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 Woolston Coles, 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 Woolston Coles, M.D.

 

I was 24 years of age on the 14th of August 1862.  My place of beirth [sic] is in Delaware Township Camden Co. N.J.

 

I finished my preliminary education with Mr. Gummere at Burlington N.J.  He is now professor of Mathematics at the Haverford College, also president of the same institution.  I have studied nearly all of the branches that are taught in a regular College excepting Greek.

 

I have been studying medicine nearly three years.  Dr. R. P. Thomas was my preceptor.  I received a diploma from the Jefferson Medical College on the 10th of March 1863.  I was eight months in a drug store and attended lectures at the College of Pharmacy.  I have been an assistant in the Clinic of Jefferson College for two years.  Natural History I have never regularly studied.  Spanish is the only modern and Latin the only ancient language that I have studied.

                                

My address is 1100 Walnut St. Phila.

John W. Coles.

 

Naval Asylum, Philada.

12th 1863 [sic].

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Questions to be answered in writing, by Dr. John W. Coles.

1.  What is Ergot, dose, + mode of administration?

2.  Erysipelas, symptoms, + treatment?

3.  Write a prescription, (Latin) without symbols, or abbreviations, for a compound Infusion spigelia.

4.  What is meant by reflex action?

5.  What is meant by automatic movement?

6.  What is meant by death?

7.  How which you treat a case of apparent death from drowning?

8.  What is the pathology of Asthma?

9.  How was arsenic used as a medicine?

 


Answers by Cole:

 

1.  Ergot is the diseased seed of the secale cereale Dose gr.XX to ʓss.  May be given in the form of powder, fluid extract, or wine.

 

2.  Erysipela [sic] peculiar inflammation, it was thought at one time to be a modified common inflammation, cause by the peculiarity of that issue in which it occurred.  The skin and the cellular tissue are the parts which it generally attacks.  May confine itself to the skin or extend to the tissue below, (Cellular), then pass off by resolution, or cause structural lesions, suppuration, or total destruction of the part and patient.  Symptoms are pain, heat, swelling, discoloration and disordered function.  The pain in some cases is very severe, the part always burns, smarts and itches.  Heat is much above that of the healthy parts, maybe as high as 110°.  The color resembles that of a rose, scarlet.  Swelling takes place very rapidly, parts feel very hard to the touch.  Disorder of the function will vary with the particular case and the extent of the disease.  There is much constitutional disturbance, such as Rigors, fever, pain in the head, back etc.  The secretions and excretions are disturbed.  Urine scanty and high colored.  Perspiration checked.  If suppuration takes place he may sink from the exhausting discharge.  In suppuration of the superficial fascia there is no tendency to circumscribe the puss [sic, correction marks in pencil] [unclear] to the formation of abscesses.  It is then, serious and aplastic, deffuses [sic] itself through the healthy tissue, thus causing it to become inflammed [sic] etc.

             

Treatment.  If the patient be robust and full habit, give a brisk cathartic.  If the tongue is coated and there is a taste in the mouth, nausia [sic] etc give an emetic.  Try to reestablish and start the secretions and excretions by diaphoretics and diuretics, bedrest the diet.  If separation takes place and he begins to sink give stimulants etc. Local treatment, place the part at rest, apply a lotion a favorite one of Dr. Gross consists of Rx.  Plumbi Acetatis ʓii.  Pulveris Opii ʓii Aquć O XIII  S.  Keep the part constantly wet with this solution.  If puss [sic] forms beneath the skin, open as soon as possible.  Then apply a poultice, and covered with oiled silk.  Some surgeons have an opposite treatment but the one that I have given is the one that I have seen in the clinic at the Jefferson College as practiced by Dr. Gross.  I forgot to say in the constitutional treatment that a full dose of Morpia [sic, correction marks in pencil] should be given at bed-time so as to relieve pain and promote rest.

 

3.  Recipe.    Pulveris Spigelić Dracumć Unis [correction marks in pencil]

                       Pulveris Cinnamoni [unclear] Unis [correction marks in pencil]

                       Aquć bulicartis Uncić [correction marks in pencil] Sex

                        Fiat infusion et Signa. Take two tabe-spoonful [sic] three times a day.

 

4.  Reflex actions are those acts performed independent of the will.  The spinal cord presides over the system.  Swallowing is a reflex act, after the food passes beyond the half arches it is then under the controll [sic, correction marks in pencil] of this system, the impression of the food on the nerves is carried to the spinal cord, than a reflex action through the nerves of motion the muscles of the oesophagus are excited to contraction and thus the food is carried on to the stomach

 

5.  An automatic movement is one that is performed after person has been deprived of his intellect, these movements often take place just before death.

 

6.  Death is the cessation of all of the functions of the body

 

7.  The treatment of apparent death is artificial respiration after Martial Kall’s method.  Galvinism.  Stimulents [sic, correction marks in pencil] injected into the rectum.  Ammonia to the nose.  Frictions on the surface also the application of heat and sinapisms to the surface.

 

8.  The pathology of asthma is the spasmodic contraction of the muscles of the minute air tubes.

 

9.  Arsenic is an antispasmodic, it is also one of the best preparations in the treatment of cutaneous disease.  May be given in solution, but the best form is the Liquor Potapee Arsenitis u.s.

 

John W. Coles

 


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.

 

John Woolston Coles

Candidate for the office ofAsst. Surgeon in the Navey [sic] of the United States

 

U.S. Navl Asylum Philada           

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

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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