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Thread: Ambulance Corps 1862- question

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default Ambulance Corps 1862- question

    My unit does ambulance corps impression and through all my research I cannot find what dress uniform a corpsman would wear. This is for parade sake, not for field duty. Since corpsmen were detached from their respective branch, regiment, company and would serve on a division level under Letterman's plan (which was a working experiment), would they wear their branch piping (ie infantry, cavalry) or medical (which would have been a staff crimson). If I had to give an educated guess on the situation I would say branch with the half chevron. If someone could point me to some literature that would spell it out for me I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Shawn

    1st OVI Co. A
    Ambulance Corps Detached Service

  2. #2

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    According to the 1861 Regs, it would be the frock coat, buttoned and hooked properly. Also according to the 1861 Regs, chevrons belong on sergeants, sergeant majors, ordnance sergeants, quartermaster sergeants, HOSPITAL STEWARDS, and Pioneer corp. ...ambulance corp. is not listed among those getting chevrons. The hospital steward was one of the "new" positions getting distinctions, along with quartermaster sergeants, ordnance sergeants, sergeant majors, and head musicians.

    At this time, it was still a "grand experiment" and the uniform distinctions would wait until their service was solidified (after the war.)
    -Elaine Kessinger

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    2,415

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    The 1861 Regulations don't mention the corps because it wasn't officially established till August 2, 1862, in AOP Special Order 147, which specifies the green half-chevrons mentioned in the initial post, as well as green hat bands. The Order doesn't say you can only wear a sack coat or you have to remove other distinctions, so it seems reasonable that the green half chevrons and hat band would be in addition to whatever other piping you had on your uniform.

    But this only applies to the Army of the Potomac. The act of Congress that extended the Letterman system to the entire army came out on March 11, 1864, and states that the uniform or distinctions will be whatever "the Secretary of War shall deem proper." I haven't found a subsequent directive on this, though there may very well be one. But I would think that as long as Letterman was Medical Director of the AOP, from August 1862 to December 1863, there would have been some adherence to his instructions for the corps in that army.
    M. A. Schaffner
    Midstream Regressive Complainer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default thanks!

    Those were my thoughts too. It is nice to be confirmed when not so sure, especially with all the complexities. I thank you!

    Shawn
    1st OVI Co. A
    Ambulance Corps Detached Service

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