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Mott, Alexander Brown (1826-1889)

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1863; Brigade Surg., 2d Brig. N. Y. State Militia, 1861-62; Surg. U. S. Vols., 1862, at U. S. Gen. Hosp., N. Y.

It is always rather a doubtful privilege to be the son of an illustrious father, particularly when following in his profession, but Mott the younger was operating with his father when only twenty-four. He was the fourth son and fifth child of Dr. Valentine (q. v.) and Louisa Dunmore Mott and grandson of Dr. Henry Mott, and was born in New York City the twenty-first of March, 1826. As a boy he went to Columbia College Grammar school. Then followed five years in Europe with his family, an experience in naval warfare as a marine in 1844, and in a mixed following of medicine and business at Havre, France. On returning home he graduated (in 1850) at the Vermont Academy of Medicine and took an M. D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1857. He had been helping his father before graduation and continued to do so, taking charge of the operating room and performing most of the operations in the surgical clinics.

In 1851 he married the youngest daughter of Thaddeus Phelps and ten years later went off to the war as
brigade-surgeon and medical director successively, helping to found the first United States Army General Hospital in New York, in which were received some 4,000 patients. This gave him an ample surgical experience. Among other operations he tied the common carotid nine times, twice ex-sected the entire ulna, and twice removed the entire lower jaw. He may justly be said to have transmitted to posterity the heritage of a name illustrious in surgery with added memories of his own good work. On August 11, 1889, he died at his country house at Yonkcrs, after a two days' illness from pneumonia.

Among his writings was: "Surgical Operations and the Advantage of Clinical Teaching."

His appointments included: senior surgeon, Mount Sinai Hospital; surgeon, Bellevue Hospital; surgeon, New York State Militia; co- founder and professor of anatomy in Bellevue Hospital Medical College.

Med. and Surg. Reporter, Phila., 1864-5.
Boston Med. S; Surg. Jour., 1889, vol. cxxi, 193.
New York Med. Jour., 1SS9, vol. 1, 214.
There is a portrait in the Surg.-Gcn.'s Library,
Wash.. D. C.

Alexander Brown, surgeon, born in New York city, 31 March, 1826, went to Europe with the family in 1836, and received a classical education during their five years' residence abroad. Visiting Europe again in 1842, he travelled for five years and underwent many adventures. Returning to New York city, he studied medicine in his father's office and in the University medical college, and afterward at the Vermont academy of medicine in Castleton, where he was graduated in 1850. He began practice in New York city, and at the same time attended lectures in the New York medical college, from which he received a diploma in 1851. In 1850 he was appointed surgeon to the New York dispensary. He also became in 1853 visiting surgeon to St. Vincent's hospital, which he had assisted in founding in 1849, was attending surgeon in the Jewish hospital in 1855-'63, and for fourteen years was surgeon to the Charity hospital. In 1857 he obtained the degree of M. D. from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1859 he was appointed attending surgeon at Bellevue hospital, and subsequently consulting surgeon to the Bureau of medical and surgical relief to the outdoor poor in New York city.


In April, 1861, he undertook the organization of the medical corps of the militia regiments that were sent to the seat of war, subsequently acted as medical director in New York, and founded, with the co-operation of patriotic ladies, the United States army general hospital in New York, of which he was made surgeon in charge, receiving on 7 November, 1862, the commission of surgeon of United States volunteers, with the rank of major. Toward the close of 1864 he was made medical inspector of the Department of Virginia, and attached to Gen. Edward O. C. Ord's staff. He was present at the conference between Generals Grant and Lee where the terms of surrender were arranged. He was mustered out of the service on 27 July, 1865, with the brevet rank of colonel. Dr. Mott was one of the founders of Bellevue medical college, and was professor of surgical anatomy from its opening on 31 March, 1861, till 1872, and since that date has been professor of clinical and operative surgery.


Among the important operations performed by Dr. Mott are the ligation of the common and internal carotid, the subclavian, the innominata, the common, internal, and external iliac, and the femoral arteries; resection of the femur; two amputations at the hip-joint; exsection of the ulna; removal of the entire jaw for phosphor-necrosis twice ; and numerous operations of lithotomy.--Another son of Valentine, Thaddeus Phelps, soldier, born in New York city, 7 December, 1831, was educated in the University of New York. In 1848-'9 he served as sub-lieutenant in Italy. In 1850, on account of ill health, he shipped before the mast on the clipper ship "Hornet" for California. He was third mate of the clipper "Hurricane" in 1851, second mate of the ship " St. Denis" in 1852, mate of the " St. Nicholas" in 1854, and returned to California in 1855. He served in Mexico under Ignacio Comonfort in 1856-'7. In 1861 he became captain of Mott's battery in the 3d Independent New York artillery. He was made captain in the 19th United States infantry in 1862, lieutenant-colonel of cavalry in 1863, and later colonel of the 14th New York cavalry, and chief of outposts in the Department of the Gulf under General William B. Franklin. He resigned in 1864, and in 1867 was nominated as minister resident to Costa Rica, but declined. He went to Turkey in 1868, and was appointed in 1869 major-general and ferik-pacha in the Egyptian army. In 1870 he was made first aide-de-camp to the khedive. In 1874, his contract with Egypt having expired, he refused to renew it, and in 1875 went to Turkey, where he remained during the Servian and Russo-Turkish wars. In 1879 he settled in Toulon, France, on account of his health. In 1868 General Mott was named by the sultan grand officer of the imperial order of the Medjidieh. In 1872 he was made grand officer of the imperial order of the Osmanieh, and in 1878 he was given the war medal of the "Croissant Rouge" nomination, of which but eighteen had been awarded, the sultan himself being one of the number.--Alexander Brown's son, Valentine, physician, born in New York city, 17 November, 1852, was graduated at Columbia in 1872, and then studied natural science at Cambridge, England, where he was graduated in 1876. He was graduated at Bellevue medical college in 1878, and began practice in New York city. He has been attending surgeon for the out-door department of Bellevue hospital since 1879, and has performed many of the larger operations in surgery. In May, 1887, he went to Paris as the representative of the American Pasteur institute, and studied under Louis Pasteur the prophylactic treatment for hydrophobia, which he introduced into the United States, bringing away the first inoculated rabbit that Pasteur allowed to leave his laboratory. He has successfully treated many that have been bitten by rabid animals. His principal medical paper is "Rabies and How to Prevent it, being a Discussion of Hydrophobia and the Pasteur Method of Treatment."--A grandson of the first Valentine, Henry Augustus, chemist, born in Clifton, Staten island, New York, 22 October, 1852. He was graduated at the Columbia college school of mines in 1873 with the degrees of engineer of mines and bachelor of philosophy, and in 1875 received his doctorate in course.


Dr. Mott at once directed his attention to technical chemistry, and held consulting relations to sugar, soda, oleomargarine, and other industries. His connection with the manufacture of artificial butter dates from its introduction into the United States, and his process for preventing the crystallization of the butter made possible the commercial success of the product. In the domain of food chemistry his investigations are numerous, and for three years the supplies that were purchased by the Indian department were examined by him. Dr. Mott has frequently appeared in court as an expert, and he has conducted numerous investigations for private persons. In 1881-'6 he was professor of chemistry in New York medical college and hospital for women. Dr. Mott was the first to question the validity of the wave theory of sound, and asserts that he has shown its fallacy. He has devoted much attention to the so-called "philosophy of substantialism," and his latest investigations and papers have been prepared to establish the entitative nature of force, claiming that it has as much objective existence as matter, though not material; also in accumulating data to show the fallacy of the wave theory of sound. He received the degree of LL.D. from the University of Florida in 1886, and is a member of the chemical societies of London, Paris, Berlin, and New York, and of other scientific associations. The titles of his scientific papers in various departments of chemistry and philosophy are very numerous. He has published "The Chemist's Manual" (New York, 1878) ; " Was Man Created ?" (1880) ; "The Air we Breathe and Ventilation" (1881); and "The Fallacy of the Present Theory of Sound " (1885).

Medical/Surgical History--Part II, Volume II
Chapter VII.--Injuries Of The Pelvis.
Section II.--Wounds Of The Blood-Vessels And Nerves
Wounds and Ligations of the Sciatic Artery.--The examples of lesions of this vessel that were reported were fatal. Cases recorded further on were treated--by Professor Brainard, by ligation of the primitive iliac; by
Surgeon A. B Mott, by tying the hypo-gastric;

CASE 973 --Sergeant-Major E. Raymond Fonda, 45th New York, aged 28 years, was wounded at Drury's Bluff. May 7, 1864, by a minié ball, which entered one inch to the right of the coccyx, passed upward and out to within half an inch of the surface, just above the trochanter major of the right side. The ball was cut down upon and removed on the same day; it did not injure the bone. The wounded man was treated in a field hospital until the 10th, when he was admitted into Hampton Hospital, Fort Monroe; thence transferred to New York, and admitted to Ladies' Home Hospital on the 23d of May. Surgeon A. B. Mott, U. S. V., reported: "When admitted, the patient was very much emaciated; the wound healed unhealthy and inflamed, the discharges thin and offensive, and there was a disposition to slough. The sloughing increased on the 26th; the discharge was sanious and thin, the patient weak and restless. On the 28th, the wounds were still unhealthy in condition and showing evidence of gangrene. June 1st: The discharge was slightly increased and the wound painful. Five ounces of sherry wine daily, with extra diet. was ordered. On the 8th, the wounds were still painful, and the discharge continued to look unhealthy. Haemorrhage occurred on the 13th, coming probably from the sciatic artery; persulphate of iron was applied and the wound plugged. On the 14th. there was a very profuse haemorrhage, which was arrested by persulphate of iron with pressure. Haemorrhage recurred on the 15th, and was checked by the application of Lambert's tourniquet with compresses. The patient was much reduced in strength; pulse 130. Beef-tea and five ounces of sherry wine were given and frequently repeated during the day. There was no haemorrhage the next day; beef-tea and wine continued. The patient was much better on the 17th; his pulse 160. After consultation, it was decided that the only chance for the patient's recovery would be to ligate the right internal iliac artery. He was put under the influence of a mixture of chloroform and ether, and the operation was performed by Surgeon A. B. Mott, U. S. V.

Citations in the Med. and Surg. History: MOTT, A. B, 81, 332, 487, 638, 644, 672, 690, 777, 784, 785, 825, 982, 987, 988


Alexander Brown Mott.

By John W. Shrady, M.D.

Alexander Brown Mott, who was born in New York city, 25 Park place, March 31,1826, was the fourth son and fifth child of Dr. Valentine Mott and Louisa Dunmore Munn. His grandfather, Dr. Henry Mott, a native of Hempstead, L. I., and descended from Adam Mott, was born in 1757; he was a pupil of Dr. Samuel Bard, and a New York practitioner for many years, dying at the age of eighty-three. Valentine, an elder brother, and also a physician of rising reputation, died from yellow- fever in the prime of life. Dr. Valentine Seaman, so well known in our local annals, was also a remote relative of the family, all of whom belonged to the Society of Friends, or, as they are generally known, Quakers.

Following up the doctor's career in chronological order, his first preceptor was William Darling, then a tutor in his father's family, afterwards the erudite Professor of Anatomy in the University Medical College. Next came the thorough course of the Columbia College grammar school, of which Prof. Charles Anthon was the rector. This brought him up to 18:56, when, during the European sojourn of his family until 1841, he enjoyed the privileges of the best masters. On his return to his native city, a desire to adopt the military profession turned his attention to West Point, which project, however, was abandoned after a short course of instruction under Lieut. Wayne, who was connected with that famous institution.

During the autumn of 1842 the subject of this sketch again went abroad, passed nearly a year upon the continent, principally in Germany and France, in the meantime accepting a position of trust in the Naval Agency, Marseilles. In the summer of 1844 he accompanied Commodore Morris, U. S. N., in command of the Mediterranean squadron, as his private secretary. Becoming identified with one oC the Spanish revolutions, he found himself in command of a battery, and, as a plucky leader at the siege of Barcelona, which surrendered after a three days engagement, he was obliged to flee the country. Penniless, he worked his passage to Marseilles, where he formed a business connection which enabled him to visit Piedmont, Austria, and Italy—all during the year 1845.

Most of 1846 he spent in Havre, France, in the study of medicine under the direction of a friend, using what time might be spared from mercantile pursuits; but not until the future doctor's return to New. York in 1847 was there any real systematic effort,—not before a formal entrance into his father's office and matriculation at the University Medical College. He afterwards took the course of the Vermont Academy of Medicine in Castleton, where he was graduated in 1850. He immediately began to practice in New York, but at the same time he continued his studies, attending lectures in the New York Medical College. This institution granted him a diploma in 1851, he being one of the thirteen who constituted the first class of graduates. From being a busy aid 'to his father in his multifarious duties, he gradually developed many philanthropic plans of his own, for even while yet a student he is credited with helping to organise the St. Vincent's hospital, of which he was for a long time one of the attending surgeons. At the founding of the "Jews," now " Mt. Sinai," hospital, he was appointed Senior Attending Surgeon, and so continued until 1863, when he resigned. In 1859 he was appointed Attending Surgeon to Bellevue hospital, and was somewhat later quite active in the organisation of the college which has reflected so much lustre upon the institution which suggested its name. As its Professor of Surgical Anatomy he did most excellent work, and gradually improved himself in extemporaneous discourse, but never to the extent of overburdening his words with rhetoric at the expense of clearness or exactness of statement. He was terse and emphatic, but never ornamental.

In April, 1861, when President Lincoln made his first call for troops, Dr. Mott, as surgeon to the Second Brigade New York State Militia, received orders, and after two hours' notice was ready to go to Washington with his command. His sense of responsibility compelled him to weed out the druggists and mechanics who filled the position of regimental surgeons and assistants. Well qualified physicians, equipped with the proper appliances and instructed in the duties of their new rank, at his instance filled the vacancies. When on the eve of departure, however, he received a countermanding order, appointing him medical director pro tem. He was next ordered to inspect recruits, and is credited with labouring night and day, until thirty-eight New York regiments were sent to the field. Of those inspected he rejected twenty per cent. Those whose memories fail to recall this war epoch of the nation's history can but feebly appreciate the magnitude of this great work.

Dr. Mott persevered in his humanitarian work, becoming medical director in New York, and founding, with the help of a number of well known women, the United States Army General Hospital in New York. He was made surgeon in charge of this hospital, and received, on November 7, 1862, the commission of Surgeon of United States Volunteers, with the rank of Major. This grade, equivalent to that of the regular army grade, carried with it plenary administrative powers as regards hospital supervision and eligibility for appointments as medical directors, while it was understood to excuse from regimental duties in the field. About the end of 1864 he became medical inspector of the department of Virginia, and was attached to Gen. Edward O. C. Ord's staff. He was present at the memorable conference at Appomattox court-house on April 9, 1865, when the terms of General Lee's surrender were arranged, and, with the brevet rank of Colonel, was mustered out of service on July 27, 1865. He then resumed practice in New York.

Dr. Mott helped to found Bellevue Hospital Medical College. He was Professor of Surgical Anatomy there from its opening until 1872, after which he became Professor of Clinical and Operative Surgery. He performed many important operations, ligated most of the arteries, and, independently of his career of useful activity, his contributions to the advancement of medical science were such as will hand his name down to posterity.

In 1851, April 3, he married Miss Arabella, the youngest daughter of Thaddeus Phelps, by whom he had a son and a daughter, the latter dying at an early age. Dr. Mott's domestic life was an unusually happy one while his wife lived. After her death in Rome, in 1874, he gave his whole attention to his profession and to the affairs of the many societies of which he was a member.

He held a prominent place in the Century Club, and was president of the Mott Memorial Library, at No. 64 Madison avenue, and of the Amer- can Pasteur Institute. He was also a member of the County Medical Association, and was connected with all the important medical societies in the country. He belonged to the Protestant Episcopal Church, aud took a great interest in Masonry, being Sovereign Grand Inspector-General of the Supreme Council (Cerneau Rite) and Puissant Lieutenant- Commander thereof for the United States and territories. He held under that body the thirty-third aud last degree in the A. and A. Scottish Rite; was Most Illustrious Sovereign Grand Master-General 33°.90°.96°, of the A. and P. Rite and the Rite of Memphis. He was also Junior Vice-Commander of the Rice Post, G. A. R., a Companion of the Loyal Legion (N. Y. Commandery), a member of Holland Lodge, No. 8, F. and A. M., a Companion of Jerusalem Chapter, No. 8, R. A. M., and a Knight of St. John of Malta; also a Past Commander of the Adelphic Commandery, No. 59, of Knights Templar (mounted).

Dr. Mott died Sunday morning, August 11, 1889, at his country seat in Yonkers, of pneumonia, after a two days illness.


1884 Mott, Alexander Brown 1889.

M. D., Univ. Penn., 1850; N. Y. Med. Coll., 1851; Attend Surg., N. Y. Disp., 1850; Vis. Surg., St. Elizabeth's
Hosp., 1851, Jews' Hosp.,
1863; Brigade Surg., 2d Brig. N. Y. State Militia, 1861-62; Surg. U. S. Vols., 1862, at
U. S. Gen. Hosp., N. Y.
; Prof. Surg. Anat., Bell. Hosp. Med. Coll., 1861-72; Prof. Surg., 1861; Clin. & Oper.
Surg., 1872-89; Cons. Surg., Charity Hosp. Died, 1889, aet. 63 ; cause, acute lobar pneumonia. Son of Valentine Mott.

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


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