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Chapter XLII

Books and Documents > Medical Department of the U.S. Army in the World War, Volume III, Finance & Supply

SECTION IX

ACTIVITIES CONNECTED WITH THE OVERSEAS TRANSPORTATION OF SUPPLIES

CHAPTER XLII

PORT MEDICAL SUPPLY DEPOTS

NEW YORK

Early in June, 1917, representations1 of the need of the Medical Department for space at ports of embarkation were made to the Quartermaster General, who promptly gave instructions to the depot quartermaster, New York City, to obtain a suitable storehouse for medical supplies on the water front at that port. On June 19, 1917, an officer from the supply division, Surgeon General’s Office, was sent to New York City to investigate the port facilities and to ascertain whether a suitable pier could be obtained and at what price.2 After consultation with the depot quartermaster in that city, the city pier at the foot of Thirty-third Street, Brooklyn, was inspected and found to be ideal for the purpose. It was a covered pier of practically fireproof construction and connected with the Long Island Railway through the Bush Terminal and the Brooklyn rapid transit system. Its lease was recommended by the Surgeon General on June 20, 1917, in the following indorsement setting forth the needs for it: 3

1. Continued developements of the problem of furnishing medical supplies to the troops abroad emphasizes the necessity for liberal supply of storage accommodation at the point of embarkation much greater than suggested within this letter. The Medical Department is becoming acutely embarrassed, especially at the point of embarkation, for storage space. The President and Secretary of War have approved the accumulation of 2,400 automobile ambulances, to be shipped to France, in addition to other great quantities of material that must be stored ready for shipment.

2. As the result of personal conferences and cooperation between the Quartermaster Department and the Medical Department, the depot quartermaster, New York City, has located a satisfactory wharf upon the Brooklyn water front which can be obtained at a lease of $120,000 per year. An officer of the Medical Department has inspected this wharf and reports it as nearly ideal for the need of the Medical Department.

3. It is most urgently requested that the depot quartermaster, New York, be authorized to lease this wharf for the use of the Medical Department, as indicated, and that authority be communicated by telegraph and that this matter he made special to expedite it as soon as possible.

It was found upon further investigation that the Thirty-third Street, Brooklyn, pier, had already been leased by the city authorities to a local shipping firm and could not be secured.

A substitute was found at Pier 45, North River. This pier at that time was approximately 835 feet long by 82 feet wide, covered with a one-story


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shed of steel and sheet-iron construction, with one-story bulkhead sheds on each side, berth on each side, water approximately 25 to 30 feet in depth. It was the second pier north of Christopher Street ferry and was almost directly opposite the Hoboken piers taken over by the Government. It was within a block and a half of the entrance to the Hudson subway to Hobokeri and within one-third of a mile of the medical supply depot at Greenwich and Morton Streets. This pier had been under lease to the Clyde Steamship Co. at a monthly rental of approximately $5,000. Upon the recommendation of the general superintendent, United States Army Transport Service, New York, the Quartermaster General, July 20, 1917, authorized the lease of this pier for use of the Medical Department.4
 
It was estimated at the time the pier was secured that the medical and hospital supplies required for the equipment and maintenance of an Army of 1,250,000 men overseas would involve a daily shipment of 1,200 or more cubic tons. Daily shipments could not be expected. If weekly shipments could be counted upon, and an 8-foot stack could be maintained, approximately 46,000 square feet of floor space, in addition to aisles and passageways, would be required. Since even weekly shipments could not be counted upon, it was regarded as inevitable that additional dock space would be required to provide for unexpected influxes of large quantities of supplies destined for overseas.5

The only ships actually loaded at Pier 45, North River, were those taking the equipment of the sections of the United States Ambulance Service to Italy in the spring of 1918. Practically all the motor ambiances for that contingent, 430, in number, passed over this pier. An endeavor was made at one time to secure the unfinished Lamport & Holt Pier in Hoboken, but the need for it, in addition to Pier 45, North River, did not materialize, due to extensive lighterage service and to the routing of large quantities of supplies through other ports--Newport News and New Orleans. In so far as the Medical Department was concerned, the port of New York was used in the main as a port of embarkation for hospital supplies, whereas the port at Newport News was used for field supplies and motor ambulances.

A medical supply depot for the port of embarkation, Hoboken, N. J., was established on Pier 45, North River, and the assembling of medical and hospital supplies for overseas shipment began in July, 1917.6 An officer of the Medical Corps was placed in charge of this depot with the title of medical supply officer, port of embarkation, Hoboken, N. J.7 A small depot force was secured and offices were opened on the pier. This depot was given a definite status in the port organization by the following letter from the chief of embarkation service to the commanding general, port of embarkation, Hoboken, on August 31, 1917:8

1. The Medical Department, United States Army, has established a medical supply depot at Pier 45, North River, from which medical supplies and equipment are to be collected and forwarded overseas.
2. You are authorized to communicate directly with the officer in charge of this medical supply depot as to shipments, and to allot him cargo space for same.
3. Priority of shipments of medical supplies should be given on recommendation of officer in charge of the medical supply depot.


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  Additional officers were assigned to duty at this depot as the volume of supplies received and shipped increased, its activities expanded, and the reports and restrictions multiplied.9 Enlisted personnel were assigned to duty from time to time, and additional civilian employees were added as the increasing requirements and dispersion of activities made necessary.

PERSONNEL

By the end of May, 1918, the requirements of personnel for the proper operation of this depot had grown to 4 officers, 20 enlisted men, and 56 civilian employees.10 The fire hazard at Pier 45 was considered so great that the number of watchmen required there was fixed at 15 by the commanding general of the port.10 The depot activities were then carried on at Pier 45, North River; Bush Terminal, Brooklyn; and 45 Broadway, New York City.11 Bush Terminal previously had been used by the medical supply depot, New York City, for storage of excess supplies ultimately destined for overseas shipments for which no space was available in the buildings then occupied by that depot. All available storage space on the water front was taken over April 8, 1918, by the port commander. The section in the Bush Terminal devoted to medical and hospital supplies was placed under the medical supply officer of the port.10 The office at 45 Broadway, New York City, also was a port facility and had to do with the transportation of supplies. The representative of the Medical Department on duty there became likewise an assistant to the medical supply officer of the port.10

The peak load of personnel at this depot was reached in October with the establishment at Port Newark Terminal, N. J., of a section devoted to the assembling of equipment for base hospitals to be sent to France.

ORGANIZATION

The organization of a medical supply depot at a port of embarkation differed considerably from the purchasing and distributing depots. It was charged only with receiving supplies destined for ocean transportation, the temporary storage of such supplies until shipping should become available, the selection of supplies for shipment, their delivery to lighters or docks for loading on board ship, and the keeping of such records and the rendering of such reports as were required by higher authority. Consequently it had neither purchasing, finance, nor packing activities. Its business was to accept such supplies as were delivered to it and to get them on board the transports as expeditiously as possible. Records of receipts and deliveries to ship side were essential in order that losses at sea might be checked promptly and a knowledge had of the supplies forwarded. The organization, then, consisted essentially of records, receiving, and shipping departments.10

RECORDS DEPARTMENT

The records department received, numbered, indexed, and recorded all information concerning incoming supplies, checked the “tally-in” sheets from the receiving department against the supplies expected, and the “loading sheets” against the various instructions to ship. The reports of receipts, shipments, and tonnage of supplies awaiting shipment were prepared and forwarded


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to the proper authorities. Deliveries on contracts were promptly reported to the respective contracting officer. Acknowledgments were made to the several depots of the receipt of supplies on depot shipments.10 Receipts were required from the Quartermaster Corps for supplies delivered to the ships. This required that a record be kept, by items, of the articles received and shipped. This record was kept on appropriate cards and balanced with every change in the stock.10 A car record was kept in a loose-leaf ledger ruled with appropriate columns to show for every carload of supplies routed to the depot, the bill of lading number, date, point of origin, car number, car initial, routing, date of arrival, date unloaded, name of manufacturer, consignee, contract or order number, depot or office directing shipment, commodities, numbers of packages in car, quantities of articles, tally-in sheet number, and point of delivery, Pier 45, or other pier, shipside, etc.10 Under existing instructions from the Surgeon General, the original and memorandum copies of the bills of lading for shipments to this depot were sent to the medical supply officer of the port. After the organization of the vast hospital equipment section at Port Newark Terminal, the bills of lading for the supplies routed directly to that point were sent to the officer in charge of that section.

As the tally-in sheets were received in the records office they were copied into a permanent register. The original tally-in sheet was then sent to the contracts clerk, who compared it with the copy of the order or contract furnished by the purchasing officer, and prepared an acknowledgement of the receipt of the goods, which receipt was sent to the purchasing officer. This clerk also prepared daily tonnage reports for the surgeon, port of embarkation, and the Surgeon General. This report showed, by commodity groups, the supplies on hand, received, shipped, and remaining at the close of the day’s business, and such other special data as might be required. The contracts clerk also looked up references concerning correspondence, tracing shipments, etc., and connected the correspondence with the contract and files. After all pertinent data had been extracted from the tally-in sheet it was filed.10

The duplicate tally-in sheet was routed to the section in charge of shipments. Direct shipments from manufacturers were separated from shipments by medical supply depots. Packages and boxes were numbered. A packer’s list was prepared for every lighter load sent out. This list was an itemized statement of each transportation invoice, from which the ship’s manifest was prepared. A daily report was prepared in this section for the embarkation branch, storage and traffic division, General Staff, showing what freight had arrived and what had been loaded. Six copies of the transportation invoice were required. Three of these copies were delivered to the captain of the ship, one was delivered to the captain of the lighter, one was sent to the office at 45 Broadway, and one was retained. Attached to the retained copy was a copy of the transportation receipt by the quartermaster for the supplies. A report of tonnage on hand was made by telephone to the Shipping Board at 45 Broadway for its consolidated tonnage report. A daily report was made to the Medical Department representative at 45 Broadway of the cars received and unloaded.10


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After the required data had been obtained by the shipments section, the duplicate tally-in sheet was sent to the stock record clerk and posted to the stock records, item by item. The transportation receipt of every lighter load shipped also found its way to the stock records desk and was likewise posted, which completed the transaction.10

RECEIVING AND SHIPPING DEPARTMENTS

These two departments, for a number of months, were combined under the supervision of one office but with a separate clerk for receiving and shipping. When the business reached sufficient magnitude and the added requirements made it necessary these functions were separated and an officer was assigned to each. The activities of the shipping department reached such magnitude before the armistice that the services of two officers were required.12

The receiving department maintained an adequate force of checkers to receive and check all incoming shipments, whether delivered to Pier 45, the ship side, or other point. For every such delivery, whether by car, truck, or messenger, a tally-in sheet was prepared in duplicate. These sheets showed for every delivery received the names of the consignor and consignee, commodity, cubic measurements, weight, contents, car number (including initials), truck delivery, and marks. Transportion invoices were prepared and distributed, and a record of outgoing supplies was maintained.12

As an outgrowth of the establishment of the inland transportation service the Medical Department maintained liaison officers in such of the regional offices of that service as the needs required. One of these liaison officers was assigned to the office at 45 Broadway. This representative checked arrivals and locations of cars, secured space for medical and hospital supplies on the transports, secured lighters and tugboats for the transfer of supplies from Pier 45 to ship side, and kept the medical supply officer of the port informed of the names and locations of the ships upon which the supplies were to be loaded and the approximate time the lighter was to be alongside the ship. The day and hour of loading and the vessel upon which the supplies were to go could never be determined until time last moment. This was due to delays in arrival of the vessel in port upon which space had been assigned the Medical Department, delays in making repairs when needed, the loading of a greater or lesser quantity of supplies upon a ship than had been originally allotted.12 A lighter load of supplies destined, when it left the pier, for a specified ship might be loaded wholly or in part on some other ship. It was never known at the depot what vessel would actually carry the supplies until a copy of the loading report or ship’s manifest had been received. The final determination appeared to have been made by the chief stevedore loading the ships.12 Many difficulties and inconveniences arose from this method of loading. Parts of the same shipment would be unloaded at different ports in France. Units would be separated from their equipment. The chief surgeon, A. E. F., in France never knew until reports of unloading had been received from the ports where the supplies were which had been listed in replenishment lists sent him previously. A vessel expected to unload at Brest might discharge her cargo at Marseille. These


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things, however, were beyond the jurisdiction of the port medical supply officer and of the Medical Department.13

The movement of medical and hospital supplies to this port began in July, 1917, and continued without interruption until the signing of the armistice. During 1917, supplies were routed to Pier 45, for the initial equipment and stock of the medical supply depot in France, for the initial equipment of the early divisions ordered overseas, and 2,350 Ford ambulances. Due to the lack of ocean tonnage at the port of New York and to higher priorities assigned to the shipment of supplies of bureaus other than the Medical Department, the movement of medical property overseas did not proceed as rapidly as had been expected. Unprecedented weather conditions during December, 1917, and January, 1918, materially hindered not only the movement of supplies to the ports but bunker coal for the transport fleet as well.

By the middle of January, 1918, the accumulation of supplies at Pier 45, North River, New York, had reached 2,037 short tons, occupying 341,406 cubic feet of space. Very little relief as to this condition was in sight, for medical supplies had been removed from the priority list. Supplies on the priority list had accumulated at the port of New York in vast quantities and there were not sufficient ships in port to receive them. The quantities of the supplies on priority required all the space on prospective loadings and left little if any space for medical supplies.14 The chief of embarkation service could offer no relief through other ports at that time because of lack of transportation. While these supplies were not on the priority list, it was the intention to move a fair proportion of them every week. 15

As the rigors of the winter subsided and more cargo space became available, medical property began to move in increasing volume. It reached its height in October.

The keeping at this depot of accurate loading records of shipments overseas was always a difficult task. Vessels were loaded at so many different points and the secrecy maintained over their loadings and sailings were such as to require constant watchfulness on the part of the medical supply officer to obtain needed information concerning the floating of medical property.

The commanding general, port of embarkation, Hoboken, N. J., forbade the giving out of the names of the transports on which supplies were shipped,16 so, in order to secure information concerning the articles and quantities on the respective transports, arrangements were made by the medical supply officer, Pier 45, to abstract the information from the file of ships’ manifests kept in the office of the receiving clerk, Pier 1, Hoboken, N. J. The marine freight director required the lighters of medical property to be checked by package numbers, by which the shipments could be traced. The data obtained from the ships’ manifests were kept in the confidential files at Pier 45. The quantities of each article were simply reported as delivered to the transport service for shipment. 16

A port storage officer was appointed October 2, 1918, to have exclusive control of all port storage at the port of Hoboken.17 All officers at that port, except the depot quartermaster, having charge of the storage or distribution of supplies for shipment overseas for any department, bureau, corps, or other


719

agency of the War Department, and generally known as port supply officers, were placed under the immediate orders of the port storage officer. No officer was permitted to relinquish the functions previously assigned to him until some other officer or official was prepared to assume such functions.18 It was the purpose of the port commander to relieve the port supply officers as such as rapidly as the reorganization of the activities of the port would permit.19 The proposed reorganization had not been effected, in so far as it applied to the Medical Department, at the signing of the armistice.

In spite of repeated instructions from the Surgeon General concerning the routing of supplies through the port of embarkation, Hoboken, N. J., difficulty continued to be experienced by the medical supply officer at that port in securing copies of bills of lading. This was due primarily to the incorrect terminal address given on them. Some of them contained the notation “Care of Depot Quartermaster, Pier 12, East River,” others “Care of Director of Shipping,” and still others “Care of Army Transport Service.” This led to aggravating delays in receiving the bills of lading and arrival notice, and gave rise to unnecessary correspondence.20 At that time these bills of lading were issued by local quartermasters, whose personnel not only lacked familiarity with consignment points but were overburdened with the number of such bills to be written. This difficulty was eventually overcome by the appointment, .June 22, 1918, of the medical supply officers, at the several depots, acting quartermasters for the purpose of issuing bills of lading.21

NEWPORT NEWS

The organization of the port of embarkation at Newport News, Va., began early in July, 1917. The participation of the Medical Department in the activities of this port began July 13, 1917, with the arrival of its representative for duty as port medical supply officer.22

The commanding officer of the port advised the Surgeon General, July 19, 1917, that the port would be ready to receive supplies August 1, and requested information at the earliest practicable date of the weight and cubic contents of medical property intended for shipment through that port on the next convoy. No property could he received at that time except such supplies as were to be shipped on that convoy. Housed storage space of 10,000 square feet on the pier and 18,000 square feet in freight cars in the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad yards were allotted to the Medical Department as its share of the existing port facilities. This space was intended simply as a rest station for supplies in transit during the few days which intervened between their arrival and their loading on board ships. In addition to the closed storage, 5 acres of open-air space was allotted for the reception of bulky equipment such as motor and other vehicles which could be parked in the open. There were neither unloading platforms, cranes, nor other machinery available for unloading heavy eqUipment except that on the pier.23
 
Request was made that medical property for overseas shipment be invoiced to the proper officer with the American Expeditionary Forces and billed to the medical supply officer, port of embarkation, Newport News, Va., each package


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to be marked with the invoice number, the total number of packages in the invoice, the serial number of the package, the depot making the shipment, and the weight and cubic contents. It was considered essential that a copy of the invoice, with notations thereon of the weight and cubic contents of the shipment and the numbers and designations of the cars in which the packages were loaded, be furnished the medical supply officer of the port.23

Upon notification that there would be a primary port of embarkation established at Newport News or Norfork, Va., the Surgeon General decided to use it for the shipment of field medical equipment and supplies, including motor ambulances, destined for the American Expeditionary Forces in France. It was estimated that the volume of such supplies going forward monthly would approximate 36,000 cubic feet on the assumption that four divisions per month would be embarked.24

On the basis of this expected movement of supplies and equipment the chief of the construction division, War Department, was requested, August 2, 1917, to provide 60,000 square feet of warehouse floor space for the Medical Department at this place.24 Since motor ambulances were not only bulky but very heavy, a boxed chassis weighing 4,000 pounds, it was requested that the warehouses to be constructed be provided with suitable cranes, derricks, or other machinery for handling heavy weights.24 Of the storage space requested, 50,000 square feet were required for embarkation purposes and 10,000 square feet for use as an issuing medical supply depot to troops.25

It was foreseen that organizations arriving at that port, especially during the early movements overseas, would be without complete equipment, in spite of all instructions that troops be completely equipped before leaving their stations. The medical supply depot at Newport News must be ready at all times, day or night, to supply the sanitary materials required by organizations passing through. issues to such organizations were to be made on the approval of the surgeon of the port of embarkation and without any special formality.25

When the medical equipment of any organization arriving at the port was found upon inspection to be unserviceable or obsolete, it was turned in to the depot for renovation or salvage and new equipment issued in its stead. All articles of equipment which could be utilized were salvaged.26

These issues included not only those to troops themselves but also the equipment and replenishments required by the troop ships upon which they were transported. A list of initial equipment for troop ships was prepared by the surgeon of the port and furnished the Surgeon General August 7, 1917.27 This list was revised and somewhat modified. Instructions were issued to the medical supply depots at New York and Washington to issue the supplies required for 24 transport unit equipments in accordance with the revised list.28

A sufficient number of overseas warehouses had been completed by the end of January, 1918, to permit the assignment to the Medical Department of the 50,000 square feet of space requested in the previous August. Buildings Nos.9, 10, and 11 were so assigned. Buildings 9 and 10 were 200 feet long by 100 feet wide. Building No. 11 was 100 feet long by 100 feet wide. These warehouses had suitable fire walls and were equipped with the Grinnel sprinkler


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system to prevent fire. These buildings were used entirely for storage. The offices assigned to the port medical supply officer were located in the overseas warehouses office building. A detachment of Medical Department enlisted men for the operation of the medical supply activities at the port was organized in January and trained as rapidly as practicable in their duties. Men originally assigned who proved unsuitable were replaced by others with suitable qualifications as rapidly as the opportunities permitted.29 Adequate warehouse handling machinery such as hand trucks, electric trucks with extra platforms, and gravity conveyors for boxes, were provided for each warehouse by the port quartermaster upon request of the medical supply officer.30

As might have been expected, the early shipments to this depot were improperly marked and much effort and extra labor were required to locate the property, determine where it belonged, and send it to the proper place. The shipping depots at first failed to appreciate the dual function of this depot, and it was often difficult to determine from the markings on the packages whether they were intended for overseas shipment or for local use. Oftentimes the shipment arrived before the packer’s list or invoice. Sometimes the mark “Medical Supply Officer, American Expeditionary Forces, France,” was omitted from packages intended for overseas shipment. By the middle of September, 1917, a deplorable state of confusion existed in freight handled by railroads and steamships coming into that port and Norfolk. Much medical property was secured only after personal search of docks, freight cars, and express offices.31 The necessary instructions to remedy these defects were promptly issued by the Surgeon General. Very little complaint on this subject thereafter was received from this port.32

For various reasons, but principally lack of cargo vessels, medical property destined overseas accumulated at this port. By the end of November, 1917, the accumulation exceeded 235,000 cubic feet and 660 short tons. Much of the equipment was quite bulky, being assembled motor and animal drawn vehicles.33
 
By Christmas, 1917, the situation had become sufficiently acute to call for relief and an embargo was placed by the chief of embarkation service against the shipment to that port of all supplies destined for overseas except subsistence, forage, troop baggage, until January 4, 1918.34 On January 3, 1918, this embargo was extended by the director of storage and traffic until further notice.35

With the advent of the year 1918 and the increasing number of cargo vessels, the congestion at the port cleared rapidly. On January 30,1918, the medical supply officer reported that supplies were arriving in quantity and that all medical property had been unloaded, was on the pier awaiting shipment, and had been allotted cargo space, but that ships had not been loaded on account of lack of bunker coal and nonarrival.36

About the middle of February, 1918, however, the situation was clearing rapidly. The supply depot was now in permanent quarters and ready for rapid work; all medical supplies were being delivered to organizations.37

With adequate storage and warehouse facilities at this port the Medical Department organization there was prepared to handle rapidly and efficiently


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the movement of medical property overseas. In view of this condition the Surgeon General requested, March 4, 1918, that the chief of embarkation service permit shipments of medical supplies for overseas to Newport News as these became available. It was desired to fill the warehouses with the supplies then awaiting shipment. Such supplies were to be cleared by the medical supply officer at the port in the same manner as they were then being cleared at the port of embarkation, Hoboken.38 Authority was granted March 13, 1918, by the chief of embarkation service to the Surgeon General to release for shipment, without reference to his office, supplies to the warehouses assigned to the Medical Department at Newport News in such quantities as could be properly unloaded upon arrival and not to exceed the working capacity of the storage space.39

The personnel on duty at this depot, January 1, 1918, consisted of three officers and four civilian employees. The civilian employees were concerned primarily with administrative duties. With the developement of Camp Stuart as an embarkation activity and the more active duties thrown upon the issue branch of the medical supply depot, enlisted personnel were assigned to duty thereat.40 Various departments, warehouse, shipping, and dock, were organized and trained. By the end of April the enlisted strength of the medical supply detachment (including the issue branch) had reached 200.41 The strength of the detachment, by months, appears below, the large variations in numbers being due to the presence of medical supply depot companies forming for overseas service.42

1918 1918

February ................................................29   July..........................................................225
March.....................................................89 August.....................................................157
April......................................................198 September............................................... 145
May......................................................160 October................................................... 210
June......................................................320 November............................................... 133
 
Originally, it was not intended by the Surgeon General to require the medical supply officer at this port to assume accountability for medical property consigned to the American Expeditionary Forces, or to render a return therefor. Copies of invoices and packers’ lists of such property were required to be furnished to the port medical supply officer. It was contemplated that a complete record of all articles of medical property loaded on transports would be kept by the medical supply officer and a list furnished the Surgeon General whenever called for.25

In order to secure accurate information concerning medical property shipped overseas, port medical supply officers were directed, May 7, 1918, to furnish the Surgeon General monthly a consolidated statement of the supplies, by items, forwarded from the port during the month.43 From these consolidated statements a single list was compiled showing total shipments from all ports and forwarded to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., France.

As the shipments increased and supplies were received directly from contractors, it became increasingly difficult to keep an accurate check on supplies placed in transit by the purchasing depots, received at the port, and forwarded overseas. The segregation of the different shipments required extra space;


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separate shipping invoices to transport quartermasters had to be prepared for shipments coming from different depots. This gave rise to a recommendation from the medical supply officer at this port that all Medical Department supplies passing through the port be invoiced to the medical supply officer thereof; that he receipt from them and invoice them to the medical supply officer, A. E. F., whenever cargo space became available; and that the receipt from the transport quartermaster be accepted as a credit voucher to the return.44 A similar procedure under consideration by the War Department at the time was later published in General Orders, No. 54, W. D., June 3, 1918. Instructions for putting the plan into effect were sent to this depot in the following letter:

AUGUST 5, 1918.

From:  The Surgeon General.
To:  The port medical officer, Newport News, Va.
Subject: Shipments destined for overseas.
 
1. Beginning with the month of August, all supplies pertaining to the Medical Department shipped overseas through the port of Newport News will be invoiced to you. These supplies will be marked “For the Officer in Charge, Medical Supply Depot, American Expeditionary Forces, France,” “England,” or elsewhere as service conditions may require. Packages and invoices both will contain sufficient and definite numbers and marks to enable you to identify them.

2. As these supplies are delivered to you, receipt will be accomplished promptly as required in paragraph 496, Manual for the Medical Department, 1916. The face of the receipt may be stamped “ In original packages, contents not verified.” Duplicate copies of packers’ lists will he furnished by the shipping officers. Against these packers’ lists you will check the number of boxes received and forward one copy of the packers’ lists to this office, attention Lieut. F. A. Dagit, S. C. This list should show thereon the dates of receipt of the several packages.

3. When these supplies are turned over to tise Transport Service, and itemized shipping invoice made out On Form 600, War Department, or similar blank, will be delivered to the shipping authorities. Such number of copies as may be required by the transport (embarkation) service will be furnished that service. Three additional copies will be prepared, one of which will be forwarded to this office, attention Lieutenant Dagit, one to the finance and supply division, chief surgeon’s office, A. E. F., France (England, or elsewhere) and one to the officer in charge, medical supply depot A. E. F., France (England, or elsewhere).

4. The receipt on the copy of invoice sent to this office should bear the signature of an authorized representative of the transport service. This invoice will be accepted as a credit voucher to your return of medical property. These shipping invoices will be numbered serially beginning with the first supplies turned over during the month of August, and continue in consecutive numbers thereafter. These numbers will be preceded by the letter “S”; for example, S-1; S-85; S-162, etc.
 
5. Your receipts for the property will hear a serial number preceded by the letter “R”; for example, R-l; R-45; R-143, etc. Your first receipt during the month of August will be No. 1 irrespective of the date when the supplies were shipped.

  6. These two series of numbers are necessary in order to enable this office to determine definitely whether all copies of both series have been received. Previous instructions to the contrary are modified accordingly.
 
7. Accomplished receipts and shipping invoices should be forwarded to this office as promptly as possible.
 
8. Submit with the least practical delay your estimate of the additional personnel required by you to put these instructions into effect.

As at the port of Hoboken, the operating agencies of the port of Newport News were organized, pursuant to instructions from the port commander, early in September, 1918,45 to conform to the requirements of General Orders, No.54,


724

War Department, June 3, 1918. A port storage officer was appointed, with executive control of all storage facilities at the port operated for the joint use of the several supply bureaus. The representatives of these bureaus were designated port supply officers. The representative of the Medical Department became the port medical supply officer.

OTHER PORTS

Embarkation depots were established at Boston, Mass.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Charleston, S. C.; and New Orleans, La.46 Supplies were also shipped from several other southern ports, Galveston, Tex., Mobile, Ala., and Brunswick, Ga., but no definite embarkation depots were established at them.

While the Medical Department had not requested storage space at Boston, Mass., the manufacturing problem in that area early in 1918 had developed a need of a warehouse there for the storage of finished products, such as surgical dressings, bedsteads, mattresses, hospital furniture, and other hospital equipment. The director of storage and traffic was informed March 8, 1918, that the Medical Department could use at the port of Boston approximately 50,000 square feet of inclosed heated storage space for such supplies destined overseas. The port of Boston, however, was never extensively used by the Medical Department as an embarkation depot.

At the port of Charleston, S. C., 100,000 square feet of inclosed storage space was requested in March, 1918. It was considered a desirable point to receive supplies manufactured west of the Allegheny Mountains because they could be shipped there without passing through any of the congested districts. The congested traffic centers for the most part were Buffalo, N. Y., Pittsburgh, Pa., Baltimore, Md.; and Norfolk and Newport News. There were ample railroad facilities entering Charleston which connected with all points in the Mississippi Valley. This depot had been completed, space allotted to the Medical Department, a medical supply officer assigned and on duty, and some medical and hospital supplies received before the need for such a depot terminated. No considerable quantity of such supplies was ever shipped from that port.

Because of the change of location and the increase in the storage space in the Philadelphia medical supply depot in the summer of 1918, not much space was required at the embarkation depot, Pier 38, in that city. An officer of the Medical Department was stationed at the pier to look after medical property loading there for overseas.

It was found advisable in the latter months of 1918 to have an officer of the Medical Department assigned to duty at the embarkation depots at Baltimore, Md., and New Orleans, La., to look after the medical property passing through these ports and to keep the Surgeon General advised of the arrival and shipment of such property.

REFERENCES

(1) Letter from the Surgeon General to the Quartermaster General, June 4, 1917. Subject: Storage accommodations at ports of embarkation. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 11,231-18.
(2) Special Orders, No. 141, W. D., June 19, 1917.


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(3) Fourth indorsement from the Surgeon General to The Adjutant General, June 20, 1917, on letter from the Surgeon General to The Adjutant General, June 9, 1917. Subject: Storage accommodations at ports of embarkation. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14,690-J.
(4) Letter from the General Superintendent, Army Transport Service, to the Quartermaster General, July 18, 1917. Subject: Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., and first indorsement of the Quartermaster General thereon. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 738.
(5) Third indorsement from the Surgeon General to the Quartermaster General, July 21, 1917, relative to the lease of Lamport & Holt Pier, Hoboken, N. J. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 192, 247.
(6) Memorandum from the Surgeon, Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, N. J., to the commanding general of that port, August 7, 1917, relative to the dock space assigned to the Medical Department, and a medical supply officer for that port. Copy on file, Finance
and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-340/1.
(7) Confidential Orders, No. 12, W. D. July 9, 1917, par. 6. On file, Personnel Section, S. G. O.
(8) Letter from Chief of Embarkation Service to the commanding general, Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, August 31, 1917: Subject: Medical supply depot at New York. Copy on file, Historical Division, S. G. O.
(9) Ninth indorsement from the Surgeon General to The Adjutant General, June 14, 1918, on a report of an inspection of the medical supply depot, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., May 7, 1918. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-539 N. Y./ 104.
(10) Fourth indorsement from the medical supply officer, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., to the Surgeon, Port of Embarkation, May 23, 1918, on report of an inspection of  medical supply depot, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., made May 7, 1918. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-539 N. Y./104.
(11) Report of an inspection, medical supply officer, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., May 7, 1918. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Divison, S. G. O., 583-539 N. Y./104.
(12) Verbal statements made to the author by Maj. Paul W. Gibson, M. C., the medical supply officer at Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., July 9, 1917, to November 30, 1918.
(13) Verbal reports made at various times to the author by representatives of the Finance and Supply Division, Chief Surgeon’s Office, A. E. F., France.
(14) Letter from the surgeon, Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, N. J., January 17, 1918 Subject: Supplies, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. V. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 583-340./80.
(15) First indorsement of Chief of Embarkation Service, January 25, 1918, to the Surgeon General, concerning shipment of supplies on Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  580-340/80.
(16) Letter from the medical supply officer, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., to the Surgeon General, January 28, 1918. Subject, Freight reports. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,583-539/72.
(17) Circular No. 94, Storage and Traffic Division, General Staff, September 29, 1918.
(18) General Orders, No. 119, Headquarters, Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, N. J., October 2, 1918. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  750-138 Ch. of Staff/99.


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(19) Letter from Lieut. Col. P. W. Gibson, M. C., Pier 46, North River, New York, N. Y., to Col. C. R. Darnall, M. C., S. G. O., October 5, 1918, relative to the reorganization, Port of  Embarkation, Hoboken, N. J. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S.G.O., 750-138 Ch. of Staff/99.
(20) Letter from the medical supply officer, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y., to the Surgeon General, May 6, 1918. Subject: Bills of lading and markings. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-539/90.
(21) Special Orders, No. 146, War Department, June 22, 1918.
(22) Confidential Orders, No. 12, War Department, June 9, 1917. Also: Personal report of Capt. Edwin C. Jones, M. C., July 13, 1917, reporting his arrival for duty. On file, Personnel Division Records, S. G. O.
(23) Letter from the commanding officer, Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Va., to the Surgeon General, July 19, 1917. Subject: Medical supplies for overseas shipment. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/1.
(24) First indorsement from the Surgeon General to The Adjutant General, August 2, 1917, on a letter from the Chief, Construction Division, Quartermaster General’s Office, July 19, 1917, for the amount of storage accommodations required by the Medical Department at Newport News, Va. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 583-538 N N/1.
(25) Letter from Maj. Edwin P. Wolfe, M. C., S. G. O., to Captain E. C. Jones, M. C., Newport News, Va., August 4, 1917, relative to medical supply Division, S. G. O., 583-538 N N/2.
(26)  Letter from medical officer, Newport News, Va., to the Surgeon General, January 18, 1918. Subject: Partly unserviceable and obsolete equipment turned in. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 583-538 N N/90.
(27) Letter from the surgeon, port of embarkation, Newport News, Va., to the Surgeon General, August 7, 1917. Subject: Tentative list of supplies for Army transports. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/1.
(28) Letter from the Surgeon General’s Office to the medical supply officers, New York, N. Y., and Washington, D. C., August 20, 1917. Subject: Issue of supplies to Newport  News, Va. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O..  583-538 N N/1.
(29) Letters from the port medical supply officer, Newport News, Va., January 29 and February 6, 1918, to the Surgeon General. Subject: Conditions at that port. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/91.
(30) Memorandum from the medical supply officer, Newport News, Va., to the assistant quartermaster, February 13, 1918. Subject: Request for equipment. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 583-538 N N/96.
(31) Letter from the medical supply officer, Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Va., to the Surgeon General, September 21, 1917. Subject: Errors in packers’ lists and marking packages. Also: First indorsement thereon by the surgeon of the port, September 21, 1917. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N./20.
(32) Letter from the Surgeon General, to the medical supply officers, New York, N. Y., Washington, D. C., and St. Louis, Mo., September 28, 1918. Subject: Errors in packers’ lists  and marking packages. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/20. 


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(33) Letter from Maj. E. C. Jones, M. C., medical supply officer, Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Va., to Col. Edwin P. Wolfe, M. C., S. G. O., November 24, 1917, reporting medical property on hand at Newport News. On file, Finance and SupplyDivision, S. G. O.,   583-538 N N/63.
(34) Letter from the Chief of Embarkation Service to the Surgeon General, December 26, 1917. Subject: Embargo on overseas freight. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,583-130/27.
(35) Letter from time Director, Storage and Traffic, to the Surgeon General, January 3, 1918. Subject: Emnbargo on overseas freight. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S.G.O., 583-130/27.
(36) Letter from Capt. R. A. La Grinder, San. Corps, port medical supply officer, Newport News, Va., to Col. Edwin P. Wolfe, M. C., S. G.O., January 30, 1918. Subject: Conditions at that port. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/91.
(37) Letter from Capt. R. A. La Grinder, San. Corps, to Col. Edwin P.Wolfe, M. C., S. G. O., February 16, 1918. Subject: Report on conditions at port of Newport News,Va. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538.NN/98.
(38) Letter from the Surgeon General to the Chief, Embarkation Service, March 4, 1918. Subject: Storage space at Newport News, Va. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 583-538.N N/91.
(39) Letter from the Director, Embarkation Service, to the Surgeon General, March 13, 1918. Subject: Storage space, Newport News, Va. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/91. 
(40) Letters from the medical supply officer, Newport News, Va., to Col. Edwin P. Wolfe, M. C., S. G. O., January 30, 1918, and February 16, 1918. Subject: Report of conditions at Newport News, Va. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/91 and 98.
(41) Letter from the medical supply officer, Newport News, Va., to Col. Edwin P. Wolfe, M. C., S. G. O., May 7, 1918. Subject: Personal requirements. On file, Financeand Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/123.
(42) Returns of enlisted personnel, Medical Department, for months stated. On file, Enlisted Personnel Section, S. G. O.
(43) Letter from the Surgeon General to medical supply officer, port of embarkation, Pier 45, New York, N. Y., and Newport News, Va., May 7, 1918. Subject: Monthly report of shipments. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 583-Miscl.
(44) Letter from the medical supply officer, Newport News, Va., to the Surgeon General, April 20, 1918. Subject: Invoicing and handling supplies for overseas. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  583-538 N N/105.
(45) General Orders, No. 325, Headquarters, Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Va., September 4, 1918. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 750-138 G. S./92.
(46) Annual Report of the Chief of the Transportation Service, 1919, 94.