War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0098 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

the wounded, because they have been used to carry articles never intended to go in them. Because we have now for the first time ambulances in the army it does not follow that they are to be used, or rather abused, by employing them as baggage-wagons. For carrying tents, cooking utensils, and provisions ordinary wagons should be used. Transport carts are intended for the field supply of medicines and stores and stretchers on a march. If there are no transport carts, these articles must be transported in common wagons. Ambulances should never be used for this purpose. The sooner the volunteer medical officers learn this the better. I cannot advise any increased ambulance transportation to be issued to divisions within reach of me in a few hours until this lesson is learned. It must be observed that whatever indulgences are accorded to one division must be accorded to another, and however careful General McCall's officers may be, it is possible even they may not be able to prevent the abuses I have adverted to above. I know that in one of the best divisions of the army an ambulance was loaded with ammunition by order of a colonel of a regiment of volunteers to go to a sham fight. We shall want all our ambulances, and want them in good order, at some not distant day, and if I can preserve them in such order I will endeavor to do it.

For troops at a greater distance from this center I think a greater issue of ambulance transportation is necessary; accordingly General Banks' and General Stone's divisions have been supplied. On the 11th of December, in a letter to you, I recommended an increased issue to Hooker's division. I have not been informed if it was ordered. If not, I beg leave to repeat that recommendation. For the brigades in our front I should prefer the present arrangement, with orders that when an action occurs I should be called upon by telegraph or by a mounted orderly to send any additional supply of ambulances what may be needed; but if the general commanding should disagree with me in opinion, then I propose the issue of one four-wheeled ambulance to each brigade and one additional two-wheeled ambulance to each regiment.

In this connection I would mention that we now have a number of cacolets, or horse-litters, on hand. To render these serviceable, it is necessary that a suitable number of good horses should be trained to carry them. I would, therefore respectfully and earnestly recommend that this should be undertaken by careful and competent men without delay. After the horses are properly trained, one cacolet and horse should be sent to each brigade for the ambulance drill.

Very respectfully,

CHAS. S. TRIPLER,

Medical Director.

General S. WILLIAMS.

[Appendix E.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Medical Director's Office, February 22, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the statement of four-wheeled ambulances in the Army of the Potomac, referred by you to me for my opinion as to the sufficiency of the supply. The statement does not agree with the reports made to me by the inspectors of hospitals in several instances, but that may be accounted for by the wagons being in possession of the quartermaster and not brought to the notice of the inspectors, and, further, it is probable that many of these.