c. 1860 Snowden U.S. Army
Medical Dept. Post-Mortem Set
Department, Snowden, post-mortem , surgical set, Civil War Medicine
This small post-mortem set by Henry
C. Snowden, is marked on the brass plaque for the
U. S. Army Medical Department
and dates to immediately before the Civil War. Snowden was
located at 15 N. 5th from 1858 to 1864. Henry Snowden was
later joined by his various relatives to form Snowden & Brother.
Both houses apparently produced medical instruments during the Civil
War. (American Surgical Instruments: An Illustrated History, by
Snowden & Bro. (George P.
[1832-?] and Henry C. [1838-?] Snowden become partners I July 1858; William
Snowden [1840?] becomes partner I
January 1866; Henry C. retires in May,
1872 and sells interest to
George) surgical instrument makers
1858-64: 15 N. 5th
1864-72: 23 S. 8th
This set is of limited scope, but the
presence of the bone chisel would be indicative of more invasive dissection.
I have no idea why there is a bone chisel in the set as I have never seen this
before. One would expect there to be a blunt hammer associated with
the presence of a bone chisel, unless this set was part of a larger set.
The mahogany case ( 9 x3 x 2 in. ) has a
typical military latch. Several of the instruments have the Snowden stamp,
but nothing to indicate 'Snowden & Bros.' as would be expected on a later set.
Initial research shows that the USA Hospital
Department purchased 303 post-mortem cases/sets during the civil war
(page 966 of Vol 6 of the reprint of the Medical and Surgical History of
the War of the Rebellion). Also, on page 246 (vol 3) is an example of a
pre-printed form which was filled out for a post-mortem examination for
am certain that many if not all Brigade Surgeons and directors of
receiving hospitals all preformed autopsies. Specifically, when
the USA Hosp. Dept medical museum was created, again autopsies and great
illustrative specimens were requested/required.
The actual instruments sold by Tiemann during the Civil War were similar
to those on these pages, but may not be exactly the same. Many are
exactly the same, but you have to make allowances for sterilization
considerations after 1870.
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