Here's a nice letter for Memorial Day, even though it's from a week earlier. As I've noted elsewhere, writing during a memorializing age when much of Washington was being filled with statues of war heroes, Surgeon General Barnes hoped, "In carrying out the intentions of Congress, it has been my earnest endeavor to make this Medical and Surgical History of the War, not only a contribution to science, but an enduring monument to the self-sacrificing zeal and professional ability of the Volunteer and Regular Medical Staff; and the unparalleled liberality of our Government, which provided so amply for the care of its sick and wounded soldiers."
Centreville Camp Hays 22nd May 1863
J. H. Brinton, M.D.
Curator of the Army Medical Museum.
In obedience to Yours from May 16th I proceded (sic) to Gen’l Abercrombie’s Headquarters in submitting your letter. I was informed that official orders from Gen’l Heinzelmann were received to let nobody pass outside the lines. The battlefield of Bull Run is 3 miles outside the lines. If I could get a permission from Gen’l Heinzelmann and an escort of Cavalry from Gen’l Stahl in Fairfax, I am sure to be recompensed by a rich booty of pathological objects. Please and furnish permission and an escort and I will immediately proceed to the Battlefield and take with me such men well acquainted with the locality and relative places.
After the engagement at Strasburg and the battle of Kross Keys (sic - Cross Keys) I had a little collection, but afterwards meanwhile my captivity in June & July last year they were lost. The cranium Dr. Baron mentioned is lost, but I hope that this loss will be repaired by another one I will send to you.
Very Respectfully Your Obdt. Servant,
Surgeon of the 39th Regt. N.Y.V.
P.S. Allow me to write you next time a letter, concerning views in composing the materials of a military museum which I would hazard to submit to you.