From the Richmond Dispatch, 2/21/1863, p. 2, c. 1

Vacating the Hospitals. – Orders have been issued by Chief Surgeon A S. Mason, now controlling the hospitals in this city, to vacate a number of the same as soon as practicable. In several that we have visited there were not altogether fifty patients, and the 3d Alabama, with accommodations for some two hundred, has not over a dozen patients now under treatment. Whether these orders augur a formal reduction of the hospital accommodations in Richmond, it is impossible to say; but as commodious establishments have been completed on the lines of the South-Side, Virginia Central, and Virginia and Tennessee Railroads, it is probable that the Government intends to give its sick and suffering soldiers, as far as practicable, the benefit of these country locations during the ensuing spring and summer, instead of penning them up in the hot and crowded city, where provisions are not only difficult to procure at reasonable rates, but convalescence, frequently precarious, is “long drawn out.”

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