Transportation of Sick and Wounded on CS Railroads

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Following is a letter from the head of the RR Bureau to the QM General:

Confederate States
Quartermaster's Department
Railroad Bureau
Richmond, Sept 2nd, 1864

General, {A R Lawton, QMG}

Enclosed please find the papers relating to the want of accommodation for sick & wounded soldiers on the Charlotte & South Carolina Railroad. The subject has already had my attention and ????? I required a copy of the law be sent to the several railroad companies in the Confederacy. The law reads as follows:

"The Quarter Master General will have arrangements made with the Railroad Companies to reserve seats in one or more cars as may be necessary, for the use of the sick and wounded soldiers and their attendants to be transported; and until they are seated, to prevent other persons from entering the reserved car, and also to require conductors of the trains to provide for the use of the sick and wounded in the reserved cars a sufficient quantity of pure water."

Accompanying the law I sent each Co. a letter asking them to comply with it so far as it was possible and from several, answers were returned stating that a ready compliance would be given. In other cases no answer was returned.

Very few roads pay any attention to "the act" and but one or two carry it out properly. I have been powerless to enforce a compliance as each train could violate the law with impunity without some one ever constantly watching to see that it was not done.

There is another great hardship connected with the removal of sick and wounded soldiers for which however the rail roads are not responsible. I refer to the difficulty of getting from one train to another. There is always a great rush and crowd when a train reaches its destination and every man is working for himself, the sick and wounded are left to get off and on the cars as best they can and in the hurry they get nervous and anxious, make exertions beyond their strength and frequently, in consequence, suffer relapses. Only the other day a soldier with an amputated leg, in his hurry to get from the cars at Greensboro attempted it while the cars were in motion; in the effort he fell to the ground and his wound burst open afresh and but for timely assistance he would have died. Soldiers are very frequently unruly while on the trains and but little disposed to heed the warnings of any one, and the number of travellers prevent conductors from giving proper attention to all.

As a remedy for these evils I would suggest a requirement be formed of invalid soldiers and they be assigned to the duty of travelling, in such numbers as may be necessary, upon each train, one man to each car, and a commissioned officer on each train and they should see that the fresh water was provided, or should provide it themselves, and should also enforce the law giving preference to sick and wounded soldiers, and when they latter got off at stations, or had to exchange cars they should give them all necessary help.

This plan would give employment to maimed soldiers and to those incapacitated for duty, and would bring before the sick and wounded the fact that the Govt. was careing for them all the time.

It would be better if the law could be carried out by the Railroad Companies but they either cannot or will not do it, and I can see no plan better than the one above proposed.

It is probable that a sufficient number of officers and soldiers incapacitated for other duty and yet able for this cannot be had, but humanity urges something more effective on Govt. than a law which in its operations is a dead letter.

If the suggestion is considered, by you, of enough importance to warrant an effort at organization I will endeavor to get some information as to the number of men required and report to you.
I am, General,
Very respy
Yours &c
F. W. Sims
 
Last edited:

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Was any remedy implemented? It seems to me the Invalid Corps could be made good use of, and especially where the main congestion and haste existed.
Lubliner.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
My initial thought in his report was the men that were being mistreated could report on the situation where reform was needed. I suppose that had happened, hence came the report. The disunity between the Confederate Government and the Railroad Committees can only be described as beyond repair.
Lubliner.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
My initial thought in his report was the men that were being mistreated could report on the situation where reform was needed. I suppose that had happened, hence came the report. The disunity between the Confederate Government and the Railroad Committees can only be described as beyond repair.
Lubliner.
It was not disunity -- it was demand beyond the power to provide. As stoves, water barrels, car walls, etc were destroyed by soldiers and hard use without maintenance time, it became impossible for the railroads to supply the items lost and destroyed. EVERYONE in the railroads was overworked because of the huge demand and the conscription system, there was just no labor to keep up with the needs.
 
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