Home About Sources Topics Background

Crimean texts

McNeill/Tulloch Commission of Enquiry

This presentation is based on transcripts by Megan Stevens, and includes the page numbers of the original publication in order to maintain the validity of page references. It is arranged in the following sections:-

Evidence, page 53

THIRTEENTH DAY. - Saturday, March 31.

Evidence, page 56

DR. ANDERSON, Staff Surgeon, First Class, and Principal Medical Officer at Balaklava, examined.

Has held that office since 9th December. For two or three weeks before that time was Staff Surgeon, 3rd Division, under the Deputy Inspector, and previous to that was principal medical officer of the 4th Division. In those capacities it was his duty to ascertain how the hospitals were supplied. Was with the 3rd Division till about the 5th October. Up to that date the hospitals of the 3rd Division were, he considers, well supplied with rations, medical comforts, and medicines. After landing at Kalamita, the 3rd Division suffered much from cholera. Cholera lingered in the division for the whole time he was with it. There were also a great many cases of diarrhoea and dysentery. These diseases had accompanied the division from Bulgaria. On first landing, rations of fresh meat were issued. Left the division after the battle of the Alma in charge of wounded, and rejoined about the 1st October. Cannot say what rations the men were then receiving, but fresh meat was supplied to the sick. After about a week, was sent to take medical charge of the 4th Division. Left the 3rd Division in a good state of health, and found the 4th Division also healthy, except the 1st Battalion Rifles. Left the 4th Division without any great increase in sickness on the 12th November, and rejoined the 3rd. Found diarrhoea and dysentery increasing. The hospitals were still supplied with fresh meat. Came down to Balaklava about the end of the first week in December. By that time there had been a marked increase of sickness. Several large drafts from England had joined, and an entire regiment had arrived. Among the new arrivals cholera broke out and carried off considerable numbers, in fact a large proportion of the new drafts were carried off by that disease. This was the condition of the division when he left it. Attributes this outbreak of cholera among the new arrivals to the fact of their having shared in the fatigues and harrassing [sic] duties of the older soldiers before they had become acclimated. In the hospital at Balaklava has had occasion to see sick from all the divisions. The cases admitted to the hospital have been diarrhoea, dysentery, and scurvy; the latter disease began to be distinctly marked about the middle of December, but now attributes many of the cases of bowel complaints to scorbutic tendency. Attributes the prevalence of scurvy to the long use of salt rations without sufficient change of diet, or a supply of vegetables, aggravated by exposure and fatigue. Has no doubt, that if the men had received a good supply of fresh meat and

Evidence, page 57

vegetables, and a greater variety of diet, they would have better resisted the other causes of disease, and the amount of sickness would have been considerably less. Lime-juice was issued to the sick in hospital of the 4th Division about the beginning of November; he had applied for it in consequence of the appearance of well-marked scurvy in the 1st Battalion Rifles. Learnt from the surgeon of that battalion, that the men had been on salt provisions from an early date in August, to which he attributed the appearance of scurvy. They had not been exposed to inclement weather, and from the state of the temperature up to that date could not have suffered from insufficient clothing or covering; they had not then been six weeks in the Crimea, and it would therefore appear, that in this case at least no other cause can be assigned for the appearance of scurvy except the diet. Did not understand that they had been fed exclusively on salt rations, but only that the issues of fresh meat were very rare. Understands that during about three weeks that the battalion was on the shores of the Bosphorus, fresh vegetables were issued to them about five times; and that during this time the men had no opportunity of buying vegetables. The health of the army appears to him, from the opportunities he has of judging, to be decidedly and progressively improving. Attributes this improvement to better weather, better food, and better clothing. All the hospitals in the Crimea are now abundantly supplied with medicines and medical comforts, and such of them as he has occasion to visit are well supplied with suitable rations. Would remark, however, that the cattle now being slaughtered are very lean. Is of opinion, that it would be extremely beneficial to the health of the army that the men should have soft bread instead of biscuit several times weekly. In short, thinks it very desirable, that the diet of the men should be made as nearly as possible to resemble that to which they have been accustomed at home.

Home About Sources Topics Background