Richmond Dispatch, 7/15/1862

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From the Richmond Dispatch, 7/15/1862, p. 2, c. 1

The Hospitals.

There is in many of the hospitals, perhaps in all, a great want of nurses. Our ladies, it is true, have exerted themselves nobly in behalf of our heroic and suffering soldiers, but not, a few of them have themselves become broken down by their exertions. There must be a large number of persons in this city who have leisure enough to attend to these duties, and who might be enrolled in an organization for this purpose, as is sometimes the case in cities visited by pestilence. The wounded require attention, not of an onerous kind, but in applying water to the wounds, which become exceedingly painful when dry, and in supplying them with feed, which they ought to receive often, though in small quantities. From want of such light attentions as these, so easily rendered, and which any child might perform, many a gallant fellow may suffer and die. We know that we have a multitude of warm and generous hearts among us, but have we no Howard or Miss Nightingale, who can suggest and organize means of making effective the sympathies of the public in everything connected with the relief of our soldiers?

We have referred to the deficiency of meat and stimulating food in one of our hospitals. From others we hear that the citizens have sent too much. Of course, it cannot be expected that the citizens, however willing, can perform duties which belong to the Government. There is no end to their willingness, and if their beneficence can be distributed in fair proportion to all its objects, it will effect great good. But it is the duty of the Government to see that all the hospitals are not only supplied with abundant food of the proper quality, but that the means of cooking it are provided; and that all the hospital arrangements are such that the men who have perilled their lives for the country shall not be permitted to suffer. If these men were our enemies, it would be barbarous to neglect their wants; but our friends, our champions, our deliverers, languishing, and some of them dying from wounds received for their country, who have bought our safety with their best blood can there be more monstrous ingratitude and in then to omit any means which may be necessary to alleviate their pangs and save their lives?

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