Charles Field Mason.

A complete handbook for the sanitary troops of the U. S. army and navy and national guard and naval militia online

. (page 27 of 38)
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will die anyway and its decomposition will help to pollute the air;
the soil should be well pounded and covered, if practicable, with a
layer of ashes or gravel, also well pounded. In permanent camps
the tents should be floored, but the floors should be in sections of
such size that they can be readily removed for policing and sunning
the ground underneath. No eatables should ever be allowed in tents
other than the kitchen and mess. The interval between tents in the
same row should be at least equal to the height of the ridge.

All tents are crowded, not more than about eighty cubic feet of air
space being usually allowed ; therefore the greatest attention should
be paid to ventilation ; dry canvas allows some penetration of air,
but moist canvas is practically impervious. Tent walls should always
be kept looped up in summer and even in winter whenever possible.
Every three or four days the tents should be removed to the adjoin-
ing area and turned inside out, so that the interior may be sunned
at the sam time as the tent floor. About once in ten days the entire



camp should be removed to at least a sufficient distance to entirely
clear the old site.

As the ground is always more or less damp and removes the heat
of the body rapidly, a soldier should never sleep directly upon it if
it can be avoided; if nothing else is available, his poncho should be
placed under him, but if possible he should raise himself above the
ground by the use of hay, straw, evergreen boughs, or improvised
bunk. Bedding should be removed and aired daily, being hung upon
lines if practicable.

The police of the camp within and without the tents should be
thorough. The disposal of garbage has already been described;
at night men who wish to urinate will often do so just outside the
tent rather than go to the distant sink ; therefore urine tubs contain-
ing a disinfectant solution should be placed in the company streets
every night, and removed in the morning; their position should be
indicated by a lantern; the position of the sinks should also be
indicated by a lantern on dark nights.

The water supply of the camp is of the greatest importance ; as a
general rule all water supplies of inhabited regions in the tropics
must be regarded as infected and require boiling before use; the
same may be said of surface waters, and shallow wells in other

As soon as a camp is occupied a guard is placed over the water
and proper places designated for bathing, washing of clothing,
watering animals, etc.

Among the minor but still important troubles incident to field
service are foot-soreness, chafing, and occasionally body lice.

To avoid foot-soreness the first requisite is a properly shaped and
fitted shoe; the next is clean feet and clean, dry socks. No other
shoe than that supplied by the Quartermaster's Department should
ever be worn. The feet should be carefully washed at the end of
the march, thoroughly dried, and the socks changed, the used pair
being washed or at least sunned and dried for the next day. Toe-
nails should be cut square across and not too short; if there is a
tendency to soreness, anointing the feet, especially between the toes,
with vaseline, is effective; in the absence of vaseline, foot powder
may be dusted on the feet and into the socks; vaseline is better
than powders. If there are blisters they should not be opened unless
they are so large that they would break in walking; cover each with


a small piece of adhesive plaster; if the blister must be opened make
the smallest opening possible with a needle or pin and gently press
out the fluid. If the skin is rubbed off cover with plaster. Hard
corns should be trimmed close or scraped with a piece of glass ; soft
corns require treatment by a medical officer.

Chafing is especially apt to occur in the crotch or other joint
flexures ; the best preventive of chafing and body vermin is cleanli-
ness. Take a bath daily, but if water is scarce at least wash the
feet, hands, arm-pits, and genitals. Should chafing occur use
vaseline or foot powder.

When lice are found on the body cut the hair of the parts close
and apply blue ointment, or solution of corrosive sublimate 1 :5oo.
The underclothes must be boiled, or washed in sea water.



THIS subject has been dealt with generally under other headings,
but it is necessary to cover a few points here which have not been
included elsewhere.

The first requisite for good health is cleanliness of person and
clothing; the former is not usually difficult to obtain, but the latter
often presents serious obstacles in the field. Every opportunity
should be taken to wash the underclothing; if very dirty it should
be soaked for awhile before scrubbing; woolen articles should be
rinsed and scrubbed as little as possible, as such treatment renders
them hard and causes shrinking. When water is not available the
underclothing should be changed, dried in the sun, aired, and beaten.

In the tropics a contagious skin disease known as dhobie itch is of
frequent occurrence ; it is usually due to uncleanliness and infected
underwear. Besides treatment of the disease it is necessary to boil
the underwear to get rid of the infection.

Particular attention should be paid to the teeth, a tooth brush
being used twice a day; ulceration of the gums, so prevalent in the.
tropics, may be thus avoided, but if it occurs the soldier should report
to his medical officer for treatment.

The hair should be kept short and frequently washed.

The purpose of clothing is to protect the body from the vicissi-
tudes of weather; from heat in summer, cold in winter, and from
the chilling effects of rain and wind.

The fulfillment of these purposes depends upon the nature of the-
material, its texture, color, its heat-conducting and water-absorbing

The materials of which clothing is made are wool, cotton, and

Wool is a poor conductor of heat and a good absorber of mois-
ture ; hence it keeps in the heat of the body in winter and keeps out
the heat of the sun in summer; by its property of absorbing and
condensing moisture, thus setting free its latent heat, it prevents



chilling of the body when perspiring after exertion ; these properties
render it suitable for undergarments in both summer and winter,
and for outer garments in winter.

Cotton and linen are good conductors and poor absorbers of
moisture, qualities which adapt them for use in outer garments in
hot weather.

The color of outer garments has no influence on the temperature
of the body except in the direct rays of the sun ; black and dark
colors absorb the direct sun's rays the most, while white and yellow
reflect them most.

Besides color and material, texture has an important influence on
the power of conducting heat; the more loosely woven a material is
the more air there is in the texture, and as air is a very poor con-
ductor, the warmer the material. Hence, the warmth of fur and
feathers. Impervious stuff, such as rubber and to a less degree
leather, keep out winds and are warm for that reason.

Venereal diseases constitute one of the greatest dangers to which
the soldier is exposed; their hospital management is discussed on
page 255 ; but it is necessary to look at them from the point of view
of personal hygiene. Ordinarily regarded by the soldiers as matters
of trivial importance, gonorrhea, chancroid, and syphilis are so far-
reaching in their effects that these effects should be thoroughly

Gonorrhea or clap, besides the immediate discomfort and incon-
venience caused by it, is often followed by swollen testicle, stricture
of the urethra, and stricture of the spermatic ducts so that the
semen cannot escape, and the man becomes sterile ; by a very severe
form of rheumatism, inflammation of the bladder and kidneys, and
occasionally septicemia and death. Getting a little of the gonor-
rheal pus into the eye from unclean fingers or towels produces a
destructive inflammation often resulting in blindness.

In syphilis the blood is infected, and while the disease is curable
one can never be certain that the cure is permanent.

The first stage is the chancre, the second the skin eruptions and
the mucous patches, while in the third we have the terrible de-
structive affections of the bones, internal organs, nervous system,
and blood-vessels. Sometimes the nose is eaten away or caves in,
the palate is destroyed, the voice lost, and paralysis, locomotor
ataxia, and aneurism are among the later results. Add to this that


if the syphilitic marries he is liable to infect his wife and very apt
to beget syphilitic children, and the gravity of the disease may be

The probability of contracting some form of venereal disease in
illicit intercourse is very great; about a third of all women pros-
titutes are infected ; all are certain to become so in course of time.

The only certain protection against venereal disease is absolute
avoidance of impure intercourse. This involves continence in the
unmarried soldier. There is a widespread impression that con-
tinence is harmful to the young and vigorous man; nothing is
further from the truth. Nature has provided emissions for the
discharge of an undue accumulation of seminal fluid, and their
occasional occurrence does no harm.

As Alcoholism leads to sexual indulgence the two conditions should
be considered together. The healthy man does not require alcohol
in any form ; though it is occasionally taken habitually for long
periods without any apparent bad results, there is no doubt that
even in such cases there is diminished resistance to disease. Though
the temporary effect of alcohol is stimulating, this effect is promptly
followed by diminished resisting power to both heat and cold.

The weight of evidence is that alcohol is particularly harmful in
the tropics, and many of the cheap native forms of crudely distilled
liquors which are obtainable there have specially poisonous effects.

To guard against the special diseases of the tropics one of the
most important general rules is to strictly avoid all native prepared
foods and drinks; the method of their preparation is usually filthy
in the extreme, and they are frequently infected with the germs
of disease.

Native fruits, in good condition, neither unripe nor over-ripe,
may be taken in moderation, but the outerskin should always be
removed, or thoroughly washed in pure water.

The sun, in the heat of the day, should be avoided when possible,
and when in the sun the back of the head and neck should be pro-
tected by a handkerchief or piece of muslin attached to the back
of the cap or hat. The Japanese soldiers use such a flap in two
pieces so as to allow free passage of air.

At night, and especially toward morning, chilling of the abdomen
should be prevented by wearing a long undershirt or by throwing a
blanket over the body.





WAR Department orders provide that at posts where there are
mounted troops the necessary instruction of the hospital corps in
riding shall be given by troop or mounted detachment commanders
in connection with the instruction of their troops. At other posts,
however, the instruction must be given under the direction of medi-
cal officers whenever the necessary animals are available. The fol-
lowing course of instruction is taken from the Cavalry Drill Regu-
lations modified to meet the requirements of the hospital corps :

270. The order of instruction indicated may be modified at the discretion
of the officer superintending, care being taken to develop the confidence of
the recruit by progress suited to his capacity, and which will exempt him as
far as possible from falls or other accidents.

During the first few lessons the instructor will devote his attention chiefly
to giving to the recruits the proper seat and carriage and to making them self-
confident on horseback; he will quietly and patiently correct the faults of
each individual as they occur, frequently passing from one to another, and
will require by degrees the correct execution of his teachings ; these under-
stood and confidence imparted, the positions and motions will then be rigidly



271. Each mounted drill begins and ends at the walk. This rule is general.

272. During the drills the recruits are taught the following rules for the
care of horses, until the instructor is satisfied by means of questions that
they are thoroughly comprehended :

Never threaten, strike, or otherwise abuse a horse.
Before entering a stall, speak to the horse gently and then go in quietly.
Never take a rapid gait until the horse has been warmed up by gentle



Never put up a horse brought in a heated condition to the stable or picket
line, but throw a blanket over him and rub his legs, or walk him until cool.
When he is wet, put him under shelter, and wisp him until dry.

Never feed grain to a horse nor allow him to stand uncovered when
heated. Hay will not hurt a horse, no matter how warm he may be.

Never water a horse when heated unless the exercise or march is to be
immediately resumed.

Never throw water over any part of a horse when heated.

Never allow a horse's back to be cooled suddenly, by washing or even re-
moving the blanket unnecessarily.

To cool the back gradually, the blanket may be removed and replaced
with the dry side next the horse.

The Equpment of the Horse

273. The instructor indicates the different parts and uses of each equip-
ment as a commencement of this instruction.

To Fold the Saddle Blanket

274. The blanket, after being well shaken, will be folded into six thick-
nesses, as follows : Hold it well up by the two corners, the long way up and
down; double it lengthwise (so the fold will come between the "U" and
" S "), the folded corner (middle of blanket) in the left hand; take the folded
corner between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, thumb pointing
to the left; slip the left hand down the folded edge two-thirds its length and
seize it with the thumb and second finger ; raise the hands to the height of
the shoulders, the blanket between them extended; bring the hands together,
the double fold falling outward; pass the folded corner from the right hand
into the left hand, between the thumb and forefinger, slip the second finger
of the right hand between the folds, and seize the double folded corner;
turn the left (disengaged) corner in, and seize it with thumb and forefinger
of the right hand, the second finger of the right hand stretching and evening
the folds ; after evening the folds, grasp the corners and shake the blanket
well in order to smooth the folds, raise the blanket and place it between the
chin and breast; slip the hands down half-way, the first two fingers outside,
the other fingers and thumb of each hand inside, seize the blanket with the
thumbs and first two fingers, let the part under the chin fall forward ; hold
the blanket up, arms extended, even the lower edges, seize the middle points
between the thumbs and forefingers, and flirt the outside part over the right
arm; the blanket is thus held before placing it on the horse.

The blanket should, if possible, be kept dry and free from sand, caked
dandruff, and hairs. It should be frequently shaken out and well switched,
if necessary, to restore its pliability and remove dust and hair. In warm
weather, when the animal sweats freely, a fresh, clean bearing surface on
the blanket should be placed next to the back.

It is not a good plan to dry the sweat-soaked surface of a folded blanket


in the sun and put this dried surface next the back the following morning.
Such drying hardens the dandruff mixed with sweat and dust that is always
present, and makes this part of the blanket rough and hard. It is preferable
to double the sweat-soaked folded blanket on itself, so it will remain moist
and soft.

To Put on the Blanket and Surcingle

275. The instructor commands : BLANKET.

Approach the horse on the near (left) side, with the blanket folded and
held as just described; place it well forward on his back, by tossing the part
of the blanket over the right arm to the off (right) side of the horse, still
keeping hold of the middle points; slide the blanket once or twice from
front to rear to smooth the hair, being careful to raise the blanket in bringing
it forward; place the blanket with the forefinger of the left hand on the
withers, and the forefinger of the right hand on the backbone, the blanket
smooth; it should then be well forward with the edges on the left side;
remove the locks of mane that may be under it; pass the buckle end of the
surcingle over the middle of the blanket, and buckle it on the near side, a
little below the endge of the blanket.

To Put on the Watering Bridle

276. The instructor commands : BRIDLE.

Take the reins in the right hand, the bit in the left; approach the horse
on the near side, slip the reins over the horse's head and let them rest on his
neck; reach under and engage the snap in the right halter ring, insert the
left thumb in the side of the horse's mouth above the tush and press open
the lower jaw; insert the bit and engage the snap in the left halter ring.
The bit should hang so as to touch, but not draw up, the corners of the

To Unbridle

277. At the command, unbridle, pass the reins over the horse's head and
disengage the snaps.

The Saddle and Bridle

279. Greatest care will be taken in the fitting of the saddles; sore backs
are generally occasioned by neglect, and the men must never be allowed to
lounge or sit unevenly in their saddles.

To Saddle

280. For instruction, the saddle may be placed four yards in rear or front
of the horse. The stirrups are crossed over the seat, the right one upper-
most; then the cincha and cincha strap are crossed above the stirrups, the
strap uppermost. The blanket having been placed as previously explained,
the instructor commands : SADDLE.



Seize the pommel of the saddle with the left hand and the cantle with the
right, approach the horse on the near side from the direction of the croup
and place the center of the saddle on the middle of the horse's back, the end
of the side bar about three fingers' widths behind the point of the shoulder
blade; let down the cincha strap and cincha; pass to the off side, adjust the
cincha and straps and see that the blanket is smooth ; return to the near side,

FIG. 248. Nomenclature of the Saddle. A, Pom-
mel; B, cantle; C, side bar; D, E, spider (quarter
straps) ; F, spider (or girth-strap) ring; G, cincha;
H, cincha strap; /, cincha ring; t, cincha-ring safe;
K, stirrup loop; L, stirrup strap; M, stirrup tread;
N, stirrup hood; P, shield; Q, stud; R, R, rings; S, S,
saber straps; T, staple; a, a, a, a, coat straps.

FIG. 249. Nomenclature of

the Bridle. Headstall: A,

Crownpiece; B, brow band; C,
ornament; D, D, cheek piece;

E, throatlatch. Bit: F. F,

mouth piece; G, port; H, H,

branches; I, I, rein rings; K,

curb strap; R, reins. Link: L,
link strap; M, link snap.

raise the blanket slightly under the pommel arch so that the withers may not
be compressed ; take the cincha strap in the right hand, reach under the horse
and seize the cincha ring with the left hand, pass the end of the strap through
the ring from underneath (from inside to outside), then up and through the
upper ring from the outside; if necessary make another fold in the same


The strap is fastened as follows: Pass the end through the upper ring
to the front; seize it with the left hand, place the fingers of the right between
the outside folds of the strap; pull from the horse with the right hand
and take up the slack with the left; cross the strap over the folds, pass
the end of it, with the right hand, underneath and through the upper ring
back of the folds, then down and under the loop that crosses the folds
and draw it tightly: weave the ends of the strap into the strands of the

Another method of fastening the cincha strap is as follows: Pass the
end through the upper ring to the rear; seize it with the right hand, place
the fingers of the left between the outer folds of the strap; pull from the
horse with the left hand and take up the slack with the right; pass the
end of the strap underneath and draw it through the upper ring until a
loop is formed ; double the loose end of the strap and push it through the
loop and draw the loop taut. The free end should then be long enough
to conveniently seize with the hand.

Having fastened the cincha strap, let down the right stirrup, then the left.

The surcingle is then buckled over the saddle and should be a little looser
than the cincha.

The cincha when first tied should admit a finger between it and the belly.
After exercising for a while the cincha will be found too loose and should
be tightened.

The cincha should not be unduly tightened. Tight cinching causes young
animals to rear and even throw themselves. It induces local swellings and
galls, by interfering with the circulation, and it teaches all saddle animals to
inflate the lungs ("swell themselves") the moment they feel the touch of
the cincha. On cold mornings tight cinching causes even old saddlers to buck.

Take up the cincha gently and draw it snugly, then secure it temporarily.
Adjust your stirrups and see that they are of equal length. This can be
judged by standing in front of the animal and comparing one with the other.
It will be found that from the often repeated mounting and dismounting on
the near side the stirrup leather of that side will usually be found- longer
than the other. Having adjusted things generally, return to the cincha and
take up the slack that will now be found, draw it snugly but not tightly, and
secure it, being careful that there are no wrinkles in the strap and that the
cincha itself does not encroach on the quarter strap ring shield. If it does,
either the cincha strap is too long on the off side or the cincha is too long.
In either event, make the necessary correction at once, if possible. If this
correction is not made soon, a gall may be expected.

281. To approximate the length of the stirrup straps before mounting, they
are adjusted so that the length of the stirrup strap, including the stirrup, is
about one inch less than the length of the arm, fingers extended.

To Unsaddle

282. The instructor commands : UNSADDLE.

Stand on the near side of the horse; unbuckle and remove the surcingle;


cross the left stirrup over the saddle; loosen the cinoha strap and let down
the cincha; pass to the off side, cross the right stirrup, then the cincha;
pass to the near side, cross the cincha strap over the saddle; grasp the
pommel with the left hand, the cantle with the right, and remove the saddle
over the croup and place it in front or rear of the horse as may be directed,
pommel to the front; grasp the blanket at the withers with the left hand
and at the loin with the right, remove it in the direction of the croup, the
edges falling together, wet side in, and place it across the saddle, folded edge
on the pommel.

If in the stable, piace the saddle on its peg when taken off the horse.

On arriving in camp and having dismounted, ease off the cincha about 3
inches and change the bearing of the saddle by moving it to rear or front
at least an inch. Allow the saddle to remain on the back for ten or twelve
minutes, to enable the almost bloodless skin beneath (caused by weight of
yourself and pack) and the tired saddle bed muscles to regain to some extent
their lost tone, while you busy yourself about the bridle and halter, and the
religious duty of closely examining the feet for loose shoes, rocks, nails,
bruises, thrush, and interfering sores. Now remove the saddle, turn over
the blanket, and let that remain in place until the back has dried.

If any dry spots are noticed on the sweaty skin while the blanket is being
turned over, remember they are inflammations of the skin, produced by
unequal distribution of weight, and are liable to puff up later if not attended
to. Mark their location well, for you are close to the walking stage if you
neglect them. When the. back is dry, remove the blanket and take care of it.
Massage well from front to rear the spots referred to, bathe the saddle bed

Online LibraryCharles Field MasonA complete handbook for the sanitary troops of the U. S. army and navy and national guard and naval militia → online text (page 27 of 38)