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Soldiers Armed Prior to Returning from Hospitals

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  • Soldiers Armed Prior to Returning from Hospitals

    hospital.pdf

    I knew soldiers were generally issued new clothing leaving hospitals to return to their units. What I was not sure of was whether they were re-armed prior to returning to their field units. Attached is ordnance receipt of the regimental commander for the arms and accouterments for 22 soldiers returning to the 32d Texas Dismounted Cavalry Regiment (Ector's Infantry Brigade) for 3 months during the height of the Atlanta Campaign.

    Roger Hansen
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Soldiers armed prior to returning from hospitals

    Roger, Thanks for posting the first hand document. I had always wondered about how soldiers, especially on the CS side, dealt with the hospital. In short and meaning, what did they do with their stuff. I posted a while back because I was curious what a trooper did with his horse. As we know, on the CS side, a trooper was expected to provide his own horse and was reimbursed for the that horse if it was killed or disabled. We also know that, at least in the beginning, the many CS troopers had their own tack and in many cases arms. The question I had, if he is wounded and went to the hospital, what happened to her personal items like his horse, equipment, and possibly arms? How would he ensure that he got them back when her returned to the field? I don't think we ever got a definitive answer like the document you posted. I would imagine it was accountable, but it maybe lost to history on how it was done.
    Rob Bruno
    1st MD Cav
    http://1stmarylandcavalry.com

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    • #3
      Re: Soldiers armed prior to returning from hospitals

      I have seen records of CS soldiers that were wounded or killed and the government settled the account with the family to include saddles, shotguns, and other personal items (including a great great uncle). If the Company had the records or the soldier or family had the receipt, it was usually settled - at least previous to the end of 1864. Unless a friend shipped the equipment home for them, it is doubtful they saw the same equipment again.

      Roger Hansen

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      • #4
        Re: Soldiers armed prior to returning from hospitals

        When a soldier died in camp or was so sick as to be sent to a rear area hospital his arms and equipment were supposed to be taken up by the regiment and then turned over to the brigade ordnance officer, who in turn would send it back up to division, ect. Often if the sick/dead soldier had a good weapon like an Enfield Rifle then that would be kept by the unit and a lesser or damaged weapon sent in it's place. When a man returned to the regiment he usually had to wait a little while before being issued a new weapon.

        William MacDonald

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        • #5
          Re: Soldiers Armed Prior to Returning from Hospitals

          William,
          I am sure you are correct when it was an issued item. Not to derail the original post, but when I first asked the question in a different thread regarding men in the hospital, I was wondering about his personal items, mainly his horse. I was more interested in what he did when he returned to duty. The first post is interesting because it shows soldiers being issued equipment once leaving the hospital.
          Rob Bruno
          1st MD Cav
          http://1stmarylandcavalry.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Soldiers Armed Prior to Returning from Hospitals

            For a Federal Hospital, the Hospital Steward maintained a "Knapsack Room" and an "Ordnance Room". On entering the hospital, a patient's belongings (and issue items) are carefully logged onto his bed card by the Ward Master (Ward Matron). The uniform and personal clothing are treated for lice if necessary and folded into the knapsack, placed into the Knapsack Room. Weapons and accompaniments are stored in the Ordnance Room until the appropriate QM can take charge of them. Expensive personal items like watches, jewelry, money are locked away by the Surgeon.
            They don't cover what should be done with horses, though they'd likely have a plan down somewhere.
            The Hospital Department of the Confederate Army based many procedures on the Federal Army system with which they were familiar, so they likely had a similar system...but specific research is needed to say for sure.

            From: The Hospital Steward's Manual by J.J. Woodward, 1862
            On the reception of patients, their effects ate at once turned over to the ward-master, excepting only money, watches, or other valuables, which are given to the surgeon for safe keeping.

            The ward-master examines them, makes a list on the back of the patient's ticket, and enters all in a book kept for the purpose, in accordance with the form on p. 49.

            After entering the list of articles in his book, the ward-master will cause them to be neatly packed in the knapsack, have the overcoat and blankets properly folded and strapped upon it, and affix to the package a label, on which is written the name, rank, and company of the owner with the number of his ward and bed.
            It is then to be carried to the knapsack-room and placed upon the appropriate shelf.

            Muskets sabres, pistols, &c. are to be similarly labelled and placed on the arms-rack in the knapsack-room.

            When the patient leaves the hospital, his effects are to be duly returned to him, except when he is discharged from service, in which case arms and other United States property are to be retained by the ward-master, the government property thus accumulating in the hospital to be turned over from time to time, on orders received from the surgeon, to the Ordnance department.

            When the patient dies in hospital, the wardmaster is to furnish the surgeon with a statement of his effects, copied from his accountbook, and is to retain them in his possession until he receives orders from the surgeon as to their disposition*

            "Where no legal claimant appears for property accumulating, either from deceased or deserted soldiers, or from sources unknown, it is to be retained until orders are received for its disposition from proper authority.


            SECTION IX.—THE KNAPSACK-ROOM.

            The knapsack-room is a place set apart for the safe keeping, not only of the knapsacks, but of the overcoats, blankets, and other property of the patients, and of their arms and accoutrements when they are brought with them to the hospital.

            It should be a secure apartment, of sufficient size, shelved on all sides and furnished with an arms-rack for the arms.

            Certain shelves should be set aside for each ward. On these the knapsacks should be neatly arranged. Each should be carefully and regularly packed, the articles having been first well cleaned or washed, if necessary. A label should be attached, having written legibly upon it the name of the owner, with his regiment and company. Great-coats and blankets should be neatly folded and strapped upon the knapsack.

            Arms should be placed in order upon the arms-rack, and a similar label attached to each musket, sabre, belt, &c.

            Patients on going to hospital should, however, when possible, leave their arms and accoutrements with their companies, and on no account take ammunition into the hospital.*

            The care of the knapsack-room, the reception of the articles from the patient, and their due delivery to him when he leaves the hospital, are duties for the proper performance of which the ward-master to whom they are intrusted is responsible to the steward. The knapsackroom should be opened from time to time, swept, dusted, and well aired.
            Last edited by Elaine Kessinger; 02-01-2018, 10:05 AM. Reason: adding quote marks for clarity
            -Elaine "Ivy Wolf" Kessinger

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            • #7
              Re: Soldiers Armed Prior to Returning from Hospitals

              Elaine,
              That is great info there. Thanks for posting.
              Rob Bruno
              1st MD Cav
              http://1stmarylandcavalry.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Soldiers Armed Prior to Returning from Hospitals

                Glad to have been of help.
                Another thing occurred to me about our troopers, especially Confederates who brought their own horses and armaments.
                Perhaps it was a custom, when a hospital stay was inevitable, that the trooper would dismount and entrust his horse to a pard before going with the ambulance corps to the hospital; thus, the hospital staff did not have cavalry mounts to deal with very often. I know that "the action" would seem to happen too fast and chaotic for such things to be feasible, but friends stick together and such a transfer might take only a second or two.
                No real documentation for this... only trying to apply a logic.
                -Elaine "Ivy Wolf" Kessinger

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                • #9
                  Re: Soldiers Armed Prior to Returning from Hospitals

                  Roger,
                  Coming back to a point in one of Rob's posts, in your initial post you specifically made the more or less unequivocal statement that (Confederate, I presume) "soldiers were generally issued new clothing leaving hospitals to return to their units" . Can you please supply your source for that? From my research, one very occasionally finds a clothing issue card for clothing received by a soldier leaving the hospital in their service records (what was issued is never specified on any these cards). However, these are relatively rare in relationship to the number of times that individual soldiers were in the hospital for both treatment of illness and wounds. I have also seen records of a few large shipments of clothing from the RCB to agents specifically provisioning the Virginia Hospitals so it certainly is a fact that the hospitals were receiving replacement clothing for distribution to soldiers. Those I have found would have only been enough for a small portion of the soldiers who actually passed through the CS Richmond Hospitals during the period suggesting either such occurrences were rare or most of the records have been lost, .

                  Elaine's note above for Federal soldiers is the first period documentation that deals with the issue of how soldiers clothing and equipment were dealt with and I concur with her comment that Confederate authorities often adhered to "Federal" processes. I am very interested in any period documentation or sources discussing how this was handled by the Confederate Army especially the issue of clothing to soldiers when they left the hospital. If you have such could you please contact me with what you have.

                  Dick Milstead
                  The Company of Military Historians
                  Last edited by rmilstead; 02-03-2018, 09:38 AM. Reason: clarification
                  Richard Milstead

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