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


Scollay Parker, 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:  Scollay Parker, M.D.



Charlestown Sept 7 ‘63


Dr. Rushenberger,




My name is Scollay Parker.  I was born in Brunswick Georgia in 1839 – am now 24 years old.  My father is a railroad superintendent and has lived with his family at or near Boston, Mass.  I have lived in Boston all my life excepting 5 yrs which I spent in Baltimore.  I graduated at the Latin School in 1857 and immediately entered Harvard College whence I graduated in 1861.


I then joined the Harvard Medical School in which I have studied two years, and attended two courses of lectures.


For 6 weeks from June 11 1861 to July 30 1861 I was engaged as a nurse in the hospital transports Daniel Webster No 1 – S R Spaulding, using conveying sick + wounded soldiers from Virginia to Northern hospitals.


With much respect

I remained ever yours etc


Scollay Parker.

37 West Cedar St



[Board comment in pencil]:  Both Dr. [Thomas M.] Potter and I have been very favorably impressed by the examination of this gentleman, who hopes, in time, to qualify himself for a permanent appointment.  He gave us very decided indications of a good mind and good general tone.  If appointed, he will be a useful person I think.  He has been examined without the formality of a “permission”   W.H.W.R.


Questions by the Board:


Dr. Scollay Parker is requested to write answers the following questions.


                  1.  What are the officinal preparations of opium, and what is the dose of each?

                  2.  What a physical properties and composition of atmospheric air?

                  3.  What are the symptoms of intermittent fever?

                  4.  How was suppression distinguished from retention of urine?

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

                  6.  What are the indications of treatment in Dysentery?


1.  The officinal preparations of Opium are Pulvis Opii, Tinctura Opii, Tinctura Opii Camphorata, Morphia, Morphia Sulphas, Morphia Acetate, Morphia Munata, Narcotina, Pulvis Doveri composed of Opium + Ipecae 1gr each Sulphate Potash 8grs, Linimentum Saponis et Opii, Emplastrum Opii.  Dose of Pulvis Opii 1gr. Tinctura Opii or Laudanum about 13 minims or 20 to 25 gtts.  Tinctura Camphorated or Paregoric composed of Opium, Camphor-anise seed or similar aromatic, about a drachm. Morphia 1/6gr  = 1gr of Opium + about the same dose for its compounds.  Narcotina is seldom used.  Its dose is a little larger that that of Morphia about 1/5 or 1/6 gr.  Admitted by the rectum the dose is 1/3 or larger than by the stomach.  The Liniment + Emplastrum are for external use.  Dose of Dover’s powder   10grs = 1gr of opium.


2.   Air is a transparent colorless gas, everywhere diffused in nature, transmits pressure equally in all directions, has a very powerful tendency to fill up a vacuum by rushing in, is capable of great condensation + has great expansive force, differs much in density dry air being lighter than moist, is capable of receiving a large amount of heat + of losing it again, passes in different direction as wind + very swiftly as well as slowly.

It is composed of 4equiv of nitrogen + 1 of oxygen which latter is necessary to support life, always contains some Carbonic Acid sometimes a great deal + watery vapor.  It is necessary for all species of animals + vegetables.  In animals most of the oxygen is absorbed in the lungs + passes into the blood while carbonic acid is driven all off.


3.  Intermittent fever is caused by a malarious gases evolve in hot + damp climates from decaying vegetable matter and from hot damp air and changes from sultry heat + damp to a cool + damp temperature.  The symptoms generally began with lassitude, pain in the limbs + back, headache.  The peculiar symptoms are a chill in which the pulse is slow the extremities + whole surface of the body feels cold to the patient though they may be warm to the touch, there is chattering of the teeth + restlessness attended with depression of spirits.  This stage lasts about an hour or more sometimes 2 or 3.  The duration varies with the violence of the attack.  The next is the hot or febrile stage in which the skin becomes hot + dry, the pulse rapid + full, the tongue dry, the respiration rapid, the face flushed, the head aching or with a feeling of tension, the urine scanty + high colored.  This lasts 3 or 4 hours and is succeeded by a copious perspiration with the febrile symptoms gradually abating.  The patient feels the lassitude + a version to active employment for some time after.  This is the 1st of a series of attacks which come after each other with intermissions of about the same duration.  The fever is called quotidian, tertiary or quaternary as 24, 48, or 72 hrs elapsed between each attack. A quotidian comes everyday at about the same hour, a tertiary every 1st 3rd 5th 7th day + so on + a quaternary every 1st 4th 7th + soul on both about the same hour.  The attacks are most frequent in the morning then at night.


4   Suppression of urine would be caused by some trouble in the kidneys they not secreting the constituents of urine from the blood, while retention of urine would be caused by the inability of the bladder to empty its content either from temporary paralysis or paralysis or some other active cause, or stoppage of urethra.  In the former case the pain felt would be referred to the region lumbar, suppression would be more apt to occur after some other symptoms of diseased action of the kidneys and would be more likely to be followed by constitutional symptoms of Uraemia such as chills rigors, ascites, or anasarca + irregular action of the heart.  Retention of urine would cause a great distention of the bladder which could be felt on examination + sometimes seen.  The feeling of distention often followed by pain would be very great over the pubes and a sympathetic feeling of warmth + irritation of the urethra.  In suppression the efforts to empty the bladder might pass a little urine as suppression is generally not total.  In retention the contents of the bladder could be drawn off by passing the catheter and the symptoms be greatly relieved, in suppression there would be little if any to draw off.  Great nervous or mental excitement may temporarily cause either.


5.   The femoral artery is the external iliac after it emerges from poupart’s ligament and continues down the leg till it pierces the Adductor magnus muscle to the space behind the knee joint where it becomes the popliteal.  Just after emerging from poupart’s ligament it gives off the external epigastric which supplies the integument + fascia of the lower part of the abdomen near the pubes + the external circumflex ilii which supplies the superficial parts winding round the anterior superior spine of the ilium.  It also supplies small branches to the lower part of the external organs of generation as the scrotum etc.  Its largest branch is the profunda which passes backward + downward about 1 or 2 inches below pouparts ligament which gives off 2 circumflex arteries which

wind around the leg + anastomose  with the branches of the popliteal giving a collateral circulation when the femoral is tied and supplying muscles + three perforating which do the same + supply the back muscles of the leg.  The femoral supplies a nutrient artery to the bone + small muscular twigs.  The femoral vein in the same sheath is inside first then behind + then outside the artery.  The Profunda artery + vein lie behind.  The guide to the artery is the sartorius muscle which lies on its outer edge + the adductor longus on its inner.  The course of the artery as a line drawn from midway of poupart’s ligament to the inner side of the knee.  The artery is covered by the integument fasciae + glands.


6.   Dysentery arises from an ulceration of the colon + upper part of the rectum + the passage of blood through their walls.  There is great pain in the bowels with tenesmus at stools + a frequent desire to go to stool.  The stomach is affected causing nausea + vomiting with pain in the head + general weakness.  There are also febrile symptoms.  The indications are to quiet the peristaltic motion of the bowels to check secretion + to relieve pain.  For these purposes laudanum is better then pulvis opii as it is more acceptable to the stomach.  It is administered by enema also frequently with starch or flax seed tea.  The dose by the rectum is or 1/3 larger than by mouth.  To allay vomiting ice swallowed whole is very good, also carbonic acid water, + cooling mixtures.  A blister over the epigastrium is very good.  Opium may be sprinkled if necessary on blistered surface.  Cooling acid drinks for the febrile symptoms.  Perfect rest in bed with as good ventilation as possible, patient neither too hot not too cold, warmth + friction to the extremities or body if necessary.  Generally a light diet of farinaceous articles such as are digested mostly in the upper part of the alimentary canal.  Stimulants as alcohol or carbonate of Ammonia if the patient is greatly prostrated.  If the attack has continued some time and there is no danger of fever beef tea + nourishing diet should be given.  If arising from malarious causes quinine as a tonic is very good.  Strong astringents as the mineral acids + their salts of zinc, Iron, copper + silver are sometimes given.

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