Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Napoleon's casket was drawn to his final burial by 16 black horses , December 15, 1840. There were no horses swift enough to transport war's dead from far-off hospitals and battlefields, to less illustrious graves. Dr. Scollay thought he had the answer.
If this is the wrong forum, @lelliott19 , please feel free to move it? Information from the Sanitary Commission, discussing a ' burial case ' used for burials from hospitals?
As usual, looking for something else, tripped over this- as ghoulish a topic as it may be. War advanced medicine ( and the weaponry making the medical advances necessary, head spinning irony ), and also stimulated inventors to rack creative brains for other means of earning government contracts.
The Western Sanitary Commission used the word ' useful ' in connection with a coffin. We've seen patents for coffins- before embalming was around, ' buried alive ' stories freaked us all out to the point where we'd shell out a gazillion bucks for a casket accessorized with bells. You could ring it, if you woke up dead, notifying someone not buried you should not have been.
Dr. Scollay's Deodorizing Coffin Or Burial Case , was the official tag and a terrific description. We loved our science and anything sounding as if science was involved was a big hit. It was intended to fill a need, wish I could find if it ' worked '. Men dying in hospitals and on battlefields were frequently far from home. Loved ones wishing to bury them in their own towns were faced with gruesome reality- it wasn't possible.
One city did buy and use Dr. Scollay's useful invention at hospitals to the exclusion of any other . The Western Sanitary Commission was so enthusiastic over it, they sent it to Washington, DC where the Surgeon General not only approved but recommended Dr. Scollay's Deodorizing Coffin Or Burial Case be put into army-wide use. That seems as far as it went- Quartermaster General declined to purchase them.
You'd like to let inventors off the hook, hoping that filling a sad need for families was the impetus to a lot of these inventions. I don't know. The more you read of fortunes made from government contracts during the war, the tougher it is.