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U.S. VETERINARY HOSPITAL NO 18, APRIL 1919 CAMP REPORT, FRANCE WW1
The below report was taken from Merillat, Louis A. & Delwin M. Campbell. VETERINARY MILITARY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 1935
Transcribed by Greg Krenzelok Feb 2006
APRIL 1, 1919 REPORT ON VETERINARY HOSPITAL NO 18, SOUGY, FRANCE WW1
There is not a intention to make any discrimination among the various veterinary hospitals, which served the combat troops either in the base, intermediate or advance section of the S.O.S during WW1 in France. Their accomplishments under the circumstances were creditable to the veterinary profession of our country. They were constructed under difficulties without much enthusiasm from the Army engineers. It seems that in the program of the construction quartermasters, the veterinary corps and service was kept at the tail end of things. When General Harbord visited Major Hilty's hospital at Treveray he discovered to his surprise that the Major had to construct that excellent hospital with second had lumber and the rusty nails removed from it. Major Hilty was able to convince the General during one of his inspections that his requisitions for nails and lumber had fallen upon deaf ears in the office of the Army construction engineers. The truth is that veterinary hospital construction in the A.E.F. at the beginning of the activities was as neglected as the Veterinary Corps itself.
That such good institution as Veterinary Hospital No 18 described below, were actually brought into workable organizations is a good illustration of what Americans can do at in spite of the obstacles imposed by their pacifist compatriots. The misfortune is, that resourceful men should be handicapped and the lives of and animals should be needlessly sacrificed when another of our many wars came upon us, because of peacetime thoughtlessness of both civil and military officials. In the activities of the veterinary hospitals and the veterinary service with the combat American resourcefulness shines in brilliant form. The perturbed commanders expected us to carry on in spite of obstacles and we (The Veterinary profession) did so. We leave the reader to judge from the following report of Veterinary Hospital No. 18, authorized at a time (July 1918) when the commander of the A.E.F. was going into action with the First Corps for the Ainse-Marne counter offensive without knowing that such an organization was a part of a modern military force.
Major D.C. Martin, commander of the hospital, is not a military man. He is a practitioner at Kankakee, Illinois, a son of a distinguished pioneer among the early veterinarians of the Midwest. The record, which follows, has been condensed from a far more comprehensive and detailed official report of the activities of the unit made to the Chief Surgeon of the A.E.F. under the date of April 1, 1919. It therefore comprises a briefed record of the activities of the hospital for about three months. It is an example of the kind of records the A.E.F. veterinary hospitals kept. While we do not have available the records of all of them, our inspections showed that among the others there were statistics compiled as complete as those recorded below. It is regrettable that such records have not been thought important enough to consolidate for the information of those who paid the bills, the American people and for the edification of our present Veterinary Corps, which we led to believe is none too familiar with the overseas operations of the World War veterinary service. For the convenience of the reader the record is given in the past tense instead of the present, as written.
HEADQUARTERS VETERINARY HOSPITAL NO 18
Sougy (Nievre), France A.P.O. 908, April 1 1919
ACTIVITIES IN THE UNITED STATES
Veterinary Hospital No. 18 was authorized in July 1918 and organized September 6 1918 at the Veterinary Training School, at Camp Lee, VA. It consisted of seven veterinary officers, one medical officer, three hundred enlisted veterinary personnel, eleven enlisted medical personnel. It was completely equipped for oversea duty September 15, 1918 and arrived at Camp Mills. Long Island, October 28 1918. From the date of organization until date of embarkation, officers and enlisted personnel were instructed along lines pertaining to veterinary medicine in addition to military training.
ARRIVAL IN EUROPE
The unit was divided into fifteen detachments, taking overseas approximately 11,012 horses and mules on fifteen ships. The detachments arrived in France in November and December of 1918. Detachment No 1 arrived December 12: Detachment No 2 on November 25: Detachment No 3 on November 12: Detachment No 4 on November 19: Detachment No 5 on November 21: Detachment No 6 on December 15: Detachment No 7 on November 25: Detachment No 8 on November 23: Detachment No 9 on November 29: Detachment No 10 on November 29: Detachment No 11 on November 27: Detachment No 12 on November 27: Detachment No 13 on? Detachment No 14 on December 6 and Detachment No 15 arrived on December 8 1918.
On completion of duty on the ships each detachment reported at Nievre, the first detachment reaching there November 22 1918 and the last Detachment on December 22 1918
The site for this hospital was selected largely because of the sandy soil and natural drainage. At the time of arrival of the first detachment 30 per cent of the project was completed on a basis of 1,000 animal capacity. At a later date authority was given to increase the capacity to 2,000 animals. The officers and enlisted personnel assisted the engineers in grading and the construction of barracks and stables.
The personnel was quartered in wooden barracks heated by woodstoves. Electric lights were available after the first two months. Ventilation was obtained by means of hinged windows arranged in such a manner that draughts were precluded. Fire protection consisted of two chemical carts, the camp being divided into six fire zones. Bucket brigades were organized for each zone. At least two barrels and four buckets filled with water were kept adjacent to each building. Fire drills were carried out at regular intervals and fire regulations promulgated.
One barracks was used for the officers mess, the kitchen being located at one end. The general arrangement was satisfactory and the ventilation adequate.
Two mess halls were provided for the enlisted personnel. A kitchen and pantry was located at one end of each mess hall. Tables were provided with seats attached. The tables had removable tops to make cleaning easy. The cooks received their training at the army schools and supplied a good quality of wholesome food. Subsistence was obtained from the quartermaster at Nevers, France around 20 miles away.
An adequate supply of water was obtained from the Loire River, the pumping station located about 1,500 feet from the hospital delivered water to a concrete reservoir (capacity was 27,000 gallons) located on a hill above the hospital. From the reservoir water was distributed to faucets located at convenient points throughout the camp. The daily consumption of the camp was estimated at 35,000 gallons a day.
The water was purified by injecting hypochlorite of calcium into it at the pumping station. Reports from the water analysis laboratory indicated that the water was properly treated.
A bathhouse with concrete floors and shower baths of hot and cold water was provided for the men, also a lavatory and a place for washing clothes in the same building adjacent to the barracks. A clothes dryer was installed at each bath. Waste water, etc., from the bathhouse was conducted by sewer to seepage pits.
SEWAGE AND WASTE
Sewage and waste was disposed of by means of seepage pits, the drainage and efficiency of which was good. Garbage was placed in covered cans and removed daily to the U.S. Garden Service Farm. A latrine was located adjacent to each barracks. They were cleaned thoroughly each day. Designated places were set-aside in each latrine for those with venereal infection.
A canteen conducted by the Y.M.C.A. was liberally patronized by the men. The service was good.
A theater was provided at the Y.M.C.A. local and other talent gave one to two entertainments weekly. Moving pictures were shown each night when the hall was not in use for other entertainments like basketball, games, etc. Magazines and newspapers were available at all times. With the cooperation of the two post chaplains, the Y.M.C.A. director, the athletic director and officers, athletics were given considerable attention. Several athletic contests were conducted, such as basketball, football and track. Veterinary Hospital No 18 had an excellent basketball team and two men on the Post team.
Religious services were conducted by the two Post chaplains each Sunday and on special occasions.
HABITS OF THE MEN
Less than two per cent of the personnel became affected with venereal disease. Venereal inspection was conducted semi-monthly. One prophylactic station was installed. From time to time the men were advised as to the dangers of contracting venereal disease.
Twenty men were transferred to the Base Hospital during the 3 months that this report covers. One man died at the local infirmary. At all times, practically the entire enlisted personnel were fit for duty.
CHOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
Each man was equipped with two uniforms in addition to fatigue clothes. Rubber boots, coats, and hats were provided for wagoners and chauffeurs (truck drivers). No trouble was experienced in obtaining clothing and equipment at any time of this report. The quality of the clothing was good. The Laundering was done by each individual.
Due to the enlisted personnel of Veterinary Corps Hospital No 18 assisting Army engineers in construction of the camp?s sheds, barracks, etc., and before the project was finished, and the shortage of enlisted personnel, for several weeks of military training could not be carried out to any large extent. Of the enlisted personnel it was found that about 40 per cent of the men had less than four years schooling. A barracks was equipped and used for a schoolroom. An hour each day was devoted to instructing these men in elementary subjects such as arithmetic, spelling, grammar, reading and other elementary courses. In addition, classes were conducted in agriculture, mechanical engineering, mathematics, languages, etc., There was approximately one instructor for every twelve students. The officers, farriers, wagoners, saddlers, horse shoers, and ?non-coms? were instructed from time to time in the duties pertaining to their particular assignments. The men were drilled one-half hour daily.
There were no conscientious objectors: no alien enemies, only one deserter and seven men A.W.O.L. These lapses apparently had no effect on the efficiency of the service. On summary, three special, and four general courts martial were held. No officers were called before an efficiency board in the camp.
Veterinary Hospital No.18 was attached to Remount Depot # 23 for sanitation and discipline only. Excellent cooperation has been rendered by the Medical Corps, Remount Depot, likewise by the Quartermaster, Motor Transportation, and all the other departments. Headquarters of the latter two were located at Nevers, France a distance of about eighteen to twenty miles. The hospital buildings consisted of sheds built of corrugated iron with wood frames. About ninety per cent of the patients received were of good type. Patients were received from the Remount, Base and Veterinary Hospitals, American Garden Service Farm, 20th Engineers, 26th Division, Mobile Veterinary Section of the First Army, 30th Division, American Embarkation Center, 37th Division, 128 th and 130 th Army Service Corps, 91st Division and Quartermaster Department.
Forty buildings were used for the hospital purposes, classified as follows: Executive building, electric plant, two warehouses, drying room, dryer, storehouse (used in connection with the dipping vat), four dressing rooms, medical supply depot or laboratory, operating room, blacksmith shop, twenty-five sheds or barns: ten of the sheds each had a capacity of fifty animals, five of these barns were used as a receiving ward, the other five were used as surgical wards. There were fifteen sheds having a capacity of one hundred animals each, of which thirteen were used as medical wards and the other two as isolation wards. The floors were dirt. Abundant air space and ventilation were allowed. The floors in the sheds were graded to permit rapid drainage. Picket lines were graded in the same manner. Electric lights were placed at convenient points in the wards. Twenty-eight watering troughs were located in pastures and between sheds. All buildings, sheds, etc., were constructed of new material (corrugated iron over wood frame work).
FEEDS AND FEEDING
Most of the forage was shipped by rail. Approximately 20 per cent, especially hay was obtained by motor trucks within a radius of twenty miles. No bedding was used. Standings were dry as weather permitted. Sandy soil and sufficient slope in the stalls afforded good drainage. About fifteen pounds of hay, eight pounds of oats and one pound of bran per animal were fed daily. The schedule of calls was as follows:
6:00 am: Stable Call
6:40 am: Mess Call
7:20 am: First Call
7:30 am: Fatigue Call
7:30 am: Water
7:30 to 9:30 am: Exercise
9:30 to 11:15 am: Grooming
11:15 am: Feeding
11:30 am: Recall
12:00 noon: Mess Call
12:50 pm: Drill Call
1:00 pm: Assembly
1:30 pm: Recall
1:30 to 3:00 pm: Exercise
3:00 to 4:30 pm: Grooming
4:45 pm: Feed
5:00 pm Recall
The oats and bran obtained were of good quality but the hay was only fair. Ten cases of colic were traced to the feed. A storage shed with sufficient space for sixteen cars of hay and five cars of oats was situated adjacent to the railroad siding. Rock salt was fed at regular intervals. Manure was removed daily to a place adjacent to the hospital it was then taken by the American Garden Service Farm.
The animals were watered morning and evening. Approximately 15,000 gallons were used daily.
All animals were groomed at least once daily. The grooming kit was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected each day. The animals were clipped by a permanent clipping detail. Practically all patients were exercised daily, depending to a great extent upon their condition. They were exercised on leads or, when sufficient personnel were not available in corrals and pastures. Sufficient grounds were available adjacent to the hospital for our exclusive use for exercising purposes. There were two pastures also into which the animals could be turned. Harness, saddles, bridles, etc., were cleaned and oiled frequently and a saddlery was manned by two trained men. Cleaned and disinfected blankets were always available for use of animals on the picket lines. Our animals did not suffer from lack of clothing. Some injuries resulted to animals on the picket lines from kicking and biting.
SHOES AND SHOEING
A shoeing shop was constructed of corrugated iron and supported by a wooden frame. The equipment consisted of four forges, four anvils, four complete shoeing outfits and four emergency outfits. An officer in addition to other duties inspected the shoeing and instructed the horse shoers at stated intervals. No pathological shoeing was undertaken.
GENERAL WORK ROUTINE
Due to the manner in which the hospital was arranged communicable diseases were easily controlled. All animals admitted to the hospital were placed in a designated ward known as the receiving ward. On an average they were held in the receiving ward for four days during which they were mallein tested. All patients affected with contagious or infectious disease or suspected of being so affected were immediately removed to the isolation ward. Those requiring surgical attention were sent to the surgical ward. All others were placed in the medical wards.
Twenty-five sheds were divided into eight wars as follows: Surgical, isolation, receiving, and medical. The latter divided into five wards, one of the five used for those animals that were serviceable or would be serviceable with in 20 days. All records were kept on blanks prepared for the purpose.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASES GENERAL
Exclusive of mange, glanders and ulcerative lymphangitis no communicable diseases were met with. All animals admitted were affected with mange to some extent. Extra efforts were put forth to treat the ulcerative lymphangitis cases but without success. The type seemed very severe. All cases were isolated and quarantined. Treatment consisted of clipping legs, cauterizing ulcers with a hot iron and a week later with silver nitrate in addition to antiseptics. From time to time all cases were either inspected and condemned and destroyed or sold to the French for slaughter for 10 dollars each.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASES GLANDERS
On the first mallein test made at the hospital four animals reacted and were destroyed immediately. On autopsy they showed extensive lesions. Due to the system in vogue at that time the source of these cases could not be determined. Three doubtful reactors were isolated and retested with the result that one reacted. The intradermal palpebral test was applied. All told 5,900 animals were tested up to April 1st and twenty reacted. They condemned animals were buried with halter, blanket, etc., at a designated place. No one questioned the efficiency and accuracy of the test. All reactors with one exception occurred upon early tests. The lesions of the first few destroyed showed that they were spreaders. The reactors found later were but slightly affected and showing only slight lesions on the autopsy.
A permanent detail consisting of three men equipped with a pump and hose were engaged daily in disinfecting the stables, dressing stations, corrals, etc., Immediately upon discovering glanders or suspected cases all equipment was disinfected with 5 per cent solution of liquor cresolis compositus, the bedding and manure were removed immediately and placed so that no animal could come into contact with it. The stable and woodwork were thoroughly scrubbed followed by disinfection. The floor of the stable was scraped and the litter disposed of the same as the manure. The isolation ward had a capacity of two hundred animals and was situated approximately four hundred feet from the nearest stable.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE SKIN
All animals admitted to the hospital were affected with mange to a greater or less extent. During the time animals were held in the receiving ward they were clipped, washed and scrubbed with hot water containing sodium carbonate. All patients were dipped every five days and affected part hand treated each day between dippings. All were exercised daily. Blankets, grooming kits, halters, etc., were cleaned and disinfected at frequent intervals. As the dipping and hand treatment had a tendency to dry out the skin, thereby forming scabs, which prevent the lime and sulphur from reaching the parasite, it was found that in order to overcome this condition a semi-monthly bath of sodium carbonate followed by an application of liquid petrolatum was essential to a complete and rapid recovery.
The dipping vat was located on an elevation permitting rapid drainage of the vat when necessary. It was constructed of concrete. An average of 350 animals were dipped each day. A fresh dipping solution was made up each week. When it was considered that the parasites were destroyed, dippings was made at twelve-day intervals. No gas chambers were used.
No laboratory facilities were available at Veterinary Hospital No. 18 due to the class of diseases encountered even if available a laboratory would have been of little assistance.
Of about the 25 cases of colic, three proved fatal. The majority of the cases occurred within a period of two weeks and were caused by moldy forage. No cases of Thrush were encountered due to the absence of mud.
Animals that died or were destroyed because of infectious disease were buried. All the others were embalmed with a 2 per cent solution of liquor cresolis compositus and shipped by rail (20 miles) to a reduction plant at Nevers, France. One hundred sixteen horses and mules were so shipped. Twenty-one of this number were dead upon arrival at the hospital. One hundred thirty-four animals were sold to the French butchers of food purposes.
Approximately fifteen animals among the first four shipments received were suffering from the effects of gas from the battlefield. Fifty per cent of this number suffered from general debility and emaciation to such an extent that they either died or were destroyed.
One motor veterinary ambulance with a capacity of two animals was a part of the hospital's equipment but not used.
One hundred eighteen operations were performed, ninety-six with successful results, nine partially successful and twelve failed. One animal died as direct result of the operation. No splinting of fractures or X-rays would use.( The report covered up to April 1 1919)
A total of 3,358 cases were treated. To date (April 1 1919) 2,259 animals were received, 160 were either I & C or sold to the French for food purposes, 20 were destroyed on account of glanders and 27 for other causes. Eighty-two died. Six hundred fifty were evacuated as serviceable. No new therapeutic measures were employed and no unusual clinical cases observed. Sufficient drugs and supplies of all kind were on hand at all times.
A medical supply depot was located adjacent to the medical and surgical wards and the operating room. A complete line of drugs and medical equipment was kept on hands at all times. No difficulties were experienced in obtaining surgical, medical, quartermaster or other equipment
END OF REPORT
Major Daniel C Martin (Commander of Veterinary Hospital No. 18 Sougy France)
Veterinary Hospital No. 18 was divided in to 15 units for shipping overseas in the US. Each unit was shipped to France on its own horse and mule transport ship and the different units proceeded to Sougy France to operate the hospital.
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