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

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Dr. Echols' partial list of Google books for Civil War Surgeon Research

 

Abner Thorpe, 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:  Abner Thorpe, M.D.

 

Preliminary Letter

 

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio December 2, 1839.

 

In 1854 I was admitted into the Woodward High School, Cincinnati, Ohio.  I pursued all the studies, peculiar to a common school education – Geology, Astronomy, Chemistry, Physical Geography; and in the Classics, Latin.  I persued [sic, correction marks in pencil] German a short time, but, being out of practice during the last five years have lost all gained.

 

I began the study of Medicine immediately after my graduation at Woodward High School, in 1858.  I read medicine with my father, and in 1862, graduated at the National Medical College, Washington, DC.

My opportunities for the practice of pharmacy have been limited.  Occasionally, I was allowed the privilege of compounding a few prescriptions in my fathers [sic] Drug Store.  Thus in my contact with the drugs of the store, I gain some knowledge, of their physical properties.

 

At the opening of our present war, I entered the regular Army as Medical Cadet.  I served in this capacity almost two years.  I have been stationed in the large military hospital of Cairo and Mound City, Ill. during one year; and in Virginia and Washington City the second.  During that time I have seen much Surgery and Practice.  On 28th day of May 1863, I entered the Volunteer Navy.  I’ve continued until the present date.  In the Navy, I have been stationed on the Gunboat Moose attached to the 8th division of the Mississippi Squadron.

My address in Philadelphia is the Merchants Hotel, fourth [sic] Street, between Arch and are Race.

At home, it is – Naval Rendezvous, Cincinnati Ohio,.

                                                            

I am

Very Respectfully

Your ob’t Serv’t

Abner Thorp,                                                     

Act’g Ass’t Surgeon, U.S.N

 

Naval Asylum, Philadelphia

October 1st 1863

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Questions to be answered in writing, by,  Abner Thorp, Acting Ass’ Surg U.S.A.

1.  What are the accidents or injuries which requiring amputation of the thigh?

2.  What is the best mode of controlling the circulation in amputation of the thigh?

3.  What is flooding, how produced, + how arrested?

4.  What is the structure + composition of bone?

5.  Give an account of the nux vomica, and its active principles, then physiological effects and uses etc?

6.  Enumerate the potash salts used in medicine, giving their composition in symbols.  give a Prescription,      without symbols, or abbreviation.

7.  Enumerate the cranial nerves, + their functions.

8.  How was pneumonia diagnosticated from pleuritis?

9.  Give the fetal circulation.

 


Answers by Thorpe:

 

1.  Compound comminuted fractures of femur, extensively shattering the bone; in extensive laceration of the femoral vessels; when, by accident the leg may be crushed; severe injuries of the knee joint whether resulting from shot or accident; when the knee joint maybe irrecoverably diseased.

 

2.  The circulation, in amputation of the thigh, is best controlled, by aid of tourniquet.  A strong man may control it by pressure, either with his palm, or by key, well protected, upon the part of the artery as it passes over Pouparts ligament [over Pouparts ligament underlined in pencil].

 

3.  Flooding is an immoderate flow of blood from the uterus.  It may occur in labor from a weakened condition of the system.  It may occur by that detachment of the Placenta from the Uterus.  It may be caused by abortion; or it may be the result of a local injury.  If flooding occurs in labor, it may be arrested by inserting the hand into the Uterus, scratching the sides to cause contraction of its walls.  Astringent are given to arrested it; cold applications are used to the parts, as a bag of ice, upon the abdomen in the region of the Uterus.  The tampun [sic] is used to arrest the flow of blood until a clot can form.  Hot Sinapisms to the feet for revulsive effect.  Quiet and a position upon the back.

 

4.  The structure of bone is cancellated; minute canals running parallel with its length, nutrient canals, Haversian Canals.  Surrounding the bone is in membrane, called the periostium.  Next to this, the bone is more compact more internal, it is more porous.  In the center [correction marks in pencil, spelling centre] of the long bone is found the medulary substance.  Bone is composed of Animal and earthly substances.  The carbonate of lime and phosphorous [sic, correction marks in pencil], are the principal constituents of the earthly.

 

5.  Strychnos Nux Vomica is a trea [sic, correction marks in pencil] indigenous to the Eas [sic, correction marks in pencil] Indies and China, bearing a fruit of the size of an orange.  The active principles are Strychnia and Brucia.  It is Tonic, Diuretic, Setanic, and Aphrodisiac.  It is used in Dyspepcia, Debility Paralysis, Dysentery, Hysteria and Rheumatism.  Its action in large doses appears to be directed chiefly to the nerves of motion.  Strychnia has been applied externally in Amaurosis.  It is a deadly poison.

 

6.  Bicarbonate of Potassa K0CO2 + H0CO2; Carbonate of Potassa KCO3; Nitrate of Potassa K0NO5; Chlorate of Potassa K0Clo5; Iodide of Potassium KI; Bromide of Potassium KBr.

          Rx [ecpii, in pencil]

          Magnesia[i in pencil] Carbonas[ii in pencil]                                gr XX

          Tinctura[e in pencil] Opii Camphoreta[e in pencil]                     ʓ ss

          Tinc[turae in pencil] [L in pencil]avendulae Compositus  fʓ j  Mistura

 

7.  The cranial nerves are – 1st Olfactory, 2nd Optic, 3rd Motores Occulorum, 4th Pathetic, 5th Trifacial, 6th Abducentes, 7th Portio Dura and Portio Mollis, 8th Pneumogastric, Spinal Accessory, Glossopharyngeal, 9th Hypoglossal.  The olfactory, optic and Portio Dura are nerves of special sensation.  The 5th Trifacial, the 7th and 8th Pain are compound nerves.  The 3rd, 4th, 6th, 9th are nerves of general sensation.

 

8.  Pneumonia is diagnosed from Pleuritis by the following symptoms – Pain of Pneumonia is mostly in right side, and more frequently at the lower part of the lungs.  Pain of Pleuritis is gently of a sharp, lacerated character, situated in one spot, generally close the nipple; breathing is very painful and is made mostly by the diaphragm.  There is dullness on percussion in pneumonia.  In pleuritis there is no dullness until after effusion in the pleural cavity.  The Sounds of pneumonia are sibilant ronchus.  The bronchial sound and ***gophany [unclear] - of pleuritis, at first, the friction sound. Aegophany, resembling the bleating of a goat, caused by the vibrations of the liquid.  The sputa of Pneumonia is at first viscid, then becomes intimately combined with blood causing the rusty sputa and in the last stage, the prune juice sputa

 

9.  The blood passes from the Placenta to the Foetus through the umbilical veins, a part of the blood enters the liver, and other portion the ascending Vena Cava.  The blood passes from the liver to the Vena Cava through the Ductus Venosus.  It then passes to the right Auricle of the heart, and guided by the Eustachian Valve it enters the left Auricle through the Foramen Ovale.  It then enters the left Ventricle.  From the left Ventricle it is carried to the upper extremities and the trunk.  The blood descends from the head, by the descending Vena Cava, to the right Auricle, then to the right Ventricle.  From the right ventricle it is forced into the Pulmonary Artery, and Ductus Arteriosus.  From the Foetus  the blood is carried to the Placenta by the umbilical artery

                                                            

I am

Very Respectfully

Abner Thorp

Act’g Ass’t Surgeon, U.S.N

 

Naval Asylum, Philadelphia

October 1st 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

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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