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The first removal of helpless wounded from the battlefield was usually effected by hand-litters, of which the number issued during the war exceeded fifty thousand. There were a number of patterns used, of which the best weighed twenty-four pounds, was quickly collapsible when not required, and possessed legs, which made its temporary use as a cot readily possible. Many wounded were also removed by their comrades on extemporized litters made by passing poles or muskets through the sleeves of coats which were then buttoned over them; or these supports were rolled in the edges of blankets, and litters thus formed. Hurdles, gates, window shutters, and ladders, with brush and hay thrown over them, were also used. Poles interlaced with rope or wire were employed. Hammock litters were made by swinging the wounded man in a blanket with its ends lashed to a single pole. The Indian travois, a frame on two long poles dragged after a horse, their front ends being supported by the saddle and tied together with a breast-strap, was also used. The ordinary ‘chair seat,’ as made by children at play, was frequently employed to remove wounded over shorter distances. Mule-litters and cacolets, the latter chairlike affairs swung on each side of the mule's back, were suggested and some were provided, but seem to have been little used. They were specially intended for rough country where wheeled vehicles could not readily go. Wounded able to walk were expected to make their own way back to the surgeon, with or without assistance.

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