Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On The Road---The Rosecrans/Wheeling [WV] Ambulance

The Wheeling or Rosecrans ambulance wagon was built in the Government workshops after a design of General W. S. Rosecrans, U. S. A. It was lighter than [others and] could be readily drawn by two horses, and would accommodate eleven or twelve sitting or two recumbent and two or three sitting patients. Two cushioned benches were attached to the two sides of the interior of the wagon, running along its whole length.

From the edge of each of these benches, fastened by hinges, depended a cushioned seat the length of the benches. These seats could be readily brought on a level with the benches, and when thus elevated could be securely fixed by iron feet, folded in the suspended seat. For the ends of the iron feet receptacles were fitted in the floor of the wagon. When both seats were raised they met, in the middle of the carriage and made one continuous bed for two patients.

When only one seat was raised it formed a bed for a recumbent patient, while the other bench, with its suspended seat, allowed space for at least four sitting patients. A water-tank, capable of holding five gallons, was stored away under the seats in the rear end of the ambulance wagon; not unfrequently stretchers took the place of one of the water-tanks. In front of the benches a transverse seat, accommodating the driver and two or three patients, was provided.

Under the seat was a box for medicines and other articles for field use. Accurate specifications for the building of this ambulance will be found on page 59 of the Report of a Board of Officers . . . . The body of the wagon rested upon four elliptical springs, two placed, transversely (one on the front and one on rear axle), and two on the rear axle running longitudinally. A frame of light wood, with canvas cover, protected the patients against the inclemencies of the weather, and on the sides curtains of canvas could be closely buttoned to the top and the body. At the rear of the wagon was a step to assist patients and bearers in lifting in the wounded. The weight of the wagon was between seven hundred and eight hundred pounds.

Text Source with edits: Civl War
Photograph Souce: Civil War Librarian LLC and June 20, 2013

The photographs of a reproduction Wheeling Ambulance. It was built in Rayland, Ohio and on exhibit on Rest Stop #1 on Interstate 70 in West Virginia about 3 miles from the Pennsylvania line. From autumn to spring, the ambulance resides in the Pry House barn, Antietam National Military Park.  During the summertime, it returns to the owner who lives in Rayland, Ohio.

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