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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 Samuel Preston Moore, M.D., CSA

Civil War medical books by Dr. Moore in this collection

Dr Samuel Preston Moore

Moore, Samuel Preston (1813-1889).  Samuel P. Moore, surgeon, United States Army, surgeon-general, Confederate States Army, was the son of Stephen West and Eleanor Screven Gilbert Moore, and lineal descendant of Dr. Mordica! Moore who accompanied Lord Baltimore to America as his physician. He was educated at the schools of Charleston and graduated M. D. from the Medical College of the State of South Carolina in 1834, afterwards appointed assistant surgeon in the United States Army, 1835, serving at many frontier posts in Florida, and with high credit in Texas during the Mexican War, and continued service after being created major at various stations in Missouri, Texas and New York. When South Carolina seceded from the Union, he resigned and settled in Little Rock, Arkansas, whence he was called in June, 1861, to the surgeon-generalcy of the Confederate Army. Under the stress of overwhelming difficulties he organized a medical department for the Confederate armies.

In 1863, at Richmond, he organized the Association of Army and Navy Surgeons of the Confederate States and became its first president, and was also active as president in a similar association, established after the close of the war. The useful work was his of finding methods of providing the Confederate troops with medicines from the plants indigenous to the southern states. He inaugurated and directed the publication of "The Confederate States Medical Journal" from 1864 to 1865, and he adopted the one story hospital wards which became so popular in both northern and southern armies. At the close of the Civil War he remained in Richmond, not engaging in active medical practice, but interested in all public affairs, and died May 31, 1889.

Confederate General, medical pioneer.  Surgeon General, Confederate States Army, Dr. Samuel Moore was born and educated in Charleston, South Carolina, receiving his M.D. degree from The Medical College of South Carolina in 1835. After a brief time in Arkansas, he joined the United States Army, where he had a long, distinguished career that included service in the Mexican War. Dr. Moore had a reputation a an excellent physician, and as a "by-the-book" administrator.

After the secession of South Carolina, Dr. Moore resigned from the U. S. Army to seek a position in the Confederacy. On July 31, 1861, he was appointed the second, and last, Surgeon General of the Confederate States Army. During the remainder of the war, Surgeon General Moore oversaw the vast Confederate military establishment under increasingly difficult conditions, with ever decreasing resources. He improved the ambulance corps and the barracks hospital design. One of Surgeon General Moore's most enduring accomplishments was the Matron Law of 1862--this allowed non-physicians, and women at that, administrative control of military hospitals. This law paved the way for the pioneering work of many, such as Phoebe Yates Pember, and anticipated the United States military by over a century. Previously, it was considered improper for a woman to go inside a hospital, much less run one. Many of the women employed as Matrons were free Blacks, a high position for a Black at that time. Unfortunately, the Surgeon General's office burned in the evacuation fire of April 2, 1865 destroying most of the medical department official records.

After the war, Dr. Moore stayed in Richmond, where he established a medical practice, and also served on the school board for six years.   (Bio by: Bob Hufford) 




Samuel Preston Moore was trained as a military surgeon in the US Army but resigned his commission and was appointed Surgeon-General of the Confederate States Army Medical Department at the beginning of the American Civil War. He reformed the mediocre medical corps by raising recruiting standards and improving treatment protocols and by placing the most capable surgeons in positions of authority. He improved the ambulance corps and directed the construction of many new hospitals for Confederate casualties. He was directly responsible for the barracks hospital design, which is still used today. He established the Confederate States Medical and Surgical Journal and directed a successful effort to develop substitutes for scarce pharmaceuticals from the indigenous flora of the South. He founded the Association of Army and Navy Surgeons of the Confederate States of America. With skill and dedication, Dr. Moore transformed the medical corps into one of the most effective departments of the Confederate military and was responsible for saving thousands of lives on the battlefield.

American journal of surgery. 01/11/1992; 164(4):361-5




Samuel Preston Moore, a native of Charleston, South Carolina graduated from the Medical College of the State of South Carolina in 1834 and quickly became assistant surgeon for the United States Army in 1835. This position required service in several frontier regions of the country, including Missouri, Kansas, Florida, and the Texas-Mexico border. While serving in the Mexican War (1846-48), Moore met the future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, who was quite impressed with his organizational and disciplinary abilities (Rutkow, Manual of milit. surg., vi). Moore was promoted to surgeon in 1849 and remained in this position through the 1850s. However, like many Southern officers in the United States Army, he was in crisis at the brink of the Civil War. When his home state of South Carolina seceded, he resigned his post in the U.S. army and moved to Arkansas to open a private practice and to avoid fighting against a country he had devoted so much of his life to. However, he began receiving personal requests from Jefferson Davis to join the Confederate army. Davis’ descriptions of the army’s unfortunate military situation and the lack of trained medical men eventually persuaded Moore to become surgeon-general in 1861, a position he would hold for the duration of the war (Rutkow, Manual of milit. surg., vii).

When Moore joined the Confederate army, they were already facing many medical-related difficulties, such as shortages of medicines, supplies, and equipment caused by the Union blockade of Southern ports and a lack of trained surgeons. Moore addressed all of these problems. He introduced a new type of large, one-story pavilion hospital and arranged for their construction throughout the South. He established an effective army hospital and field ambulance corps. Moore is also remembered for his resourcefulness in supplying the army with much-needed drugs by creating laboratories to prepare medications from indigenous Southern plants (Assoc. of the Med. Officers 3; Kelly & Burrage 865). In one issue of the Confederate States medical and surgical Journal (January 1864 – February 1865), a journal Moore started and directed, there is an article by him discussing the medicinal properties of Southern plants and criticizing the American Medical Association for not demanding that the blockade be lifted for medicines (Freemon 98-99). This article, “Indigenous remedies of the South,” is held at the Reynolds Historical Library within a bound volume of the journal from 1864-65. 

Moore also instated measures to improve the quality and education of the Confederate army doctors. He set up an examination system that weeded out untrained doctors. If an examinee failed, he could be redeemed by serving as a hospital attendant and later retaking the exam (Freemon 40).  In this way doctors who needed improvement were identified and trained. Also, Moore worked to increase the professional and technical knowledge of Confederate doctors by forming a professional organization, the Association of Army and Navy Surgeons of the Confederate States, founding the journal mentioned above, and compiling A manual of military surgery (1863). This manual is a collection of papers by surgeons which provides exact instructions (with drawings) for performing operations. It was intended for use by inexperienced surgeons in the army (Freemon 98). 



(The personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)


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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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016