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Chapter XLIII

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

CHAPTER XLIII

SHIPPING REGULATIONS

The early shipments of Medical Department equipment and supplies to the American Expeditionary Forces in France were made in precisely the same manner as those consigned to troops in our insular possessions or other domestic distribution. The packages, marked for the medical supply officer, A. E. F., were turned over to the local quartermaster with the necessary shipping papers; i. e., invoice of medical property, delivered to the Quartermaster Corps for transportation. There were no restrictions. The custody and destiny of the supplies were thereafter a responsibility of the Quartermaster Corps until finally delivered to the consignee. The depot quartermaster at Washington forwarded the supplies from the field medical supply depot to the port of embarkation indicated in his instructions. The depot quartermaster in New York City did likewise for the New York medical supply depot.

The application of this principle to the movement of supplies and equipment of all the supply bureaus of the War Department resulted in placing in transit greater quantities of supplies than the facilities of the Army at the port could handle. The majority of these early shipments were routed through the port of New York. Ships were not available to receive them. Storage facilities, even after the taking over of the North German Lloyd Docks, were inadequate to care for them. To facilitate the unloading of cars and the delivery of the supplies to the transports the general superintendent, Army Transport Service, submitted to the Quartermaster General in July, 1917, certain recommendations.1 These recommendations were, in substance, that all shipments exceeding 15,000 pounds, destined for the American Expeditionary Forces in France and going through the port of New York, be routed in care of the general superintendent, Army Transport Service, 42 Pearl Street, New York Lighterage, and bills of lading made to read accordingly. Shipments of supplies of less than 15,000 pounds should be forwarded to the general superintendent, Army Transport Service, Pier No. 1, Hoboken, N. J., and bills of lading drawn accordingly.

Soon after the establishment of the embarkation service instructions governing the shipment of supplies to ports of embarkation were issued by the chief of that service. These instructions required that a formal release or authority to ship and designation of the port be obtained from the chief of embarkation service for all shipments exceeding 20 tons. For the reception of such shipments a limited amount of storage space at both of the primary ports of embarkation was allotted to each of the supply bureaus. The space so allotted varied according to the volume of supplies expected to be furnished by the respective supply bureaus. The space so provided was intended for


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the reception of supplies for immediate loading for shipment overseas. The covered storage allotted the Medical Department for this purpose was 15,000 square feet at Hoboken, N. J., and 7,000 square feet at Newport News.2

Some of the supply bureaus had already acquired storage space at the port for their own use in addition to that allotted to them from the general or common storage space already mentioned. In such cases the supply bureau having its own storage space was authorized and urged to keep a reasonable amount of it filled at all times with supplies available for immediate loading. Releases, nevertheless, were required for all shipments to such storage where the quantities exceeded 10 tons. These releases were granted with the understanding that the freight cars in which shipped would be promptly unloaded to avoid congestion at the port.2

Shipments of less than 10 tons could be placed in transit to the port without obtaining a release from the chief of embarkation service. Small amounts of storage space at each of the ports of embarkation were set aside for the reception of such shipments. To the Medical Department there were alloted for this purpose at Hoboken 2,000 square feet and at Newport News 2,000 square feet. Such shipments were to be routed to the nearer of the two ports at which space was available. This space was to be kept filled with supplies.2

The weight and volume in cubic feet calculated on outside measurement was required to be stenciled on the outside of every box, bundle, crate, or package placed in transit for overseas shipment. The same information was required to appear on all bills of lading, whether Government or commercial, on which such shipments were made.2

Daily reports were required by the chief of embarkation service of freight ordered overseas but not actually placed in transit, in transit to ports of embarkation, at ports of embarkation, and loaded on ships at ports of embarkation. Daily abstracts of this information compiled separately for each port were also required.2 These instructions were revised and published in circular form by The Adjutant General, November 12, 1917.

Upon representation by the Surgeon General that the Medical Department was operating supply depots at both of the primary ports of embarkation, shipments of medical and hospital supplies to those ports were exempted from the requirements of a transportation order, as appears in the following correspondence:

In reply refer to E. S. No. 541.2 Medical Supplies.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
CHIEF OF EMBARKATION SERVICE,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF,
Washington, March 16, 1918.

From:  Embarkation branch, storage and traffic division of the General Staff.
To:  Director of inland transportation.
Subject: Release of medical supplies.

1. Authority has been given to the Surgeon General to release until further notice medical supplies to Pier 45, North River, New York.
2. This pier is in the entire charge of the Medical Department and the release of freight to that pier has been authorized, provided it can be promptly unloaded and held on the pier awaiting shipment overseas.


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3. This office maintains a check on the movement of freight by securing from the Surgeon General a report each day of freight released, put in transit, and the amount of storage space available and cars on hand at Pier 45.
4.  It will not, therefore, be necessary to pass requests for transportation orders through this office for freight destined to Pier 45.

By authority of the Director of Embarkation:
 (Signed) R. C. MORSE, Jr.,
Major, Q. M. H. C.

No. 531.71-In.Tpn.

MARCH 18, 1918.

From:  Director of inland transportation.
To:  Surgeon General, United States Army, Washington, D. C.
Subject: Exemption from embargo, medical supply depot, port of embarkation, Pier 45,
North River, New York, and Newport News, Va.

1. Acknowledging receipt of your 750-719 25, of March 18, attached hereto is copy of letter which this division has to-day received from the embarkation branch of the storage and traffic division of the General Staff, in which a blanket release is given for the movement of medical supplies until further notice, consigned to Pier 45, North River, New York.
2. We are also to-day in receipt of copy of letter addressed to yourself by the embarkation branch of the storage and traffic division of the General Staff, assigning to the Medical Department at Newport News 50,000 square feet of storage and stating that this will be proper authority to release, without further ref erence to the embarkation bureau, of supplies consigned to this warehouse in such quantities as can properly be unloaded on arrival and not to exceed the working capacity of the storage space.
3. This division will therefore arrange as early as possible for time free movement of medical supplies to New York and Newport News, as indicated in the above referred to communications.

H.M. ADAMS,
Director of Inland Transportation, War Department,
By O. H. PARSLEY.

This exemption was published in supplement No. 1, May 1, 1918, to Order No. 2, inland traffic service, and in each of the succeeding supplements of August 10, 1918, and October 1, 1918, to that order. This exemption, together with the presence in medical supply depots of Medical Department personnel acting as field representatives of the inland traffic service, gave the Surgeon General practically a free hand in the movement of medical property to the ports for transportation overseas. There was close cooperation between the transportation branch, finance and supply division of the Surgeon General’s Office, and the Car Service Bureau of the American Railway Administration. through regional directors.

Through its close liaison with the office of the chief of embarkation service and close cooperation with that office, the transportation branch of the Surgeon General’s Office was permitted to write the releases for shipments consigned to the American Expeditionary Forces without reference to the embarkation service.3

In issuing supplies the custom had grown up at the several medical supply depots of numbering outgoing packages of each shipment to any destination beginning with the number 1 and using consecutive numbers until all packages in that shipment had been numbered. Beyond the name of the issuing depot and the number of the package, there were no marks by which the packages in any shipment could be identified with the invoice or packer’s list to which


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it pertained. This gave rise to considerable confusion in the medical supply depots in the American Expeditionary Forces, because several shipments would arrive there at the same time, having many packages with the same number on them. Original packages could be fairly readily identified because the contents were marked on the outside by the manufacturer in compliance with the terms of the contract. But there was no way of identifying boxes with miscellaneous contents which had been packed at the depots.

At our overseas ports of debarkation, too, confusion arose in the segregation of incoming supplies belonging to the several supply bureaus. The stevedores and freight handlers, many of them Portuguese and Chinese, could not read the markings on the various packages and, consequently, could not sort them. They could learn, however, to recognize the symbols of the several supply bureaus and sort the property in accordance therewith. Medical property was not so marked. This gave rise to the recommendations from headquarters, September 20, 1917, that, to facilitate identification of property, boxes containing medical supplies be marked with one red cross; that boxes containing dental supplies be marked with two red crosses; and that boxes containing veterinary supplies be marked with three red crosses.4

On September 24, 1917, General Pershing made the following further recommendations to War Department concerning the shipment of supplies to the American Expeditionary Forces:5

* * * Request that instructions be given to all bureaus and agencies of the War Department to have their property marked as follows:
  “General Superintendent, Army Transport Service, giving port of embarkation.”

This address to be followed by marking indicating the particular corps or department of the Army for which intended, including the words “American Expeditionary Forces, France.” If not intended for general supply, marking should be included in (thus, for Quartermaster Corps, American Expeditionary Forces) “For laundry plants “ or “For shoe repair shops” or “For motor transport repair shops” or “For base depot , if known. There should be also * * * included in * * * the marking a general statement of contents of each package; thus, “Toilet soap, carbon 30-inch searchlight, telegraph sounder,” and the shipment numbered, the number of packages in the shipment, the particular number of each package, the weight of each package, and the volume of each package in cubic feet.

In conformity with this cablegram the following method of marking Medical Department packages for overseas was prescribed by the Surgeon General, October 4, 1917: 6

Until further orders it is directed that all supplies for overseas shipment be marked as follows:
(a) Officer in charge, medical supply depot, American Expeditionary Forces,  France.
   (b)  Care of medical supply officer, port of embarkation. .
   (c)  Name of port of embarkation.
(d)  Contents of package.
(e)  The number of each package.
(f)  The number of packages in the shipment.
(g) The weight of the package.
(h) The volume of each package (cubic feet).
(i)  Red cross.
(j) Name of depot making shipment.
  
For example, a package shipped by the field medical supply depot, by way of New York, to the medical supply depot in France should be marked as follows:


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"Officer in Charge, Medical Supply Depot, American Expeditionary Forces, France.
"Care of Medical Supply Officer, Port of Embarkation, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y. (Lighterage free).
"Surgical Dressings.
"No. 17 of 874.
"Weight 142 pounds-6 cubic feet.
"(From Field Medical Supply Depot, Washington, D. C. ). "

This method of marking is suggested in a cable from the commander of the American forces in France, who states that there has been much difficulty in identifying supplies.
Bills of lading should be made out to the general superintendent, American transport service, port of embarkation, and a copy of each bill of lading should be sent to the medical supply officer, port of embarkation.

These instructions, while facilitating the segregation of supplies at the ports of debarkation, failed to improve, materially, the situation at the medical supply depots. Complaints of inability to determine readily the shipment to which any package pertained continued to be received. The foregoing instructions were amended December 19, 1917, as follows:7

Referring to letter from this office dated October 4, 1917, in regard to time marking of packages of supplies for shipment to France, you are advised that beginning January 1, 1918, the instructions contained therein will be superseded by the following:

Until further orders it is directed that all supplies for overseas shipment be marked as follows:
   (a) Officer in charge, medical supply depot, American Expeditionary Forces, France.
   (b)  Care of medical supply officer, port of embarkation.
   (c)  Name of port of embarkation.
   (d)  Contents of package.
   (e)  Number of each package.
   (f)   Date of packer’s list.
   (g)  Weight of package.
   (h)  Volume of each package (cubic feet).
   (i) One red cross (for New York depot). Two red crosses in juxtaposition (for Washington depot) Three red crosses in juxtaposition (for St. Louis depot).
   (j) Name of depot making shipment.

For example: A package shipped by the field medical supply depot by way of New York to the medical supply depot, France, should be marked as follows:

"The Officer in Charge, Medical Supply Depot, American Expeditionary Forces, France.
"Care of the Medical Supply Officer, Port of Embarkation, Pier 45, North River, New York, N. Y. (Lighterage free).
"Surgical dressings. No. 17-----. Jan. 24, 18. Weight, 142 lbs.-6 cu. ft. From Field Medical Supply Depot, Washington, D. C."
 
There has been difficulty overseas in identifying packages bearing numbers only, because of the fact that parts of several shipments may arrive at the same time at the depot, and consequently there may be several packages bearing the same numbers. In order to overcome this difficulty, each package will be marked with the date of the packer’s list. It is suggested that, if practicable, the invoices sent be given the same date as the packer’s list.

Bills of lading should be made out to the general superintendent, Army Transport Service, port of embarkation, and a copy of each bill of lading should be sent to the medical supply officer, port of embarkation.

Arrangements should be made to put this system of marking into effect on the first shipment from your depot after January 1, 1918.

To facilitate the marking with the red crosses, pasters were printed and furnished the several depots in sufficient numbers to permit the application of


734

two, one at each end, to every box shipped. Since the American Red Cross also was shipping supplies in considerable quantities, having a red cross upon them, a design consisting of a combination of the red cross and the caduceus was adopted as the insignia for Medical Department supplies.

The foregoing instructions remained in force until April, 1918, when they were superseded by those prescribed in General Orders, No. 34, War Department, April 11, 1918. In order that this system of marking might be fully understood and observed, the following adaptation of General Order No. 34, as amended June 10, 1918, to the marking of medical property, was printed in June, 1918, and distributed to all persons furnishing supplies to the Medical Department, and continued in force until the end of the war:

Compiled from General Order No. 34.
Received April 18, 1918. Revised June 10, 1918.
WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, April 11, 1918.

  1. The following standard markings shall be used on all freight packages intended for oversea shipment to the United States forces in Europe, including packages accompanying troops.

STANDARD MARKINGS

(1) Country of debarkation. - Allpackages to be shipped overseas to the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe shall before shipment be marked in the center of the face of package or tags with the letters “A. E. F. “in an equilateral triangle, thus:

[Chart]

Each side of the triangle shall be approximately one-fourth the width of the marking surface, but shall not, on any package, exceed 24 inches--pasters furnished by Medical Department.

(2) Port of embarkation - Thisshall be the name of the United States port tlmrough which time supplies are to be shipped overseas. Indicate by marking above the triangle, thus: (“ Via New York, Pier 45”), or (“ Via Philadelphia, Pier 38 “).
(3) Shipments to specific depots or organization units - This shall be the name of the depot or organization unit to which the supplies are to be delivered overseas, and shall be used only when a package is intended for a specific organizations or is assigned to a port of debarkation for a specific purpose. Indicate by marking below the triangle, thus:
(“Medical Supply Depot, France”), or (“Surgeon Base Section No. 3, England “).
   (4) U. S. number. - Thisshall be the number officially assigned to a shipment by the embarkation service or such other agencies as may be empowered by the Embarkation Service to designate such numbers. The U. S. number shall consist of five parts:
   (a) The letters U. S. indicating United States property.
(b) Figures representing the month and day of month.
   (c) A code letter (or letters) indicating the organization unit originating such numher.
(d) Three figures indicating the number of the shipment authorized during a day, each day’s designations commencing with “001.”
   (e) A package number--separated from preceding figures by a dash--the packages in each shipment being numbered from 1 up.

For example, U. S. 601-M-327-14 would represent the three hundred amid twenty seventh shipment authorized by the Medical Department (indicated by” M “) on June 1 and the fourteenth package of that shipment. If the first part of number were U. S. 1214, etc., it


735

would indicate a shipment authorized on December 14. This number riced not be marked on packages containing subsistence supplies, but shall appear on all transportation papers relating to such commodities. Indicate by marking this number, in its entirety, in upper right-hand! cormier of face of package or tags.

(5) Group (lot) shipment and package numbers. - Theseshall be used only when it is necessary or desirable that a number of packages, all forming a part of the same group shipment, should be forwarded together, such as base hospital or X-ray unit. The group shipment number shall be assigned by the Surgeon General and shall definitely identify the particular group shipment. Indicate by marking in the lower right-hand corner of face of package or tags the words “Group shipment,” and immediately thereunder the group shipment number followed by the package number and the number of packages. All packages included in a group shipment shall be given a consecutive package number which shall he marked above the total number of packages in the group, thus:
Group shipment
14
1201-18

which indicates package number 14 of 18 packages included in group shipment No. 1201. Group (lot) number may, in addition, be placed on the ends of the cases if desired.
(6) Weight. - Thisshall be the total weight in pounds when package is complete for shipment. Indicate by marking in the lower left-hand corner of face of package or tags, thus: “226 lbs.” Weight need not be marked on packages containing subsistence supplies.
(7) Cubic volume. - Thisshall be the cubical contents of package when complete for shipment. Indicate by marking the nearest whole number of cubic feet in the lower left hand corner of face of package or tags, immediately beneath the weight of package, thus: “64 cu. ft.” Cubic volume need not he marked on packages containing subsistence supplies.
(8) Corps number. - This is the requisition, item, contract, order, invoice, or manifest number, or such combinations thereof as may be designated by the respective corps. Indicate by marking such numbers in the upper left-hand corner of face of package or tags.
(9) Corps insignia or symbol - Thisis the insignia of corps to which the shipment is to be forwarded. Indicate by marking such insignia on both ends of package or on reverse side of tags (furnished by Medical Department).
(10) Description of Contents. - Thisis the quantity and description (name, size, style, etc.) of each article contained in package. Indicate by marking on both ends of package at top or on reverse side of tags, thus: “Field chest,” “Bandages--gauze--20 boxes,” etc.
   (a) When there are, in one package, a number of different articles or a number of different sizes of the same kind of article, the contents must be listed on a “packers list,” which shall be either (b) pasted on both ends of package and then varnished, or (c) placed in moisture-proof envelopes attached to both ends of package, securely fastened with five large head tacks.
(11) Name of shipper - This is the name of depot, contract, or other person by whom the supplies are forwarded. Where supplies are shipped by a United States inspector at point of production, the name of producing contractor shall be shown as shipper. Indicate by marking below insignia or symbol on both ends of package or on reverse side of tags, thus: “From John Doe & Co.”
(12) Date of delivery - Thisis the date of original delivery to the United States Government. It shall be used only on packages of perishable supplies. Indicate by marking day, month, and year of such delivery immediately above the name of shipper on both ends of packages or on reverse side of tags.

General supplies. - Parts
of machinery, structural shapes, and similar material will be marked as prescribed in each particular instance according to prearranged schedules of packing. Metal tags containing information necessary for the rendering of proper reports of loading and arrival at docks will be attached invariably to such commodities.

Duplicate markings. - There shall be inclosed within each package a card of sufficient size on which shall be recorded in legible characters all the standard markings, established by this general order, appearing on the face and ends of the package, so that if all or any


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of the exterior markings are obliterated or defaced time package will contain ample direction which will insure the required delivery to its destination.

General instructions relating to marking. - No
advertising matter shall appear on packages.

Stenciling is preferable to hand marking. The height of letters shall conform to the size and character of package, but shall not be less than one inch, except on very small packages. Use only United States standard stencil black. For marking machinery parts, structural steel or similar commodities use paint either white or of the corps color. All markings shall be protected by a coating of clear spar varnish.

Where bales or crates are used, the standard system of marking shall prevail. At least two tough cloth or metal shipping tags, provided by Medical Department, giving the required standard information shall be attached by wire to such packages so as to prevent loss in transit. If nature of article or covering permits, or special facilities are provided, such as a square white cloth held in place by baling straps, the marking shall appear thereon. Cloth or metal tags, as designated above, shall be used when tags are attached to the face of packages in the place of the use of stenciling.

Where no containers are used for shipment of commodities, as imm the case of a chassis or body of an automobile or a complete automobile, at least two shipping tags, conforming to the above requirements, shall be attached in such manner as to prevent loss in transit. Entries shall be made on such tags in accordance with the standard markings. These shipping tags are required in addition to any corps, section, or service, name or other data painted, perforated, or otherwise marked on motor vehicles or similar equipment.

Copies of the foregoing instructions shall be furnished each shipper in ample time for use in making his initial shipment.

REFERENCES

(1) Letter from General Superintendent, Army Transport Service, New York, to the Quartermaster General, July 16, 1917. Subject: Overseas shipments. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 583-340/2.
(2) Circular letter. Chief of Embarkation Service, September 11, 1917. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 188,699.
(3) Statement of Maj. F. W. Lennox, San. Corps, March 14, 1921, to Col. E. P. Wolfe. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., unnumbered.
(4) Cablegram from Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, to The Adjutant General, Washington, September 20, 1917. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 250/41.
(5) Cablegram, signed Pershing, to The Adjutant General, Washington, September 24, 1917.
(6) Letter, containing instructions for Medical Supply Officer, Port of Embarkation, Pier 45, North River, New York and Newport News, Va., etc., from Office of the Surgeon General to the Medical Supply Officer, October 4, 1917. Subject: Marking foroverseas shipments. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  250/47.
(7) Letter from the Surgeon General to the Officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, 21 M St., N. E., Washington, D. C., December 19, 1917. Subject: Marking packages.On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,  250/47.