Today in History:

84 Series I Volume XX-II Serial 30 - Murfreesborough Part II


This is the second time I have been called upon by the expressed disapprobation of the General-in-Chief, founded upon the ex parte statements of interested persons, to take the defensive; and in this, as in the other instances alluded to, I am conscious of no wrong, or of having been remiss in my duty. In the statement I submit it will, I am sure, appear that I have not disobeyed, or rather failed to obey, the orders of the War Department, and that if there has been any failure in connection with those orders the fault does not rest with me. Possibly it may turn out to the satisfaction of the General-in-Chief and the honorable Secretary of War that the immediate execution of the order in question was practically impossible, and therefore that no fault exists anywhere.

On the 7th instant I received a dispatch from the General-in-Chief, expressing the disapproval of the War Department of the occupancy of the Blind Asylum at Louisville for hospital purposes, while the Marine Hospital and homes of secessionists in the rebel service could be used for the purpose, and directing that this be corrected.

Orders were immediately sent by telegraph to General Boyle, in command at Louisville, as nearly in the words of the General-in-Chief's dispatch as possible, directing that the building in question be vacated and hospital accommodations provided, as indicated in the dispatch.

Believing that difficulties would be met in procuring accommodations at Louisville, either with or without the occupancy of the asylum, I issued Special Orders, No.-, an extract of which is herewith, with a view to providing accommodations for hospital purposes, and of relieving the medical department of any the continued occupation of the asylum.

In giving the order to vacate the asylum, I did not imagine is possible that it could be done instantly. It was already filled why patients, many of whom could not be removed without danger to their lives, and for the rest proper accommodations had to be provided either at Louisville or elsewhere. I never doubted, in issuing the order, that it would be as promptly obeyed as the well-being of the patients would permit. The medical director at Louisville was an old army surgeon. and, so far as I was informed, reliable, and I am sure he would carry out the orders in the spirit in which, though peremptory in language, I presumed they were given; that is, with a humane regard for the lives of the patients.

After receiving the order of the 7th instant, and before the issue of Special Orders, No.-, I was called upon by Surgeon head, medical director at Louisville, who protested, in the most earnest tones, against giving up the asylum, and represented the impossibility of finding adequate accommodations there for the sick and wounded who were being sent to him, if it were done. He was told that such was the order of the War Department as well as mine; that it must be obeyed at the earliest practicable moment, and that the medical director of the department would be instructed to provide such accommodations as he might need in addition to those to be had at Louisville. Such accommodations have been provided here, as I understand from Dr. Holden, and Dr. Head instructed to send his surplus patients to this place. This, I presume, he will do, and vacate the asylum as a hospital.

Yesterday a letter from Dr. Head to General Boyle, inclosing a copy of a report made by the former to the Surgeon-General of the Army in regard to this matter, was received. It showed that the asylum was still occupied. In regard to it, I have only to say that in quoting from Surgeon Holden's directions to him, in regard to the occupancy of the Marine