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38thIndiana
08-19-2008, 08:25 PM
This is probably a dumb question based on a little naievety as far as my level of knowledge about the medical impressions is concerned, but has anyone ever put together an idea to host formal training sessions in the field at events to train musicians (or young, non-musket-wielding soldiers) to also serve as stretcher bearers or field dressing station assistants? If so, or if this has actually been tried before, what have been the major advantages and disadvantages to this type of crosstraining? Have musicians ever been approached about this subject? Just trying to get a feel for the feasibility of something like this on a regional organizational level. Thanks!

hta1970
08-20-2008, 12:48 AM
Well it doesn't take any training, just a brief explanation to tell them to pick up the wounded and keep low. It only takes a litter team one time bringing back a chest wound to hear he won't be loaded on an ambulance to not make that mistake again. As for young nion-musket carrying soldiers serving as ambulance corps, they don't have what it takes. Ambulance Corps is not a place for the physically weak. They need to be quite strong and in shape. Same was true with the original cast.

As for training them as dressing assistants, applying dressings and splints is the job of the Assistant Surgeon, not the litter bearers. They are simply brute force labor to move bodies and quickly and efficeintly as possible.

As for using musicians as ambulance corps... Certainly! And the Liberty Hall Fife and Drum served as litter bearers with the Confederate Second Brigade At High Tide event and did an excellent job!

Ross L. Lamoreaux
08-20-2008, 01:04 AM
I've seen it done several times over the last few years, with mixed results. If you've got groups like Liberty Hall or the 125th Ohio Tiger Band, you can have a decent show of it. Unfortunately, most field musicians that I've been involved with (don't take offense those around the country I haven't worked with, just those in the southeast mostly) are too old, too young, or in some cases too female to do the serious work necessary. I've been personally involved with some of the training to try to institute the practice when I was an adjutant and lieutenant colonel of my battalion, but there wasn't too much enthusiasm by the older folks (who are darn good musicians) and the younger ones weren't physically able to do a lot of the work. I'm all for this extra bit of authenticity for anyone that can do it, as I think it is vastly under-represented at most events.