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The Times 14.8.1868 p 10




Sir — It would appear, both from direct statements and implications made public of late, that the Russian wounded were neglected by the medical officers of the British army after the battle of the Alma.

As a surgeon of a regiment I was in no way officially responsible for or connected with the Russian wounded, but would beg to offer my individual experience upon that occasion. I cannot speak of the night of the 20th of September, as my regiment, the 17th Lancers, did not reach its bivouac until late.

On the morning of the 21st Surgeon-Major Evans, then an assistant-surgeon, accompanied me with instruments and appliances to dress the wounded. We found ourselves after a time at an enclosure not far from Lord Raglan’s tent, in which were numbers of wounded. Inspector-General Dr Dumbreck CB was actively engaged in caring for them, and at once sought our aid and that of many others, which in all cases was cheerfully given. Dr Evans and myself worked there all day. I performed several capital operations, and attended to a large number of wounded Russians. We went to the enclosure again next morning and worked until 1 or 2 o’clock. Some cases of cholera in my regiment obliged us to leave, but Dr Evans borrowed my case of instruments and went back and worked until evening. While I was at the enclosure numbers of medical officers were employed attending to our own and the Russian wounded. I may mention, among them, Mr Alexander and Sir James Gibson, the late Directors-General of the Army Medical Department; Inspector-General A Gordon, First Class Staff-Surgeon Mitchell, Professor Longmore, Surgeon-Major Watt, 15th Hussars, and many others. I must have attended 50 wounded Russians, and several medical officers were more engaged and attended to many more than I could have done; but no one in any capacity was deserving of more praise for his unceasing energy and attention to the wounded on this occasion than Dr Dumbreck.

My object in writing this letter is not to bring my own or the names of these officers before the public, but to vindicate the character of the medical officers of the British army.

I am, Sir, your very obedient servant
H H MASSY, Deputy Inspector-General,
Head of the Sanitary Branch, Army Medical Department

6 Whitehall Yard, Aug. 13

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