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Monday, June 9, 2014

"A melancholy procession": White House Landing after the Battle of Cold Habor

Procession of the Maimed.
The army was particularly well placed for the prompt dispatch of the wounded to the rear, as it was only twelve miles from its water base at White House, on the Pamunkey River. Here sufficient transports were assembled to take the wounded to Northern hospital. There not being enough ambulances to transport all promptly to the rear army wagons had been brought into use. On the morning of June 3, a train of wagons and ambulances was organized, including a total of 2,177 vehicles, which in single line would have reached to White House. On June 4 forty-three new ambulances arrived.
Many of the slightly wounded started for White House on foot rather than go to the field hospitals. Thus all day on June 4, a melancholy procession of blood- stained men kept pace with the jolting wagons with their maimed burdens that filled the road to White House. No such cortege had ever before passed through, the pine thickets, past the silent swamps and over the black streams of that part of Virginia. Although a Federal army had fought there in 1865, its losses had not been nearly as great.
The road being sandy and heavy from rain, progress of the procession of the maimed was slow. As the rough wagons Jolted in ruts or over corduroy of logs in marshy places, the sufferers lyng in them, on beds of straw or boughs, groaned In agony.
Arriving at the river, they were borne aboard the transports and laid in rows in cots or upon the decks.
In the course of the day 1,254 men were placed on transports, which started for Washington. At night there remained in the hospital tents near the shore 1,460 more, ready to depart as soon as they, could be loaded on the boats.
The labors of the army’s medical officers and their helpers at this time were ceaseless. Some of the surgeons had slept but an hour or two in three nights. At first there had been a shortage of nurses, but willing volunteers had been supplied by the Sanitary Commission. The nurses, like the doctors, worked unceasingly. Their experiences in this labor were such as could not be forgotten.

 - The Washington Herald (Washington, D.C.)June 04, 1914

This was a "fifty years ago today" piece at the Washington Herald.

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