(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 was stopped, for a time at least, and an order was issued, leaving one to a regiment and requiring the rest to be turned over to the quartermaster's department.
But the perversion of ambulances from their proper use, I will add in passing, continued, to a greater or less extent, till the end of the war. This very year McClellan
issued an order for them not to be used except for the transportation of the sick and wounded, unless by authority of the brigade commander, the medical director
, or the quartermaster in charge, and the provost-marshal
was ordered to arrest officers and confine non-commissioned officers and privates for violation of the order.
The most important steps taken towards organizing the medical department, and placing it on that thorough basis which distinguished it in the later years of the war, were the result of the foresight, energy, and skilful management of Dr. Jonathan Letterman
, who was made medical director of the Army of the Potomac on the 19th of June, 1862.
His labor was something enormous.
It was during the progress of the Peninsular Campaign
All was confusion.
Medical supplies were exhausted.
Thousands of sick and wounded men were dying for want of proper care and medicine.
Yet this campaign, so disastrous in its results to our army from a military point of view, was a valuable teacher in many respects, and one of its most pointed and practical lessons was the necessity shown of having the ambulances organized and under a competent head.
It remained for Dr. Letterman
to appreciate this need, and effect an organization which remained practically unchanged till the close of the war. Here is the substance of the plan which he drew up, and