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

 

George H. Butler, 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

 


Applicant: George H. Butler, M.D.

 

I George H. Butler was born in the town of Berwick, county of York and state of Maine in the thirty first day of may [sic] 1841.  I have read Latin and studied the usual branches preparitory [sic, correction marks in pencil] to enter College with the exception of Greek in the Great Falls High School at Great Falls N.H.

    

I have studied medicine for the period of two years with Drs. A.S.H. Buzzell + A.  Bickford attended the Bowdoin Medical school and the University of Pennsylvania one course each and had ample opportunities for acquiring a knowledge of pharmacy physical properties of drugs and for witnessing the practice of Medicine and Surgery.

     

I have never made Natural History a study but have read it to some extent.  I am not familiar with any of the modern languages.

     

I have nothing accidental or hereditary in the state of my health that will hereafter be likely to incapacitate me for the discharge of the duties in the Navy.

 

My address in Philadelphia is Philada P.O. in New Hampshire is Great Falls N.H.

To the Board of Surgeons U.S.N.

December 18, 1863.

George H. Butler

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Questions in writing to be answered by Candidate George H Butler

 

1.  What are the distinctive characteristics of contagion, and infection?

2.  What is congestive fever, and wherein consists the danger?

3.  Give the distinction between typhoid + typhus fever.

4.  What are the coats and humours of the Eye?

5.  Describe the portal circulation.

6.  How are gunshot wounds to be treated?

7.  Where the characteristics which distinguish the animal, vegetable and mineral Kingdoms?

8.  What is corrosive sublimate?  Give its characteristics mode of preparation, action antidote + tests.

9.  What is veratrum virde?  Give an account of its source, preparations, action and uses.

 


Answers by Butler

 

Contagious diseases are that class of disease that are always transmitted by the touch; and the disease soul contracted always appears in a certain number of days after the touch differing in different forms of disease.  Is not necessary strictly that a person should come near an affected in order that he may become infected with the disease, for the contagion may be and has been caused from one person to another in the clothes of a third person.  It may cling to the wards of a hospital or to the post-house for a great length of time.  At times this form a disease may become epidemic.

 

Depressed spirits a low state of health and badly ventilated rooms are predisposing causes to contagion

 

Congestive fever is a low form of fever ushered in by languor chill furred tongue headache fever etc. as the disease proceeds there is an increase of the symptoms, delirium, atendency [sic, correction marks in pencil] to congestion of the brain liver etc.

In the congestive stage of this fever there is great danger of the patient’s dying with out much warning in the comatose state.

 

This disease is confined almost exclusively to the malarious districts of hot climates it is endemic attacking those who go one shore to sleep at night while those who stay on board ships escape its poisons.

The malaria is said to keep in the vicinity of the ground, and this explains why those who sleep on high hills escape the effects of it with those who sleep in the same locality in the marshes are attacked with it.  Its dangers are excessive congestion and prostration.

 

In typhoid fever diarrhoea is one of the characteristic symptoms while in typhus there is none, that petechial spots in typhus take the place the rose spots in typhoid, the pulse in typhoid is seldom more than one hundred in a minute while in typhus it some times sums as high as one hundred and twenty.

Typhoid fever generally attacks those between the age of sixteen and thirty five while typhus attacks those of all ages except children.

 

In typhoid fever the patches of Pyer [sic, correction marks in pencil] are ulcerated in typhus they are not.

 

The coats of the eye are thus; the outer one or sclerotic a hard white shining coat; the choroid or middle coat; and the inner or retina which is black, this extend about three fourths around the eye on the posterior part, the anterior part is covered with the cornea transparent and horny.

The humerus on thru the aqueous in the anterior chamber, the crystalline lens and the vitreous in the posterior chamber.

 

The portal circulation consists of the hepatic artery and vein the portal vein the splenic vein the pancreatic vein and the superior and inferior mesenteric veins.

 

In the treatment of gunshot wounds all foreign substances must be removed, the hemorrhage stopped, and if an artery be wounded it must be ligated.  If any bones be broken they must be set, if a limb is so badly injured that it cannot be saved it must be amputated, and the strengths of the patient must be supported with nourishing diet and winds.

 

If concussion occurs you should use stimulants freely and if respiration has ceased artificial respiration should be tried.

 

If compression should occur as the result of depression of the skull it should be trephined and elevated.

 

Animals have the sense of touch sight smell hearing taste, they possess the power of locomotion, and in the higher order the power of thought and reason, while the lower order have the power of instinct.

Animals have the power of life and the life of animals is limited to a certain duration vegetables have the power of life by assimilation the life of vegetables is limited to a certain time vegetables and animals have a certain form and size.  Organs are peculiar to animals and vegetable vegetables [sic] have none of the special senses.

Mineral have no organs they have no power of assimilation or life their duration does not seem to be limited their form is irregular minerals have none of the special senses

The surface of minerals is gently hard and shining, minerals are generally found in the earths rather than upon it.

 

Corrosive Sublimate is the corrosive chloride of mercury its symbol is HgCl.  It is used as an alterative in small doses in chronic syphilis etc.  In the larger doses it is a corrosive poison it is white of a crystalline form and dissolves sparingly in water and freely in alcohol.  Its antidotes and tests are albumin and its compounds white of eggs etc.

 

Veratrum virda [sic] (Indian poke) is a sedative it is an indigenous plant, growing in the marshes of the United States.

It yields its active principles to water and alcohol it is usually kept in the form of a tincture.  It acts as a heart sedative diminishing the frequency of the pulse it is used in the high inflammatory diseases pneumonia etc.

 

George H. Butler

December 18th, 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, Phthisis, Gout, Apoplexy, or chronic disease of any kind.

              

I am [sic] 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.

                                                                         

George H. Butler

Candidate for the office of  Assistant Surgeon in the Navy of the United States

U.S. Naval Asylum Philada

December 17th 1863                                                

 


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

 

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

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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