HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
MEDICAL DIRECTOR’S OFFICE, January 12, 1865.
Bvt. Brigadier General W. HOFFMAN, U. S. Army,
Commissary-General of Prisoners:
SIR: The information you have received concerning the collecting together the wounded rebel prisoners at Columbia and Pulaski, Tenn., and to which you refer in the communication of the 2nd instant, and which has been referred to me, is correct. In consequence of these towns being on the line of Hood’s retreat, many of the prisoners who had been wounded at Franklin and were being carried to the rear were left there. These were augmented in number by the wounded brought in from the rear guard of the rebel army. As soon as it was learned that wounded rebels in any number were at Columbia and Pulaski Surg. O. Q. Herrick, superintendent of transportation of sick and wounded, was directed to have them removed to Nashville as soon as the railroad would be opened. On December 19, 1864, Surgeon Brinton, U. S. Volunteers, superintendent and director U. S. general hospitals at Nashville, was ordered by telegram to designate and set aside for the reception of the rebel wounded a hospital of capacity sufficient for the whole number, and directions were at the same time sent prohibiting the entrance of visitors. On the same day a telegram was sent to the superintendent of sick and wounded to scour the country from Brentwood Heights to Spring Hill and bring into Franklin and Nashville such as would bear transportation. On the 22nd of December, 1864, Surgeon Herrick was telegraphed to remove to Nashville, as soon as the road would be opened, all the rebel wounded at Columbia, as well as to collect all from the surrounding country and bring them in. On the 28th ultimo Surgeon Herrick received similar instructions regarding the wounded rebels at Pulaski. On the 30th of December, 1864, Surgeon Brinton, superintendent of hospitals at Nashville, was directed to make use of such of the rebel surgeons as he might require in the treatment of the rebel wounded, being informed at the same time that, previous to putting them on duty, it was absolutely necessary for them to be put upon their written parole by the provost-marshal-general Department of the Cumberland. From all this it may be observed that everything was done in order to have the rebels properly cared for, both as sick men and prisoners of war. As soon as the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad shall be opened every wounded rebel in our possession whose life will not be endangered by so doing will be brought to Nashville, and not only those in the hospitals but those, too, who are scattered in the farm-houses through the country.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. E. COOPER,
Surgeon, U. S. Army, Medical Director.