Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Army of the Potomac's Ambulance Corp Organization Order of 1862

General Orders 147 - Organization of the Ambulance Corps

Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., August 2,1862.

The following regulations for the organization of the ambulance corps and the management of ambulance trains are published for the information and government of all concerned. Commanders of army corps will see that they are carried into effect without delay:

1. The ambulance corps will be organized on the basis of a captain to each army corps as the commandant of the ambulance corps, a first lieutenant for a division, second lieutenant for a brigade, and a sergeant for each regiment.

2. The allowance of ambulances and transport carts will be 1 transport cart, 1 four-horse and 2 two-horse ambulances for a regiment; 1 two-horse ambulance for each battery of artillery, and 2 two-horse ambulances for the headquarters of each army corps. Each ambulance will be provided with two stretchers.

3. The privates of the ambulance corps will consist of two men and a driver to each ambulance and one driver to each transport cart.

4. The captain is the commander of all the ambulances and transport carts in the army corps, under the direction of the medical director. He will pay special attention to the condition of the ambulances, horses, harness, &c., requiring daily inspections to be made by the commanders of division ambulances, and reports thereof to be made to him by these officers. He will make a personal inspection once a week of all the ambulances, transport carts, horses, harness, &c., whether they have been used for any other purpose than the transportation of the sick and wounded and medical supplies; reports of which will be transmitted through the medical director of the army corps to the medical director of the army every Sunday morning. He will institute a drill in his corps, instructing his men in the most easy and expeditious method of putting men in and taking them out of the ambulance, taking men from the ground and placing and carrying them on stretchers, observing that the front man steps off with the left, foot and the rear man with the right, &c. He will be especially careful that the ambulance and transport carts are at all times in order, provided with attendants, drivers, horses, &c., and the kegs rinsed and filled daily with fresh water, that he may be able to move at any moment. Previous to and in time of action he will receive from the medical director of the army corps his orders for the distribution of the ambulances and the points to which he will carry the wounded, using the light two-horse ambulances for bringing men from the field and the four-horse ones for carrying those already attended to farther to the rear, if the medical director considers it necessary. He will give his personal attention to the removal of the sick and wounded from the field and to and from the hospitals, going from point to point to ascertain what may be wanted, and to see that his subordinates (for whose conduct he will be responsible) at tend to their duties in taking care of the wounded, treating them with gentleness and care, and removing them as quickly as possible to the places pointed out, and that the ambulances reach their destination. He will make a full and detailed report after every action and march of the operations of the ambulance corps.

5. The first lieutenant assigned to the ambulance corps of a division will have complete control, under the commander of the whole corps and the medical director, of all the ambulances, transport carts, ambulance horses, &c., in the division. He will be the acting assistant quartermaster for the division ambulance corps, and will receipt and be responsible for the property belonging to it, and be held responsible for any deficiency in ambulances, transport carts, horses, harness, &c., pertaining to the ambulance corps of the division. He will have a traveling cavalry forge, a blacksmith, and a saddler, who will be under his orders, to enable him to keep his train in order. He will receive a daily inspection report of all the ambulances, horses, &c., under his charge from the officers in charge of brigade ambulance corps, will see that the subordinates attend strictly to their duties at all times, and will inspect the corps under his charge once a week; a report of which inspection he will transmit to the commander of the ambulance corps.

6. The second lieutenant in command of the ambulances of a brigade will be under the immediate orders of the commander of the ambulance corps for the division and have superintendence of the ambulance corps for the brigade.

7. The sergeant in charge of the ambulance corps for a regiment will conduct the drills, inspection, &c., under the orders of the commander of the brigade ambulance corps, and will be particular in enforcing rigidly all orders he may receive from his superior officers. The officers and non-commissioned officers of this corps will be mounted.

8. The detail for this corps will be made with care by commanders of army corps, and no officer or man will be selected for this duty except those known to be active and efficient, and no man will be relieved except by orders from these headquarters. Should any officer or man detailed for this duty be found not fitted for it, representations of the fact will be made by the medical director of the army corps to the medical director of this army.

9. Two medical officers from the reserve corps of surgeons of each division, and a hospital steward, who will be with the medicine wagon, will be detailed by the medical director of the army corps to accompany the ambulance train when on the march, the train of each division being kept together, and will see that the sick and wounded are properly attended to. A medicine wagon will accompany each train.

10. The officers connected with the corps must be with the trains on a march, observing that no one rides in the ambulances without the authority of the medical officers, except in urgent cases; but men must not be allowed to suffer, and the officers will, when the medical officers cannot be found, use a sound discretion in this matter, and be especially careful that the men and drivers are in their proper places. The place for the ambulances is in front of all wagon trains.

11. When in camp, the ambulances, transport carts, and ambulance corps will be parked with the brigade, under the supervision of the commander of the corps for the brigade. They will he used, on the requisition of the regimental medical officers, transmitted to the commander of the brigade ambulance corps, for transporting the sick to various points and procuring medical supplies, and for nothing else. The noncommissioned officer in charge will always accompany the ambulances or transport carts when on this or any other duty, and he will be held responsible that they are used for none other than their legitimate purposes. Should any officer infringe upon this order regarding the uses of ambulances, &c., he will be reported by the officer in charge to the commander of the train, all the particulars being given.

12. The officer in charge of a train will at once remove anything not legitimate, and if there be not room for it in the baggage wagons of the regiment will leave it on the road. Any attempt by a superior officer to prevent him from doing his duty in this or any other instance he will promptly report to the medical director of the army corps, who will lay the matter before the commander of that corps. The latter will at the earliest possible moment place the officer offending in arrest for trial for disobedience of orders.

13. Good serviceable horses will be used for the ambulances and transport carts, and will not be taken for any other purpose except by orders from these headquarters.

14. The uniform for this corps is: For privates, a green band 2 inches broad around the cap, a green half chevron 2 inches broad on each arm above the elbow, and to be armed with revolvers; non-commissioned officers to wear the same band around the cap as a private, chevrons 2 inches broad and green, with the point toward the shoulder, on each arm above the elbow.

15. No person will be allowed to carry from the field any wounded or sick except this corps.

16. The commanders of the ambulance corps on being detailed will report without delay to the medical director at these headquarters for instructions. All division, brigade, or regimental quartermasters having any ambulances, transport carts, ambulance horses, or harness, &c., in their possession will turn them in at once to the commander of the division ambulance corps. By command of Major-General McClellan:

Assistant Adjutant-General.


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