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


David Putney Goodhue, 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: David Putney Goodhue, M.D.


I was born at Dunbarton New Hampshire January 10, 1838.


I persued [sic, correction marks in pencil] the common Accademic [sic, correction marks in pencil] course including Surveying.


I studied Latin to terms, and only read  Natural History.  I am not acquainted with the modern languages.


I studied medicine with Dr. E. K. Webster of Boscawen N.H.


I attended the medical school at the University of Vermant [sic, correction marks in pencil], and Dartmouth school at Hanover N. H.     I am a graduate of the Dartmouth school.


I have had only such chances as are commonly offerd [sic correction marks in pencil] with a country practitioner for observing the physical properties of drugs, and for operations in surgery.


My address in Philadelphia is, at the Western Hotel, No. 628 Market Street.  At home, it is, Boscawen, New Hampshire


David P Goodhue

December 17th, 1863.


To the Examining Board.


Questions of the Board:  

Questions to be answered in writing, by Dr. David P Goodhue.

1.  What are the symptoms + treatment of scurvy?

2.  What are the coats of the intestines, and their arrangement in different portions of the tube?

3.  Describe the symptoms of Pneumonia, in its different stages.

4.  Describe the function of respiration giving the vital, chemical and mechanical actions involved

5.  Where are the characters and treatment of arsenical poisoning and what the test for Arsenic? [sic]

6.  What are the proximate and what the ultimate elements of food? [sic]

7.  Describe the course and branches of the Brachial artery –

8.  What are the forms of dislocation of the humerus?

9.  What is the treatment of fracture of the humerus in the middle third?


Answers by Goodhue:


1.  A feeling of languor and general debility.  Purple spots like ecchymosis appearing over the surface of the body, together with bleeding of the gums and loosning [sic, correction marks in pencil] of the teeth from slight causes.


It occurs when persons have been kept from a fresh vegetable diet for a long time.


A fresh vegetable diet is very essential.  Potatoes should be eaten freely as they are one of the best antiscorbutics.


The patient should have fresh meat with pickles and vinegar.    Citric acid disolved [sic, correction marks in pencil] in water, with sugar added is very good.  Lemonade is good with the other vegetable acids.


2.  The coats of the intestines are the peritoneal, muscular, cellular and mucus.


The peritoneal coat does not cover the intestine entirely but is reflected on to the mesentery and it is wanting at the lower part of the rectum.


The muscular coat consists mostly of fibres running transversely, but it has some that run longitudinaly [sic correction marks in pencil].


At the entrance of the small intestines into the large, we have the inner coats constricted so as to form the illiocolic valve.    In the small intestines we have the mucous coat forming what are called the valvulae caniventis [sic].


3.  We have at first a slight feeling of restriction about the chest, with a slight increase the frequency in the pulse, slight dullness on percussion, and a few mucous rales.


In the second place we have a higher pulse, more fever, acoated [sic] tongue, greater dyspnoea, more mucous rales, with greater dullness on percussion.


In the third stage we have a rapid pulse, high fever, coated tongue, great dyspnoea, almost perfect dullness on percussion, with imperfect aeration and loss of the voice.


4.  Respiration consistent taking air into the lungs and expeling [sic, correction marks in pencil] it from them, and also the aeration of blood in the lungs.


The vital actions consists [sic] in the contractions of the diaphragm, pectoral and intercostal muscles.


The chemical, in the change of the venous to arterial blood, by the loss of carbonic acid and the absorption of oxygin [sic, correction marks in pencil].


The mechanical is the expansion of the lungs by the air.


5.  Arsenic is a mineral poison. 

It produces inflamation [sic, correction marks in pencil] of the stomach with great iritability [sic, correction marks in pencil].


The antidote is the hydrated sesquioxide of iron.


The test is Marshes [sic, correction marks in pencil] test.


6.  The proximate principles of food are Nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon, casein, albumin, protein, etc.


7.    The course of the brachial is on the inside of the arm under the biceps muscle until it reaches the elbow, where it divides into the ulnar, radial, and interoseous [sic, correction marks in pencil].


The brachial artery gives off the suprascapular which goes to the superior part of the scapula, the external and internal mammary, which go to the pectoral muscles and mammary gland, and the anastimodicus [sic, correction marks in pencil] which turns back and anastimoses with the proceeding.


The radial descends on the radial side of the arm, the ulnar on the ulnar side, and the interosseous between the two.  The radial and ulnar pass into the hand and there unite to form the palmar arch which gives off branches to the fingers and thumb.


8.  The dislocations of the humerus, are, downwards, backwards, forwards, and a partial dislocation upwards.


9.  For a fracture of the humerus at the middle third, bring the ends of the bones in apposition, and apply four splints, so as to keep it in place, and then support the arm in a sling.


David P Goodhue.

December 18, 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.


David P. Goodhue

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


U.S. Naval Asylum, Philadelphia 

Decem. 17th, 1863.


To whom if may concern


I have been acquainted with the bearer, David P Goodhue M.D., since his residence in this town.  He studied medicine with me and graduated at Dartmouth College, Medical Department at Commencement in July last.


Dr. Goodhue is a good scholar well rec’d in his profession – a young man of correct habits and unblemished moral character.  He will, I doubt not, prove himself worthy of any trust committed to him.


It gives me great pleasure to recommend him to the attention and confidence of any who may need his service.


E. K. Webster, M.D.

Late President of

New Hampshire

Medical Society

Boscawen N.H. 

Dec.  17th 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:


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