Page images
PDF
EPUB

spring to attention at the command, while the flag floats gracefully down. If a band be present the inspiring notes of the “Star Spangled Banner" complete the programme. One cannot participate in or witness these exercises without a quickening of his patriotic pulse and an increased reverence for the flag.

"Tattoo" sounds at 9 o'clock, when all lights are extinguisheu and the men usually retire for the night. They are not required to retire, however, until “taps” at 11 o'clock, but perfect silence is enjoined after 9. The daily exercises are varied to accommodate the classes in cooking and pharmacy and on Saturdays and Sundays they are discontinued altogether. The only duty performed on these days is attend

[graphic]
[graphic]
[merged small][merged small][graphic]

First Lieut. CC. Collins.

ance upon the regular Saturday inspection, when everyone makes his neatest appearance equipped with corps pouch, belt and litter sling. At least once a week the entire detachment turns out for fatigue duty, at which time the quarters and grounds are thoroughly policed and so kept clean and healthy.

The duties and training at the school of instruction are designed to inculcate habits of industry, order and cleanliness. The men are necessarily governed by the most rigid discipline and their experience here will be useful to tnem wroughout their lives. The instruction includes lectures and lessons in anatomy, physiology, minor surgery, care of the sick and ward management, first aid to the wounded, litter

[ocr errors]

Col. A. C. Girard.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

drill and field work generally, cooking and pnarmacy. Army regulations are taught and the value of discipline impressed upon them. The industrious recruit will gain much to his advantage here if he be awake to his opportunity.

When his education is considered complete the recruit is assigned to duty at some Post or General Hospital, where his services are utilized as clerk, nurse, cook or attendant according to his special qualifications. Or if hostilities are in progress he is hurried to the front with his detachment and enters upon active service with the army in the field. Here his training comes into practical use, for if he has grasped the intent and purpose of his instruction he is prepared to be of invaluable assistance to the field surgeon with whom he is serving. He is prepared Capt. William H. Wilson. to arrest hemorrhage, relieve shock, reduce fractures and dislocations, dress wounds, the ranks of the Corps as from other arms apply bandages and perform all those minor of the service by meeting the required condetails which constitute first aid; details ditions. But a greater number study to beseemingly insignificant in themselves but come Acting Assistant Surgeons than offof the most vital importance to the wounded cers of the line-a more logical result of man. They may tuus save many lives by a their training and experience. timely attention that preserves vitality till The approved hospital steward is a man the arrival of the surgeon.

of many accomplishments. He is not only As the line of battle shifts, the corpsmen, required to be of good moral character and under the direction of the surgeon, through habits and physically sound, but he must the non-commissioned officers, follow to gather up the wounded. After giving first aid to such as require it, they bear the wounded in litters to the first dressing stations, which are always near, and sometimes on, the line of battle. After passing through the hands of the surgeon here they are carried to the ambulances and conveyed to the field hospital, which is generally about two miles in the rear.

The corpsmen carry no arms when opposed by the armies of civilized nations, except on occasions when they are likely to be attacked by irregulars or marauding bands. At such times revolvers may be issued to them for their protection. Otherwise they are strictly non-combatant.

Privates who have served the required length of time (three months at present) and who pass the required examination may be recommended for detail as acting hospital stewards. After serving for one year in this capacity and passing another and

[graphic]
[graphic]

advanced examination, they may be appointed stewards, which is the highest rank obtainable in the Corps. Enlisted men, however, may be promoted from Hospital Steward, H. S. Leopold

more

right sort of steward is an energetic, painstaking man of affairs, with plenty of hard business sense and resourceful expedients which enables him to turn out results which bear the stamp of accuracy. He has himself well in hand at all times, under all conditions, and, like the proverbial cat, is very apt to land on his feet no matter where he may be placed.

The duties of stewards and acting stewards are, under the direction of the surgeon, to “look after and distribute hospital stores and supplies; to care for hospital property; to compound and administer medicines; 10 supervise the serving of food; to maintain discipline in the hospital and watch over its general police; to prepare the hospital reports and returns; to supervise the duties of the hospital corps in hospital and in the field”—and various other things beside.

In a general hospital a steward or acting steward has charge respectively of the hospital corps, the record office, the mess, the dispensary, tne property, the baggage and effects of patients, the patients' mess, etc. Each has his peculiar duties and responsibilities and is held for the proper

[graphic][merged small]

also be “an efficient disciplinarian, an expert clerk, an accurate arithmetician and a trustworthy pharmacist, with as much knowledge of Materia Medica, therapeutics and minor surgery as will enable him to give sound advice and suitable treatment in the minor ailments and accidents which in civil life rely on the resources of domestic medicine or the knowledge of the nearest pharmacist. In addition he must have that higher knowledge for use in the wards which enables the experienced nurse to, appreciate the condition of those who are seriously ill, that their improvement may be fostered and all harmful influences removed."

Such is the standard fixed by the department, but it is only justice to add that while some of them may fall short of it, a much larger number of stewards go beyond the requirements. There are stewards in the army whose abilities would enable them to excel in a variety of fields in civil life. The knowledge, experience and executive ability required to successfully conduct the record office, for instance, of a big general hospital would enable the same man to operate a large business concern in civil life. It may be asked why they do not do it. But that Field Service Uniform, (Khaki) is another question. Some of them do. The Hospital Corps, U. S. A.

[graphic]

found representatives of some of America's, oldest and most honored families, and they are not always there for the reason that they were failures elsewhere. There are men of education and refinement, accus. tomed to polite usages, gentlemen by birth, training and practice, who, while they may fall upon duties more or less repugnant ta the finer sensibilities, are yet the best of soldiers, performing their duty like men no. matter how disagreeavle. It is such tests that make stronger the manhood that is inherent within them.

The insignia of the Hospital Corps-a red cross in a white field—had its origin in the Geneva Convention. This famous convention which has been so fruitful of good to the world, was held in response to a universal demand on the part of civilization for an organized effort to mitigate the hor. rors of warfare. Our own great civil war, which was then raging, pointed a sufficient. object lesson and uttle urging was required to induce the powers to ratify the articles adopted there. The signatory parties to the. treaty now include all nations having claim

to be classified as civilized. Ward Uniform (White Duck),

The articles adopted provide: 1st. For the Hospital Corps, U. S. A.

neutrality of ambulances on the battlefield,

and military hospitals so iong as they conconduct of his department. They are assisted by as many corpsmen as they need

tain any sick. 2nd. For the neutrality of

the staff, medical and administrative offito perform their allotted labors.

cers, attendants and litter bearers. 3rd. Members of the Hospital Corps are paid as follows: Stewards $45.00, acting stew

That the neutrality of these persons shall ards $25.00, privates $18.00 per month. For

continue after occupation of their hospitals eign service entitles them to an increase of

by the enemy, so that they may stay or detwenty per cent. They also receive rations

part as they choose. 4th. That if they de.. and quarters and a clothing allowance averaging about $44.00 per year. Privates of the corps receive $5.00 per month more than the same rank in the line, as their duties are supposed to require a somewhat higher order of intelligence.

Into the ranks of the Hospital Corps come men from professional and business circles whose talents and training would seem to fit them for creditable careers in civil life. Medical students especially find the experience congenial and of value to them; and medical schools have recognized its advantages by accepting a term in the corps as equivalent to one year toward graduation from the college. Some enlist from a spirit of adventure, some from a serious desire to see and learn of places, peoples and things which they would not otherwise have an opportunity to study. In the ranks will be A Government Contract Nurse in Ward Uniform.

[graphic]
[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »