The Army Chief Surgeon’s Report

The official report on the Great Reunion dedicated a fair number of pages to the October 24, 1913 report from Lieutenant Colonel A. E. Bradley, the U.S. Army’s Chief Surgeon, that described not only the medical preparations for the occasion (see our blog entry) but also the outcome from the horrendous heat at the beginning of those days. Colonel Bradley’s report concluded with several personal observations and sentiments, including the magnificent statement you see at the top of this page – “The camp was unique; surely never before in the world’s history have so great a number of men so advanced in years been assembled under field conditions” – but even before this utterance one can read about the final preparations; the names of the nine veterans who unfortunately passed away during the event; and a breakdown of the various reasons that caused 744 veterans to be admitted for hospitalization.

One telling point from Colonel Bradley’s report is that even though the numbers of deaths (nine) and hospitalizations (744) were extraordinarily low given the oppressive heat colliding with the ages and health of the old veterans, close to 10,000 veterans – almost one in five – did receive some sort of medical aid during the Great Reunion. Thus a great deal of credit must be given to the medical providers for their efficient, rapid treatment of so many with only a small number requiring hospitalization.

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