Two months after the Battle of Stone River, Joseph Dewaters writes to Ann and describes his hospitalization. He says he was moved into a ward with the patients in the worst condition. Presumably it would indicate that he, too, was considered one of the most seriously injured.
He then describes the terrible conditions in a ward with 75 patients, some screaming in pain. A new doctor has taken charge and he is furious with the previous one for treating the wounded soldiers so badly. Joseph says that civilians in the North would be horrified at how poorly the soldiers were cared for.
Joseph reports, though, that his own leg is slowly improving although he can’t straighten it yet. He has been sick with his “old complaint” but provides no information about what it is, presumably because he figures his family knows. However, as he says near the end, he had put his pants on that morning for the first time in five weeks, so he feels he is improving.
Miss Ann DWaters
March the 1, 1863
Hospitel No 14 Ward 6
Mis Ana DeWaters
I will take mie pen in Hand to rit a few liens To let you noe that i got your kind leter last Tusday and was glad to hear froam you and Alburt and was glad to Hear that you was well And all the rest i got one Leter froam harisoan the same day that i got yours he is well i rot him one the same day mie lage is gain but i cant straten it yet but mie helth is not vary good other ways i hav ben quit sick with mi old complant but i ges i Will get better well Ana I was moved in a room With all the worst one that was wonded thar is 75 of ous in one room And I tell you it is a hart aken To see the sit that i see And hear the groans thar is soam that moust die thar is one crazy all the time his hip was broke and it never Was sat ontill yestday wee Had a new docter coam and take charge and it doan ous good to see him coam For he is the rit one he carst the other docter op hill and dowen he toald him he ourt be tied op and horse Whip for not taken beter car of the poor men he — sad how can you treat your men so bad he put one Nerse in the gard house and told the rest if tha Dident take beter car of The sick men he wood tie them hand and foot and i Tell you he mad them get Around and pout clean cloth one the beds he toald ous if we wanted Eney thing to let him noe it the pepel In the north dont noe how the sick is treted tha die and cared to the ded house and lae ten or 15 dase and Let the rats Eat of that nose and Ears and cheeks of it is Hard to tell but if tha doant blev it i can get as meney Witnes as tha want well I will tell you what wee hav to Eat brexfut coffe bred and a bout for mothful of beef And the same for diner And coffe and brd for super And this is the fact it is hard For sick men to Eat i must bring mi leter to a cloas so good by this froam your Ankle Joseph DeWaters To Ana DeWaters you get rit all the news as soon as Well i forgot one thing i spoas Hank fuller think he Has donn it Well i ges he has I want to noe whar andru Broadway is if you noe tip rat to me a bout hank i spoas tha are goant to liv a sittey life Well alburt i will rit a Few liens to you to let you noe that mie lage is Dowin well if i doant take Cold i have put mi pants on this morin for the farst times for for five weeks you sed you had soam noshon to coam and fit but i think you had beter stay at hoam you cod not sand it is will rit mor next time god by