Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by James Gardner, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
Here is represented one of the establishments of the Sanitary Commission in the army. The object of the Commission was to alleviate the hardships of soldier life to afford physical comfort to the sick and wounded, and supply such of the well as were needy with under-clothing, &c. The Departments, or Special Bureaus were established at Washington, New York, Louisville, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Annapolis, and City Point, in addition to which there have been the Departments of Western Virginia, of the South, and Texas. The funds of the Commission were raised by means of Sanitary Fairs in the principal cities, and by voluntary subscription. The report of the Treasurer shows that from June 27th, 1861, to July 1st, 1865, the receipts were $4,813,750.64, and the disbursements $4,530,774.95, leaving a balance in the hands of the Commission of $282,975.69. In 1863 a Protective War Claim Association was established, and made subordinate to the Commission, for the purpose of making direct applications for pensions, arrears of pay, bounty and prize money, and for giving general information and advice relative to military and naval matters. No charges were made for these services, thus saving to the widows and representatives of the soldiers the usual fees of claim agents, which in these cases would have amounted to about $240,000.
The Relief Bureau of the Commission closed on the 1st of July, 1865. At that time there were vast stores and material on hand, all of which were turned over to General Howard's Bureau for the benefit of the freedmen. The Claim Bureau will close on the 1st of January, 1866, and turn over to the Central Bureau at Washington all the papers and documents in its possession. From that time forward, the Commission will devote itself to the preparation of a historical record, a final and full report, and the settlement of its affairs in closing up the several agencies. What will be done with the surplus funds has not yet been determined, but it is expected that they will be transferred as an endowment to some institution devoted to the interests of soldiers and of their families.
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