|Ambulance Corps Method Removing Wounded from the Field, LOC LC-B811-1078|
Many of my ancestors served on one or the other side of the US Civil War. Two of them served as musicians for at least a portion of their duty, Henry Clay Warwick (1843-1875) and Richard Manchester (1837-1903).
Initially I thought serving in the military band would be light duty but these notions were quickly disabused. While bands played in ceremonies, parades and special concerts, they also played to rally the troops as they marched into battle. Participation of bands in battles varied by brigade. In some instances, they accompanied the soldiers into battle and even played patriotic music during the battle while in a forward position!
In other brigades, musicians supported the medical staff. They set up field hospitals before battles and helped transport and care for the wounded afterwards. Richard Manchester likely served in this later capacity as he became a hospital nurse when injury removed him from active duty. The drum in this photograph immediately caught my eye as similar to the one Richard played.
There are many individual dramas being played out in the photograph. The man behind the drum appears to have succumbed to his injures as have the two gentlemen lying in the foreground.
Another man reclines against an officer and takes in the scene in before him. The relief on both their faces is evident. The officer almost appears to be smiling. Perhaps they are heartened by the sight of another officer being helped to a drink.
An officer directs the movement of the litters into the wagon - the bottle of medicinal whiskey clearly visible inside. Is the officer asking for a swig? Another stands by his sword at his side, head bowed, jaw tightened.
The lucky few were loaded onto litters to face an uncertain destiny. Infection was rampant and took many soldiers who survived the battle.
At the beginning of the battle, it was the officers and musicians and again at the end of the day we see the officers and musicians tending to the wounded. Deciding who could be helped, tending their wounds and then returning to camp to, perhaps, sleep a few hours. The next day the cycle would all begin again ....
|Soldier Awaiting Transport|
Sepia Saturday challenges us to meet a theme each week and when we can't, then we open our grab bag. I was ready to reach into the bag when I ran across this picture. This week's challenge was, more or less, 'A Picture Tells a Thousand Words' or whatever theme you might see in the photo. Thanks to Brett for the idea of making 'take-outs' of the photo. It really helps to see the individual components of a complex photo. There are many more entries and interesting variations on the theme at Sepia Saturday 91.
|Background: Perhaps the Encampment?|