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

 

John Blackmer, 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: John Blackmer, M.D.

 

[Board comment in pencil: aged 35 last July – seems to be in good condition – and is an intelligent gentleman]

 

Navy Yard Boston

Dec. 4, 1863.

 

Surg. Ruchenberger U.S.N.

                         

I have to inform you that I was born at Plymouth Mass. July 18, 1828.  Fitted for college at Phillips academy and over.  Entered Brown University Providence R.I.  In 1849.  To the select course there + left in 1850 or 51.  Commenced the study of medicine at Falmouth Mass.  In 1851 under the direction of Dr. Aaron Cornish.  Graduated the Harvard Medical School at Boston in 1854.  Practice medicine in Effingham N. H. five yrs.  Spent two years in the McLean Asylum Somerville as Asst position.  Was commissioned Asst Surgeon of the 41st Mass Regt. September 1862 and November 1862 was commissioned Surgeon of the 47th Mass Regt.

 

Your Obt. Servt.

John Blackmer

Somerville Mass.

 


Questions by the Board:                

 

 Dr. John Blackmer is requested to write answers to the following questions.

1.  What are characteristic symptoms of typhoid fever?

2.  What are the surgical means of relieving retention of urine?

3.  What are the officinal preparations of sodium?

4.  What is the situation, and function of the pancreas?

5.  What parts enter into the structure of the ankle joint?

6.  Define the terms “specific gravity”, “latent heat,” and temperature?


 Answers by Blackmer:

    

1.  Sense of languor, or wariness, in disposition to physical or mental effort; in some instances preceding the more decided febrile symptoms by several days.  Chills sometimes very slight, sometimes very decided.  Restlessness – Uneasiness at the stomach + often nausea.  Headache.  Pain in the back, not infrequently continuous, + very severe.  Loss of appetite.  Thirst.  General diminution of the secretions.  The salivary + perspiratory + kidneys being especially affected.  Temperature of the surface of the body increased.  Face flushed, pulse accelerated, tongue furred.  After one or two weeks the disease may assume a grave character.  The common febrile symptoms are aggravated.  The urine is more scanty.  The skin harsh + dry, but sometimes (especially after sleep) bathed in a profuse perspiration.  Delirium comes on.  The tongue becomes very dry, its surface brown + cracked or smooth glassy + very red.  Pulse loses its tone becomes rapid and feeble.  The bowels are tender + sometimes tympanitic [sic].  The discharges assume a dark + offensive character.  The strength fails + every organ seems to be more or less implicated in the great struggle.

       

2.  The introduction of the catheter per urethra.

        

3.  Bicarbonate of soda. Muriate of sodium.

       

4.  The pancreas is situated in the abdomen near the diaphragm behind + to the right of the stomach.  It secretes a fluid called the “pancreatic fluid which is supposed to have an agency in converting chyme into chyle.

       

5.  The astragalus, tibia + fibula cartilage ligaments + synovial membrane.

       

6.  “Specific gravity” is the weight of a substance, compared with another substance (taken as a standard) bulk for bulk.

       

 “Latent heat” – every substance contains a certain amount of caloric, under favorable circumstances a portion of this is given off, but some, always remains behind.  This is called “latent heat.”

        

Temperature signifies degree of heat or cold.

 

John Blackmer

Navy Yard

Boston, Dec. 4, 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