Roberts Bartholow, physician and author, was born in Hartford County,
Maryland, November 18, 1831. His literary education, obtained by great
sacrifices on the part of his parents, and largely by his own efforts, was
completed at Calvert College, Maryland, where he graduated and received the
degree of Master of Arts. He pursued his medical studies at the University
of Maryland, and after graduating in 1852, he engaged in private practice
for a short time; but having decided to compete for an appointment on the
medical staff of the regular army, he spent several years in careful
preparation, partly by attendance on the lectures at the university. The
result of this careful training was exhibited in the competitive examination
before the army medical examining board.
Asst. Surg., U. S. Army, Recorder of the Board.
Appointed medical purveyor
for Army of the Potomac. (See
examples of the written exam questions and answers for Navy
applicant, Dr. George Snow including his biography.)
Report of a committee of the New York Academy of Medicine, appointed
at the meeting held October 8, 1863, with power to consider the list
of diseases and infirmities which disqualify drafted men, for the
military service of the United States, as contained in the
Regulations for the Government of the Bureau of the
The committee, consisting of Gurdon Buck, M.D., Prof. Willard
Parker, M.D., Profs. A. C. Post, M.D., W. Detmold, M.D., Valentine
Mott, M.D., A. H. Stevens, M.D., J. W. Draper, M.D., Austin Flint,
M.D., W. H. Van Buren, M.D., and John Ordroneoux, M.D., met,
pursuant to call, on Monday, October 12, Dr. Gurdon Buck, chairman,
and Doctor Van Buren, secretary, and proceeded to examine the list
of disqualifications by paragraphs, with the following result in
suggestions and recommendations for alterations, viz:
The candidates were numerous, and
only five were selected to enter the army, and of those Dr. Bartholow passed
first, and was commissioned to fill the only vacancy then existing in the
medical staff. His military service was for the first few years on the
frontier; in Utah during the Morman rebellion; in Minnesota, and in New
Mexico, where he was serving when the war of the Rebellion broke out. During
the Rebellion he served in charge of general hospital in Baltimore, New York
Harbor, Washington, Chattanooga and Nashville. He had thus a very large and
most varied professional experience. In 1864, seeing that the war was about
to close, and having by this time a young family growing up around him, Dr. Bartholow decided to resign his commission and enter into private practice.
He was offered a professorship in the Medical College of Ohio, which decided
him to remain in Cincinnati. He continued to hold a place in the faculty of
that institution, having his residence at Cincinnati, until his removal to
Philadelphia. He also held the position of professor of the theory and
practice of medicine and of clinical medicine, and was dean of the faculty.
He was one of the physicians to the Good Samaritan Hospital; was a member of
the American Medical Association; of the Ohio State Medical Society; of the
Cincinnati Academy of Medicine, and the American Neurological Society. He
was also a corresponding member of the New York Society of Neurology and
Electrology, etc. Dr Bartholow has been a very successful author. During his
army service he published a work on "Enlisting and Discharging Soldiers,"
which was adopted by the war department, and reached the large sale of five
thousand copies. Since his entrance into civil practice he competed in
several contests for prizes, and was invariably successful, winning no less
than four: to the Connecticut Medical Society, one of the Fiske Fund, and
one of the American Medical Association. In 1868 he published a "Manual of
Hypodermic Medication," from the press of J. B. Lippincott & Company, which
passed to the second edition. One of his most important works is a
"Treaties on Materia Medica and Therapeutics," published by D. Appleton &
Company. A large edition of this work was exhausted, and a second edition
published. This work has been well received abroad by the most authoritative
critics, and has sold largely in England. In this country it has been
adopted as a textbook by the principal medical schools. Whether considered
as a physician or author, Dr. Bartholow's career must be regarded as a very
From the Medical
and Surgical History citation:
Maj. Gen. GEORGE
U.S. Army, Commanding General Army of the Potomac.
ARMY OF THE
Medical Director's Office, Washington, March 15, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to request that field supplies for 140,000 men
may be put up by the medical purveyor immediately, to be transported
with Major-General McClellan's army wherever it may be ordered.
I have appointed Assistant
Surgeon Bartholow medical
purveyor for this army. He has been ordered by telegraph to report
to me without delay. General McClellan has directed his chief
quartermaster to furnish the transportation for these supplies as
soon as they are ready.
The general intends to move in from forty-eight to seventy-two
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
CHS. S. TRIPLER,
Surgeon and Medical Director Army of the Potomac.
medical purveyor (purchasing agent) with the Army of the Potomac.
This work describes the examination to determine if a soldier was
fit for service. The first part is entitled 'Real Disqualifications
for Military Service' and describes diseases arranged by organ
systems. The second part is entitled 'Pretended Disqualifications
for Military Service' and describes how a soldier or a draftee might
feign symptoms of various diseases. The third section is dedicated
to examining men who are joining the army and the last part to
soldiers leaving the army. A major theme of the final part concerns
the Invalid Corps, an organization of soldiers who were too disabled
to perform full duties, but who could act as guards or garrison
troops. The doctor needs to make two determinations: (1) Can the
soldier perform full duty? and (2) If not, can he serve in the
Invalid Corps or must he receive a medical discharge? A person with
epilepsy, for example, cannot perform field service; if he
experiences only one seizure per month he can join the Invalid
Corps, but more frequent seizures dictate medical discharge.
Paralysis of one arm is allowable for Invalid Corps soldiers; more
widespread paralysis is not" (Freemon, Microbes and Minie Balls, p.
Surgeon Roberts Bartholow
|Lincoln General Hospital- HOSPITAL
United States Army
Treated Private L.V. Grant
June 3, 1863 (
September 24, 1864