Farmcarts to Fords: A History of the Military Ambulance, 1790-1925

Farmcarts to Fords: A History of the Military Ambulance, 1790-1925

Farmcarts to Fords: A History of the Military Ambulance, 1790-1925

Farmcarts to Fords: A History of the Military Ambulance, 1790-1925

Synopsis

This book is the first history of the techniques, systems, and technologies used to evacuate wounded from the battlefield. Historically, the word ambulance described those facilities that provided temporary assistance to the wounded, thus distinguishing them from stationary hospitals where military personnel received more permanent care. Americans and British, however, applied the term to the two-to four-wheeled transport conveyances that carried wounded from the battlefield to the war hospitals.

With the aid of fifty-four illustrations, John S. Haller traces the histories of both meanings of the word from the Napoleonic era through the Great War and its aftermath. He concentrates on the development of British and American evacuation procedures and technology with a focus on hand conveyances and wheeled vehicles. His intent is not to cover all aspects of medical evacuation but to accurately recount the common medical evacuation problems, incongruities, and controversies that existed for warring nations.

Excerpt

The word ambulance, from the Latin ambulare, meaning to walk or move from place to place, was applied to the French hôpital ambulant by Surgeon Dominique-Jean Larrey during the Napoleonic Wars. Larrey referred to "temporary hospital establishments, organized near the divisions of an army, to follow their movements and to assure early succor to the wounded." He and later Europeans included wagons, drivers, surgeons, supplies, and all material support within the meaning of the term.

Decades later, British Surgeon General Thomas Longmore explained in the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1875) that ambulances, in military parlance, were "hospital establishments moving with armies in the field, and organized for providing early surgical assistance to the wounded after battles." His definition differed little from that provided by Larrey. Essentially, ambulances were intended to provide temporary assistance to the wounded, thus distinguishing them from stationary or fixed hospitals, where the sick and wounded received care and treatment "of a more permanent character." Nevertheless, according to Longmore, the term ambulance in American and British usage was frequently misapplied to the two or four-wheeled "ambulance wagon" or wheeledtransport conveyance, which carried wounded from the battlefield to . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.