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

 

David V. Whitney, 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:  David V. Whitney, M.D. 

 

I am twenty three years ten months and twelve days old—was born in Canisteo New York on the fifth day of May 1839.

                     

I never attend any college but graduated at the High school in Madison Indiana.  I was examined at the time of my graduation in Calculus, Xenophon’s Anabasis, Homer, and Horace.  I completed my classical studies in June 1856.

                      

I began the study of medicine in Beardstown Illinois with C. E. Parker M.D.  (a graduate of Dartmouth College) in 1859, and studied with him nearly three years.

                     

I graduated at the Saint Louis Medical College in the session of 1861 ~ 1862.

                     

I have had no other opportunities for learning practical pharmacy and the physical characters of drugs but those furnished by my preceptor’s office and my own practice

                     

I was appointed Asst. Surgeon by the Governor of Missouri in March 1862 and was promoted to the rank of surgeon in April of the same year.  I have been in the military service continually since that time.  At the time of my leaving my post (Springfield Mo) I was in charge of a large General Hospital with over 600 patients   My opportunities for witnessing the practice of medicine and surgery both in the hospitals in St. Louis (where I resided two years) and in my own hospital since entering the service have been ample.

                                   

I’ve studied Botany and Geology but am not proficient in either branch.  I am sufficiently acquainted with the German language to conduct a medical examination in that tongue.

 

The course of my life since I graduated in medicine has been such as least favors study and my knowledge of the theoretical portions of my profession has given way to the practical to so great a degree that I may be considered in some things to be rather rusty

 

D. V. Whitney

                                                                                      

Naval Asylum Philada

March 17~ 1863

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Questions to be answered in writing, by,  Dr. David V. Whitney

1.  Name the membranes that enveloped the fœtus

2.  How are wounds classed by Surgical writers?

3.  What is the term of utero gestation?

4.  What is meant by the term medical expert?

5.  What is meant by moral insanity?

6.  What by insanity in its general acceptation? [sic]

7.  What are the pathology and treatments of Diphtheria?

8.  What are the diagnostic symptoms of concussion and compression of the Brain?

9.  Write, without abbreviations the prescription for an opiate enema

 


Answers by Whitney:

 

1  Chorion and Amnion

 

2  Incised, punctured, lacerated and contused

 

3  Nine months or about two hundred and eighty days.

 

4  A medical expert is a person who has such a knowledge of medical matters as to be able to decide questions in relation to those subjects.

 

5  A person is affected with moral insanity when their intellect is so perverted as to provent [sic] them from judging between right and wrong.

 

6  Insanity is a perversion of the mind so that the ideas excited by impressions on the senses and the conclusions drawn from these impressions are erroneous

 

7  Diphtheria is a disease of the mucous + sub mucous membranes of the trachea.  It first makes its appearance as an inflammatory affection but this inflammation is soon followed by and exudation or false membrane from which fact the disease is named.  It is very rapid in its progress and if fatal produces death by apnoea.

It is best treated on general principles by the emetics diaphoretics + alteratives in the first stage tonics and stimulants in the second period   Clorate [sic, correction marks in pencil] of potash is considered by many good practitioners as a specific in this disease, and is almost wholly relied on by them for its cure.  I have used it with advantage.

 

8  Concussion is a “jar” of the brain produced by a fall or blow on the head.  Compression may be produced by the same cause but its immediate cause is either a depression of some part of the cranium the presence of blood pus or foreign matters in the cranium   Concussion is attended with a slow full pulse cool moist skin dilated pupil while in compression the pulse is quick + full the skin dry + hot   the eye is injected + the pupil (almost always) contracted.  The symptoms and concussion come on immediately on the receipt of the injury whilst those of compression are commonly delayed for a longer or shorter time.  Compression if cause by a depressed piece of bone or the presence of a foreign body may be attended by convulsions – Concussion never is.

 

9.   Rx

              Tincturae opii      ʓj

              Aquae fontanae     ℥iv

              Pulveris Acaciae   quantum sufficit

              Misce – fiat enema

 


Certificate of Physical Capacity

 

I declare on honor that my health is 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 or hemorrhoids; nor am I aware that there is anything 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.

 

D. V. Whitney

Candidate for the office of   Asst Surgeon in the Navy of   The United States.                                                    

 

U.S. Naval Asylum                 

Philadelphia             

March 17th 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