The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 15
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Albert James Myer, an Army Doctor in Texas
The hospital at Fort Davis, as described a year or so following Myer's
departure, consisted of a large tent and an adjoining jacal (or "hackale,"
as Mansfield spelled it) eighty-five feet by twenty, built of pickets and
thatched with grass. It was "altogether slightly constructed and . . . in a
very rickety condition, neither safe nor a sufficient building for the pur-
poses of a hospital." A "good stone building" with a shingled roof served
as a hospital at Fort Duncan. While Myer was there, a fifteen-foot-wide,
roofed piazza was added and the wards, which were at first open to the
roof, were ceiled. A stone building, with two eighteen-foot square rooms
to house a new kitchen and hospital mess was under construction in
June, 1857. It was also planned at that time to construct a bath house
that would serve as both a dead house and a place for post mortem
examinations. In 1856 Mansfield found the kitchen "a worthless build-
ing," but the hospital dispensary and steward "good," and "the whole
department" "well conducted" by Myer. He recommended that the hos-
pital windows, which were then covered with cloth, should be glazed,
but it does not appear that this was done before Myer left Fort Dun-
There were several problems of medical administration that con-
cerned Myer during his service in Texas. At the beginning he com-
plained about the slowness with which medical supplies arrived at Fort
Davis, the state in which they arrived, and the insufficiency of bed-
ding in the hospital (while asking for twenty iron bedsteads and pre-
sumably bedding to go with them for the new hospital), and of all
hospital stores at Davis, including quinine, castor oil, sweet oil, alcohol,
oil of turpentine, Epsom salt, and iodine.35
Later, when he was at Fort Duncan, the Surgeon General's Office held
up one of Myer's requisitions until he explained whether the "Citizens"
to whom he referred as potential users of medical supplies were "em-
ployes of the Government entitled to Medical Attendance or other-
wise." In replying, he said he had had reference to teamsters and mem-
bers of soldiers' families. He did not know whether either group was
"legally" entitled to medical attendance, but believed the regulations
which Myer was there a little over half of the time.
34Scobee, Old Fort Davis, 21, quoting 2nd Lt. T. M. Jones (second quotation); "Mans-
field's Report," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XLII (Jan., 1939), 243 (third-seventh
quotations), 354 (first quotation); Myer's "Sanitary Report" for Fort Duncan, June, 1857,
in Coolidge, Statistical Report, III, 179-18o.
83Myer Diary, 1854-1855, Feb. 28, 1855; Myer to Henry Douglas[s], Feb. 19, 1855; SGO
to Myer, May 3, 1855; SGO to Myer, Sept. 8, 1855; and Myer to SGO (draft), n.d., Myer
Papers, LC. Also, Myer to Lawson, Mar. 5, 1855, Records of the Office of the Surgeon
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/35/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.