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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Civil War Ambulance Wagon Now On Display at Fort Scott in Kansas

Civil War Ambulance Wagon Now On Display at Fort Scott in Kansas

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A hand-crafted reproduction of a Civil War-era ambulance wagon is now on exhibit at Fort Scott National Historic Site in Kansas and will enhance visitor understanding of Fort Scott's role in America's bloodiest conflict.

The ambulance, historically used to transport wounded soldiers to hospitals, accommodates four patients on stretchers and up to six seated in front and back.

ftscott_ambulanceDesigned by Charles Tripler, who became the first medical director for the Army of the Potomac, the ambulance is on exhibit alongside a reproduction freight wagon in one of Fort Scott's stone carriage houses. An informational sign will provide visitors insight on Civil War transportation.

During the Civil War, the town of Fort Scott housed one of five U.S. Army General Hospitals west of the Mississippi River. Contemporary local newspapers referenced the sick and wounded being conveyed to the Fort Scott military hospital by ambulance wagon.

Since there was not a standardized Civil War-era U.S .Army ambulance wagon design, park staff chose the Tripler Wagon. The Tripler, a type used at Fort Leavenworth as early as 1859, was very likely the typical ambulance variant used at Fort Scott during the war.

Werner Wagonworks of Horton, Kansas, was awarded the contract to construct the ambulance. A nationwide search failed to locate an existing original or reproduction Tripler, or even measured drawings, to guide construction.

Hence, the contractor relied on limited photographic evidence, written references, and his decades of experience building other period wagons in order to craft the ambulance. Fort Scott received the finished wagon in April 2012.

Fort Scott National Historic Site therefore has the honor of providing the visiting public with the nation's only example of a Tripler ambulance. It will offer a unique interpretive display that coincides with the Civil War sesquicentennial.

Fort Scott National Historic Site consists of 20 historic structures, a parade ground and five acres of restored tallgrass prairie. It is open daily for self guided tours.

Fort Scott National Historic Site is located in downtown Fort Scott, Kansas. U.S. Highways 69 and 54 intersect here. Fort Scott is about 90 miles south of Kansas City and 60 miles northwest of Joplin, Missouri. It is 4 miles from the Kansas-Missouri border.

Since May 1, 2011, Fort Scott National Historic Site no longer charges a fee to enter the park. The public is now be able to visit free of charge.

After careful analysis of the administrative costs associated with the collection of entrance fees, it was determined that costs exceeded the amount collected. National Park Service officials at the site believe they can still provide a quality visitor experience for the public without the fee.

The story of Fort Scott is the story of America growing up. When the fort was established in 1842, the nation was still young and confined largely to the area east of the Mississippi River.

Yet within a few years, Fort Scott's soldiers became involved in events that would lead to tremendous spurts of growth and expansion. As the nation developed, tensions over slavery led to the conflict and turmoil of "Bleeding Kansas" and the Civil War.

Fort Scott takes visitors through these years of crisis and beyond to the time when the United States emerged as a united, transcontinental nation.

The historic site's Web site can be found by going to
www.nps.gov/fosc/ .

 
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