Tuesday, March 31, 2015

About the Ambulance Corps

From: fisher.k12.il.us

The Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac was Jonathan Letterman. Jonathan Letterman made a plan called the ambulance plan, which had two stretchers- and one driver. They brought the wounded to places called dressing stations, then they were transferred to a field hospital.

The plan was implemented in August 1862 when McClellan issued General Orders No.147 creating the Ambulance Corps for the Army of the Potomac under the control of the Medical Director.

In March 1864, Congress published the Act Public 22 to create an Ambulance Corps for all of the Union Armies. The most unfit soldiers were detailed prior to the Ambulance Corps.

Many horse-drawn ambulances were first used in the 1850’s in the Crimean War. Standardized horse-drawn military ambulances were introduced in the U.S. During the Civil War. The first U.S. motorized ambulance unit operated in Mexico 1916 during the American punitive expedition against the Mexican Revolutionary general Panache Villa.

1. The ambulance corps was organized on the basis of the captain to each army corps as the commandant of the ambulance corps.

2. There were only two men and one driver to each ambulance and one driver to each transport cart.

3. The captain is the commander of all ambulances and transport carts in the army corps. He would make a personal inspection once a week of all the ambulances, transport carts, horses and their harness.

4. The first lieutenant was assigned to the ambulance corps of a division and would have complete control. He would receive a daily inspection report of all the ambulances and horses.

5. The sergeant in charged of the ambulance corps for a regiment and would conduct the drills and inspections.

6. Two medical officers from the reserve corps of surgeons of each division, and a hospital steward would be detailed by the medical of the army corps to accompany the ambulance train when on the march.

7. Commanders of the ambulance corps would report with out delay to the medical director.

8. No person would be allowed to be carried from the battlefield any wounded or sick except these corps.


Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.

Is the above photo of wounded being loaded onto a Civil War ambulance a real civil war era photo, or is it a modern era reenactment? I think it is real, but a friend says it is either fake or a reenactment.

it was me, i was there. it is a real civil war photo.

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