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

 

Hiram Howard James, 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: Hiram Howard James, M.D.

 

To the Board convened at the Naval Asylum Phila.

 

I was born in Durfield [sic, unknown town] Cumberland County N.J.  on the 11th day of July 1838.

       

At school I pursued the studies taught in common schools – Spelling, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography.  At the Normal School Trenton N.J., which I attended two years, the same branches were taught, with addition of Philosophy, Geometry + Algebra.  I have not studied the Classics Natural History nor am I acquainted with any of the modern languages.

    

While residing at Budd’s Lake, N.J.  I commenced the study of medicine with Dr. John S. Cook, practicing at Hackettstown, a town a few miles distant from Budd’s Lake.  I have attended two courses at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated at the last commencement.

    

My opportunities for practicing pharmacy + making myself acquainted with the physical properties of drugs, have been very limited.  My observation of the clinical service, in connection with the University + the civil hospitals of the city, and my residence in the Military Hospital at Newark N. J. during last summer, together with the practice of surgery in Prof.  Smiths Operating room, have given me ordinary opportunities for observing the practice of medicine + surgery.

 

My address at present is 218 Bridge Avenue Camden N.J.  When at home Budd’s Lake Morris County, N.J.

March 28th 1863.

 

Hiram H. James

 


Questions by the board:

 

Questions to be answered in writing, by, Dr Hiram H. James

1.  What is amaurosis, + how distinguished from Cataract?

2.  Describe the Inguinal canal.

3.  What are the relations of the Carotid Artery?

4.  How is Bronchitis distinguished from Pneumonia?

5.  What is senna, + the preparations used in medicine?

6.  What is the diagnosis of Rubeola?

7.  How would the forceps applied?

8.  What is insanity?

9.  How is Laryngotomy performed?

 


Answers by James:

                          

1.  Amaurosis is in affection of the retina rendering it incapable of response to the stimulus of light hence imperfect or complete loss of vision; while Cataract is an opacity of the lense [sic] or the capsule which encloses it, and may readily be seen by examination the eye.

 

2.  The Inguinal canal is in opening or passage way, made by the testicle it is descent into the scrotum.  It is from an inch to or inch + a half in length + extends obliquely outwards + downwards passing through the transverse fascia + muscel [sic, correction marks in pencil] the internal + external oblique muscles.  It commences at the internal abdominal ring + ends with the external abdominal ring.  The transverse facia [sic, correction marks in pencil] is prolonged upon the cord, so that the internal ring in the normal condition is not open.

 

3.  The Carotid Artery lies beneath the integument of the neck on a line with the sterno-cleido-mastoid muscel [sic, correction marks in pencil].  It is included within a sheath containing, (counting outwardly from the middle line of the body) the carotid artery the Pneumogastric nerve + the internal Jugular vein.  The nerve is perhaps more behind than between the artery + vein.

 

4.  Bronchitis is distinguished from Pneumonia by the absence of the violent febrile excitement attended upon pneumonia, there is not in bronchitis that rusty sputa of pneumonia.  In bronchitis as a general rule auscultation + percussion are not changed while in pneumonia, after the first stage, there is, if the whole lung is implicated, no respiration, + percussion is flat.

 

5.  Senna is the leaves of Cassia acutifolia and is a hydragogue cathartic medicine in doses of from 20 to 60 gr.  It is used in compound infusion of senna.

   In pill with Rheubarb [sic, correction mark in pencil], + is used in what is called the black draught – an infusion of sulphate of magnesia + senna not officinal in U.S.Ph.  When given alone it gripes, + is therefore gently administering combination.

 

6.  Rubeola is diagnosed by the catarrhal symptoms by the injected eye + the appearance of the eruption on the fourth day.

 

7.  The forceps are applied to the child’s head, either at the superior or inferior strait of the pelvis, in a direction of the cervico-mental diameter of the head, by introducing first the left or female blade with the left hand, facilitating its introduction with the right.  The right blade is then taken in the right hand + induced upon the other + the right side of the pelvis, + also upon the other side of the child’s head, then the blades are brought together + locks.

 

8.  Insanity is a loss of the mind, or of the power of the will to control or direct the thoughts, a delusion generally characterized by words + actions which plainly indicate the reason has lost its harmonizing power.

 

9.  Laryngotomy is performed by first incising the skin + facia [sic, correction marks in pencil] + ligating on either side the thyroid body + then cutting directly into the cavity of the larynx between the ligatures.

 

Hiram H. James

Naval Asylum Phila.

March 30th 1863

 


Certificate of Physical Capacity

 

I declare on honor that, my health at this time 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, hemorrhoids, nor am I aware that there is any thing 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.

                                                            

Hiram H. James

Candidate for the office of

Assist. Surgeon in the Navy

of the United States.

                                                   

U.S. Navl Asylum, Phila.

March 28th 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