Erastus Fairbanks to John Wolcott Phelps and [Daniel] Roberts to Erastus Fairbanks
I have paid no attention until now to the scandalous reports which have been circulated throughout the state, relative to the habits of certain officers of the regiment under your command, nor do I now give any credit to him. But the annexed letter recieved this day renders it proper that I should communicate with you sir, and request information in relation to the charges so positively made.
I beg you sir to write me freely at your earliest convenience, and to indicate how far I may be allowed to publish the information given. If the charges are unfounded, as I have good reason to believe, it is due not only to the gentlemen implicated, but to the Executive making the appointment, that publicity shd be given to the contradiction. But if, contrary to my expectations, the charges are true, I desire you to adopt efficient and prompt measures for displacing the incumbents, in which case I will send others & more worthy news.
I am sir respectfully yoursErastus Fairbanks
BurlingtonJune 3, 1861Dear Sir,
The report comes from a good many sources, backed by letters to their friends from
members of our Regiment now in service, that the surgeon and assistant surgeon are
neglectful of their sick, ill natured, abusive, and that they are often too drunk to
attend to their duties. Of course no man should be pronounced guilty upon a mere
rumor, nor at all without due enquiry and opportunity for explanation or denial, and
upon suitable evidence. But when credible and respectable gentlemen so write to their
friends, it is not unreasonable that their account should be believed, and it seems
to me that these accounts demand an early and thorough investigation; and if found
true, that these unworthy men should be laid by the keels at once. The lives of
some eight hundred patriotic young men, our brothers and friends, are too precious to be entrusted to the care of any but the , the kindly, the attentive, the sympathetic and the sober surgeon and nurse. We might better risk them to the bullets of the enemy, than to the tender mercies of a drunken surgeon.
I trust you will pardon the freedome of this communication.
We all have a common interest in the welfare of our Vermont boys, and it seems to me, that you ought to be informed, (as the one having authority to redress any wrong in this behalf.) of the complaints that are becoming so current and alarming.
With great respect
I am, Yours very TrulyDanl. Roberts