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Even non-nautical readers of sea tales and naval history, up to quite a recent date, had become tolerably familiar with the various classes of the white-winged creations of the naval architect. They knew that a sloop-of-war had three masts and a brig only two; that a frigate had two gun-decks and a line-of-battle ship three or four; but their knowledge avails them little in reading of the battle ships; armored cruisers, commerce destroyers, coast defenders, monitors, torpedo boats and torpedo catchers that constitute the navies of the present decade. Today, another craft has been baptised—the ambulance ship—even before her keel has been laid, though it is by no means certain that she will have a keel.
The Surgeon-General of the Navy, more than a year ago, had outlined the functions of a contemplated ambulance ship, and in his annual report of this year, which has just been published, he
THE AMBULANCE SHIP.. JAMA. 1896;XXVII(26):1352-1353. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02431040034006