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The Soldiers' journal. (Rendezvous of Distribution, Va.) 1864-1865, February 17, 1864, Image 1

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89038091/1864-02-17/ed-1/seq-1/

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[Written for the Soldiers' Journal.
" Ood hath made of one blood all nations of men."
That cloud is passing away,
Which for ages has darkened our world!.
Now dawns on our vision a glorious day,
When slavery forth shall be hurled
From its lofty pedestal down to the earth,
Then perish its name and the day of its birth!
Proclaim o'er hill and glen!
This Truth, like the bow o'er the heavens, shall spread!
" God hath made of one blood all nations of men f
The slave shall no longer dread
The torturing lash, for he soon will be free
In this " Land of our Fathers "—of Liberty I
" Extinguish that light!"
For centuries has been the watch-word of war,
The freeman has girded his armor so bright,
Not heeding this law—
And his blood? It has mingled with that of the slave!
" One brotherhood now," cries a voice from the grave. I
The trump of a crusade war
Once summoned the hosts of Europe, to fight
On Palestine's plains—from their country afar—
To put out the Infidels' light-
To proclaim they'd no share in Calvary's blood!
They were not their equals—notone brotherhood t
Were they blest with success ?
Nay, verily; for this great Truth e'er shall stand!
Tho' nations may combat the weak to oppress,
" They are plucked as a brand!"
For hark! thro' the earth that sweet sound rings again,
" Ood hath made of one blood all nations of men l"
Christian! Dost hear it ?
It comes in the voice of the soft, summer breeze—
The music of birds in the air bids you hear it!
Gently whisper, the trees—
The lily and rose sing this song which we love—
And the stars speak its truth in the heavens, above!
'Tis a lesson, divine!
The teaching of Paul in the midst of Mars' Hill!
Turn within—it is writ in that pure heart of thine-
In the murmuring rill-
In the dew, which oft sparkles so bright on the rose-
In the clouds which above us serenely repose I
Ho! yo of the Prairie Land !
And ye of Atlantic's bright shore, [band-
Burst the chains which are binding the dark, sable
Then, loudly the tidings ring o'er
Our glorious Country-this " Home of the Brave "
That the stars and the stripes wave not over one slave!
Rendkhvqpz of Distribution, Va., Feb. 7, '64.
Dedicated to Samuel McKelvy, Lieut. Col. Com
manding, as a token of the high appreciation and
regard entertained for him as a commanding !
My first introduction to Convalescent Camp,
(fa., was on the 20th day of September, 180_j
laving been ordered to report to the command
ng office, with a squad of men of the regiment, I
to which I had the honor of being a member,
I viz:—l4th New York State Militia, of Brooklyn!
Convalescent Camp was situated on Shuster's
Hill, adjoining Fort Ellsworth, just outside of
Alexandria, Va.
On the 28th day of September, '62, I was asked
by the commanding officer of the camp to accept
a detail, and assist in endeavoring to create an
organization. After entering upon my duties, at
first I found little or no discipline in the camp.
The camp was organized under orders of Major
General Banks, commanding the Defenses of
Washington, dated August, 1862. The general
supervision of the camp was under charge of
Brig. Gen. Slough, Military Governor of Alex
andria, Va. '
The commandant selected for the camp was J.
S. Belknap, Colonel of the 85th N. Y. Vols. Af
ter some few days at Headquarters, in reading
over the general orders establishing the camp, I
found there was no provision made who should
be placed on detail for the proper management
thereof, and I have to this day entertained the
idea that it was a serious mistake, " for reason:"
Officers ordered to report to that camp, not
knowing whether they would remain there one,
or twenty days, did not interest themselves, or
use that exertion requisite to create discipline,
and effect an organization amongst so large a
body of men, representing every branch of the
service, and a large amount of regiments in the
The command was divided into three sections,
viz :—lst, convalescents ; 2nd, stragglers ; 3rd,' j
recruits. Each section was under command of I
an officer with assistants.
It seemed to me (with but a, few exceptions,)
that when a Lieutenant was ordered on duty, he
L seemed embarrassed to attempt to control or
take charge of more than one hundred men, or
| that of a company. Amongst those who assum
| ed a large amount of responsibility, and con
ducted the general routine of the business in an
| officer-like manner, and had a large command,
was Capt. Thomas H. Marston, of the 82nd Reg!
[ Pa. Vol's. Ever ready to lend a helpping hand,
his counsel was sought by many a poor and suf
fering soldier. Independent of his command,
every second day he acted in the capacity of offl!
i cer of the day.
There being no provision made for a guard,
Col. Belknap, with the consent of the Military
Governor of Alexandria, detailed three men of
each regiment represented in the camp, and
[ formed them into companies for a guard, each
company being under the charge of a lieutenant.
Convalescent Camp, or Section No. 1, was com
posed of wedge and sibley tents. In October,
'62, there was some ten thousand men in the
camp, unfit for duty in the field. The tents were
unfloored, and with no fires.
Over the major portion of the above number
of men were sent from the hospitals to the camp,
and were fit and proper subjects for return to I
a misunderstanding as regarded the natui
of the camp, and the accommodations for me
yet unfit for active service in the field, or
gross negligence on the part of surgeons of hos
pitals in forwarding such a class of men t
camp, who were fit and proper subjects for th
tender mercies of a surgeon in a comfortabl
The medical department of the camp was un
der charge of Dr. Pooley, Asst. Surg. U. S. A.
assisted by some eight or nine Acting Assistan
Surgeons. Three of the Acting Assistant Sur
geons constituted a Board of Examiners, for th
purpose of discharging disabled soldiers.
Dr. Pooley had not the experience sufficient t<
meet the demands and attend to the wants of j
camp of that magnitude, and his removal wat
recommended by Thomas F. Perley, Medica]
Inspector General, in his report to Surgeon Gen-
I eralvHammortd, October, 1862.
Ferris Jacobs, Surgeon IP. Si 'Vote., relieved
I Assistant Surgeon Pooley, October 27, '62. About
that time a Board of three Surgeons were ordered
j to camp, for the purpose of examming'disabled
and debilitated soldiers, with a view M for dis
charge the service,"
In December, '62, the severity of the weathe.
| upon wounded and disabled soldiers, caused
I many complaints to be made to officials and con
gressmen in Washington on account of the scar
city of woodr-no floors in the tents and no fires.
Immediately afterwards Major General Heint
zleman ordered that all the wood in sloops at
Alexandria, and in and around the country, be
seized and delivered at Convalescent Camp.-
Lieut. R. P. Crawford, A. D. C, conveyed the
order to Brigadier General Slough at midnight,
(the thermometer being that night a zero.) The
day following the Committee on the Conduct of
the War visited the camp, and through their in
fluence, together with Major General Heintzle
man, over fifteen hundred men were removed
from camp and placed in comfortable hospitals,
iA-and about Washington, for medical treatment!
Surgeon General Hammond also visited the
camp, in order to investigate and remedy exist
ing evils belonging to his department.
2nd Section, or Stragglers' Camp, was compos
ed of men fit for duty, stragglers and deserters.
This camp was under the command of Lieut.
Balk, 6th U. S. Cay. The Camp was situated in
the rear of Convalescent Camp.
The mode of sending men to join their regi
ments in the field, was as follows :—A weekly
report was made out at Headquarters, stating
the number of men in camp " fit for duty and
unfit," belonging to each brigade in the field.-
This report was forwarded to the commanding
officers of brigades by General Slough, notifying
them of the fact, with a request to send an officer
or officers for the men. By that means much time

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