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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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

 

Benjamin Franklin Bigelow, 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:  Benjamin Franklin Bigelow

 

Navy Yard Charlestown Dec 3rd 1863

 

Sir

 

In accordance with your request I have the honor to state the following in relation to myself.

I was born in Walpole Mass.  July 31st 1842 and from the time in which I was old enough until 16 years of age attended school constantly having attended 10 consecutive terms at an academy.

 

In the commencement of my 17th year I entered a drug store to learn the art of preparing and dispensing medicines, and continued in the business until August 25th 1862 when I enlisted in the U.S. Army, received the appointment of Hospital Steward, was ordered to the Mason U. S. Genl. Hospital for duty where I have been, and am now stationed.  During the time I have been stationed in the Hospital I have studied under the direction of Dr. W. E. Townsend, A.A. Surgeon U.S.A. in charge, + attended the fall winter course of lectures 1862 + 3 at Harvard University and have always had the full benefit of the practice in the Hospital in which I was station as well as all the surgical cases in the Mass. Genl. Hospital.

 

While in a drug store for the first 2 years and 6 months I was with a practicing Physician and occupied my spare time in the study of medicine.  This sir is my whole history.

 

I have the honor to be

Your Obt. Servt

Benj. Franklin Bigelow

Hospital Steward U.S. Army

     

To:  W.S.W. Ruchenberger U.S. Navy

Navy Yard Boston Mass.

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Mr. Benjamin Franklin Bigelow is requested to write answers to the following questions?  [sic]

1.  What are the indications of treatment in acute dysentery?

2.  What organs are contained in the cavity of the abdomen?

3.  What arteries convey blood to the brain?

4.  What are the symptoms of flatulent colic?

5.  What are the officinal preparations of the bony a?

6.  What changes are produced in atmospheric air by respiration?

  


Answers by Bigelow:

 

 No. 1   In the first stages of Acute Dysentery the preliminary treatment is to remove all irritating substances by the use of emetics or saline cathartics, emmolient [sic] drinks light diet + astringent in the more severe cases with excessive sanguinous discharges and great general debility.  Opium in different forms to promote rest, allay inflammation and reduce secretion.  Oil Turpentine is sometimes beneficial in view of its tendency to allay passive hemorrhage, tonics to sustain the strength of the system light food, refrigerant drinks, Astringents, external irritation etc.

2  The organs contained in the abdominal cavity are the Stomach, large and small Intestines, Liver, Bladder, Kidneys, Spleen, pancreas, in the female the Uterus + appendages.

 

3rd  What arteries convey the blood to the brain?  the internal Carotids in front, the Vertebral uniting to form the Basilic posteriorly, + the meningeal arteries, the Carotids + Basilic uniting in the interior of the cranium to form the circle of Willis from which small branches are given off.

 

4th  What are the symptoms of Flatulent Colic?  the symptoms of flatulent colic pain in the epigastrium, cramps, painfull [sic] errucations of wind, febrile symptoms rigidity of the muscles, foecal accumulation.

 

5th  What are the officinal preparations of Ammonia the officinal preparations are the Carbonate, the Hydro Chlorate or Sol. Ammoniac, Liq. Ammonia Fort. + Liq Ammonia made from the Fort. by dilution in water.  Phosphate Liq. Ammonia Acitas or Spts. Monderoms formed by carb ammonia + acetic Acid dil.

 

6th  What changes are produced in atmospheric air by are respiration 1st the consuming of the oxygen contained in the air by its being absorbed by the blood with which it comes in contact in the Lungs.  2nd it is contaminated in consequence of the Carbonic acid eliminated from the blood during the passage through the lungs and in tight rooms with crowded assemblies of persons becomes almost incapable of supporting respiration in consequence of the loss of Oxygen necessary to purify the blood Langor [sic] Headache restless anus + famous being the symptoms usually exhibited under such influence.

 

Benj. Franklin Bigelow

Navy Yard Boston

Dec 3rd 1863


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