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Washington (United States) (search for this): chapter 17
the wounded in that battle were cared for. Before this engagement took place, while the troops were lying in and around Washington, general hospitals had been established to provide for the sick. For this purpose five or six hotels, seminaries, and infirmaries, in Washington and Georgetown, and two or three in Alexandria, had been taken possession of, and these were all the hospital accommodations to be found at the end of the first three months. So general was the opinion that the war would bo-wheeled to one four-wheeled. When Surgeon Tripler took charge, he found several of these two-wheeled carriages in Washington, but they were used chiefly as pleasure-carriages for officers, or for some other private purpose. This was stopped, fortation was by water, in steamers specially fitted up for such a purpose. There may be seen in the National Museum at Washington, the building in which President Lincoln was assassinated, beautiful models of these steamers as well as of hospital ra
Gold Dale (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
ir duties, while the latter fortified themselves by judicious oversight of their subordinates, the result was to place this department of the army on a footing which endured, with the most profitable of results to the service, till the close of the war. I vividly remember my first look into one of these field hospitals. It was, I think, on the 27th of November, 1863, during the Mine Run Campaign, so-called. General French, then commanding the Tiird Corps, was fighting the battle of Locust Grove, and General Warren, with the Second Corps, had also been engaged with the enemy, and had driven him from the neighborhood of Robertson's Tavern, in the vicinity of which the terrific Battle of the Wilderness began the following May. Near this tavern the field hospital of Warren's Second Division had been located, and into this I peered while my battery stood in park not far away, awaiting orders. The surgeon had just completed an operation. It was the amputation of an arm about five i
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
ion of a personal incident, as it will illustrate in some measure the duties and trials of a stretcher-bearer. It was at the battle of Hatcher's Run, already referred to, or the Boydton Plank Road, as some called it. The guns had been ordered into position near Burgess' Tavern, leaving the caissons and ambulance nearly a half-mile in the rear. Meanwhile, a flank attack of the enemy cut off our communications with the rear for a time, and we thought ourselves sure of an involuntary trip to Richmond; but the way was opened again by some of our advance charging to the rear, and by the destructive fire from our artillery. Soon orders came for the battery to return to the rear. In common with the rest, the writer started to do so when a sergeant asked him to remain and help take off one of our lieutenants, who was lying in a barn near by, severely wounded. So actively had we, been engaged that this was my first knowledge of the sad event. But, alas! what was to be done? Our ambulan
Peach Tree Creek (Mississippi, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
and, turning his eyes towards it, they met only the projecting stub. The awful reality dawned upon him for the first time. An arm had gone forever, and he dropped backwards on the table in a swoon. Many a poor fellow like him brought to the operator's table came to consciousness only to miss an arm or a leg which perhaps he had begged in his last conscious moments to have spared. But the medical officers first mentioned decided all such cases, and the patient had only to submit. At Peach-Tree Creek, Col. Thomas Reynolds of the Western army was shot in the leg, and, while the surgeons were debating the propriety of amputating it, the colonel, who was of Irish birth, begged them to spare it, as it was very valuable, being an imported leg,--a piece of wit which saved the gallant officer his leg, although he became so much of a cripple that he was compelled to leave the service. It has been charged that limbs and arms were often uselessly sacrificed by the operators; that they wer
California (California, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
ge or A tent. The Sibley tent I have likewise quite fully described. I will only add here that, not having a fly, it was very hot in warm weather. Then, on account of its centre pole and the absence of walls, it was quite contracted and inconvenient. For these reasons it was little used for hospital purposes, and not used at all after the early part of the war. The hospital tents in the Army of the Potomac were heated, for the most part, by what was called, for some reason, the California Plan. This consisted of a pit, dug just outside of the hospital door, two and a half feet deep, from which a trench passed through the tent, terminating outside the other end in a chimney, built of barrels, or in such a manner as I have elsewhere described. This trench was covered throughout its entire extent with iron plates, which were issued by the quartermaster's department for that purpose. The radiation of the heat from the plates kept the tent very comfortable. The honor of or
Capitol Hill (United States) (search for this): chapter 17
amputation. A fine fellow, both as a man and soldier, belonging to my company, lost his arm from a flesh-wound — needlessly, as he and his friends always asserted and believed. A corporal of the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery suffered a compound fracture of the left knee-joint from a piece of shell by which he was struck at the battle of A stretcher. Hatcher's Run, Oct. 27, 1864. In the course of time he reached the Lincoln Hospitals (well do I remember them as they stood on Capitol Hill where they were erected just before the bloody repulse at Fredericksburg), where a surgeon decided that his leg must come off, and, after instructing the nurse to prepare him for the operating-room, left the ward. But the corporal talked the matter over with a wounded cavalryman (this was a year when cavalrymen were wounded quite generally) and decided that his leg must not come off; so, obtaining the loaded revolver of his comrade, he put it under his pillow and awaited the reappearanc
Kelly's Ford (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
a horse, and arranged to carry, some one and some two, wounded men. But although it was at first supposed that they would be a great blessing for this purpose, yet, being strapped tightly to the body of the animal, they felt his every motion, thus making them an intensely uncomfortable carriage for a severely wounded soldier, so that they were used but very little. The distinguished surgeon Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, whose son, Lieut. Bowditch, was mortally wounded in the cavalry fight at Kelly's Ford, voiced, in his Plea for an ambulance system, the general dissatisfaction of the medical profession with the neglect or barbarous treatment of our wounded on the battle-field. This was as late as the spring of 1863. They had petitioned Congress to adopt some system without delay, and a bill to that effect had passed the House, but on Feb. 24, 1863, the Committee on Military Affairs, of which Senator Henry Wilson was chairman, reported against a bill in relation to Military Hospitals and
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
company, lost his arm from a flesh-wound — needlessly, as he and his friends always asserted and believed. A corporal of the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery suffered a compound fracture of the left knee-joint from a piece of shell by which he was struck at the battle of A stretcher. Hatcher's Run, Oct. 27, 1864. In the course of time he reached the Lincoln Hospitals (well do I remember them as they stood on Capitol Hill where they were erected just before the bloody repulse at Fredericksburg), where a surgeon decided that his leg must come off, and, after instructing the nurse to prepare him for the operating-room, left the ward. But the corporal talked the matter over with a wounded cavalryman (this was a year when cavalrymen were wounded quite generally) and decided that his leg must not come off; so, obtaining the loaded revolver of his comrade, he put it under his pillow and awaited the reappearance of the surgeon. He returned not long after, accompanied by two men wi
Hatcher's Run (Ohio, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
ly, as he and his friends always asserted and believed. A corporal of the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery suffered a compound fracture of the left knee-joint from a piece of shell by which he was struck at the battle of A stretcher. Hatcher's Run, Oct. 27, 1864. In the course of time he reached the Lincoln Hospitals (well do I remember them as they stood on Capitol Hill where they were erected just before the bloody repulse at Fredericksburg), where a surgeon decided that his leg musct, an artillery company furnished its own stretcherbearers when needed. I shall be pardoned the introduction of a personal incident, as it will illustrate in some measure the duties and trials of a stretcher-bearer. It was at the battle of Hatcher's Run, already referred to, or the Boydton Plank Road, as some called it. The guns had been ordered into position near Burgess' Tavern, leaving the caissons and ambulance nearly a half-mile in the rear. Meanwhile, a flank attack of the enemy cut o
New Jersey (New Jersey, United States) (search for this): chapter 17
ccommodation of its increasing thousands of sick and wounded, continuing to build, as the needs increased, to the very last year of the war, when they numbered two hundred and five. Before the civil war, the government had never been supplied with carriages to convey the sick and wounded. Only two years before, a board, appointed by the secretary of war, had adopted for experiment a four-wheeled and a two-wheeled carriage. The four-wheeled vehicle was tried in an expedition sent into New Mexico, and was favorably reported on; the two-wheeled was never tested, but was judged to be the best adapted to badly wounded men (though the contrary proved to be the fact), and so the board reported in favor of adopting these carriages in the ratio of five two-wheeled to one four-wheeled. When Surgeon Tripler took charge, he found several of these two-wheeled carriages in Washington, but they were used chiefly as pleasure-carriages for officers, or for some other private purpose. This w
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