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ARMY TRANSPORT AND PORT-INSPECTION SERVICE.
The following is a copy of correspondence relative to placing officers of the United States Marine-Hospital Service on army transports, and at conquered Cuban and Porto Rican ports, to act assanitary inspectors:
Washington, July 30, 1898. SIR: To expedite the movement of our transports and minimize the danger of
their exposure to infection, I have the honor to request: (1) That medical officers of the United States Marine-Hospital Service be immediately detailed for duty at Santiago, and subsequently at other Cuban or Porto Rican ports under control of the United States forces, to carry out the requirements of the quarantine law of 1893. Such officers to issue certificates and perform other duties of sanitary or port inspectors. (2) That all sanitary matters pertaining to the condition of transports and crews be placed under the jurisdiction of medical officers of the United States Marine-Hospital Service. Every vessel engaged in the transport service between the United States and Cuban or Porto Rican ports to carry a medical officer of the Army or of the Marine-Hospital Service, whose duty shall be that of sanitary inspector of the vessel, and who shall see that in a foreign port no material or person is taken aboard liable to convey yellow fever; to keep the crews of the transports under surveillance, and on the return voyage act as sanitary inspector. (3) That there be placed at Santiago and every chief port where practicable a receiving ship for the reception of those who take passage for ports in the United. States. This ship would be practically a detention camp and quarantine station, and passengers seeking homeward voyage would be taken from this vessel after they had undergone a period of observation and disinfection of their effects. The Surgeon-General of the United States Marine-Hospital Service informs me the effect of placing officers of the Service on our transports would be, if no communication is held between the transport and the shore, as above indicated, and no yellow fever breaks out on board en route to the United States, that disinfection of the transport on arrival will not be required. The present working of the quarantine laws prevents our unloading any transports coming from Santiago at Fortress Monroe without first being quarantined; to avoid which we are ordering the transports, as rapidly as they arrive at Fortress Monroe, to New York. This condition exists as well at Tampa, where all our vessels coming from Santiago are being quarantined. Very respectfully, R. A. ALGER,
Secretary of War. The SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
Washington, D. C., August 3, 1898. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of July 30, request
ing that medical officers of the Marine-Hospital Service be detailed at Santiago, and subsequently at Cuban and Porto Rican ports under control of United States forces, to carry out the requirements of the quarantine law of 1893; and also that the transports belonging to the United States, and their crews, be placed under the supervision of sanitary inspectors of the Marine-Hospital Service in order that no material or persons may be taken aboard at the foreign port liable to convey yellow fever, all with a view to prevent the introduction of yellow fever into the United States, and also to prevent the transports themselves 'ecoming
infected, and thus subject to unnecessary delays due to quarantine restrictio at ports of the United States.
In reply, I have to state that I have approved the recommendations made E your letter, and have directed the Surgeon-General of the Marine-Hospital Ser ice to take necessary measures for carrying them into effect. Respectfully, yours,
0. L. SPAULDING,
Acting Secretary. The SECRETARY OF WAR.
OFFICIAL ORDERS-WAR DEPARTMENT.
Washington, August 11. COMMANDING GENERAL UNITED STATES FORCES,
Santiago de Cuba.
That medical officers of the United States Marine Hospital Service be immediately detailed for duty at Santiago, and subsequently at other Cuban or Porto Rican ports under control of the United States forces, to carry out the require ments of the quarantine law of 1893; such officers to issue certificates and perform other duties of sanitary or other port inspectors.
That all sanitary matters pertaining to the condition of transports and crews be placed under the jurisdiction of the medical officers of the United States MarineHospital Service. Every vessel engaged in the transport service between the → United States and Cuban or Porto Rican ports to carry a medical officer of the
Army or of the Marine-Hospital Service, whose duty shall be that of sanitary inspector of the vessel, and who shall see that in a foreign port no material or person is taken aboard liable to convey yellow fever; to keep the crews of the transports under surveillance, and on the return voyage act as sanitary inspector.
That there be placed at Santiago and every chief port where practicable a receiving ship for the reception of those who take passage for ports in the United States. This ship would be practically a detention camp and quarantine station, and passengers seeking homeward voyage would be taken from this vessel after they had undergone a period of observation and disinfection of their effects.
Surgeon Carter, United States Marine-Hospital Service, has been appointed sanitary inspector at Santiago.
H. C. CORBIN, Adjutant-General. • In accordance with the above correspondence Surgeon Carter was
ordered from New Orleans to Santiago, but on the eve of his departure it was necessary to recall the order on account of the yellow-fever situation in Louisiana, the Service in the meantime being represented at Santiago by Sanitary Inspector Caminero, who returned to Santiago July 19 from Kingston, Jamaica, under Bureau orders.
A yellow-fever expert was also ordered to Ponce, but owing to the gravity of the yellow-fever situation in Mississippi his detail was temporarily suspended.
MEDICAL OFFICERS, MARINE-HOSPITAL SERVICE, DETAILED TO SERVE
ON ARMY TRANSPORTS.
Pursuant to the request of the War Department, the followingnamed officers were detailed for duty on the several transports:
Asst. Surg. A. R. Thomas, transport Obdam; Asst. Surg. Sherrard
Tabb, transport Manitoba; relieved by Asst. Surg. C. H. Lavinder, in turn relieved by Asst. Surg. L. L. Lumsden; Asst. Surg. John McMullen, transport Mississippi; Asst. Surg. S. B. Grubbs, transport Chester; Asst. Surg. H. B. Parker, transport Minnewaska; Acting Asst. Surg. J. S. Hough, transport Roumanian: Acting Asst. Surg.
T. D. McClintic, transport Port Victor; Acting Asst. Surg. Maxime Landry, transport Berlin.
The following instructions were issued:
INSTRUCTIONS TO MEDICAL OFFICERs of THE MARINE-HOSPITAL SERVICE ON BOARD TRANSPORTS OF WAR DEPARTMENT.
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 3, 1898. (1) Your duties are primarily to keep the transports from becoming infected. (2) At the foreign port the crews must be forbidden and prevented from going ashore; everything brought on board from shore must be inspected, and if doubt exists, rejected or disinfected. All persons coming on board at foreign ports must be inspected at the gangway. Vessels must lie off the shore and not go to dock. (3) Certificates from medical officers of the Marine-Hospital Service on duty at Santiago and other ports should be accepted. (4) If troops are brought on board, obtain certificate from responsible medical officer of the Army of freedom from infection. (5) No passengers should be allowed on board except on written order of the Commanding General (see correspondence on this subject with War Department, copy here with inclosed). e (6) If transport brings back sick or wounded soldiers, the latter are under the care of the medical officer of the Army detailed for this purpose. For their treatment, medical supplies, etc., the Medical Department, United States Army, is responsible. The crews of the vessels, however, are under your professional care, and a supply of drugs, etc., has been sent you for this purpose. If, however, you are called on by the proper authority for assistance of the sick or wounded soldiers, you are authorized to render it. In absence of a regular medical officer of the Army, you will, of course, render such assistance as the ordinary dictates of humanity demand. (7) Look carefully after water supply. Keep accurate notes and furnish such certificate as you are able to give to the quarantine officer at the port of arrival in the United States. Transmit reports to Bureau on arrival in home port. (8) A copy of the quarantine regulations is sent you here with for your further guidance, and your attention is particularly called to pages 160 et seq., of the work on yellow fever recently issued by the Bureau. (9) At Santiago and other ports you will communicate with the medical officer of the Marine-Hospital Serviçe in command, and will receive and obey any reasonable order from him. (10) Disinfectants will be furnished from the Bureau on requisition as soon as practicable, but if for any reason purchase is necessary, the officer may purchase in accordance with the regulations of the Marine-Hospital Service. (11) These instructions will be amended or added to hereafter, and if for any cause it is impracticable or impossible to enforce them, the officer must carry out their spirit, if not their letter, to the best of his ability and report the facts to the Bureau. WALTER WYMAN, Supervising Surgeon-General U. S. M. H. S.
At the date of this report this arrangement is still in force, and the value of the services of these officers may be judged by the reports thus far received, as follows:
REPORTS OF SERVICE ON THE UNITED STATES ARMY TRANSPORT OBDAM. By Asst. Surg. A. R. THOMAs.
STEAMsHIP OBDAM, New York, N. Y., September 8, 1898.
SiR: I have the honor to make the following report concerning the recent trip of the steamship Obdam from Newport News, Va., to Ponce, Porto Rico, and thence back to New York City. As stated in my last report, we left Newport News on August 18, and arrived off Charleston, S.C., on the morning of the 20th, and took on additional stores and passengers. On leaving there we had about 50 cabin passengers and 110 troops. Three enlisted men were sent ashore in Charleston because of sickness. I either saw them myself or had one of the contract surgeons do so, using the medicines supplied by the Bureau. We arrived in Ponce on the 25th of August, having had no serious sickness and no deaths. We were boarded by the port quarantine officer, who is a Spaniard, still holding the position he did under Spanish rule. Orders were given prohibiting the crew from going ashore, but there was pretty free communication between the boat and the shore. In consultation with Colonel Greenleaf, of General Miles's staff, surgeon in chief of the Army, I learned that there were no contagious diseases among the United States troops in Porto Rico and, as far as known, no yellow fever in the island of Porto Rico. There were a few scattered cases of smallpox among the natives of the interior towns, but none had occurred among the troops. We were also visited by the Army sanitary inspector, who examined particularly the availability of the ship for transporting convalescents. * * * She was unloaded as rapidly as possible, native stevedores being used. An effort was made to have the sanitary apparatus of the boat put in order, but no plumber was available for the purpose. We left the port of Ponce on September 1 and arrived in New York Harbor on the morning of September 7. We had on board General Miles and staff and the two battalions of the Second Wisconsin Regiment of Volunteers, with their officers, a total of about 900. At the request of Colonel Greenleaf, I looked after such of the cabin passengers as needed medical aid, and he turned over his medicine to me for that purpose. The troops were in charge of the regimental surgeon. No serious illness occurred during the voyage, either among passengers or troops or crew.
Each day during the voyage I have inspected the entire ship, usually in company with the captain and one or more ship's officers, and frequently with one or more army officers. During the outward voyage the troops were in many small detachments, with no central head, and it was only with difficulty they could be made to keep their quarters in good condition. On the return voyage there was the greatest difficulty in having the quarters occupied by the troops properly policed and cleaned. Eventually it was necessary to carry the matter to headquarters, and after that it was effectually accomplished.
The water supply throughout has been good. The Obdam has a distilling plant capable of supplying 3,500 gallons of aerated water per day, so that there has been an abundance at all times. The sanitary arrangements of this boat are old and worn out, and have frequently needed repairs, causing a great deal of annoyance and inconvenience. In consultation with Colonel Greenleaf I have recommended that the whole plumbing of the boat be thoroughly overhauled before she again leaves port, and I think this will be done. The food supply has been only fairly good, due largely to the fact of the supplies being bought in great haste at Newport News. The ship has an efficient cold-storage plant, operated by compressed air.
As stated above, there is no known yellow fever in Porto Rico at the present time, but it was reported to me that there are always more or less cases in San Juan city, but I could not verify the statement. If the island should become infected it would be extremely difficult to prevent infection of a transport loading or unloading at the port of Ponce if native stevedores are employed. The instructions received from the Bureau have been carried out as carefully as possible. All troops were inspected at the gangway, unless loading by two gangways at once. No supplies were brought back from Porto Rico except personal baggage and rations. Certificates were obtained from the medical officer of the Second Wisconsin, and my certificate of the condition of the transport was accepted at quarantine in New York. In conclusion, I would say that if possible the sanitary inspector's position aboard a transport should be more accurately defined, and some power given him to enforce his sanitary measures. The report of sick treated during the month of August will be forwarded as soon as I can gain access to an official normenclature. Yours, respectfully, A. R. THOMAs,
Assistant Surgeon, M. H. S. SURGEON-GENERAL MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE.
STEAMSHIP OBDAM, New York City, October 20, 1898. SIR: I have the honor to make the following report concerning the recent voyage of the United States transport Obdam from New York to Porto Rico and Santiago de Cuba and return. The Obdam left her dock on the night of September 14, having on board one battalion of infantry, with officers, including the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, in charge, and about 20 cabin passengers and a crew of 70 men. She carried a large amount of supplies, a considerable amount being stowed on deck, and making the washing of decks much more difficult. Upon our departure it was suggested to the commanding officer of troops that it was advisable that the quarters occupied by the men should be policed and thoroughly cleaned each day, and that guards be placed at the fresh-water faucets to prevent waste, and also at the water-closets. Orders were accordingly issued to this effect by the commanding officer, but owing to lax discipline were carried out in a very indifferent manner, and it became necessary each day to remind the officer of the guard of the absence of guards or failure to put quarters in order. As a result, at one time the water supply was rather short, due entirely to wastefulness, inasmuch as the distilling plant on the Obdam is amply sufficient to produce all the fresh water necessary for ordinary purposes. There was very little sickness during the voyage and the food supply was abundant and good. The Obdam arrived at San Juan, Porto Rico, and was boarded by the pilot, who reported to United States representatives in the city, and that no one could be put ashore previous to the visit of the Spanish health officer. It was therefore decided to proceed at once to Ponce, and she reached that port on September 22. Previous to entering port at Ponce it was suggested to the quartermaster, captain of the Obdam, and to the commanding officer of the troops that no unnecessary communication be allowed between the ship and the shore unitil the status of yellow fever in the city could be ascertained. We were boarded by the Spanish health officer and given pratique. He could give no definite information regarding the health of Ponce, and as soon as possible I reported to the surgeon in chief on General Henry's staff, Major Snowden. He stated that there had been four cases of yellow fever in the general hospital—one death and three recoveries. All were from one regiment and from a guard that had been placed in the prison where