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 D. Harris, 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: George D. Harris, M.D.

                                    

Charleston Navy Yard Mass.

Nov. 9th 1863.

 

Surgeon Ruchenberger.

Dear Sir,

                               

I wish to state to you my past and present situation and I will begin by saying; I was born in the town of Canaan, Grafton Co. N.H. in the year 1840, Dec. 17; making me now 22 years of age.    My education has been Accidemical [sic].  I attended school one year at Canaan union academy, two years at Kimballs Union Academy.  I began to attend at Canaan in 1857 and at Kimballs Union in 1858 + 9.  In Nov. 12th 1860 I began the study medicine and Surgery with Dr. Currie at Enfield, and remained with him my first year, the second I studied with Dr. A. R. Bullard was Dr. Currie’s successor,  my third year I went to Petersborough N. H. and there remained with Prof Albert Smith of Dartmouth Medical College my last year. Oct 30th /63/ I graduated at the above name College. 

 

My chance for practice has been quite small; only about a month; which time I attended several cases of Diphtheria, it being in fact about all the practice, I have over heard during my course.  I see about 200 cases of Diphtheria.  I have attended three full courses of lectures at Hanover N.H. during which time I have heard several very able lectures on Diphtheria; it a disease that has constantly been under my observation during my whole course of study.

I am desirous of obtaining a situation in the U.S. Navy as Acc. [sic] Assist Surgeon; hoping that I may get that situation.

                                                              

I remain your humble servant

Geo. D. Harris M.D.

 


Questions by the Board:

                           

Dr. George D. Harris is requested to write answers to the following questions?

                        1.  How is venous converted into arterial blood?

                        2.  What are the diagnostic symptoms of apoplexy?

                        3.  What are the officinal preparations of potassa?

                        4.  What are the physical properties of hydrogen, and how was it procured in a separate state?

                        5.   What is the origin, course and distribution of the right carotid artery?

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

 


Answers by Harris:

                         

1.  Venous blood is converted into arterial by passing through the lungs.  It comes in contact with the oxigen [sic] in the lungs and thereby becomes purified.  Respiration purifies it, or at least oxigen that is in the lungs.

                          

2.  There would be an effusion of blood within that membranes of the brain, great compression and a great determination [sic] to blood in the head, the face would be red, increased frequency of the pulse.  I do/not recollect very much about the diagnostic symptoms just now.

                         

3.  The officinal preparations of potassa ar [sic] Chlorate of Potassa, Nitrate of Potassa, Carbonate of Potassa, Iodide of Potassa   Sulphate Potassa


4.    Hydrogen is procured by the action of Sulph. – acid on pieces of zinc or iron filings, and also by the decomposition of water.  It exists in nature and is it exhaled in the form of a sulphuret.  It exists in nature and is owing to the decomposition of animal matter.  Its properties are, then; it is a colorless gass [sic], not very much smell, but when in the form of Sulphuret it is very disagreeable having the smell of bad eggs.  Combustible when mixed, with oxygin in proportions, 2 of oxygin to one of hydrogen it explodes with great violence.

                                    

5.    It rises from the arch of the aorta, passes up towards the clavicle, and is divided in to the, internal, and external, carotid    The internal goes to supply the brain, and the external goes to be distributed to the face and external part of the head.

The external is divided in to the temporal than in to the superorbital, infraorbital, and then of the mouth, and the internal has some branches that go to the tongue

                                     

6.    The terms specific gravity means to find the weight of different substances in air and in any substance, the difference between any substance in air and then in water, as water is taken for a standard.

   

First weigh your substance in air, then in water and divide the weight in air by the weight water [sic] and the quotient will be the specific gravity.

 

Latent heat, is that heat which is exhaled from substances, as for nature, that heat which is exhaled from the body without the application of artificial heat.

 

Temperature is owing to the exhalation or vaporization of liquids cause by the latent heat from the earth.

                                                                                  

George D. Harris M.D.

P.O. address West Conaan,  N.H.

 

Nov 9, 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