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IV. THE FINAL STAGE:
PACKING THE WOODEN CASES
Far into the night the army of volunteer workers toiled so that the great cases might reach the boys by Christmas
Since shortly after the outbreak of the war we have read with pride of the great work accomplished by young Americans who have braved the shells of the enemy to succour the wounded of the Allies. Here is the story of a man and a woman who played the same rôle of Good Samaritan forty-seven years ago, during the Franco-Prussian War, that the members of the American Ambulance have played in this war.
THE FIRST AMERICAN AMBULANCE IN
All During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, an American and His Wife Toiled on the
MILDRED A. MYERS
OLDED away in a black box an American flag, tattered and war begrimed, has lain waiting for fortyseven long years to have its story told. And now that the Stars and Stripes
are flying by hundreds on the same soil on which it first saw bloodshed, it has been released from its secret shrine to give to the world the history of the first American Ambulance Hospital on a battlefield.
With the flag are two bronze crosses and a diploma of honour. And the only one who remains to explain it all is a little old lady who, with justifiable pride, explains that the "George" and "Marie" mentioned in the diploma were her brother and sister-inlaw. "And they both," this last of the family will tell, you "were as loved as they were brave. My brother, like me, was born in Boston but his wife was a Frenchwoman known as 'Marie, the little mother of Paris."" At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War, in 1870, George Bradford McFarland and his wife were living in Paris. Mr. McFarland was an engineer
and in Paris on business. He was one of the few Americans who remained in Paris after the outbreak of the war. One day an idea came to him. He told it to his wife and both, without further delay, hurried to the American
embassy where they unfolded their scheme. Ambassador E. B. Washburne became enthusiastic and gave his consent. The result was that a short time later Mr. and Mrs. McFarland were making ready to equip an ambulance hospital for the battlefield.
Such a thing in previous wars was unheard of. Wounded and dying were left on battlefields with the dead unless some generous comrade pulled a man out here and there and carried him to safety. In all Paris at the time of the war there was not one hospital ready to receive soldiers wounded in battle. Mr. McFarland obtained possession of an old government truck which he found he could convert into an ambulance. He covered it with canvas and at the further end built four cots. The vehicle had to be heated so he arranged a steam heating arrangement at the opposite end
A BANNER OF HOPE FOR FRIEND AND FOE The little Red Cross flag, made from a piece of flannel, with the American flag (depicted on page 51) shared the vicissitudes of the Franco-Prussian campaign
of the truck with which he succeeded in warming the inside. He was by nature of an inventive mind. "He never liked to study in school," said Mrs. Duer, "George's" sister, "but he would invent by the hour." No doubt he inherited this love of invention from his father who was an inventor. As a small boy during the day George worked in his father's shop. One day he produced an engine which he had constructed and made it run by fastening it
to a steaming kettle on his mother's stove. It was this ability to make whatever he needed out of materials he already possessed which enabled him to turn an old truck into an upto-date comfortable ambulance home.
Through the efforts of the little Frenchwoman, sheets, blankets and pillows were obtained. She aroused the women until they gave whatever was needed.
Throughout the entire Franco-Prussian War this couple lived in the ambulance. And then, when the constructive work was finished, the American and his wife completed arrangements for a base hospital in Paris to which all the wounded which they could convey in their four stretcher ambulance, were to be
carried. Mr. Washburne took possession of an old theatre and this became the hospital which Mrs. McFarland again equipped completely with the aid of her countrywomen.
Before the truck made its first trip to the front, Mr. McFarland hoisted to its top an American flag which he had brought with him from home. This flag floated through the thick of battle unmindful of bullet holes, of its ragged edges and dimmed stars, knowing
no enemy, and succoring alike French and German wounded. Under the Stars and Stripes were painted in huge letters the words. AMERICAN AMBULANCE HOSPITAL, and similar signs covered both sides of the truck.
To the front went these pioneers. At night, Marie, the mother of Paris, would lift her lantern from its hook and holding it high above her head would scour the battlefield with its dead and wounded, motioning to her husband to give aid. He would pick up the wounded, carry them to the cots in the ambulance and rush as fast as his horses could go to the theatre hospital. Then, never tired, he and his wife would return to the front to continue the