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

 

Peter Paul Gilmartin, M.D. 

U.S. Navy Assistant Surgeon Application

 

By Norman L. Herman, M.D., Ph.D.

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: Peter Paul Gilmartin, M.D.

 

Surgeon’s Office,

Naval Yard, Charlestown,

June 9th/63.

 

Dr. Rouschenberger, U.S.N.

                                

Sir,

                                         

In observance of your rule in the examination of Medical Officers, I chronicle the day of my birth as the twenty ninth (29) of June, in the year of grace eighteen-hundred + thirty-nine (1839).  And the event took place in the city of Boston, Mass.  My days were spent in Boston up to my fourteenth year, in pursuit of the ordinary branches of Education, and in the endeavor to engraft some notions of the liberal arts on my slender tree of knowledge.

 

At fourteen years, I was sent to College, and the University at Quebec, in Lower Canada, was selected as my Alma Mater.  I spent two years there, and then migrated to an English College, near Baltimore, Maryland, where I studied four or five years.  After completing my course of Studies in the arts, in Maryland, I turn my thoughts to Science, and chose Medicine as one well calculated to satisfy desire for close study and observation.  Nor was I unmindful of the object so noble a profession had [?] in view – But ad rem

 

My studies in medicine commenced in Canada, once more; but this time in Upper Canada, the so called English Province.  I attended the lectures on Medicine at Queen’s College, Kingston, – remained there nearly seven months  return to Boston, and placed myself under guidance of Dr. John Ryan, of Boston, a gentlemen long my friend and preceptor.  I took advantage of the Harvard Medical School’s lectures this last year in continued attendance at the School up to this date.  If time serves, I shall present my name for graduation at the coming Commencement, and shall then bred [?] myself a medicus de fine, according to Medical Jurisprudence.  The story of my life is ended, and I have only to add that I am, Sir,

 

With great respect,

Your obed’t servant,

P. P. Gilmartin

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Dr. Peter P. Gilmartin is requested to write answers to the following questions? [sic]

                 1.  Through what channels are effete materials removed from the system?

                 2.  What is the composition, therapeutic uses and doses of tartar emetic?

                 3.  What are the officinal preparations of ipecauanha?

                 4.  What are the diagnostic symptoms of dysentery?

                 5.  What is the origin course and distribution of the femoral artery?

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

 


Answers by Gilmartin:

 

1.  It is not a bold idea, I think, and may not be original, but I look upon the whole system of man as so much course substance that will absorb material and allow it to transude as readily as it absorbs.  The skin, that to the naked eye looks impervious is almost as important an emunctory as the kidneys or intestinal canal.  The lungs, also, perform their function of “removing effete material”, – and though a suppression of healthy action in the kidneys or intestines would unquestionably be fatal, if we compare the rapidity of progress towards a fatal result, we shall find the suppression of action in the lungs attended with the greatest immediate danger.  To be categorical in my answer, I must say the proper action through the skin is all important.  By it, we know unhealthy matters are eliminated, both liquid, gaseous, and it is for that reason we appeal to the skin to perform its duties in disease.

The kidneys, we know, are of vital importance; witness the ill-effects – nephritis, albuminemia, etc.  The intestines need scarcely be [unclear] to, in connection with the subject, since the thousand and one diseases they are subject to, are merely a result of imperfect action in “removing effete material”.

 

2.  Tarter emetic is chemically tartrate of antimony and potash, a double salt, as it is said.  It ranks in therapeutics among the emetics, and sedatives, indirectly, through the circulation.  In an over dose, it is fearfully irritant, induced a fatal inflammation of stomach.

Is is one the most [sic] useful remedies in the whole catalogue of medicines.  It is one the most [sic] efficient remedies in inflammatory diseases – that is its special province.

It is then used externally, in combination with other remedies, but its internal application is the universal one.  As a sedative, it may be given in doses of gr. repeated at intervals.  It is very happily combined in its internal use with other remedies.  As an emetic, its ordinary doses 1 gr., up to 2 or 3 grs., hardly more.

 

3.  Ipecacuanha may be used in powder, syrup, and wine.  There may be a tincture, but the wine or syrup is altogether used.  It enters into composition with the well-known cough mixtures.  Of the wine, I should give ss.

 

4.  Dysentery is a disease of lower intestines, and as such we should find as a diagnostic symptom pain over the track of the colon.  But the first + best diagnostic is the character of the discharges.  Since dysentery has its complications; of necessity, the discharges will be as effect to cause.  Where the biliary secretions are disordered, they will communicate their peculiarities the the [sic] discharges of dysentery which are in their nature bloody, mixed with mucus.  Dysentery is an inflammation, in contradistinction to Diarrhoea, which is mere irritation.  Of course, tenesmus, griping, etc, are common to both.

 

5.  The femoral artery is the terminal, – rather the continuation of the external iliac.  It takes origin at about Poupart’s ligament, comes over the bony wall of the ileum, traces its course along the inner side of the Sartorius muscle, down the inner side of the thigh to the Adductor Magnus, which it pierces, and comes out in the popliteal space to divide into the terminal branches, the anterior + posterior tibial arteries.

 

6.  By “latent heat” is meant, literally, heat hidden.  The most apt example I can first mention of, is that of ice, which will absorb a certain amount of heat and retain it.  By temperature, to my mind, is understood, the warmth of our own bodies compared with external air, or another body.

By specific gravity, is meant the relative weight of bodies in comparison with that of water as a standard, which is arbitrarily fixed at 1000.

 

Respectfully Submitted by

P. P. Gilmartin


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