Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Medical Water Keg from Ambulance

From: joshuasattic.com

Medical "ambulances" were narrow horse drawn carriages that arrived at a battlefield after the combatants chose to fully retire. They carried supplies and transported those who were more-gravenly wounded. Most real management of the casualties was still done back behind-the-lines at tented field stations and temporary hospitals. However, the medical corpsmen and stewards did stabilize extremities and staunch blood flow to some extent before bringing the injured back in ambulances or on rudimentary stretchers. Each ambulance carried two water kegs. Battles were mostly fought in the more humid South during the spring and summer months, and therefore, bleeding men were often parched from dehydration through blood loss. A simple cup of water was a tremendous act of last mercy to men who were soon to die. These standard-design medical water kegs are made of strong oak staves custom-fitted and held by iron banding-straps. There are always two plugs: one threaded at the top and a turnscrew faucet type at side. Two of the straps were bent into stabilizing "feet" in order to keep the keg upright on a wagon back or the ground. There are no markings on this item, but it is of the same design as shown in Dr. Gordon Dammann's fine book "Civil War Medical Instruments & Equipment" page 81. Length 17 3/4" and height about 11 inches.


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