American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection


As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, Antiques & Collecting publications, and various TV programs


Vol. Lt. William Flye, U.S.N.

BACKGROUND: William Flye was born in Newcastle, October, 1814. On taking his degree he engaged in teaching one year as principal of St. Alban's Academy, and two years as master of the Young lien's High School at Eastport. From 1838 to 1841 was attached to the United States seventy-four "Ohio," Commodore Isaac Hull, as captain's clerk, on the Mediterranean station, and was then appointed by the commodore acting professor of mathematics. On his return after a three-years' cruise he passed examination, his appointment was confirmed, and thus he was permanently connected with the navy. From 1841 to 1857 he served in that capacity in the "John Adams," during a cruise of three years on the coast of Brazil, again for the same time in the ''Jamestown" on the west coast of Africa, and then was attached six or seven years to the United States Naval Observatory, Washington. While in Europe in 1855 he took command of a large clipper ship on a voyage around Cape Horn to the west coast of South America. Resigning his commission in 1857, he connected himself with the merchant marine in command of large-class vessels.

At the opening of the war he returned to the navy as a volunteer lieutenant, and served in various positions involving at times important responsibilities, as commander of gunboats and ironclads on the North Carolina coast and the Mississippi. Wrecked on the " R. B. Forbes "on the North Carolina coast, and taken off with officers and men by the frigate "Roanoke," he was on board that frigate when the rebel "Merrimac" sank the United States frigates " Cumberland " and " Congress," and the United States " Monitor" to the astonishment of friends and foes appeared for the rescue. After Capt. Worden of the " Monitor" was wounded, Flye was ordered to join her as first lieutenant and executive officer, and served in her several mouths. Subsequently he served for a time as first lieutenant, United States Navy Yard, Memphis, on the ironclad "Benton," as commander of the fifth division of the Mississippi squadron, and again on the gunboat " Lexington " and seventh division of the same. After the surrender of Gen Lee, sixty-four vessels of that squadron were placed under his command to be dismantled and prepared for sale out of the service. In 1866 he was honorably discharged from the service "with the thanks of the department." Capt. Flye passed through the exposures and perils of such active service unharmed by shot or shell, but was unfortunate in suffering serious injury to his hearing caused by the discharge of heavy guns. From 1866 to 1871 was engaged in business in Georgia, and from 1872 to 1879 has been cashier of the First National Bank, Damariscotta.

OBITUARY IN BOWDOIN COLLEGE: For the decade ending 1 Jun 1909, published 1911.
William Flye, son of Daniel and Huldah (Barker) Flye, was born 25 October, 1814, at Newcastle, Me. He was probably prepared for college at Lincoln Academy. On completing his course at Bowdoin he was for a year preceptor of the academy at St. Albans, Me., and for two years principal of the Young Men's High School at Eastport, Me. In 1838 he went to the Mediterranean as captain's clerk on the "Ohio," Commodore Isaac Hull commanding the squadron. While in this service he was appointed by the commodore Acting-Professor of Mathematics in the U. S. Navy. Returning to the United States, he passed the required examination: the appointment was confirmed, and he held this position till his resignation in March, 1857. During this period he made two long cruises, each of three years, one in the "John Adams" off the coast of Brazil, the other on the west coast of Africa in the "Jamestown," and was for seven years attached to the Naval Observatory at Washington. After employment for four years as a captain in the merchant marine, Mr. Flye returned to the U. S. Navy at the outbreak of the Rebellion as a volunteer. He was placed in command of the U. S. gunboat "R. B. Forbes," which was lost on the coast of North Carolina in February, 1862. With his officers and men he was on board the U. S. frigate "Roanoke" and under fire when the rebel steamer "Merrimac" came out of Norfolk harbor and destroyed the U. S. frigates "Cumberland" and "Congress." The following day after the defeat of the "Merrimac" by the U. S. "Monitor" he was ordered to the latter as her first lieutenant and executive officer, a position he held in October of that year. He subsequently commanded the gunboats "Underwriter" and "Kensington." In 1864 he was transferred to the Mississippi squadron under Admiral D. D. Porter and commanded successively the monitor "Osage," the ironclad "Benton" and the fifth division of the squadron, the gunboat "Lexington" and the seventh division of the squadron. At the close of the war sixty-four vessels were placed under his command that they might be dismantled and sold out of the service. In January, 1866, he was honorably discharged with the thanks of the Navy Department and the rank of lieutenant commander. The next five years were spent in business in Georgia. From 1872 to 1879 he was cashier of the First National Bank at Damariscotta, Me. He then retired to his home in Topsham, Me., where the most of the closing years of his life were spent. Though he had passed through his long and active war service untouched by shot or shell, his hearing had been seriously affected by the close discharge of heavy guns. He died of old age at Ashland, Boyd County, Ky., 12 June, 1898.


Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols



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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 Arbittier Museum of Medical History Tour:   1 | 2 | 3


Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016