For those who didn't make it to At High Tide. I thought I'd give a little information.
I was assigned as acting Surgeon to 2nd Brigade. These were boys from Stonewal Brigade, Pridgeon's Shenandoah Legion, Army of Tennessee, and Medich's Battalion. The Liberty Hall Fife and Drum were also there along with some boys from the Lazy Jacks Mess from the UK.
Each company was to assign 1 man to the ambulance corps for each battle. Saturday morning this allowed us to have 2 litter teams of 4 men.
Hank Trent was serving as my orderly for the weekend. If anyone wants to know what an orderly should do, he is the man to ask. First rate service, great penmanship, **** of a cook, and ready to solve any problem I sent his way.
saturday morning we conducted sick call at 7am but no men reported so we filled a report stating that to the brigade adjutant.
We took to the field and the men of the Ambulance Corps got a real taste of some very hard work loading men onto litters and carrying them through chest high weeds through a creekbed to my dressing station and loading them on the ambulance. At one point when the brigade was pushed back, the retreating infantry ran into one litter team struggling through the creek echoing the confusion of battle and we were forced to leave some mortally wounded behind as we pulled back.
During our second advance I was taken aback at the large numbers or dead and wounded on both sides littering the field as far as I could see. We overtook the federal army and even overran one of ther dressing stations where one of their assistant surgeons was treating his wounded and low on drugs. I made sure to give one of his patients, the Colonel of the 2nd Wisconsin some pain relief fot his wound before directing a private to escort him to our rear for a later exchange. We also removed a federal Captain or Major for the same purpose. With so many dead dying and wounded it was about all we could do to remove those with wounds we could probably save and get names, unit and nature of the wound and provide pain relief for the dying. The only easily dosable drug I had were opium pills which I dispensed in large numbers. Laudnum, Hoffman's Anodyne or even Morphine Sulphate would have taken too long to dispense with any accuracy give the numbers of wounded and the fact the battle was still being waged as we work upon the field.
We were covering extremely large distances and out ambulance corps badges worn on the hats allowed me to keep track of my men at all times and in andy direction. 1st Brigade wore cloth strips on their arms so I knew which belong to which brigade. We both had red flags to mark the dressing station and with them being slightly different (1st Brigade was a proper flag and my brigade 2nd was a yard of red wool flannel tied to the end of a long stick) made it easy to identify each brigades dressing station.
After the battle there were no patients so we were left to prepare casualty reports which we turned over to the bridgade adjutant and sent to division in a consolidated report with 1st brigade.
As Saturday evenings action was cancelled do to lightning we were without patients from the end of Saturday mornings battle until Sunday mornings battle.
Sunday at the 7am sick call, no men reported but the adjutant invited me to visit the men in camps. I called upon each company and enquired upon their health. One man in the brigade had bowel issues and was precribed Compound Cathatic pills to be taken immediately and returned to duty. A report was fillied with the battalion Adjutant and the prescription noted in my prescription book.
There was a severe shortage of Ambulance Corps volunteers Sunday. So the 1st Brigade Surgeon and myself worked together. We would switch back and forth between the different brigades as each one moved forward. This put us in the Wheatfield behind the men and forced a hasty retreat at one point. The litter bearers were forced to manuver around and through a brigade waiting in reserve at the back of the Wheatfield which was a bit of a tricky maneuver.
Hank and myself even managed to capture 3 federal musicians who we found cut off from their unit.
We then surged forward again trating wounded all the way up as the Confederate line advanced upon cemetary ridge encountering both musket and artillery wounds. We found many of the wounded in need of relief from pain and helped the men get access to their canteens and filled the cups of men who had no water. Once again opium pills were dispensed in large numbers and names, unit and the nature of the wounds were collected.
As the event broke ended slightly after the end of this engagement we had no patients after the battle and both brigades filled casualty report and also one for the division.
For medical supplies we had my haversack with a few drugs, paperwork and my instrument case. Hank carried a haversack of dressings (which we did not have time to apply given the speed of evacuation and the sheer numbers we were treating and had to treat), a medical canteen and a pencil and paper to collect names, units and the nature of the wound. We had a fly tent for our brigade hopspital under which Hank and I slept with the absence of patients.
I had a chance to meet Trevor Steinbach of this forum whose hospital was right oposite mine and would love to read his impressions and activities of the engagements and sick calls as well if he has a chance to share them with the forum.
Medical Director Bee's Brigade - 150th First Manassas
Medical Director Evans' Brigade - 150th Leesburg
Medical Director Valley District - 150th McDowell
Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Seven Pines/Seven Days
Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Sharpsburg
Chief Surgeon Heth's Division - 150th Gettysburg