Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Civil War Hospital Trains

After the Confederacy lost control of most of its major waterways, the Southern states relied heavily on railroads to move their wounded from field hospitals to general hospitals. Trains had never before been used as ambulances in America. The South shipped supplies in boxcars and returned them filled with sick and injured soldiers. The system was plagued with difficulties owing to shortages, raids, and the different track gauges of the various railroad companies.

The North developed specifically designed hospital cars. The trains were distinguished by a bright red smokestack, engine and tender, and carried red lanterns at night. Records indicate that the Confederates never attacked a hospital train.


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