Carrington, Soldier's Home Hospital

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From William A. Carrington CSR (M331): Inspection report, dated 10/25/1862, for “Soldiers Home” Hospital

Richmond, Oct 25th, 1862

        I have the honour to report that I have this day inspected the private Hosl "Soldiers Home" situated on Clay St. near Brook Avenue in a quiet, retired part of the city, now covered with small houses but known for years as "The Old Field." It was established in 1861 but removed to the present premises in Jan 1862. A large yard & garden surrounds the house, containing in addition small houses for kitchen, store room, & privies. The main building is an old country house. 10 rooms are used as wards, making the capacity 50.

The rent of this building is paid by "the Soldiers Aid Society" & if any repairs have been made they have not been at the cost of the government. 

Acting Asst. Surgeon H. W. Davis is in charge with no assistants - His contract dates August 13th, 1862 with S. R. Moore Surgeon Genl C.S.A. at $80 per mo. He took charge after Surgeon Tafft C. S. A., but no property was formally turned over to him - or reported or taken up - Surgeon Tafft had his prescriptions compounded by the neighboring apothecaries & charged to the city of Richmond, their continuing for several months a very advantageous arrangement for individuals but the most expensive that could have been devised.

Dr. Davis resides in the vicinity & visits the Hospl frequently. J. J. Parson appointed by Sec of War is Hosl Steward, receiving only Q. M.'s pay $20 per mo. He draws rations for patients & attendants from Commissary Johns but no provision rations have been kept to compare with the commissary abstract, which Dr. Davis says he never has seen - neither has he applied to the commissary to see if any portion of the rations due had been commuted. The sources of his Hosl fund are from board charged officers, & the sale of surplus rations; Part of this fund has been appropriated to paying for repairs. 

There being no laundry, the washing is done in the neighborhood & paid for out of the Hosl fund when the patients themselves are not able to pay. Some of the rooms are very small & of low pitch, but I found them in good order as well as the persons & clothing of patients, bedding & beds.

The dining room, kitchen, store room & whole steward department was neat & orderly.

There is no bath room, but an abundant supply of water by Hydrant & an excellent well.

The privies are very offensive & constitute a nuisance. No guard has been kept, restraint of a military nature exercised - up to this date no reports (monthly or quarterly) have ever been sent in - The only Hospital Records exhibited was a very badly kept register.

I find that patients have been discharged on certificates of disability from this Hospital & that Q.M.s have paid employees from this Hosl, though the S. in charge was not a commissioned officer of the C. States nor authorized to sign such papers.

I recommend that the patients from this Hosl be removed to some military Hosl as well as any property belonging to the Government - that if the Hosl is kept open as a private charity it be made strictly such, drawing neither rations or Medl Stores & that the patients be under the same restraints as others in private quarters - I am of [the] opinion that the health comfort & discipline of soldiers is better cared for in Hospitals under a strictly Military organization than in this & that notwithstanding in private Hospitals part of the expenses are borne by individual charity, they can be proved to be for the government the least economical mode of caring for the soldiers.

I[n] report no VIII, I have condensed the facts in regard to private Hosls, none in detail in reference to "The Samaritan Hospital."

                                                                    Very Respectfully,
                                                                        Your Obedient Servant,
                                                                            Wm. A. Carrington
                                                                                Surgeon & Inspector of Hospitals


Page last updated on 06/14/2008