Diary of Orrin Brown—Feb 16, 1865

Rucker Ambulance WagonDiary of Orrin Brown, northeast of Lexington, South Carolina

Thursday–Feb. 16th

We were on the road at 6 AM passed through the town of Lexington between 8 & 9 AM. The most of the buildings were burning. The weather was cool and cloudy AM but it cleared off and was a little warmer PM. I gave out and was put into the ambulance about 10 AM and road the rest of the day. We marched about 10 miles, then turned round and marched back about 5 miles to get on to another road and went into camp about one mile from the Saluta river.

After the Revolution, the former township of Saxe Gotha was renamed Lexington County, in commemoration of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.  Lexington Court House was established in 1820, and burned in 1865.

At the beginning of the Civil War, the United States Army had instituted a system of battlefield care for soldiers which ebbed and flowed throughout the conflict.  Just before the war, a Board of Medical Officers had commissioned prototypes of two 2-wheel ambulance carts, designed by Army surgeons C.A. Finley and R.H. Coolidge, for use on the frontier.  In practice, patients found their movement “intolerable and excruciating; wounded men begged to be taken out.”  During the latter part of the war, the 4-wheel “Rucker” ambulance became common, based on a design by Brig. Gen. D.H. Rucker, Gen. Philip Sheridan’s father-in-law.  Four patients could be carried lying down, or the stretchers rearranged to make seats.  Other heavier designs were used and found cumbersome in the field, and of course sometimes regular old Army wagons made due.

Pvt. Brown’s medical condition, fore-shadowed on 12 February, would continue to trouble him on this march, most particularly on 14 March, when he would become incapacitated during the Battle of Averasborough.

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1 Response to Diary of Orrin Brown—Feb 16, 1865

  1. Pingback: Diary of Orrin Brown—March 14, 1865 -JC Shepard(dot)com

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