American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection


As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, Antiques & Collecting publications, and various TV programs

Civil War: Brinkerhoff Stomach / Enema Pump, c. 1862-1865

Brinkerhoff Medical Department issue gastric/enema pump, Civil War era

Tags: USA Hospital Department, Brinkerhoff, Stomach, enema, pump, Civil War Medicine, Medical

An extremely rare American Civil War era military stomach/enema pump set; dual-function enema and stomach pump set with maker's mark "V.W. Brinkerhoff". (a.k.a. Brinckerhoff) A lacquered brass enema pump with tapered bone or ivory attachments and a wooden bite bar fitted in a velvet-lined mahogany case secured with a brass military sliding latch like those used by the Hosp. Dept. during the War.  The mahogany case is 2 3/4" x 11 3/4" x 6 1/4".  The brass plate where " U.S.A Medical Department or Hospital Department " would have been engraved is missing, but that is not unusual as at the end of the War, this kind of surplus material was sold to the public and the buyer may have just removed the military name plate. 

The tell-tale indication this is a military spec issue instrument is the military sliding latch instead of a key lock.  Brinkerhoff was also a known supplier to the Union military Medical and Hospital Departments during the Civil War.   Snowden and Brother show a similar pump in their catalog (see bottom of page) just prior to the War.  European supplied pumps are common, but one in military configuration by an American Civil  War maker and marked...rare!

It is a well known fact one of the biggest problems the troops on both sides faced in the field was intestinal disease and sickness.  This instrument would have been used for gastric lavage, enema, and flushing out the stomach, as well as administering various drugs via the stomach and rectum.  Examples from the Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion of the use of this type of stomach pump during the War are listed at the bottom of this page.


V. W. Brinkerhoff (Vanwyck Brinkerhoff, a.k.a. Brinckerhoff)

1856: 12 Gold

1857: 88 John

1858-59: 88 John and 25 Gold

1860-62: 88 William instruments

1863-68: 131 William fancy goods and drugs [1867 advertisement:

18 Beekman manufacture of surgical instruments, medical chests, saddle bags, pill machines, trusses, syringes, etc., is continued as formerly in my own new and commodious Factory. 65 and 67 Boerum St., Brooklyn, E.D.]


Mahogany case with military style sliding latch, missing brass plate.  (The plate size would have been sufficient for the engraved name "U.S.A. Medical  Dept.) and the brass plate is a type typically seen on Medical Dept. marked sets.




Engraved with maker name: Brinkerhoff, who was a N.Y. contract purveyor during the Civil War






There are numerous examples of the use of an enema or stomach pump in the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion for the treatment of dysentery, liquid diet, administer anesthetics, administration of stimulants, food, drugs, various homeopathic medicine, and cleaning of the bowels.  The set above could have been used for all of the noted procedures.

CASE.--Private William Semmons, Co. F, 14th New York Heavy Artillery, aged 20 years, was wounded at Petersburg, March 25th, 1865, by a fragment of shell, which entered the right cheek, fractured the zygomatic process of the malar bone, comminuted the ramus and body of the inferior maxilla, lacerated and opened the ducts of the parotid and maxillary glands, and removed all the integuments of the cheek, leaving the right angle of the mouth hanging loose. He was taken to the field hospital of the Ninth Corps, where about, two inches of the alveoli of the superior maxilla was excised and the wound stitched. On April 1st, he was transferred to Armory Square Hospital, Washington. Owing to his inability to swallow, liquid food and stimulants were introduced by the stomach pump.

CASE.--Private Lysander Martin, independent company, Andrew's Massachusetts Sharpshooters, aged 28 years, was wounded at Fredericksburg, June 10th, 1863, by a conoidal ball, which entered the neck three-fourths of an inch under the left  ear, passed through the root of the tongue, and emerged through the middle of the right cheek. On June 14th, he was admitted to Hammond Hospital, Maryland, suffering much from pharyngitis, difficulty of deglutition, and very distressing dyspnoea. Cold water dressings were applied to the wound, and liquid diet administered by means of the stomach pump.

(**) STILLE--p. 366, op. cit., p. 650, supra--speaking of acute dysentery in patients who are "not of a vigorous constitution," says: "Enemata are useful in this form of dysentery, if in any acute form, of which there is serious doubt."

On the other hand, WARING---p. 103, op. cit., p. 696 supra--gives a formula for an enema, used by MCGREGOR in chronic dysentery, containing 20 grains of the nitrate in two fluid ounces of mucilage combined with opium, HARTSUFF--loc. cit.--used 10 to 15 grains to the ounce of water.

Although there was no imperative symptom demanding an operation, yet, as the presence of effusion was so clearly indicated by stethoscope and other symptoms, it was thought advisable to operate, which was done substantially after the manner of Wyman and Bowditch, using a small exploring trocar, but in connection with the stomach-pump furnished army surgeons, in place of the more complicated instrument invented especially for this purpose.

CASE l194.--Private B. F. Brown, Co. C, 22d Massachusetts, aged 23 years, was admitted into Finery Hospital, Washington. May 13, 1864, with gunshot wounds of the thigh, leg, and neck, received at the battle of the Wilderness, May 7, 1864. The thigh had been amputated on the field on May 7th, in the lower third, by lateral flaps. A ball had entered the neck below the angle of the jaw, passed through the larynx, and lodged near where the carotid crosses the omo-hyoid muscles. On May 16th the ball was extracted from its position against the carotid by an incision one and a half inches long, one inch below the mastoid process of the temporal bone, by Acting Assistant Surgeon W. H. Ensign, U.S.A. At this date the thigh was healing kindly by first intention. The wound of the neck had an extraordinary appearance. The patient's constitution was slender but not much impaired. Some trouble in swallowing and breathing; cheerful, sleeps well, shows little sigma of distress; pulse 90, bowels regular. No medicine given; but good liquid diet with local water dressings. Food has to be administered with a stomach pump. On May 17th haemorrhage to the amount of one quart occurred from the internal jugular vein. Air was supposed to have passed through the vein into the heart. A post-mortem examination showed the cause of haemorrhage to be ulceration of the anterior surface of the internal jugular vein. The case is reported by Surgeon N. R. Moseley, U. S. V. (Image shown)

CASE.--Private John S----, Co. B, 1st New York Mounted Rifles, aged 29 years, received, on July 12th, 1863, at Indiantown, North Carolina, a gunshot fracture of the lower jaw, by a conoidal ball, which carried away the right anterior portion as far back as the second bicuspid tooth, and, on the left side, as far back as the second molar. He was treated in the regimental hospital until August 29th, 1863, when he was admitted to the Balfour Hospital, Portsmouth, and, on November 2d, 1863, sent to the St. Joseph's Hospital, New York. His constitutional condition was good. Wound cicatrized in mesial line, approximating the two fractured ends of the jaw. Patient entirely destitute of a chin; he could not articulate distinctly; constant dribbling of saliva from mouth. On December 26th, 1863, ether was administered, and Assistant Surgeon J. W. S. Gouley, U. S. A., performed an operation for reconstruction of the lower lip and chin. The incisions united by first intention, except at a point corresponding to the tip of the chin, where suppuration was established in twenty-four hours. Local applications of lead and opium were used. Nourishment and stimulants were given by the rectum, each enema containing fifteen drops of Magendie's solution, and repeated once in four or five hours.

Snowden & Brother pre-War catalog entry for a stomach pump

 Tiemann post-War catalog entry for stomach pump

Dr. Frank Hamilton's list of field instruments from his book.  Note the listing of a Stomach Pump, and self-injecting Apparatus

  Contact   |  SEARCH THIS SITE | Sitemap for all pages


Home page  |  1800's & Civil War Surgery Set Displays  |  Article Indexes  |  Researching Civil War Surgeons

Medical Faculty & Authors  |  Civil War Medical Books  |  Medicine Containers

Medical College Index - Lecture Cards  |  Civil War Medical Book Author-Title Index


Wanted to Purchase: Items like those on this website... Contact

We are preservers, not dealers, of American Medical History


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:

Medical Faculty and Authors:

1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    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

Alphabetical index of all research and study pages:

Index Page One  |  Index Page Two  |  ARTICLES INDEXES

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques