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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Roberts Bartholow, M. D.


View the book in this collection by Dr. Bartholow


Name: Roberts Bartholow
Death date: May 10, 1904
Place of death: Philadelphia, PA
Type of practice: Allopath
States and years of licenses: PA, 1881, WV, 1883
Medical school(s): University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore: University of Maryland School of Medicine and Coll of Phys and Surgeons, 1852, (G)
Journal of the American Medical Association Citation: 42:1303, 1368

Dr. 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.

ROBERTS BARTHOLOW,  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 Provost-Marshal-General.

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 successful one.


From the Medical and Surgical History citation:

U.S. Army, Commanding General Army of the Potomac.

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 hours.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Surgeon and Medical Director Army of the Potomac.

"Bartholow was 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. 24).


Assistant Surgeon Roberts Bartholow

Place Association Role Description Begin Date End Date
Lincoln General Hospital- HOSPITAL United States Army doctor Treated Private L.V. Grant   June 3, 1863 ( September 24, 1864


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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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