Union Hospital Trains Ran on N&C Railroad

May 1, 2019, Greg Tucker, Rutherford County Historian

This illustration from an 1864 edition of Harper’s Weekly shows a Union Army “hospital train” on a run between Chattanooga and Nashville. The locomotive is identical to the engine that pulled trains on the state’s first railroad link (Nashville to Antioch) in 1851. See “Rutherford was Railroad Country” by Greg Tucker (Froe Chips, January 2019.) As shown below, the interior of the hospital car was also illustrated with an explanation as follows: “Until very recently, the transportation of our sick and wounded soldiers by rail has been attended with very severe suffering from the jostling motion of the car.” The magazine article explains that the beds in these new hospital cars are now “suspended from India-rubber bands attached to the framework of the car, and, yielding to the slightest motion of the car, are as comfortable as the beds of the hospital.” The cot handles could be pulled out of the rubber bands so the patient could be carried into the hospital while still in the bed.

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