Pine Garlands and Wreaths
In embalming and funeral service, there are two schools of thought regarding the use of pine garlands and wreaths. In one, we believe that the pine and cypress had been an ancient symbol appropriate for use to represent loss and memorialization because they are evergreens and available regardless of the season. Another school of thought is that their purpose was to attract insects to the pine rather than to humans (living or dead) and animals in the immediate area. This latter "school" also includes all floral material in the explanation.
It is interesting to note that the Camp Letterman photo depicts a tent that was used by Doctors Chamberlain and Lyford to demonstrate embalming of the dead and is also seen in at least two other other images that show the demonstration of surgical procedures. Other photos of the Camp Letterman tents appear in William Frassanito's "Early Photographs of Gettysburg".
I remain as ever, your faithful & obedient servant,
aka Benjamin Franklin Lyford, M.D.
Drs. Chamberlain & Lyford, Principal Embalming Surgeons
Washington City, D. C.
Adservio mortuus quidnam es non potens adservio ipsum
Traveling with while in the field:
Mid-States Living History Association, Indianapolis, IN
10th Illinois Cavalry Regiment, Springfield, IL
The Society of Civil War Surgeons