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

 

William James Gilfillan, 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)

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 James Gillfillan, M.D.

 

1.  I was born in the county of Londondary, Ireland, December, 1839.

2.  My course of studies at shool were [sic], Mathematics, English Grammar, Geography, and a very little philosophy.  At College, I studied Latin and some Greek.  I am not acquainted with any of the modern languages.

3.  I commenced the study of medicine in Brooklyn, under Dr. Alexr Cochran and attended lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, of which I am a graduate.

4.  I have had no opportunity for the practice of pharmacy, and have had very little chance of obtaining a knowledge of the physical properties of drugs, in relation, however, to the practice of Medicine and Surgery, I have had one year’s experience, as resident Surgeon in the Brooklyn City Hospital.

5.   Girard House, Chestnut, + Ninth, Sts, 298 Fulton St. Brooklyn, New York.

 

Wm. James Gilfillan

 

Naval Asylum, Phil.

March 27th 1863.

 


Questions by the Board:

 

 Question to be answered in writing, by  Dr Wm J. Gilfillan

1.  What is Emphysema, + how produced?

2.  How are wounds classed by Surgical writers?

3.  Describe Dessault’s dressing for fractured clavicle.

4.  What are the composition and the use of the Liquor Potassa Citratis?

            5.  Give some of the best methods for allaying nausea, and the circumstances under which each would be

                 applicable_

            6.  Write a prescription, without abbreviations, for a purgative pill containing four ingredients.

7.  What is the composition of the atmosphere?

8.  Describe the course of the foetal circulation.

9.  What are the branches of the external carotid artery, and how are they distributed?

 


Answers by Gilfillan:

 

1.   Emphysema may be defined to consist in a collection of air in the cellular tissue, produced by wounds, sometime produced in the operation of Paracentesis.  Sometimes, but rarely, produced in the lungs by a forced inspiration.

 

2.   Wounds are divided into Incised, Lacerated, Punctured & Poisoned some add Gun shot wounds.

 

3.  The dressing (I think that if I do not confound the names) consists in a strap which passes around the forearm of the affected side passing up over the shoulder behind the lower part of the neck to be fastened around the other shoulder.  At the same time passing another strap around the arm and body having a pad in the axilla.

 

4.  Composed of Potassa, Citric acid, and water.  Used principally as a febrifuge, sometimes used in irritable stomach.

 

5.  Nausea depends on a variety of causes when it depends on constipation, use purgatives.  When it depends on acidity use alkalies [sic].  These remidies [sic, correction “e” in pencil] I have found to be the best.  I have found Diaphoretics useful when it occurs from brief partially narcotized.  Emetics are sometimes useful.

 

6’.  Recipe

                    Extracti Jalapa       Gr i

                    Extracti Colosynthidis  Gr ij

                    Pulveris Rhei            Gr i

                    Extracti Hyosciani      Gr

                    Fiat in pilulum

 

7.  Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbonic acid gas with a trace of Ammonia.

 

8.  Arterialized blood is carried through the umbilical vein to the liver.  The principal [sic] part going through the Ductus Venosus, Vena Cava inferior, right Auricle, foramin [sic] ovale, by means of the Eustachian Valve, left auricle to the left ventricle, the most of it is then carried to the upper extremities, and being partly altered in character is carried into the vena cava Superior into the right auricle to the right Ventricle through the Ductus Arteriosus, (a little going to the lungs) into the aorta descending to the lower extremities, carried back through the Hypogastric Arteries into the umbilical artery to the placenta.

 

9.  Principal branches are, 1st Superior Thyroid distributed to the upper portion of the gland with a few twigs to the muscles in its course, 2nd Lingual distributed to the muscles of the tongue and the organ itself.  3rd Facial widely distributed to the muscles of the face and nose.  4 Occipital distributed to the occipital region.  5 Posterior Auricular going to supply the external and muscles of the ear,   6th Ascending Pharyngeal distributed to the Pharynx.  7th Temporal divides into anterior & posterior, distributed over the region of the scalp and temporal muscles.  8th, Internal Maxillary, giving branches to the Pterygoid muscles, dental branches, and branches to a ear, and to the face.  Some Anatomists speak of a Transverse facial.

March 27th 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 not at present affected with Varicocele, disease of the urinary organs, hernia, or 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.

 

Wm J. Gillifan

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

 

U.S. Naval Asylum, Philadelphia 

March  27th 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