Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

June 25, 2012

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

25th.—All in the hospital having been made comfortable, we set to work yesterday to take care of ourselves. Arranged our tents, and to-day find ourselves a band of contented Surgeons, assistants and nurses, willing now to remain where we are. The above lines were written at noon, and before the ink dried, an orderly rode up with a note, the first line of which read: “Surgeon, you will report for duty with your regiment, without delay.” So the fat of my content is all in the fire. I suppose there is another hospital to be organized. This constant change from newly established order and organization, to unorganized, chaotic confusion, is very trying. To establish a large field hospital, provision it and put it in good condition for the comfort of sick and wounded, in the short time allowed and with the disentangling of the red tape, is a big work, which I have been so frequently called on to perform, that I am heartily sick of it. No sooner do I get all comfortable, and become interested in the men under my care, than we must separate, perhaps, never to meet again.

On receipt of order to join my regiment, immediately mounted my horse in obedience, leaving behind me my tent, trunk, books, mess chest—everything but a case of surgical instruments, and reported at headquarters on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy. Found all quiet on the surface, but there was underneath a strange working of the war elements, which I could not comprehend. Officers spoke to each other in whispers—there was a trepidation in everything. There was “something in the wind.” But it blew no definite intelligence to me. I received no order for duty; only to hold myself in readiness for whatever might be assigned me.

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