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

 

John Eleazer Parsons, 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: John Eleazer Parsons, M.D. 

 

[Board comments in pencil upside down]: Dr. J.E. Parsons is a grandnephew of Dr. Usher Parsons – He was present and served as assist surgeon in the battles of Chancellorsville + Gettysburg – He has had abundance of surgical experience + seems to be a careful, thoughtful man.

 

           

U.S. Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass.

October 8th, 1863.

 

Surgeon W.S.W. Ruschenberger

U.S. Navy

                                               

Sir:

                                                          

I have the honor to give you the following statements in regard to my birth education etc.

           

I was born at Harrison Me Nov. 20th, 1836.  Lived in the state of Maine until I was 10 years of age, when my parents removed to Massachusetts  For the last 16 years, I have resided in Charlestown Mass.; went through the course of studdies [sic] at the grammar and high school, and studdied [sic] to fit myself for college, but never entered college  In 1857 I commenced the studdy [sic] of medicine, and spent two years at it, when my health being poor from limited amount of physical exercise, I relinquished the studdy [sic], and did not resume it again until the autumn of 1861.  In the interval I have spent two years nearly at Civil Engineering and surveying, having always had a taste for mathematical and mechanical studdies [sic].  I graduated from Harvard Medical School in March 1863.

                                         

I have the honor to remain

Your Obedient Servant

John E. Parsons M.D.

No. 8 Allston St.                                     

Charlestown, Mass.

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Dr. John E. Parsons is requested to write answers to the following questions.

          1.  What is chyle where is it formed, and what are its uses?

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

          3.  What are the diagnostic symptoms of pneumonia?

          4.  What is camphor, and what class of the materia medica is it placed?

          5.  What changes are produced in atmospheric air by respiration?

          6.  Define the terms, “chemical affinity” “temperature” and “specific gravity”? [sic]

 


Answers by Parsons:

 

1.    Chyle is a milky fluid consisting in part of the soluble part of the food, but principally of an emulsion of the fatty portions of the food, made by the action of the pancreatic secretion, perhaps aided by the bile.  Chyle is formed principally in the small intestine from which it is taken up by the lacteals, and reaches the blood through the thoracic duct.  It supplies material to the blood for nutrition, and also being rich in hydrogen and carbon it affords material for combustion or support of animal heat.  A large portion of the food, that which is not composed of fats, reaches the blood through the veins of the stomach and intestines

 

2.    The external femoral artery arrises [sic] from the external illiac [sic] beneath pouparts’ ligament  In the upper part of its course it lies on the pectineus muscle and the adductors.  For the middle and upper part of its couse [sic] the Sartorius is the guide to it, the artery lying in them inner side of the muscle.  The artery perforates the aductor [sic] magnus below the middle of its course.  Just above the popliteal space becomes the popliteal artery.  From one to two inches below pouparts’ ligament the adductor ma profunda femoris is given off.

 

3.  The diagnostic symptoms of pneumonia are dyspnoea, a rapid pulse and rusty sputa.  The physical signs are dullness on percussion of the diseased portion, which is usually the lower part of the lung and crepitant rȃles also sonorous rȃles in the course of the disease.

 

4.    Camphor is a solid volatile oil, and is usually classed under head of nervous stimulants.

 

5.    The changes produced in atmospheric air by respiration are; 1st a diminished amount of oxygen; 2nd an increase of carbonic acid.

 

6.     Chemical affinity is the disposition which bodies have to unite with other bodies, in definite proportions, forming thereby new compound bodies which have properties peculiar to themselves.

      

Temperature of boddies [sic] is the relative amount of sensible heat they posess [sic], which is usually estimated by the expansion of substance as mercury alcohol etc.

        

Specific gravity is the comparative weight of equal bulks of different substances.

 

John E. Parsons M.D.

U.S. Navy Yard

Charlestown Mass

Oct 8, 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