Sunday, March 3, 2013

Civil War Hospital Flags

The organization of the Confederate Medical Department/Medical Service was identical to that of the United States Medical Department in 1861. It is probable that the same system, use of yellow flags to mark the location of hospitals. (The Army Medical Department 1818-1865). Confederate Veteran XIX, reunion announcement "Medical Officers Army and Navy, C.S.A. - Our place of meeting will be the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church, centrally located and easily accessible by the display from the front of a yellow flag, the hospital insignia of the Confederate Army". Confederate Veteran XXII " Dr. Simon Baruch, remembers the day of His capture at the Black Horse Tavern Field Hospital on the Hagerstown Road, "I directed the Union Adjutant General's attention to the yellow rag on the lightning rod and said; you fired five shells after that hospital flag was hoisted"

The use of the yellow flag in the U.S. dates back to 1700's. The flag was used as a quarantine flag for ships suspected of carrying contagious disease. "An act to prevent Sickly Vessels from Coming into this Government" City of Philadelphia 1699. A yellow flag was also used to mark the location of hospitals in the "Marine Hospital Service" July 16, 1798 Federal Public Health Law "An act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen" signed by President John Adams. 


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