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age, and season; and there are on record my memorials on these subjects to the Commander-in-Chief in India, and to the Medical Department in England-of December 23d, 1826; May 31st, 1827; 6th January, 1828; and December, 1829-and upon which the Home authorities at last acted. In these memorials it was represented by me,
1st. That the soldier should arrive in India at the age and period when he can be of the greatest use when called upon for actual service. That age to be 24 or 26, or full grown manhood, as most favourable to health, and least so to disease in India.
2nd. That recruits and soldiers should be embarked in England, so as to arrive in Bengal at the commencement of the cool season, when they might be marched to their several Stations up the country, instead of proceeding by the river.
These memorials I accompanied with various statements; such as those in this communication, in proof of the great comparative mortality among the lad recruits particularly; as also the comparative mortality between the soldiers arriving in Bengal in the hot and in the cool season, as by the following abstract of statements from December 1825, to July 1829, of casualties of detachments His Majesty's service, arriving in Bengal from England, being,
Average of casualties from the date of arrival in Bengal to joining their corps,
Ditto of casualties of the whole of the detachments from their leaving England to join their corps in Bengal,
The accompanying Returns* elucidate these subjects still further, shewing the state of each Regiment His Majesty's service, their strength, the numbers who joined, and that died, from the date of their arrival in the Bengal command to the 31st December last.
On consulting the monthly admissions in the returns of sick, an abstract from which is given on the other side, the number of cases of disease (and they are particularly of the acute kind) and casualties, will be observed to correspond in a most remarkable manner with the range of the thermometer, especially at the Stations in Upper India; and so great is the difference between the cold season and the * The Returns alluded to, will form an appendix to the next Number.-ED.
hot, that a partial illustration is afforded of the influence of climate which sets all theory on the subject at defiance.
Among the soldiers exposed to the same degree of heat, the influence of the ingesta seems to be more powerfully injurious to the constitution than climate. There is a marked difference in the ratio of sick and casualties between the Cavalry and Infantry Regiments, stationed in the same cantonments, of His Majesty's service in India, in favour of the latter. In the Cavalry the soldier's pay is greater, and among them a superabundance of stimulant food and drink keeps so great a number in an almost perpetual state of proximity to inflammatory diseases.
During the cold months the men continually expose themselves, especially in the Upper Stations, to the direct rays of the sun, which is a great cause of disease, even when all accumulation of heat is prevented by the coolness of the breeze, for then the infringing of the direct rays of the sun upon an opaque body causes a greater increase of temperature than is observable by a thermometer.
Abstract from the Monthly Returns of Sick shewing the proportion of the average daily sick, and of deaths to strength per cent for four years.
The sick at Landour and Chirra Poongee are not included in the above.
By the returns for four years, the minimum of sickness and deaths occurs in February. January and it are the driest months. The maximum of sickness and deaths occurs in September; being the cessation of the rains, when the exhalations have brought the surface to the consistence of mud-a state that appears especially to generate the miasmata producing fevers, &c.
With respect to the localities of the Stations" as affecting their salubrity or otherwise," as required by the Committee, I have in reference to the return of the sick, &c. at the several Stations, given at the commencement, further to add, that at the Station of Berhampore, the Barracks are so placed, that one particularly is close to a large stagnant tank, into which the sewers of the Barracks and necessaries, &c. empty themselves, so that in the dry and hot season especially, the men are enveloped in the stench from it. That the influence of its exhalations spreads far, I have no doubt. The malaria from it, as well as numerous other sources, is of course the active cause of much of the mischief that infests the Station of Berhampore.
For the period of four years, from 1830 to 1833, inclusive, the average proportions of deaths to strength per cent was, at Berhampore, 7.62 per cent per annum.
Cholera prevailed epidemically in Berhampore in 1829 and 1830, and commenced in the temporary sheds recently erected, (not far from the great tank before mentioned) for part of His Majesty's troops; after which it appeared in the women's quarters-a low one-storied brick-building; afterwards on the ground story; and then in the upper story of the Barracks next the great tank, &c.
In the Station of Fort William, in the Barracks generally occupied by His Majesty's troops, the apartments for the men are deficient in height and ventilation. The buildings are too crowded together. The estimate of space, and of domestic convenience, has been too confined for the climate.
From the crowding of the buildings, and height and proximity of the fortifications, the radiation of heat is not only very great, but there is prevented the dissipation of those malarious vapours of which there appears to be so copious a supply from various sources in Fort William.
One of the consequences of all these is, in the warm season especially, the men feel so oppressed at night that they leave their rooms and expose themselves to all the causes and bad effects of suppressed transpiration.
The average ratio of mortality in His Majesty's troops quartered in Fort William is as follows, for four years from 1830 to 1833—
5.88 per cent per annum.
Fort William is one of the worst, if not the very worst, of the Military Stations in India for children.
In the Station of Cawnpore for the period of four years, from 1830 to 1833, the average proportion of deaths to strength is,
As to the locality of this cantonment, none of the Barrack buildings come close to the river, excepting the Hospital in which the sick of the King's Regiment of Infantry are treated. The soil rests on a substratum of Kunkur, which is favourable to the dryness of the Station. The declivity of the site secures it against any accumulation of moisture; the drainage is also facilitated by several small ravines or gullies, which intersect the cantonment, each of which during the rainy season becomes a streamlet; thus the water does not lodge, but runs quickly off into the river (above which all the Barracks are sufficiently elevated) or it is speedily absorbed, so that the wet season at Cawnpore is generally found pleasanter than in many other Stations in Upper or Central India.
The site of the Barracks of His Majesty's Infantry Regiment is pretty high, that of the King's Cavalry Regiment not so high; but that of all however is sufficiently elevated to allow of the water passing off.
The ground in the rear of the King's Infantry Regiment's Barracks is broken in many places, by the violence of the periodical rains, into deep fissures and ravines, containing numerous cavities, which, however individually small, may form in the aggregate a consider
able deposit of stagnant water, which before its final evaporation cannot fail to be an agent more or less active in the generation of miasmata.
In the Barracks for the European troops here, the plans adopted by the architect would appear to have arisen from the idea of a Regiment standing in open column of companies, which however ingenious in a military point of view, is rather objectionable in a medical one, as it makes one building a screen to another, and thus opposes perfect perflation, an object of paramount importance where masses of men are to be congregated together, and where a perpetual current of air becomes the grand neutralizer of insalubrious miasmata.
The prevailing winds are from the west and east, varying to the north or south. If the buildings were placed in echelon this might be prevented.
In the Station of Meerut the locality is in Meerut deemed good. There are a few jheels and swamps in the vicinity; but not near, or considerable enough to have much effect on the health of the troops. The country around is flat; the soil is sandy, with a slight declination to south sufficient to carry off the heavy rains into the Kallee Nuddy to the eastward.
Notwithstanding the northern latitude of Meerut, considerably without the tropics, and in the third climate, the heat is intense in the dry and hot season, and tropical diseases are prevalent during the hot and rainy seasons. For the period of four years, from 1830 to 1833, the average proportion of deaths to strength is, at Meerut,
The diseases are such as arise from sudden and considerable variations of temperature and malaria, and especially among the soldiers, aggravated by exposure to the sun and intemperance.
In the Station of Dinapore the aspect of the Barracks being the reverse of what it should have been in respect to the prevailing winds, free perflation is prevented. The roof is flat and chunamed; the length of each building is 800 feet, and width 20 feet; there is a verandah on each side.