Letter from W. P. Smith to J. W. Garrett, August 8, 1862

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Master of Transportation, W. P. Smith, writes to the firm's president of the "rough" removal of a nurse from a B and O train.

Baltimore J. W. Garrett, Esq


I have received with much regret from your office the letter addressed you on the 6th inst by Q. M. Gen'l Meigs, in regard to the transportation of Nurses from Baltimore to Washington.

The General must certainly be aware that it is no pleasure to us to give these poor women any difficulty, or subject them to any expense or delay whatever in their merciful undertaking. On the contrary, as far as in our power, with a due regard to the Co's interests, we have facilitated them, and in many cases indeed have infringed the rules of our service by giving them a gratuitous passage, rather than subject them to any inconvenience to obtain the requisite authority. In many cases they seem totally ignorant of how to proceed, and in the absence of any authorisation whatever would have been at a great loss but for our free passage afforded them.

As our agents and Conductors, however, have no

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such authority, they very properly require some certainty particularly since they have been so seriously importuned upon by improper persons, who have assumed the positions of hospital nurses for bad purposes.

I apprehend there is some mistake about any of our men having "roughly turned out of the cars" any Nurse with an order for transportation such as we could recognise, or any other evidence sufficiently proving her character. It is due to the Company that this specific charge should be investigated by us, so that if there are men in our service who would act thus, they should be punished. Can you not ask the general to obtain if possible the date and the hour of the departure of the train from Balto? [sic] This will enable us to discover the party complained of.

For the purpose of avoiding any further unpleasantness of this character, I have made use of this complaint of the Q. M. Gen'l to give a renewed caution to the train men to treat all who present themselves as Nurses with special attention and respect.

Very res'y yours

W. P. Smith M of T

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from W. P. Smith to J. W. Garrett
  • Extent: 2 pages
  • Citation: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 92, Subgroup 1367, Box 1
  • Date: August 8, 1862