Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Major Letterman Designs an Ambulance Corps

By late 1861, the need for a coordinated ambulance system became apparent to the military, the medical community and the civilian press.
Union Major Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, instituted a plan. Letterman's design was a model of organization for medical support. The elements of his concept are still used in times of war.
Letterman's plan called for transporting the wounded to the hospital in dedicated vehicles, dropping them off with their bedding, picking up new supplies at the hospital and returning to the front.
The ambulances of a division would move together with specified personnel to collect the wounded from the field, bring them to dressing stations, then to the field hospital. The plan was implemented in August of 1862 with regulations for the organization of the ambulance corps and the management of ambulance trains.


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