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Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

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 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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 Josiah Howell Culver's Admission Exam for the U. S. Navy

From Dr. Echols' Collection


See the process for admission to the Navy Medical Corps in relation to medical education

The following is the translation of the original hand-written application exam for the Navy with period spelling and mistakes.

Biography for Josiah Howell Culver:

I was born in the town of Brookhaven, county of Suffolk and state of New York on the 10th day of September 1837.

After assuming a common school education I spent two years and six months at Clinton Academy in Easthampton Long Island.  I there studied Latin, read Caesar and Virgil.  I began Greek and went through the Greek reader.  I also studied Algebra, Geometry, Natural + Mental Philosophy, Rhetoric, Chemistry and Meteorology.

In the beginning of spring of 1857 I commenced the study of medicine in Brookhaven with Dr. E. P. Jarvis.  And the autumn of the same year I entered the University of New York Med. Dep’t. and took my first course of lectures; in the spring returned th th th th if to Brookhaven and continued for a year under the tuition of Dr. Jarvis.

   In March 1859 I went to New York again and became a pupil of Dr. P. A. Aylette.  I attended the spring, summer and autumn courses of lectures at the University and visited Bellevue + New York hospitals daily.  I spent the next winter in New York and graduated at the University of New York in the spring of 1860.

I then went into private practice at Huntington L. I.  While in practice I compounded and put up my own prescriptions.  Last August I was examined by a medical board in New York and was admitted as an acting assistant surgeon in the army.  Since that time I have resided in the United States General Hospital David’s Island New York where I have been treating gun-shot wounds, typhoid fever, diarrhœa dysentery and other diseases incident to soldiers.

 I am staying at the La-Pierre house in this city.

 My address is U.S. Hospital David’s Island New York.

                                                                      Josiah H. Culver

Naval asylum Philada

March 4th 1863.



 Questions in Writing to be answered, by Dr. Josiah H. Culver

 1.  What are the symptoms, cause + treatment of Internal Hemorrhoids?

2.  Describe the mode of tying the umbilical cord.

3.  Write a formula, (Latin) for compound Cathartic pile, without symbols, or abbreviations.

4.  Name four preparations of iron.

5.  What is the pathology and treatment of Arthritis?

6.  Diagnosis and prognosis in Diphtheria.

7.  What are the great organs of the circulation.

8.  What is the great sympathetic nerve.

9.  What is chemistry.

 1st.  The symptoms of Internal hemorrhoids are pain and a burning sensation above the anus, a feeling of weight or tension in the groin and testicles.  During defecation there will be an increase of the pain with tenesmus and if the disease be of long duration the hemorrhoids will be protruded as soft vascular tumors; there will also be hemorrhage of a bright red color.  Sometimes the hemorrhage is the first symptom.    The most frequent cause is constipated bowels, congestion of the liver or anything which obstructs the portal circulation will produce it.  A violent attack of dysentery may cause it.

     The treatment consists in regulating the bowels by laxatives, by which a mixture of sublimed sulphur + bitartrate of potash is one of the best.  Daily injections of ice water are beneficial, also astringent injections, as solutions of acetate of lead or sulphate of zinc.  After each evacuation from the bowels, if the tumors are protruded, they should be washed, anointed with on ointment of powdered galls and opium, and returned into the bowel.  If these means fail to effect a cure, the hemorrhoids should be extirpated by means of the ligature or écraseur.

2nd.  After the child has been expelled from the mother and breathes, the cord should be examined to ascertain if it may contain any portion of the bowel.  It should then be tied tightly at the distance of three or four inches from the abdomen with a piece of tape or other cord with a double reef knot.  The cord is then divided on the distal side of the ligature.

 3rd.  Recipe

         Hydrargini Submuriatis    grana decem

         Pulveris Rhei                    grana quindecem

         Extracti Nucis Vomicur    granum anum

         Misce, fiat in pillulis sex.

4th.  Tinctura Ferri muriatis

        Ferri Sulphus

        Syrupus Ferri Iodidi

        Ferri Sesquicarbonas

 5th.  Arthritis is on inflammation covering the cartilages of incrustation and lining of the cavities of joints; this inflammation may extend to the fibrous tissue surrounding the joint.  The results of the inflammation is an effusion of serum within the cavity of the joint.  Plastic material is seldom effused into a joint.  If the disease be not checked suppuration may follow, together with ulceration of the cartilages of incrustation and caries of the extremities of the bones.

Arthritis should be treated by keeping the affected part at perfect rest in an elevated position.  A saline cathartic should be given an [sic] the patient put upon low diet.  Leeches must be applied to the joint followed by evaporating lotions or warm fomentations as may agree best with the patient.  After the acute symptoms have subsided, a succession of blisters may be applied to the joint and then it may be painted over with Tincture of Iodine.  Iodide of potassium with Syrup of sarsaparilla may be administered internally.

6th.  The principle diagnostic symptom in Diphtheria is the diptheritic exudation which forms on the tonsils and posterior surface of the fauces.  This exudation is of a dirty grayish color.  It is soon cast off and the mucous membrane is seen dark and bleeding.  The exudation is soon renewed however to be again thrown off, and this process is frequently repeated.  Meanwhile the diptheric deposit spreads.  It extends down the larynx to trachea into the lungs; through the oesophagus into the stomach and bowels, and upward into the nasal cavities.  I have seen it on the conjunctiva in cases where I believe every mucous membrane in the body was affected by it.  The discharge from the nose and the mouth have a gangrenous odor.  The pulse is very frequent and feeble, and there are the general symptoms of blood poisoning.

The prognosis is very grave unless the disease be seen by the physician in the very beginning and in some epidemics of the disease, many of the cases will die under any treatment.

7th.  The heart, systemic arteries, capillaries and veins, and the pulmonary arteries, capillaries and veins.

8th.  The great sympathetic nerve is a chain of ganglia, composed of gray, granular, nervous material, situated upon the vertical column.  These ganglia are connected with each other, and with the cranial and spinal nerves by filaments of white medullary matter.  They give branches to all that great nervous plexuses.

9th.  Chemistry is the science which treats of the relations which the ultimate atoms of matter bear to each other, and of the laws which govern them.


                                               Josiah H. Culver.

 Certificate of Physical Capacity

 I declare on honor that, my health at this time is good and robust; and to the best of my knowledge and belief, I am free from any accidental or constitutional defects, and without any predisposition to Epilepsy, Phtisis, Gout, Apoplexy, or any chronic disease of any kind.

 I am not at present affected with varicocele, disease of the urinary organs, hernia, hemorrhoids; nor am I aware that there is anything hereditary in my constitution which would hereafter be likely to incapacitate me for the arduous duties of a medical officer of the navy.

      All my organs of sense are without imperfection.

                                                    Josiah Howell Culver

U.S. Naval Asylum}             Candidate for the office of

Philada March 3rd   }           Assistant Surgeon in the navy

           1863            }           of the United States

Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

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Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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