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

 

 Home page  |   Feedback & Contact Dr. Echols  |  SEARCH this site   |  Article Indexes   |   Medical Faculty & Authors

 Civil War Medical Books  |  Medicine Containers   |   1800's & Civil War Surgery Set Displays

Medical College Index - Lecture Cards  |  Civil War Medical Book Author-Title Index

 

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

2011 - "The sesqui-centennial of the Civil War" -  2015

The 150th Year Celebration

 

 Home page  |   Feedback & Contact Dr. Echols  |  SEARCH this site   |  Article Indexes   |   Medical Faculty & Authors

 Civil War Medical Books  |  Medicine Containers   |   1800's & Civil War Surgery Set Displays

Medical College Index - Lecture Cards  |  Civil War Medical Book Author-Title Index

Wanted to Purchase: Items like those on this website, including Civil War surgeon uniforms, medical books, CDV's, surgeon images, diaries, and related medical items ... Contact

Dr. Echols' partial list of Google books for Civil War Surgeon Research

 

William H. Bates, M.D.

U.S. Navy Assistant Surgeon Application

 

By Norman L. Herman, M.D., PhD.

The following is a dictated translation of the hand-written application to the U. S. Navy Examination Board during the Civil War by a civilian physician/surgeon for a position as a medical officer in the Federal Navy or for promotion to Assistant Surgeon by an Acting Assistant Surgeon.  The actual applications are in the possession of the author and presented to enlighten the general public and other researchers as to the education process before and during the Civil War, the personal history of the applicants, as well as to show their personal level of medical knowledge in answering the questions asked by the Navy Board of Examiners.  (Some applicants failed to pass and did not serve or served in the Union Army.)

This written presentation was first of a part of a two-part exam consisting of a written exam and an oral exam.   Many of these applications are rich with highly detailed medical content offering an interesting perspective on the medical knowledge and practices of the period.  A broad sampling of these exams is presented to give you a 'picture' of the type of applicant being examined and admitted to or rejected by the Federal Navy in 1863.   Much more detail on the individuals and their personal and naval history will be presented in a forth-coming book by Dr. Herman.

(The actual written exam photos are available, but not presented on these pages due to the size of the files.  An example of a hand-written exam is on the List of all Applicants page)

(The actual written exam photos are available, but not presented on these pages due to the size of the files.  An example is on the List of all applicants page)

If you have additional information or images for any of these doctors, please contact us.

A list with links to all applicants in this survey of U.S. Navy Applicants for 1863

Example of a handwritten exam given by the Navy Examination Board

 


Applicant: William H. Bates, M.D.

       

I was born on the 25th day of December, 1841, at a place called Fourth Neck, Suffolk County, Long Island, and state of New York.

       

I was educated in the city of Brooklyn at a private institution.  I have studied the classics some, but have not advanced very far.  I have studied the Latin grammar, reader and read of the part of Ceaser [sic, correction marks in pencil].  In Greek I have only studied the grammar.  I have studied most of the English branches.

       

I have been engaged in the study of medicine for the past three years and a half, in the City of New York, with Dr. P. A. Aylette and am a graduate of the University of New York.

        

I’ve spent the past year in the Brooklyn City Hospital, and it had a good opportunity of witnessing the practice of Medicine and Surgery.   I’ve been in the habit of compounding prescriptions but I have not had much of an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the various drugs; most of our medicines being obtained already prepared.   I’ve never studied natural history.    I’ve studied the French language.  I can read and translate it some.  I can also speak it a little.

 

My address in Philadelphia is Girard House  Chestnut Cor 9th Street. and in Brooklyn, 55 Presidents St.

 

W. H. Bates

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Questions to be answered in writing, by  Dr. Wm. H. Bates.

What are the symptoms and causes of Fistula Lacrymalis?

What are the symptoms and causes of Chlorosis?

What are the symptoms of inflammation?

What is the difference between bone and the teeth?

The blood what is composed of [sic]?

What difference between human blood and that of the lower animals [sic]?

What is Prussic Acid?

State the causes, symptoms in treatment of hæmoptysis.

What is trismus?

 


Answers by Bates:

 

1.  The chief symptoms of Fistula Lacrymalis is an overflowing of the tears and dryness of the mucous membrane of the corresponding side of the nose, there is also more or less irritation about the eye; if it has existed for any great length of time it may cause more or less impairment of vision.   The causes of Fistula Lacrymalis are any obstructions of the Lachrymal duct, it may be stricture; which is the most common cause produced by inflammation; or by the lodgement of any foreign substance such as calculi which sometimes formed in the lachrymal sac.

 

2.  Chlorosis is a disease characterized by an increase of white corpuscles in the blood, and a diminution of the red corpuscles.  It is characterized by an anemic condition of the patient.  The countenance is very frail approaching to whiteness in colour.  The patient is gently weak, unable to make any great exertion either of mind or body.  It is supposed to be due to deficiency of iron in the blood which gives to it, its red colour.  It generally occurs in patience of a strenous [sic] diathesis; or in children of parents whose constitutions have been broken down by disease or want.

 

3.  Inflammation may be defined to be in an altered state of nutrition, attended by an increased vascularity and sensibility with a tendency to morbid secretion and change of structure.  The four great signs of inflammation are Pain, Heat, Redness and tumefaction.

   Inflammation is always attended by more or less constitutional disturbance, by increased frequency and force of the circulation, more or less febrile [sic] movement, and a general impairment of the function of animal life.

 

4.  Bone is composed of Animal and earthly matter.  According to the latest analysis by Lehmann, it contains in 100 parts, 33 of animal and 67 of earthly matters.  The earthly matter of bone is chiefly Phosphate of lime.   The T differ from bone the containing a substance called dentine which exists in the enamel.

 

5.  The Blood is composed of two parts the plasma and blood globules.  The former is composed of water chiefly containing Fibrine [sic].  Albumin, fatty matter and saline substances, of the latter the chlorides of sodium and protoplasm, phosphates of ammonia, soda and potassa are among the principal ingredients of the plasma of the blood.  The blood globules are composed of a substance called globulin, Haematin, water, and saline substances, these latter being the same as the plasma.

 

6.  The difference between human blood and that of the lower animals is, that human blood contains more fibrine [sic], and is also richer in iron.

 

7.  Prussic Acid is a substance which exists in certain plants, it is the most poisonous substance known, when in its concentrated form, producing death instantly if a drop touches the tongue.  It exists in the bark of the Wild Cherry Tree and also to a slight extent in peach blossoms.

  It may be made by acting on the cyanide of mercury with Hydrochloric acid, and apply heat.

 

8.  Haemoptysis may be defined to be a flow of blood from the lungs, bronchial tubes, or from any part of the air passages below the Larynx.  The most common cause of Hæmoptysis is Phthysis [sic].  When the tubercular matter deposited in any part of the lung tissue begins to soften, all of the tissues with which it is in immediate contact ulcerate, at the same time, when this softening and ulceration takes place all of the structures give way and any arterial branch which lies in the immediate contact after a while ulcerates, and thus hemorrhage takes place from the ulcerated extremity of the blood vessel.  Hæmoptysis occurs to a slight extent in Pneumonia, Bronchitis and also as a physiological result in vicarious menstruation.   The symptoms in the first variety are usually very limited the hemorrhage occurring very suddenly and the patient not feeling any great uneasiness until the hemorrhage takes place.  In the vicarious menstruation there is congestion of the air vesicles and these rupture, and pour there contents into the bronchial tubes; there is always more or less dyspnoea accompanying this latter variety.  In Bronchitis and Pneumonia the blood usually comes up with the sputa, or it may occur alone from congestion and rupture of the capillary blood vessels, with this variety you will have the accompanying signs of the disease, either bronchitis or pneumonia.  The treatment in the former variety is to administer astringents internally, of these some of the preparations of iron, either the Tr Ferri sesquichloridi or the Liq. Ferri persulphatis.  This latter I have seen success in arresting the flow of blood in a single dose given at once when all other astringents have failed.  In Hæmoptysis which occurs as a vicarious menstruation, I should not intefere [sic] with it unless excessive; and the same remark is applicable in Bronchitis and Pneumonia.

 

9.  Trismus may be defined to be tonic contraction of the muscles of animal life occurring in new born infants and hence is called Trismus Neonatorum and in Ireland nine day fits as it usually occurs about that time after birth, and is supposed to be due to some irritation about the spinal cord, produced by the separation of the umbilical cord.  It generally proves fatal.

 

W. H. Bates

 

Naval Asylum 

March 12th 1863}

 


Certificate of Physical Capacity

               

I declare on honor that, my health at this time is good and robust; and to the best of my knowledge and belief, I am free from any accidental or constitutional defects, and without any predisposition to Epilepsy, Phtisis, Gout, Apoplexy, or chronic disease of any kind.

              

I am not at present affected with varicocele, disease of the urinary organs, hernia, hemorrhoids; nor am I aware that there is anything hereditary in my constitution, which would hereafter be likely, to incapacitate me, for the arduous duties of a Medical Officer of the Navy.    All my organs of sense are without imperfection.

 

 William H. Bates

 Candidate for the office of Asst. Surgeon in the Navy of the United States 1863

 U.S. Naval Asylum Philad 


A list with links to all applicants in this survey of U.S. Navy Applicants for 1863

Example of a handwritten exam given by the Navy Examination Board

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:

INDEX

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

Please request permission before commercial use or publication of any content or photos on this site and credit any use with:  "American Civil War Surgical Antiques"   All content and all original photography on this Web Site is copyrighted 1995 - 2015 and may not be used on any other web site or in commercial print without the expressed e-mail permission from Dr. Arbittier:  Contact   All rights reserved. 

 

Students doing reports or projects are welcome to use the content of this site without permission, but credits would be appreciated.

 

Please note: information on this site may not be normally referenced as this is an active and long-term educational research project.  Personal notes may not be properly cited for publication.  Various articles are digitally reproduced under the 'fair-use act' of the copyright laws and are intended for educational purposes only.  Many citations are from Google digital 'books' and can be traced backwards via a search of a unique string in the citation.

 

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

 

Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016