From the Richmond Enquirer, 9/26/1862, p. 1, c. 4
CONFEDERATE STATES CONGRESS.
THURSDAY, September 25th, 1862.
The Senate met at 11
o’clock, A. M., the President, Mr. STEPHENS, in the Chair.
[Several items of
minor matters discussed and not transcribed.]
THE HOSPITAL BILL.
On motion of Mr. Simms,
of Kentucky, the hospital bill was taken up.
Mr. MAXWELL moved to
strike out the passage requiring railroad and canal agents to expedite the
transportation of supplies for the hospitals.
Mr. SEMMES moved to
insert the word “request” in lieu of “require.” Rejected.
Mr. YANCEY favored the
motion. He thought no right existed, under the Constitution, to seize private
property for public uses without compensation.
Mr. PHELAN urged the
necessity of requiring the agents to carry the articles specified in the bill.
Large quantities of hospital stores had been spoiled and wasted through the
culpable negligence of the agents; and he wanted them to be positively required
to do their duty.
The question as to the
power of Congress to seize the railroads, or to interfere with their operations,
was discussed at some length.
Messrs. OLDHAM and
HAYNES contended against the power of Congress to thus interfere, and Messrs.
SEMMES, PHELAN, SIMMS and BURNETT asserted not only the existence of such power,
but urged the great necessity of its exercise in the case under consideration to
reform an existing and crying evil.
The amendment was
Mr. BURNETT presented
the following as a substitute:
That the Secretary of
War is hereby authorized and directed to make a contract with the several
railroad companies and lines of boats for the speediest practicable
transportation of all supplies purchased for the use of the hospitals by agents
appointed for that purpose, or donated by individuals, societies or States.
Mr. ORR moved to amend
the section restricting the number of nurses to each patient so as to leave it
to the discretion of the surgeon.
Mr. SEMMES, of La.,
said the report and bill submitted by the Senator from Kentucky, (Mr. SIMMS,) as
Chairman of the Select Committee, demonstrated that great and earnest attention
had been given to the subject by the committee, and he most heartily approved of
the measures of reform in our hospital system recommended in the report and
embraced in the bill under consideration.
The report presents
many valuable and interesting statistical facts, showing the superiority of
female nurses as compared with males. In the Clopton
Hospital, conducted by Mrs. Clopton, the mortality was only two per cent of the
whole number of inmates received. In the
St. Francis De Sales, conducted by the Sisters of Charity, with nine hundred
patients, three per cent. – At the
Louisiana Hospital, conducted by the Sisters, six per cent. At the
Hospital, Petersburg, four and a half
Now, said Mr. SEMMES,
take the hospitals superintended by the males. In the General Hospital No. 2,
ten percent; No. 13, fourteen per cent; No. 9 twelve per cent; No. 5, thirteen
per cent; No. 23, twelve per cent, and the balance eight, nine and ten per cent
– except the Winder Hospital – and it is a remarkable exception, where, out of
22,874 patients, there has only been a mortality of six per cent. I would like
to know who is the surgeon of that hospital.
Mr. SIMMS, of Ky.,
responded that Dr. Lane is the Chief Surgeon in charge. There are five divisions
in Winder Hospital, each being under the immediate charge of a Surgeon and two Assistant
Surgeons. Only one of these divisions is visited, and, to a great extent managed
and superintended by ladies. This division will furnish an additional argument
for the introduction of female attendants in your hospitals. The mortality list
in the division being comparatively small.
Mr. SEMMES – Where
males have charge the mortality averages ten per cent., where females manage it
is only five per cent. I will not agree to limit the class of persons who can
effect such a saving of life as this.
Mr. MITCHELL said one
nurse was not sufficient for ten patients, and his experience as a Surgeon
justified him in making the assertion. The number employed should be left to the
discretion of the Surgeon in charge.
The motion of Mr. ORR
was agreed to.
On motion of Mr.
BURNETT, the clause fixing the salary of nurses was amended so as to read, “not
to exceed,” &c.
Mr. SIMMS offered the
following additional section to the bill:
Sec. 7. That the
Secretary of War is hereby authorized, in such way and manner as he may deem
best, and under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, to enter into
and perfect some suitable arrangement with the different railroad companies,
their officers and authorized agents, whereby seats in one or more cars of each
railroad train, as the necessities of the case may be, shall be reserved for the
use of the sick and wounded soldiers who may desire transportation on any such
railroad, that no person not sick or wounded, and not an attendant upon the sick
and wounded, shall be permitted to enter any such car or cars so reserved until
the sick or wounded, and their attendants, shall first have obtained seats; and
also shall perfect some arrangements with the said railroad companies, and their
officers and agents, whereby all conductors having in charge any such trains
shall be required to provide for the use of the sick and wounded I the cars so
reserved a sufficient quantity of pure water.
Sec. 8. That all
Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons in charge of hospitals, having in his or their
charge any sick or wounded soldiers deserving transportation as aforesaid,
shall, in all cases, detail some competent person, acting under his or their
authority, whose duty it shall be to accompany all such sick and wounded to the
depot of any such railroad, to see that all such are properly cared for, and
that they obtain seats on said car or cars so reserved. Adopted.
On motion of Mr. SIMMS,
of Ky., the bill was ordered to be sent immediately to the House for its
The bill then passed.
The bill as amended
with the 7th and 8th sections appended as above quoted is
Section 1. The Congress
of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the commutation value of
rations of sick and disabled soldiers in the hospitals of the Confederate States
is hereby fixed at one dollar, instead of the commutation now allowed by law,
which shall constitute the hospital fund, and be held by the commissary and be
paid over by him from time to time to the surgeon or assistant surgeon in charge
of the hospital in which the soldier, whose ration was commuted, is an inmate,
upon the said surgeon or assistant surgeon’s requisition, made in writing, when
necessary to purchase supplies for said hospital: Provided, however, when said
fund for any one hospital shall increase over and above the monthly expenditures
of the same to an amount exceeding the sum of five thousand dollars, the said
commissary shall be required to deposit the said excess over and above the said
five thousand dollars in the Treasury of the Confederate States, or such other
place of deposit where Government moneys are ordered to be kept; which said
deposits, when so made, shall be passed to the credit of the said Confederate
States, and be liable to draft as other public moneys are; and all such funds
shall be accounted for by the said commissary in his monthly report and abstract
as now required by law; And provided further, That all surgeons and assistant
surgeons who shall receive from the said commissary any part of said hospital
fund, to be expended for the use of hospitals, shall be held liable for a
faithful application of it, and in a weekly account and abstract to be made out
and forwarded to the office of the surgeon general, to be verified in every
instance by vouchers, shall show what disposition has been made of it, which
account, abstract and accompanying vouchers shall be placed on file.
Sec. 2. That the
Secretary of War, is hereby authorized and directed to make a contract with the
several railroad companies and lines of boats for the speediest practicable
transportation of all supplies purchased for the use of the hospitals by agents
appointed for that purpose, or donated by individuals, societies or States, and
it shall be lawful for the Quartermaster General to furnish general
transportation tickets to such agents, upon all railroad trains and canal boats,
when engaged in the actual service of said hospitals, upon the request of the
said surgeon or assistant Surgeon.
Sec. 3. That there
shall be allowed to each hospital of the Confederate States, suits of clothing,
consisting of shirts, pantaloons and drawers, equal to the number of beds in the
same, for the use of the sick while in the hospitals, when so ordered by the
Surgeon or Assistant Surgeon in charge, which said clothing shall be drawn upon
the written requisition of said Surgeon or Assistant Surgeon, and shall be
receipted for and kept as hospital clothing, and be accounted for by him as
other public property.
Sec. 4. That there be
allowed to each hospital, with rations and suitable places of lodging the
following matrons and female nurses and attendants, viz; Two matrons, to be
known and designated as hospital matrons in chief at a salary not to exceed
forty dollars per month each, whose general duties shall be to exercise a
superintendence over the entire domestic economy of the hospital , to take
charge of such delicacies as may be provided for the sick; to apportion them out
as required, to see that the food or diet is properly prepared, and all such
other duties as may be necessary. – Two matrons to be known and designated as
assistant matrons, whose general duties shall be to superintend the laundry, to
take charge of the clothing of the sick, the bedding of the hospital, to see
that they are kept clean and neat, and perform such other duties as may be
necessary, at a salary not to exceed thirty-five dollars per month each. Two
matrons for each ward at salary not to exceed thirty dollars per month each, to
be known and designated as ward matrons, whose general duties shall be to
prepare the beds and bedding of their respective wards, to see that they are
kept clean and in order, that the food or diet for the sick is carefully
prepared and furnished to them, the medicine administered, and that all patients
requiring careful nursing are attended to, and all such other duties as may be
necessary; and all surgeons and assistant surgeons in charge of a hospital are
hereby authorized to employ such other nurses, either male or female, as may be
necessary to the proper care and attention of the sick, at a salary not to
exceed twenty-five dollars a month, and also the necessary cooks, at a salary
not to exceed twenty-five dollars each per month, and one ward-master for each
ward, at a salary of twenty-five dollars per month each, giving preference in
all cases to females, where their services may best subserve the purposes and in
the event, a sufficient number of such nurses and ward masters cannot be
employed, not liable to military service, and it shall become necessary to
assign this duty soldiers in the service, then upon the requisition of such
surgeon or assistant surgeon in charge of such hospital, the soldier or soldiers
so assigned, who are skillful and competent, shall be permanently detailed for
this duty, and shall only be removeable for neglect or inattention, by the
surgeon or assistant surgeon in charge, provided in all cases that all other
attendants and servants not herein provided for, necessary to the service of
said hospital, shall be allowed as now provided by law.
Sec. 5. That the
hospitals of the Confederate States shall hereafter be known and numbered as
hospitals of a particular State, and in all cases where the same can be done
without injury to the patient, or great inconvenience to the Government, all
sick or wounded soldiers, being citizens or residents of such particular State,
shall be sent to such hospital as may represent the same.
Sec. 6. That all
persons authorized to be employed by section 4th of the Act, who are
not engaged in the military service, and whose pay is now provided for by law,
shall be paid by any quartermaster or other persons authorized to pay troops in
the military service, upon a muster, or pay roll to be made out and certified to
by the surgeon or assistant having in charge the hospital or hospitals in which
said persons have been employed.
On motion of Mr.
SPARROW, the message of the House refusing concurrence in the Senate amendment
to the House bill to provide for the filling up of existing regiments,
battalions and companies was taken up and agreed to.
[remainder of items being of an unrelated nature were not transcribed.]
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