Report to the Southern Mothers' Association Executive Committee.
To the Executive Committee of the Southern Mothers:
Having been elected by you on the 7th of June, as surgeon of the institution under your charge, I immediately entered upon the discharge of my duties, and herewith have the honor to submit to you this, my first monthly report:
Number discharged 52, sent to private houses 25, in the wards 27, died 2. total 106.
Diseases—Diarrhea 11, dysentary 6, neuralgia 3, constipation 1, contusion 3, fatigue and exposure 9, measles 2, gun shot 3, opthalmia 1, pneumonia 19, intermittent 42, ptyalism 2, congestive chill 2, abcess 1, cut with bowie-knife 1. Total 106.
Of these there were from army of Tennessee 14, Missouri troops 1, 2d Arkansas regiment 91. Total 106.
In examining the above list of diseases, it will be seen that nearly twenty per cent. have been pneumonia. The causes of this are readily explained by the facts attending the trip of the 2d Arkansas regiment, colonel T. C. Hindman, commanding, to Knoxville and back. These troops, fresh from the back woods of Arkansas, unaccustomed to excitements, and actuated by the loftiest patriotism, thought it incumbent upon them to cheer at each flag station, village and town upon the road, both going and coming, until their bronchias became inflamed in the highest degree.
In addition to this, the dust and cinders, the open cars, the heat of the days, the cold nights, the sudden change of the weather while in East Tennessee, insufficient clothing, the want of blankets, and sleeping on the damp earth, rendered their trip everything but one of pleasure. Hence our rooms were filled on their return with fully developed cases of pneumonia. None are so classified that did not present several of the characteristic symptoms and phenomena of the disease. In addition to there, nearly all the cases of intermittent were more or less accompanied with congestion and pleuritic affections of the lungs.
In view of the number of patients and the character of the disease, it affords me pleasure to state that only two have so far proved fatal, and that there is only one man whose case may be regarded as critical. Mr. Gallagher, of the Crocket Rangers, died on the 15th ult., having come under my charge after he had been abandoned by his physician. I immediately called Dr. Hopson in consultation with me, but he had become so prostrated and diseased that our efforts were unavailing to restore him. He died in consequence of secondary hemorrhage. The other, Mr. S. L. Poston, of Capt. Harvey's company, 2d Arkansas regiment, was attacked with pneumonia in Knoxville on the 14th ult., and arrived here on the 17th. His case was complicated with phthisis pulmonalis, and was in the third stage on his arrival here. He died June 23d.
In my attendance upon the sick soldiers under my charge I have been nobly aided by the excellent council and advice of Drs. Allen, Shanks, Holliday, Erskine, Cypert, Wilson, Irwin, and others of the city, and Surgeons Bartlett and Darling of 2d Arkansas regiment. They have visited our rooms as friends and as physicians, and I earnestly hope that each member of the profession will consider himself at all times a welcome visitor to our rooms.
The druggest [sic] and military board of Memphis have aided us by contributions of valuable drugs and medicines, and to them we should return our sincere thanks. I have endeavored to use the strictest economy in the administration of medicines by having them compounded at my rooms, saving valuable time.
It is a source of pleasure to me to bear testimony to the patriotic, self-sacrificing devotion of the different members of the association, who have been engaged in nursing the sick during the last two weeks. Assiduous in their daily vigils, they have accomplished as much, or more, by the tender care of the patients confided to them, than could have been done by any other means. It could not be otherwise. Actuated by the holiest and noblest patriotism they left their splendid palaces to administer to the wants at the bedside of the humble soldier. They have watched over their patients with a devotion and interest that excites the liveliest admiration. Mothers have left the cares and charms of home, to bathe the fevered brow and cool the parched tongue of those who were sons and brothers in the holy cause of defending our sunny South. The zeal and devotion of the "Southern Mothers" displayed at the rooms has extended to the fireside, and they have thrown open their doors, and taken the convalescing to their homes. So far, the demand for them to be thus provided for, has exceeded the supply.
Our thanks are due to Capt. A. B. Jewell, for many acts of kindness, especially in providing us, on several occasions, with good barbers; thereby aiding materially the comfort and appearance of the patients.
I have found it necessary to station sentinels at the front and rear entrances, also at the foot of the second stair case, leading to the Third [illegible] to all, as much as promiscuous visiting interfered with the treatment of the patients. In this connection, I will state to the members of the association, that so long as I have charge of the wards, I will enforce the strictest order and decorum. No "southern mother" shall ever blush at the recollection of ever having crossed the threshold of our rooms. No invalid soldier will ever regret that he was nursed by a "southern mother."
I will close by saying to the commanding officers and to the patriotic soldiers of the South that the rooms of the "southern mothers" in Memphis are always open, that they are ready and willing to receive their sick and wounded, and that they will be provided with everything to render them comfortable; that they will be watched over and nursed with the tenderest care by the members of the order, without fee or reward.
Respectfully yours, etc.,
G. W. Curry.
July 1st, 1861
To the Executive Committee of the Southern Mothers:
I herewith tender to you my resignation as surgeon of the institution under your charge.
Highly appreciating the honor you have conferred upon me, and the uniform kindness you have always shown me, I am, respectfully,
G. W. Curry, M. D.
"Mothers' Rooms," July 2, 1861
G. W. Curry, M. D., Surgeon of the Society of "Southern Mothers:"
Dear Sir: The resignation of your position in our society having been laid before a called meeting of the association, seventeen members being present, it was by acclamation voted that we cannot dispense with your services in our "Rooms;" we therefore decline to accept the resignation, and beg you to enter immediately upon your duties again, assuring you of our perfect confidence in your skill, our high regard for you personally, and our heartfelt gratitude for the noble and disinterested service you have rendered as in our attempts to alleviate the horrors of war by nursing to the best of our ability the suffering sons of the South in arms for the defense of our homes.
S. C. Law, President.
Mary E. Pope, Secretary.
Memphis Daily Appeal, July 3, 1861.
3, The remains of Union University in Murfreesboro
Today is warm, last night was extremely so about 10 o'clock clouds came up from the south and we had quite a thunder shower. We are camped by the "Union University" [and] some of the boys were in there and told me of the state of things[;] I went in and what confusion. A splendid library and all thrown topsy-turvy - apparatus broken, charts and maps strewed about and trampled on. It was sad to see. But as I glanced over the names of the books how hungry they made me, words I had often heard of were there but which I had never seen before. Although I had wished to do so. After looking at them for awhile I took Dr. Cumming's lecture on the Apocalypse to read while we were there and left. I was extremely sorry to see the state of things. It seems as though somebody ought to care fore these things and if they are reel property itself – they might be saved for the state of Tenn. It is a pity to let them go to ruin. There are some works over a hundred years old that I have seen in the old fashioned way of printing and many – very many valuable works. Oh may the time soon come when all this shall be changed and peace again enfold her wings and spread them over a people all free [sic]. Amen.