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 29 of 38)
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 29 of 38)
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skin under the flank and between the hind quarters must be soft, clean, and
free from dust.

Currycombs, cards, or common combs must never be applied to the mane
or tail; the brush, fingers, and cloth are freely used on both.

The wisp is used when the horse comes in wet from exercise, rubbing
against the hair, until dry, from his hind quarters up to his head. If very
wet, very hot, or very cold, blanket the horse, groom and hand-rub the legs ;
then remove the blanket and groom the body.


098. Guiding principles in feeding are: (i) Feed in small quantities and
often : (z) Do not work the animal hard immediately after a full meal. In
garrison and on the march, animals should be fed at reveille, at mid-day, and
at night, ordinarily one-third of the grain ration being given each time. In
garrison, the stable sergeant, assisted by members of the stable guard or
police, may feed at first call for reveille. In the evening, grain should be
fed after hay has been distributed, the stable swept out and the dust thoroughly



The men are marched to the forage wagons or other grain depository where
the noncommissioned officer in charge, with an allowance measure, issues to
each in turn.

The platoon leaders then march their platoons back to the horses and
command : FEED. Ordinarily one man of each platoon will remain near the
horses until they have finished eating, to adjust feed bags. Each man may
be required to feed and groom as soon as he has received his grain.

Very little hay, if any, is fed in the morning when hard work follows,
but about one-third of the ration should be fed at noon, and the remainder
at night. The dust must be well shaken out of the hay when it is put in the

In camp hay is fed at the picket line morning, noon, and evening; on the
march, when the horses are grazed during the day, in the evening only.

The use of bran once or twice a week is important for stable horses. In
spring or early summer they should be grazed.

Two and a half ounces of salt should be given each week, preferably lumps
of rock salt, secured in or near the manger.

Grazing should be encouraged at every spare moment, both in camp and
at halts on the march.

The daily allowance of oats, barley, or corn is 12 pounds to each horse and
9 pounds to each mule; that of hay, 14 pounds to each animal; the allowance
of straw for bedding is 100 pounds a 'month to each animal.


1000. Horses must be watered quietly and without confusion ; the manner
in which this duty is performed is often a good test of the discipline of a
mounted command.

Horses are to be led or ridden to and from water at a walk. At the
drinking place, no horse should be hurried or have his head jerked up from
the water.

In the field or on the march, the watering is from the most convenient
running water; in garrison, it is usually from troughs, which should be
cleaned each day. In warm weather, water drawn from a cold well or
spring should stand long enough for the chill to pass off.

The horses are watered under the immediate direction of the sergeant,
but, if they are liable to meet those of other commands at the watering place,
a commissioned officer should supervise this duty.

Horses should be watered before feeding or not until two hours after
feeding. Ordinarily, they should be watered twice a day; in hot weather,
three times a day.

In very cold weather, once a day, about noon, is sufficient. A horse will
rarely drink freely very early in the morning.

If a mounted command have to march a long distance without water,
so that it will be necessary to encamp en route, the animals are fed, but
denied water until just before starting, when they are permitted to drink
freely. The command marches in the afternoon, and does not encamp


until it has accomplished at least half of the distance, and moves early the
next morning to reach water.

Watering the horses on the march depends in a great measure upon the
facilities to be had. If nothing is known as to the country over which the
day's march is to be made, water call should be sounded shortly before
leaving camp and every horse given an opportunity to drink. As many
animals, however, will not drink at an early hour or until after exercising
the horses should be watered again at the first opportunity. On severe
marches, frequent watering is of great benefit.

The daily allowance of water for a horse at rest is about six gallons;
when at work, from eight to twelve gallons; for a man, one gallon for all
purposes. One gallon of fresh water weighs 81 pounds, approximately one
pint to one pound.

General Rules for Stable Management

1118. The following general rules are recommended:

The stable sergeant has immediate charge of the police and sanitary
condition of the stable, picket line, etc., and is the custodian of the forage
and stable property generally.

The stable is to be kept thoroughly policed, free from smells, and, except
portions of stalls that horses can reach, should be well limewashed. There
must be no accumulation of manure or foul litter inside, nor near the doors
or windows without. The feed boxes are washed from time to time, and
kept clean. The ground about the picket line is swept daily, and all dung,
etc., carried to the manure heap.

Except at night, when the horses are bedded down, no manure or urine
is to remain in the stalls ; the stable police remove it as it accumulates.

If practicable, all woodwork within reach of the horses, and not protected
with sheet iron or other metal, should be painted with thin coal tar to pre-
vent it being gnawed. The same precaution may be followed with regard
fo troughs, picket posts, and picket line. It should be thoroughly dried
before putting horses near it.

Smoking in stables, or in their immediate vicinity, is prohibited.

One or more lamps will be hung in each stable to burn during the night.

The horses are stalled according to their positions in the squads; their
places at the picket line will be in accordance with the same rule.

Over each horse's stall is placed the name of the horse, under that of his

Clay is the best for earthen floors. Gravel, or sandy earth, is not suitable.

The sloping of the floor of stalls from the manger to the heel post is
injurious and uncomfortable for the animal, making him stand in an un-
natural position, with the forelegs higher than the hind ones. When the
earthen floors are level, the horse will paw a hollow for his forefeet unless
he can elevate his hind quarters by backing out of the stall.

Whenever horses go out of the stable, the windows of their stalls are to
be kept open, unless necessary to exclude rain or snow, or when cold drafts
affect the animals in contiguous or opposite stalls.


Stable doors are never closed in the daytime, except to keep out wet, or
to exclude cold winds that blow on the horses. If the doors be in a single
piece, bars are put across the doorway; if divided into upper and lower
halves, it will usually be sufficient to open the upper part. At night, the
entrance to the stables should be secured in such manner as will prevent the
escape of animals.

When circumstances permit, horses should be turned loose in the paddock
during the daytime, or herded under charge of a guard. When neither is
practicable, they should, except in very cold, windy weather, or in very hot
weather where there is no shade, stand most of the day at the picket line,
as they have better air and are less confined, while the stables become drier
and more healthful.

In ordinary climates, cavalry stables must be kept as cool as possible.
If the horses do not stand directly in the draft, the colder the stable the
less will they suffer if called suddenly to take the field. For the same reason,
horses should never be blanketed in the stable, except during very cold

Treatment and Care of Horses

1119. Horses require gentle treatment. Docile but bold horses are apt to
retaliate upon those who abuse them, while persistent kindness often reclaims
vicious animals.

A horse must never be kicked or struck upon or near the head with the
hand, reins, or any instrument whatever.

At least two hours' exercise daily is necessary to the health and good con-
dition of horses ; they should be marched a few miles when cold weather,
muddy ground, etc., prevent drill.

Horses' legs will be hand-rubbed often, particularly after severe exercise,
as this removes enlargements and relieves or prevents stiffness.

In mild weather the sheath will be washed occasionally with warm water
and castile soap, and then greased; in cold weather, when necessary, the
sheath should be greased.

Horses used freely in snow and slush must not be placed in a warm stable
with littered stalls.




No. I. Pack frame, of metal number. . i

No. 2. Stretches of spreaders for saddle pads, of corrugated

metal number. . 2

No. 3. Saddle pads do .... 2


FIG. 250. The Pack Saddle Proper.

No. 4. Quarter straps number. ,

No. 5 and 6. Quarter strap ring sets, complete, consisting of
2 rings with leather union (5) and 2 cincha
straps (6) ..sets....

No. 7. Cincha, horsehair, double do. ...

No. 8. Accessory leather straps number. .




No. 9. Breast collar straps number. . 2

No. 10. Breast collar body piece do. ... i

No. 11. Breast collar neck piece do. ... i

No. 12. Breast collar choke strap. do. ... i

No. 13. Fork straps for turnback do. ... 2

No. 14. Turnback and crupper, complete do. ... i

No. 16. Breeching hip strap do .... i

No. 1 6. Breeching straps .- do .... 2

No. 17. Breeching body piece do. ... i

No. 18. Thongs, rawhide do. ... 6


No. 19. Cargo slings, webbing, complete, with 4 straps

number. . 2
No. 20. Load cincha (belly piece) short, complete, with 2

cincha straps number. . i

No. 21. Cupped blind, complete, with 2 thongs do. ... i

No. 22. Load cincha (top piece) long, complete do. ... i

No. 23. Cargo cover, canvas, 3 by 6 feet, with 14 rawhide

thongs number . . i

No. 24. Mantas, canvas, 6 by 6 feet, with 20 rawhide thongs,

number. . 2

No. 25. Bags, canvas, complete do. ... 2

No. 26. Saddle blanket do .... i


As the pack outfits are issued from the supply depot, the pack
saddle proper is assembled as shown in Fig. 250. The accessory
articles are loosely packed in the shipping box.

To use the pack outfit, the pack saddle proper is placed on the
animal with a saddle blanket under it. The breast collar and
breeching are adjusted to the animal as required. The saddle is
then firmly cinched in position. To prevent undesirable moving
about on the part of the pack animal while the saddle and load are
being placed in position, it is advisable to blindfold the animal by
means of the cupped blind.

To load the animal, the webbing slings are placed on the ground
with the link piece down. On them are placed such articles as



may be desired. Chests, bedding rolls, boxes, -etc., are conveniently
carried in the slings ; dressings, or a number of small pieces that are
likely to be lost, can be put into the canvas bags and then placed in
the slings. If desired, all articles may be previously wrapped in
the canvas mantas to protect them from the elements. The sling is
then securely fastened about the load by means of the leather straps
secured to its metal rings.

The load is divided in such a manner that each sling will carry
approximately the same weight.

The next step is to place the load on the animal. To do this,
the loaded slings are raised from the ground and supported on the

FIG. 251. 'Accessory Articles.

metal posts of the pack frame by means of the iron links on the
slingsi If possible, both sides should be loaded at the same time
to prevent the saddle from turning on the animal's back.

The load is now protected by means of the canvas cargo cover,
which is thrown over it and fastened by a number of its thongs.
Over this is thrown the long canvas load cincha. By means of the


short-load cincha and its straps (which pass under the belly of the
animal) the load can be securely fastened so that it will not shift.

Any additional load, such as sacks of grain, etc., for which there
is not room in the slings, as well as such necessary articles as mantas,
canvas bags, etc., not in use, are carried on the animal's back between
the two sling loads, the long-load cincha holding them in position
when tightened.



THE wagons which the hospital corps man may have to drive and
care for are the four-mule escort wagon, the six-mule army wagon,
and the four-mule ambulance wagon.

The standard wagon is the four-mule escort wagon. The load
should not exceed 3,000 pounds on good roads; for average condi-
tions 2,500 pounds is considered a fair load.

For the six-mule army wagon the load should not exceed 4,000
pounds on good roads ; for average conditions, 3,500 pounds.

Wagons should always be supplied with a spare pole, an axe, a
bucket for watering the animals, a hammer, a monkey wrench, spare
bolts, a candle lantern, and a box of axle grease.

The ambulance is a four-wheeled vehicle, ordinarily drawn by two
animals in garrison and four in the field. It provides transportation
for eight men sitting or four recumbent on litters, or four sitting and
two recumbent. It is fitted with four removable seats, which, when
not used as such, are hung, two against each side. The arrange-
ments for supporting the upper tier of litters (upper berths) con-
sist of two litter-supporting posts and four straps. The litter-
supporting posts are two uprights, placed 73 inches apart. The one
in front is stationary, being secured to the roof and floor; the one
at the rear is hinged at the top, and when the upper berths are not
to be used it is strapped to the roof. When the upper berths are
to be used, it is unstrapped and swung into a vertical position,
when its lower end is secured to the floor by a slot and bolt.
Fastened to each of the litter supporting posts, 27! inches from the
floor, is a socket for the inside handles of the litter, and opposite
each socket, attached to the side of the ambulance, is a strap to hold
the outside handles. The floor is 7^ feet long and 4 feet wide.

The art of harnessing and driving can only be taught practically.
Familiarity with the parts of the harness (Fig. 252) and the
methods of harnessing and unharnessing should be imparted to the
whole class, and one man should be detailed at a time as assistant



to the ambulance driver and stable man in order that he may learn
practically how to care for the animals and harness and how to

The following course of instruction is taken from the " Service
Manual for Sanitary Troops."

FIG. 252. Harness, i, Crown; 2, check piece; 3, front; 4, 4, blinds; 5. nose band; 6,
bit; 7, curb; 8, check; 9, throatlatch; 10, rein; n, collar; 12, name; 13, hame link; 14,
hame strap; 15, pole strap; 16. martingale; 17, trace-tug; 18, trace; 19, saddle; 20, terret;
21, belly-band; 22, turn-back; 23, crupper; 24, breeching; 25, hip-strap; 26, trace bearer.


380. To each driver are assigned four mules, a wheel pair, and a
lead pair. The mule on the left side is called the near mule and the
other the off mule.

381. At the discretion of the company commander, the ambulance
orderly may be placed in charge of one pair of mules in harnessing
and unharnessing and in hitching and unhitching at drill, and in
the field when his services are not required by the sick.


382. In garrison: The harness is arranged on two or four pegs in
the harness room. If two pegs only are available, the wheel set is
placed on one peg and the lead set on the other. When four pegs
are available, the near harness of each set is kept on the left side of
the off harness.

In the field: The lead bars are placed under the end of the pole,
and the harness is hung over the pole. Care should be taken to
keep the harness off the ground. In bad weather it is advisable to
put the harness inside the ambulance.



383. A pair of quiet mules, in a double stall, is assigned to each
recruit, who should be supervised at first by a competent man.
The instructor causes a pair to be harnessed, points out the names of
the different parts of the harness and explains their uses; he then
causes the harness to be taken off and replaced on its pegs.

The harness being on the pegs, the instructor causes the recruits
to stand to heel, and commands :


Collar on: At this command each driver puts on and buckles the
collar of his off mule, then that of his near mule.

Traces and breeching: Each driver takes the hames, traces, and
breeching from the peg, carries them on the right arm and, approach-
ing the proper mule from the near side, gently places the harness
upon the mule's back. The hames are put on the collar and the
lower hame strap buckled. Then the saddle is buckled on the near
side, and the straps which are attached to either side of the breech-
ing are attached to the ring in the martingale by means of snaps.

Bridle: The off mule is bridled first, then the near mule. Unless
instructions to the contrary are given, the halters are removed be-
fore bridling. The check rein is taken in the right hand, the crown
in the left; the mule is approached from the near side. The check
rein is slipped over his head and allowed to rest on his neck. The
crownpiece is then taken with the right hand and the bit in the
left; the crown piece is then brought in front and slightly below
its proper position. The left thumb is inserted in the side of the
mouth, above the tusk, the jaw pressed open and the bit inserted
by raising the crown piece. The ears are then gently drawn under
the crown piece, beginning with the left ear. The throatlatch is
then secured.

Couple: Each driver backs his pair out of the stall, places them
side by side facing the stable exit, and attaches the reins properly.

To harness without detail :


The mules are harnessed in the manner described above, but each
successive step is taken without command as rapidly as possible.



384. The command is given:


Uncouple: Each driver stands in front of his mules, uncouples the
reins, and fastens them by looping them on the near hame of the
near harness and the off hame of the off harness, and tying them
with a half hitch, and then leads the mules into the stall.

Unbridle: He then unbridles the near mule, hanging the bridle
on the near hame, puts on the halter, and fastens the chain to the
manger; the same is done with the off mule, hanging the bridle on
the off hame of the off harness.

Traces and breeching off: The various parts of the harness men-
tioned in traces and breeching are unfastened in reverse order.
The left hand is used to place the breeching, saddle, and hames on
the right arm in removing the harness from the mule. The harness
is placed on its proper peg.

Cottar off: He removes the collar of the near mule, then that of
the off mule, and hangs them up in the same order, first near collar,
then off collar.

Harnessing and unharnessing in the field is executed as in garri-
son with such modifications as the disposition of the harness re-
quires. The mules are ordinarily tied by the halters to the wheels
of the ambulance while harnessing and unharnessing.


385. When the recruit has become familiar with the methods of
harnessing and unharnessing he will be instructed in fitting harness,
and the importance thereof will be thoroughly impressed on him.

The bridle is so adjusted that the bit touches, but does not draw
up the corners of the mouth.

The collar when adjusted should freely admit the hand between
the lower part and the throat of the animal, and the fingers between
the sides and the neck. A short collar chokes an animal by pressing
upon the windpipe; a narrow one pinches and rubs its neck, and a
broad collar works about and galls the shoulders.

The breech strap should be adjusted so that it will bear quickly
when the animal is required to check the momentum of the ambu-
lance, but will not impede his movements while in draft. This


adjustment is most important. It can best be made by observing
the animal in draft, and tightening the straps as much as can be
done without impeding the free movements of the animal while in

The hip straps should be of such length that the breech strap will
bear just below the point of the buttocks. The lower the breech
strap is adjusted, the less does it assist the animal in checking the
momentum of the ambulance.

The loin strap should be so adjusted that the traces, when in draft,
will be straight and without downward pull on the loops that support

The length of the wheel and lead traces must depend in a great
measure upon the size of the animal and his stride. The rule for
lead pairs is to allow but I yard from the heads of wheel pair to
points of buttocks of leaders when in draft. The wheel traces should
be so adjusted as to allow at least 14 inches between hind quarters
and singletree when in draft. The traces should be adjusted so that
the line of traction will be straight from the singletree to the collar.
This rule will regulate, in a measure, the length of the loin straps,
and the matching of animals.


386. To form pairs after harnessing the instructor indicates the
place of formation, and whether the formation is to be in line or in
column of pairs, and commands :


387. The pairs are led out by the driver, and formed at the
designated place.


388. The teams are marched to the park in columns of teams, and
so directed as to approach the flank and rear of the ambulance. As
the head of the column approaches the ambulance the instructor
commands :


Each team, as it comes opposite its ambulance, wheels from the
column and proceeds to its ambulance; having passed the end of
the pole the driver causes the wheel pair to back so that the pole is


between the mules. The lead pair takes its position immediately
in front of the wheel pair.


389. Ambulances are ordinarily arranged in park in order in line,
the ambulances being arranged from right to left in order of their
numbers. The interval between vehicles may be either the normal
of 12.5 yards, or such interval as the commander may direct. The
three escort wagons are parked on the left in the same formation as
the ambulances, or in a second park, as may be prescribed.

The lead bars are used to support the pole by means of one single-

In garrison ambulances are kept in a shed.

390. The column of drivers is halted in front of the building, the
sergeant, first class, gives the necessary directions for the formation
of the park, and commands :


The drivers fall out and run the ambulances out by hand and
form them in park.

The ambulances having been formed in park, the drivers fall in
and are marched to the stable or picket line, commanded by the
sergeant, first class.


391. The brake is firmly set before teams are hitched to an
ambulance or wagon, and hitching is so conducted that the mules
are kept under control; until teams are well broken, this may
necessitate the assignment of the orderly, or of other drivers, to
assist the driver of the team.

392. Well-broken teams are hitched as follows : After lead and
wheel teams have been harnessed, the lead teams tied near their
respective ambulances, and the wheel teams placed in position in
front of the ambulances, the pole between the mules and each driver
at the heads of his wheel team, the command is given :


The pole straps are passed through the rings on the chains at the
end of the pole and fastened to the rings on the hames ; the driver
passes behind the near mule and attaches the near trace of the off


mule and the traces of the near mule. Going in front of the team,
he passes to the rear of the off mule and attaches the fourth trace.
He then brings the lead team into position, hooks the lead bar to

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 29 of 38)