Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dr. Seth Rogers to his Daughter, Sunday Evening, January 11, 1863

Sunday evening, January 11, 1863.

At service today the President's proclamation was read and the Colonel asked all who wanted to fight for liberty, to say “Aye.” The response would have satisfied greater enthusiasts than uncle Abraham. . . .

I have lost more than one hour's sleep since coming here, listening to the coughing of the soldiers in the night and in trying to contrive plans to meet the more obvious causes. In a climate so damp and with change of temperature so great between midday and midnight, I have steadily felt the importance of some means by which the soldier's A tents could, with their clothing, be more effectually dried and purified than is ordinarily done by the sun. To have a fire in a tent 7 x 8 for four men, without fireplaces, stove, or even an opening in the top, did not seem quite feasible, but we are trying in James's and one other company, an experiment which is likely to prove a success. Remembering the antiseptic influence of wood smoke, and also the primitive cabins from which many of our people came, we have, this evening, had fires built in the centre of the tents, the floor boards in the middle being removed and a hole being dug in the sand for the fuel. The soldiers enjoy this scheme. After the smoke ceases, the beds of coals make the tents seem very cosy. The Colonel is not backward in favoring every hygienic measure that offers any good to the soldiers. A few days experiment with two companies will settle the question by comparison of sick lists.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 43, October, 1909—June, 1910: February 1910. p. 343

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