William McNealGeneral Hospital N H of refuge
St Louis Mo Jan 27 163
Dear Father & Mother
I am all anxiety to get a letter from you I havent had a letter from you since the 26 of last month it must be that your letters go to the reg as I have told you to put on the co & regt that is the correct way to direct but at the office they probably on seeing the co & reg on the back of the letter look no further but send it to the reg hear after you will leave of both the co & reg just put on Genl Hospital New House of refuge St Louis Mo ward B all the good the letter of the co & reg does if I leave hear before the letter comes to hand it would be forwarded to me butyou wil omit it & if when I leave I wil get some one to atent to it for me my health is not as good as I wish it was but I thank God that I am as wel as I am I feal pretty wel most of the time but am not as strong as I once was I am taking no medicine now I tak pleasure in waiting on the sick we have some very sick here now there was about 40 came here to the hospital last night & about 60 last sabath our ward is ful & some very sick there was also a lot of wounded came up here last week but none came into this ward there was one poor fellow of the 5th Iowa died in here the other day his father arrived here just about 10 minutes before he died he was so far gone that he did not know his father it was a hard scene to witness the old man had come to take him home the last letter he had of son he was about wel he was wounded in the knee & his wound was wel but the ball was in his leg yet but did not hurt him only in bad weather but the Dr thought it ought to come out so he went to work to take it out & cut an arter he then gave up the bal & bond up his leg & done every thing he could to save him but could not he only lived 4 days after the operation I set up with him a part of 2 nights & took care of him he was a resident of Martial co Iowa his father left here this morning he staid & saw him buried I talked with the old gentleman a considerable about his son he blamed the Dr for his death it was not our ward Dr that performed the op but the post surgeon
the reason that I spoke about having Mr. Morgan come to see me (if he comes down here) & try to have me discharged was that I think if it was looked in to right when a man is in a general hospital 60 days he is entitled to a discharge I do not know this to be a fact but think it likely I dont think I wil ever be able to stand field service altho I can stand hospital service if Morgan but came down I will sugest another plan there is an Iowa man here by the name of Doug apointed by the Govener of Iowa to look after the Iowa sick solder he was here to not long ago & took a list of our names now you can write to him & give him the particulars tel him how I have been & c if I can be discharged here at all he wil have it done if you write him about the right kind of a letter or you can write to capt Dillon & Dr Parkets & they can discharge me I wrote to capt Dillon about it he wrote to me that Parks would not give a certificate of disability as he had not examined me close enoug but it might be that you could induce him to you can do as you think best about it write to me as soon as you get this
John Lain got a letter from Mrs Scovil the other day she wrote that S A Morgan was comeing down here after her husbands corps that died at the sisters hospt in town now if he hasent started yet I wish you would see him & have him come & see John & (next two words unreadable) perhaps he could get us discharged John in particular I dont want you to think of comeing down here for any sutch purpose for it is not likely it would do any good I only spoke of it as he was comeing any how & another thing is they are haveing the small pox her in St Louis very bad there has been several cases of it here in this hospital I have been exposed several times in the last 5 weeks but thanks be to almity God I have escaped so far I was vacinated yesterday I also had a tooth puld this morning which I sent you in a newspaper just for curiosity you need have no fears as to my health for I shal tel you every time I write just how I am write often & direct as follows Allan Genl Hospt New House of Refuge Ward B St Louis Mo

Photo is of William Allen McNeal, Allan's father

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Comments may be addressed to Larry Pearson, lpearson@pobox.alaska.net