Wednesday, February 11

From Commodore Campbell, U.S. Southern Station

Today we look back a bit at a letter the Doctor rec'd before hostilities broke out. This post submitted by American reenactor Adrian J Geary:

To: Surgeon
HMS Acasta

From: Commodore Hugh G. Campbell
Commander U.S. Southern Station

St. Marys   Jany 11, 1810

    In consequence of a conversation between Surgeon, DR. Edward Cutbush and myself.  I beg leave, by his request, to address you, Sir, on the subject of the medical department of the southern station.

    The bill for medical services on the southern station has been extravagantly high and continues to expend sums of needed money's.  Naval Agent Nathaniel Ingraham has been directed by the Secretary of the Navy, Paul Hamilton, to ascertain the usual charges for said services and pay the Senior Surgeon on that basis.  I am deeply concerned about having said agent interfering with station business and call upon you for professional help.
    I have informed my surgeon, a DR. George Logan of Charleston that in the past patieants requiring extraordinary care were transfered to a civilian hospital in the area.  This is the main cause of such high costs.  He suggested building of a naval hospital in Savannah for such personnel and I must say I agree.  These private hospitals are run by local doctors who use their servants to look after the invalids whilst they recover.  The servants do not care for such work and as a result the sick and injured are often left with no one to maintain them through the recovery time resulting in many advoidable deaths.  This condition also results in many cases of needless desertions  My Congress has been looking into making approiations for the building of Naval Hospitals ashore, but as of yet has made no determination on the issue.  DR. Logan has informed me that some men in these conditions would shortly die for want of a more proper place to put them.  The men evactuated to Philadelphia Naval Yard will also most likely pass away during the voyage of 20 days from this location.  I may be required to act on my own, in relieving the present wretchedness of the hospital establishment. 

    Regular sick cases are being cared for in a makeshift hospital on the second floor of a frame structure within the navy yard.  My office at present is on the ground floor of this building, and I regularly have problems with this arrangement.  Every week the surgeon orders the floor of the hospital washed.  The water always drips through the ceiling and throughly wets my papers and books if I donot cover them with an oilcloth in time. 

    We are currently in the process of converting a decommisioned ship into a hospital afloat for our smaller craft, after it's refit was mishandled by an inept officer whom has since been dismissed from the service.  I  am of the belief that such seperation from shore will prevent the epidemics prevailing in a city or its suburbs from rendering the convalescant stage far longer than it need be.  This will be an important advantage in it's Oeconomy.   

    I myself being a criple as the result of a lame leg, injured while on duty, and confined to shore duty, am symphathetic to the plit of the sick and injured under my command.  I therefore respectfully request any and all assistance in the affore meantioned areas of professional medicine.  

    I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, your obediant servent.
            Comd. Hugh G. Campbell

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