The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 207
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Notes and Documents
Indianola, Corpus Christi, and the Mouth of the Rio Grande, and
it is respectfully suggested that the cost of provision landed at each
of those depots shall be their price at all the posts supplied there-
1.-Necessity of additional officers. No less than seven stations and
three of the depots inspected by me were without medical officers.
The strictness with which the officers of this Corps are kept to duty,
is proverbial; but their numbers are not sufficient to meet the wants
of the service in the present dispersed condition of the Army. It is
extremely rare to find two at any post, however large its garrison,
though it were desirable that this should be the rule and not the
exception. Besides their liability to sickness and it being often im-
practicable to obtain a citizen physician in the vicinity, it is some-
times necessary to detach a portion of the command on hazardous
service, and in such cases either the detachment or the main body
must be left without a Surgeon. Moreover, their present limited
numbers operate to their disadvantage in another respect, they can
seldom obtain the indulgence of a leave of absence, or if it be
accorded, they are expected, during such absence, to provide the post
with medical attendance free of expense to the United States-a
principle which is not applied to any other class of officers.
2.-Hospital Stewards. Although the law (Act, July 5, 1838, sec-
tion 12) fixes the pay of hospital stewards, it is held that no provision
is made for their enlistment, and they are now taken from the
strength of companies. The duties of these men are highly respon-
sible and they require a special training. They should form part of
the organization of the Medical Department, be enlisted by the
Purveyor in New York, and be there instructed, at least in pharmacy,
before being sent to posts.
Payments to the troops. The laws and the regulations of the pay
department prescribe that arrears of pay shall "at no time exceed
two months, unless the circumstances of the case shall render it
unavoidable;" yet the practice in this Department is to pay only
every four months; and I witnessed several payments whence the
arrears were eight months and upwards. The injurious effects re-
sulting from soldiers receiving large sums of money at a time, are
well known. Drunkenness and disorder soon make their appearance,
discipline is forgotten, and desertions are numerous. The authority
for the practice is an order issued by Bvt. Brig. General Harney,
August 6, 1851, and continued in force by the present Department
Commander, August 2, 1852. One-third of the entire Army is in the
8th Department. The Pay Department, besides officers of the higher
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/273/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.