly. Our General Whitesall was then a prisoner in their hands
and they threatened to shoot him. Our government replied if they did, we would
shoot General Walker. The matter was finally compromised by exchanging the one
for the other.
Another patient of mine was Major General Turner who was brought into the
hospital with typho-malarial fever. He was a very sick man and delirious for
many days and in wild state would sing in a deep base voice "Life on the
Ocean Wave" and "A Home on the Rolling Deck."
The first time I ever met General Grant [was when] he came to see General
Turner who was a favorite with him and said he was the best artillery officer in
the service at that time.
He [Turner] was the man who fired the big gun called the "Swamp
Angel" which set Charleston, SC on fire from Morris Island and burst on the
36th round. At the close of the Civil War, the big gun was brought to Trenton,
New Jersey to be broken up as old metal. When some of our patriotic citizens, of
whom I was one, bought the gun and built a pedestal and placed it on it with a
suitable inscription on the Square between Perry St. and North Clinton Ave.
where it stands today as a memento of the War.)
August 22nd: [Continued] Diagnosed men for inspection and 95 for bed ticket.
Dr. Crombie came and relieved me of one Ward. Good! Had Dr. Brower's men to look
after again. How tired I was when night came however.
August 23rd: Was called up at 4AM to see Lieut. McVay who was attacked with
hemorrhage from wound. Arrested it and went back to bed. Poor fellow. Had to
have his arm amputated and I fear he will not survive.
There followed an inspection of Hospital by Dr. Smith and General Shepley - a
grand row on hand by present appearance. Day very pleasant. Got letter from
Sister Kate and papers from Morrisville.
August 24th: Contrary to my expectations, Lieut. McVay rallied and is doing
well! All the rest of my patients are comfortable. Dr. Crombie was only a
country practitioner and had never written a prescription in his life. I had to
instruct him how to do it.
We had too many of these country practitioners in the Army during the War.
Received 12 new patients and my Wards were full again. I have plenty of work on
hand. Went to Hampton Hospital too in the PM. Witnessed a number of operations
there. No news of much importance from the Front.
August 25th: Day spent as usual ministering to the sick and wounded. Dr. Rush
went to see his sweetheart. Poor fellow! I could appreciate his feelings and
knew full well before he told me that anxiety was praying upon his mind. The
fact is that my case is similar as I want to see my loved ones bad enough but
its my temperament, fortunately, to take things easy, or as they come, or not to
worry over what can't be helped and make the best of it.
August 26th: Occupied as usual. Got letter from home. All well there. Went to
Fort with Dr. Crombie in the interval of work for a little change.
August 27th: Had to look after the whole establishment. Dr. Brower gone - was
completely used up. Prof. Green of Pittsfield, Mass. arrived and relieved me of
my Wards, and I assumed charge of Ward 3 and 6 until Dr. Rush's return.
August 28th: Did not sleep much last night and got up with a violent
headache. However, felt better after breakfast and visited my Wards. Went to
church. Rev. Roberts of Rochester, NY preached. Have been threatened with chills
but kept them off with quinine and brandy.
August 29th: Attended to Dr. Rush's Wards. Some are rather critical cases. In
PM, went to Dr. M'Clellan's office. Got permission to leave for home as soon as
Dr. Rush returns. Wrote home to that effect. Sent in my pay account. In evening,
received word from Dr. M'Clellan to attend General Turner during the morning and
did not sleep a wink. He was delirious.
August 30th: Am awfully sleepy this morning and went through Ward 3 before
breakfast. Thence to Fort to have contract annulled. But was mad as a hare when
it was refused me. Don't think they will catch me down in the part of Dixie
again very soon if I succeed in getting away this time.
Returned to my Wards and extracted a mini ball from Hookers foot assisted by
Colonel Wilson Medical Inspector of Hospital of USA.
Dr. Brower left for Hampton Hospital. Lieut. Shields left also for duty
elsewhere. Our Mess is broken up and scattered.
August 31st: Here my diary of events end: as my duties became so arduous that
I did not seem to have a moment left for anything except looking after the sick
and suffering. Indeed, had scarcely time to sleep as much as I should [have] on
account of the night calls. Although my contract service had ended, I agreed to
remain at my port of duty for another month - the details of which I have only a
shadowy remembrance; but they were strenuous days of hard work.
Leaves for Home
On the 20th of September 1864, I left Chesapeake Hospital for home with
satisfaction that I had aided my Country in my professional way to the best of
my ability in ministering to the sick and wounded of the officers under my care.
Most of them [were] young men of the best blood in our beloved Country from
Major Generals down to 2nd Lieut. During the last month or so, the Hospitals
changed their names from the Chesapeake and Hampton to that of the USA Hospitals
at Fortress Monroe.
The War commission officers and privates were treated at Hampton, so of
course those of us on duty at Chesapeake were very fortunate in having as our
patients the flower of the Country.
When I left the Hospital, I felt the cruel War could not last much longer.
General Grant was in Front of Petersburgh facing Lee's Army. General Sheridan
had succeeded Hunter in command of the Army of the Shenandoah. General Sherman
was on his campaign of the West and Southwest on his way to the Sea.
"Marching Strong through Georgia" and his soldiers chanted their
favorite song "The Battle Cry of Freedom" the tune of which is known
to the present day in America as "Marching Through Georgia."
The Confederates were in dire distress. Their supplies were cut off and the
whole South was devastated. The War was then practically over as far as great
battles were concerned the most of us thought so at least.
During most of the time I was away in the Service of my country, wife and
baby Anna were with her mother at Harmony, NJ. Here I at once went and after a
few days returned to our old home at Morrisville, PA. The home there and its
surroundings looked like a deserted castle when we entered it. The grounds about
the home were overgrown with rank weeds and looked like a jungle.
When I visited Grant's Army in front of Petersburgh, I found a cavalry sword
sticking in the ground up to the hilt. I pulled it out of the earth and brought
it home with me as a trophy of the War. It was good and sharp and used it for
cutting down the weeds.
Here I resumed my practice for a short time but did not intend to remain long
in this malarial region but resolved to cross the river in the early spring-time
to Trenton in my native state.
Drafted into Union Army
Accordingly, I rented a house there. We were all packed ready to move our
household effects and ourselves on the other side of the Delaware River when in
walked an officer from the Provost Marshall's office with the following
Provost Marshall's office, 5th District of Penn. March 21st, 1865 Morrisville
To: David Warman:
You are hereby notified that you are - on the 21st day of March, 1865 -
legally drafted in the service of the United States for the period of one year
in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress for enrolling and
calling out the National forces and for the other purposes approved March 3rd,
1863 and an act amendatory thereof approved February 24th 1864.
You will accordingly report on the 11th day of April 1865 to the place of
rendezvous in Frankford or be deemed a deserter and be subject to the penalty
prescribed therefore by the rules and articles of War.
Signed M. Yardley
The name of the drafted man and Provost Marshall must be written out in full,
5th District of Penn.
This was accompanied with a transportation ticket on the Penn. R. R. from
Morrisville to Philadelphia at government rates.
Here I was in a dilemma. I made up my mind that I would not go as a drafted
man and moreover I would not hire a substitute as some of those who were drafted
the same time proposed to do. When I was a boy, I cut my foot severely at the
wood pile which crippled me to such an extent that now I was not fit for a
soldier. [I] concluded to go to the office of the Provost Marshall and make
application for a certificate of exemption on account of disability.
Accordingly, I went to Philadelphia the day following and called on Dr. Welch,
who was acquainted with the examining surgeon for drafted men. He accompanied me
on Driving Engine [train] to Frankford. After making his examination, he said I
was not fit for a soldier. But that I was already in Service, he would have to
examine me with the view to discharge [me] from service and would put me in the
Invalid Corps as I would make a very useful man in Hospital. All this was said
in jocular way, as he informed he would grant my certificate, would forward it
to me, and might make my arrangements to move at once on my return home which I
A few days later after we got settled in Trenton, I received the following
Certificate of Exemption for drafted person on account of disability.
This is to certify that David Warman, MD of Morrisville Bucks County, State
of Pennsylvania having been drafted and claiming exemption on account of
disability has been carefully examined and is found to be unfit for Military
duty by reason of injury of left foot from incised wound and in consequence
thereof, he is exempt from service under the present draft.
Accompanying this was the following letter from the examining surgeon:
Headquarters Provost Marshall's office 5th District, PA March 28th, 1865
David Warman, MD
I sent you the enclosed certificate of disability as promised. You will see
'tis dated on the day you should have reported in order that it will appear
[that you were] in the regular routine. Please, as a personal favor to me, keep
it confidentially until after April 11th [the] next time you should report.
J. H. Mears
P.S. Please acknowledge the receipt of this as soon as possible. J. H. M.
This diary is courtesy of
great-great-grandson of Dr. Warman.