As the days turn colder, southern concern for soldiers’ health grows. Soldiers are anxious about illness in their midst, while family and friends on the home front fret about disease and illness among loved one. As Confederate soldiers serve far from homes and hearths and suffer travails, patriotic appeals for assistance from residents in the vicinity of winter encampments is not uncommon.
In this week’s Tennessee Baptist, two letters to the editor voice these concerns. Both are unclear as to the exact, respective cities to which the writers are alluding, but the messages share similarities.
A Texas regiment under Col. Granberry reached this city week before last, after a march of 400 miles on feet from Waco to Monroe, Miss., and thence by cars to this city. The health of the company was excellent. Bro. J. J. Riddle, from exposure upon the open cars for three nights, and much waiting upon his sick, was taken down the day he reached this city with a severe chill, and a general prostration of his entire system. We had the pleasure of a visit on one week from him, and of testing the power of Clark’s Sure Cure Chill Pill. They worked like a charm, not only preventing a return, but effecting a cure. When Bro. Riddle left for camp he declared that he felt better than he had in three months. His friends will be happy to learn that he has recovered. We have offered to receive into our house all of Capt. Granberry’s sick rather than to see them sent to the hospitals.
There are in this city not less than one thousand soldiers who have been sent down from the camps in and about Bowling Green, Ky. The larger portion of these are from Texas, and lower Mississippi. The Texas Regiments are suffering most severely. Fully one half of them are on the sick list. The unoccupied warehouses in this city have been, and are still being fitted up for hospitals. For the want of room these places are so crowded with cots that it is with difficulty one can pass between them, and the result is and will be to an alarming extent, that they will become vast pest houses in spite of all the attention by a far too inferior medical staff, and the attention of a class of our ladies, which in justice to them we must say we never saw equalled. Nashville has done and is doing much, but she is able to do more and infinitely better than she is doing. There are fully two thousand families in this city and within five or six miles able to take in and nurse from two to a half a dozen of these suffering boys, and we think that it should be done—that it will be a dishonor to us unless we do this, for these are not mercenary soldiers but the noble sons of the noblest blood of the South, who have volunteered to interpose their breasts as shields between this city and community and the invading and merciless foe. What do we not owe to them and should we not feel willing to do for them? We have written articles for our city papers upon this subject, which may have attracted the notice of our readers in this county, by which they will have been apprised of the movement we have successfully inaugurated and may be promptly to cooperate. There are many soldiers who can ride ten or fifteen miles into the country, who must have rest, quietude, and nursing for a week or two or succumb to the disease that is fastening upon them. Those who live too far to take a soldier, can aid those who are nursing them, or the General Hospitals, if any are left to suffer there; we say if any are left, for we are happy to state that since the publication of the first article, hundreds have been taken into warm Southern homes, and scores are being taken daily. Brethren from the country—come in with your buggy or carriage at once and take one or two. Let us do something worthy of our much talked of hospitality—and come promptly to the relief of the poor suffering soldier.
To Parents and Relations in Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. TO THE FRIENDS OF SEVERAL SOLDIERS IN THE S. W. We have the pleasure of nursing under our roof, the following soldiers: Chatham, Huntsville, Texas, convalescing rapidly, Leonidas Tucker, Bradley co., Arkansas, much improved; T. W. Campbell, Arizona, improved; Calvin Milner, Leake co., Mississippi, case hopeful; W. N. Hodge, Fayette co., Texas, very sick, doubtful; Leonard, Waco, Texas, convalescing; Elder J. J. Riddle, has so far recovered as to join his company.
Sources: “The Waco Boys” and “Sick Soldiers,” Tennessee Baptist, November 16, 1861 (link)