The admirable medical organization of Letterman disappeared with the armies of Grant and Sherman, and Congress, weary of war, could not be induced to take interest in any military matter, except in the direction of reduction and economy. While all other nations made haste to apply the lessons of our war and to remodel their medical organizations in accordance with them, our own Medical Department reverted to antebellum conditions and went backward. The hospital stewards were the only permanent enlisted personnel and all nursing and other work about the hospitals was done by an uninstructed and constantly changing personnel of men detailed from the companies.
No worse system could have been invented, and yet it lasted 22 years, until, in 1887, the first step toward a modern organization was made by the establishment of a hospital corps, consisting of privates and two grades of non-commissioned officers. The medical officers then
THE ARMY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT.III. A HISTORICAL SKETCH.. JAMA. 1904;XLII(21):1352–1354. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.92490660024002
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