"What the Wounded Soldiers Need" (1862 Newspaper Article)


Mar 30, 2015
DuPage Cnty, IL
The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) April 23,1862 Page 2 Column 2


We learn from Leonard Swett, Esq., who has just returned from the battle field of Shiloh, some facts in reference to the wants of the wounded, which we deem important to be made known to the public.— Mr. Swett procured from the surgeon in charge of one of the hospitals at Savannah, Tenn., a list of supplies, which we give below.

In one ward in that hospital are twenty-five men, of whom one-half were from McLean and DeWitt counties. Articles may be forwarded by express to Savannah, to which point express messengers are now regularly running. They may be addressed to the “Post Surgeon U. S. A., Savannah,Tenn.,” and marked “hospital supplies.”

Cotton or linen rags, clean and soft, are more needed than anything else. The wounds of the soldiers are now suppurating, and a large supply of rags is required for dressings. Bed ticks, made up, such as can be filled with straw and used for mattresses. Light cotton drawers—those provided for winter are too thick for men feverish from wounds in the hot climate of Tennessee. Spittoons; these are greatly needed, as aiding in maintaining cleanliness. Cotton shirts; some with sleeves open, and with strings to tie the sleeves, for those wounded in the arm.

Feather pillows; a few would he very useful. Prepared woolen bandages of various widths. Wash basins. Cups, saucers and tea-spoons; these are especially useful in giving medicines. Lemons and crushed sugar; no drink is more grateful or healthful to the feverish lips of a wounded man than lemonade.—Glass tumblers, knives and forks, butcher knives, and small tea-pots.

The surgeon of the hospital at Savannah informed Mr. Swett that he had received a few cups and saucers, and said that nothing had been more useful. It must be remembered that the tin cups of the soldiers and their pocket knives are as yet chiefly relied on in the hospital.

Dried fruit of all kinds will be very useful—apples, peaches, cherries or berries. Cider, porter, ale, wine, and any kind of pure liquors. The native wines are best—grape, currant, blackberry, &c.—as being free from adulteration.

Tapioca, pearl barley, sago, corn starch, and other farinaceous preparations. A few brooms. Old shirts will be particularly useful; if not fit for garments they will make good rags.

All such articles and rags should be sent clean. In sending old garments of cotton, either shirts or drawers, don’t tear them up—that can be done in the hospitals.

Wine, spirits, and all liquids, must be packed in strong bottles and well corked.

In the hospital at Savannah are from 1,500 to 2,000 men, more than half of whom are from Illinois. We hope the wants of these men will be promptly and liberally supplied. Surely we stay-at-homes must not let our glorious representatives in the field suffer for anything we can supply. The soldiers are now lying on the floor on straw mattresses. If cot bedsteads could be sent they would greatly promote their comfort and health.

We are also requested by the president of the Ladies’ Soldiers’ Aid Society to ask all the members, as far as possible, to bring to the next meeting of the society old sheets or cotton cloth suitable for bandages.

Another battle in the vicinity of Corinth is impending, and from the circumstances surrounding the rebels and the large number of men in both armies, the loss of life will probably be greater than has hitherto occurred. Too much activity on our part in making preparations for the succor of the injured is impossible. Now is the time to strain every nerve that the need supplies may be ready when wanted. <END>