Health of Gen. Grant's Army.

What the Well Need, and How the Sick are Provided For.


March 1[unknown], 1863.

Editors Missouri Democrat:

To allay the anxiety and apprehension of friends who have sons and brothers in the army of the Mississippi. I desire to communicate the result of a visit which I have just made to that army. From the representations which were made, I expected to find sickness and suffering prevailing to a frightful extent; but am most happy to report such is not the case.

For a short time after the landing of the troops at and near Young's Point, consequent upon long confinement on transports, there was much sickness, but the health of the troops had improved rapidly, and the per centage of sickness is below what I have generally found it in camps in other portions of the country which I have visited.

I was particularly struck with the cheerful and healthy appearance of both officers and men. I visited every regiment, particularly in Sherman's corps, which was reported in the worst condition. While in some of the new regiments the amount of sickness was large, in others it was unusually small. The camps, as a general thing, were well palced, as much as the nature of the ground would admit. The great danger to be apprehended is from the want of a proper vegetable diet. Symptoms of scurvy have already made their appearance, and it behooves friends at home to make prompt efforts to aid in remedying this.

I was assured by those in charge of the Commissary Department that they would do what they could, but the difficulties in the way are many and great, and as much as they may do, there is ample room for those at home to do who sympathize with our brave soldiers. Pickels, kraut, vegetables and fruit of every description will be needed, and can be used to advantage. Another danger arises from the use of seapage water, but the officers are talking active measures to prevent this. I saw General Sherman going through the camps on foot giving particular directions in regard to this and other sanitary regulations. No one could look after his men more carefully than he does while he maintains a strict discipline, he mingles with and goes among his men to ascertain personally their wants; he has a kind word for us, and is greeted by his men as one who cares for and thinks of their comfort. With the sick he is as tender and delicate as a woman. I am thus particular in mentioning General Sherman's corps, as my attention was especially directed to it owing to reports which had been made to me. The army is now well provided for taking care of the sick. The large and commodious floating hospital Nashville, in charge of Dr. Strawbridge and six assistants, with beds for a thousand men, is fitted up with bath-rooms and all the conveniences of a modern hospital. There are, besides, the hospital steamers D. A. January and City of Memphis, capable of accomodating twelve hundred more. The medical purveyor has a boat apart for medical supplies of all kinds, with cots and bedding, sufficient to extemporize several other floating hospitals in case of necessity. Gen. Grant is determined to have provision made for the sick, equal to any contingency which may arise, and before very long will quarter his army on the high ground on the opposite side of the river. Assistant Surgeon General Wood is accomplishing, and will accomplish all that is possible for any man to do. Besides the floating hospital and hospital steamers mentioned, which he has prepared, there is the hospital steamer City of Alton now other way with sick to this city; she being unable to fill up with sick at Young's Point, was corrected to complete her load at Helena and Memphis. At Memphis there are accomodations for five thousand sick, prepared by order of Assistant Surgeon General Wood. The Sanitary Commissions are following the army up, supplying such stores as the generous public by their liberality enable them to do. Mr. Platterburg, our special agent, will be with the army to take charge of and distribute all supplies sent from this place. The army is in a far better condition than I had hoped to find it. Officers and men are full of hope to find it. Officers and men are full of hope, courage and determination to crush this rebellion. They are the only messengers of peace, and if those who remain at home will only stand fast, be firm and united, speak words of cheer and encouragement, and then with their prayers, our sons, brothers and friends will sooner return, conquerors of a peace which will be enduring, and give to us a once more united and happy nation.

President Western Sanitary Commission.