Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts

Friday, July 22, 2011

Creative use of Museum's Civil War photos at Flickr

Here's a nice research use of the Civil War pictures we've been putting online -

From: Brendan Hamilton

I've recently been looking through the fantastic gallery of Civil War medical photographs you and your colleagues have been putting up on Flickr, and I got the idea of writing up brief profiles of the soldiers in them and posting them on my blog:

As a Civil War geek and poet, I'm more interested in the human side than the clinical info., so I thought I'd dig through the muster rolls, census info, etc., to try to paint some picture of who these people are. A macabre effort but that's what grabs me. I've only written up one soldier so far but I intend to do more in the coming weeks.

- his one soldier is Frederick Bentley.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 20


20 June 1960

Mr. Isidore B. Meyer
Coordinator of Exhibit
Civil War Centennial
Jewish Historical Commission
1109 Fifth Avenue
New York 28, New York

Dear Mr. Meyer:

Reference is made to your letter of 10 June relative to the loan of operating instruments for incorporation in your Centennial Exhibit.

These insturments, presently on loan to the B'nai B'rith Museum in Washington, will be made available to you on or about the 15th of October 1960.

As these items are not insured, it would be appreciated if you could have them insured for five hundred dolares ($500.00).

If we can be of any further assistance to you, please feel free to write.

Sincerely yours,

Albert E Minns Jr
Colonel MSC
Curator, Medical Museum

Friday, May 20, 2011

National Archives article on Edson Bemis

"I am still in the land of the living." The Medical Case of Civil War Veteran Edson D. Bemis

By Rebecca K. Sharp and Nancy L. Wing

National Archives Prologue Spring 2011, Vol. 44, No. 1

-for some reason, they didn't include Bemis' photograph from the Medical Museum, but here it is.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Civil War soldier photographs added to Flickr

3 or so pictures continue to go up each day, including

CP 1220 Captain JW Force, 22nd US Colored Troops.

CP 1216 Confederate soldier Columbus Rush, 21st Georgia Volunteers

CP 1219 Corporal J.H. Jaxcox, 143rd New York Volunteers

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contributed photograph 1164


Contributed Photograph 1164




Battle of the WILDERNESS, 6 MAY 1864


See also SP 146



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Walt Whitman's Civil War Soldiers at the NMHM

Walt Whitman

Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress

On April 12th, the 150th anniversay of the start of the Civil War, the National Archives announced the discovery of almost 3,000 pieces written by the poet Walt Whiman. Whitman, "a journalist, poet and essayist...[was]...perhaps best known for capturing the haunted pageantry of the Civil War in his work 'Drum-Taps'." You can read news of the discovery online at the Washington Post.

But what became of Whitman's wounded boys, the young soldiers he captured in Specimen Days? For some, their stories are documented online at: "Walt Whitman’s Soldiers: A National Museum of Health and Medicine Online Exhibit." Anatomical specimens and medical documentation of patients that Whitman immortalized remain in the collection of the NMHM, such as that of Private Oscar Cunningham:

“…the noblest specimen of a young western man…” On May 2nd, 1863, during the battle of Chancellorsville, Private Cunningham, 82nd Ohio, received a gunshot wound to the right thigh that resulted in a compound fracture of the thigh. The bullet was extracted at Armory Square Hospital on June 15th. Extensive abscesses formed following the procedure, and on May 2nd, 1864, Cunningham’s leg was amputated. Although Bliss had hope for a successful outcome when he submitted the specimen to the Army Medical Museum on May 5th, Cunningham died on June 5th, 1864. Whitman, who cared for Cunningham, described the young man in a letter to his mother. "I have just left Oscar Cunningham, the Ohio boy—he is in a dying condition—there is no hope for him—it would draw tears from the hardest heart to look at him--his is all wasted away to a skeleton, & looks like some one fifty years old—you remember I told you a year ago, when he was first brought in, I thought him the noblest specimen of a young western man I had seen, a real giant in size, & always with a smile on his face—O what a change, he has long been very irritable, to every one but me, & his frame is all wasted away." Cunningham died on June 4, 1864, one month after Bliss had hoped that Cunningham might survive his amputation. Cunningham was one of the first soldiers to be buried in the new Arlington National Cemetery."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Letter of the Day: March 26

Surgeon General’s Office
Washington City, D.C.
March 26 1864



The Acting Surgeon General directs me to call your attention to the anomalous position given to the Army Medical Museum, in the heading of the accompanying letter, and to direct that in the future you will transpose the heading.

Very Respectfully
Your obt. Serv’t.
C.H. Crane
Surgeon U.S.A.

Surg. J. H. Brinton U.S.V.
180 Pa. Avenue

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Letter of the Day: March 13

De Camp General Hospital, U.S.A.,

Davids’ Island, New York Harbor,

Mar. 13th 1866


My dear Doctor,


I have sent by Adams Express Co. to the address of the Surgeon General, a box containing some photographs of surgical cases, and the histories there of rather imperfectly obtained by me from personal interviews with the patients and statements given by others. The box also contained a humerus and bullet relative to one of the cases. I likewise sent three additional photographic views of this Hospital which will complete the series taken, five of which have been previously forwarded by me to the Army Medical Museum.


Will you oblige me by forwarding a copy of Circular No 6 to the following address: Dr. S.F. Morris care of R.L. Morris, M.D., Pelham, P.O. Westchester Co., N. York.


Yours very truly


Warren Webster


Dr. Otis, +c. +c.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Horace Greeley Jacobs collection now online

The finding aid for the Horace Greeley Jacobs Collection (OHA 199.5) has been uploaded to the NMHM website here.

The Jacobs collection contains 25 items documenting to the life of Horace Greeley Jacobs, including those related to his service to the Union during the Civil War. Two of the most unique documents are a letter Jacobs wrote to his mother from Camp 19 on May 31, 1862 and a short narrative titled "Thoughts on the Battle Field" (c. 1864). The finding aid includes a biographical note about Jacobs from his years in the Union Army (he joined at 16) through to his death in 1910.

This is a small collection, but part of what makes it unique is that the Museum's anatomical department already contains material relating to Jacobs, specifically his left humerus (AFIP 0384696), which was donated when Jacobs was injured during the war.

A few images relating to Jacobs:

SP 103
Excised head and portion of shaft of left humerus, comminuted by a musket ball.

Jacobs, Horace G. 2LT, G, 6, ME

Doctor: Bliss, D.W. & Otis

Battle: Rappahannock Station, 7 November 1863

CP 1669B

CP 1669A

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Letter of the Day: February 20

U.S.A. General Hospital,
Davids’ Island, New York,
Feb 20th, 1863.


I send by today’s mail the histories of all the interesting surgical cases that I have been able to collect since the establishment of this Hospital, the preparation of which I undertook at the request of Surg. Simons, U.S.A. The morbid specimens accompanying the cases are few in number, owing to the fact that the man, who formerly had charge of the dead house, stole the majority of then, when he was discharged from the Hospital. Means were taken to have the man arrested, but they proved unavailing. Prof. James R. Wood, however, has some of these specimens in his museum, and I have written to him regard to them, but have received no answer. The box containing the remainder of the preparations will be expressed to you on Monday inst.

I am, General, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
S.W. Gross,
Surgn U.S.V.

Brig Genl. W.A. Hammond,
Surgeon General, U.S. Army

92 1046
94 1047
279 1048

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Letter of the Day: February 19

Genl. Field Hospital, Bridgeport, Ala, February 19, 1864

Surgeon General U.S.A.
Washington, D.C.


I have the honor to report that I have sent today to the Army Medical Museum by Adams Express two (2) morbid specimens with histories.

Very respectfully
your obedient servant
H.T. Agler
Asst. Surgeon U.S.V.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Letter of the Day: February 14

Cincinnati, Ohio
Feby 14th 1864


After the Battle of Chickamauga and Mission Ridge [sic, Missionary Ridge] I collected quite an interesting number of osseus specimens intending to for[war]d them to Washington as soon as my report was ready to accompany them, but my regiment having reenlisted I sent them to this place intending to label them and send my report with them as I would have ample time to do so while here.

This however I understand has been frustrated by, the maliciousness of one of the Sanitary Com- Gentlemen who telegraphed to Nashville to have the box stopped. Amongst the specimens was a case-knife which had been driven thro [sic] the trochanter of a friend of his by a canister shot, which he wished to obtain for himself, this I refused him, hence his actions. I expended a great deal of labor on these specimens and would like to have has the opportunity of giving the history of them.

I understand the box has been sent to the Museum and if so if you will send them to me by Express I will label them properly and return them. If the have not reached you I will endeavor to trace them out.

The box was labeled Rev. Wm Hally, Cin'ti, Ohio who was the agent of Sanitary [Ohio] and a friend of mine.

Very respectfully
You Obt Sevt
A. McMahon
Surgeon 64th O[hio].V[olunteer].I[nfantry]

Surg. Brinton, U.S.A.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Letter of the Day: February 2 (Jackson collection)

Hospital 11th P.V. [Pennsylvania Volunteers?]
Feb. 2nd 1862

Capt Wilson, Q.M.


I examined the Bread supplied the hospital of the 11th P.V. and find it sour and imperfectly baked – unfit for well soldiers, much more so for sick ones.

I have the honor etc etc
RMS Jackson

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Letter of the Day: January 29 (Jackson collection)

A.Q.M. Office
Knoxville Jany 29 /64

Respectfully returned with the statement that I have no direct knowledge respecting the affair alluded to in the accompanying communication.

I have seen an order from Maj Genl Foster authorizing Dr Jackson the Medical Director to take possession of any house outside the city limits he pleased for smallpox hospitals, and the Rev Mr Hayden Post Chaplain informed me that he had, under direction of Dr Jackson so appropriated a house which I presume to be the one indicated, indeed the occupant and professed owner so represented to me.

As the business was not in any way transacted through the Quartermasters Department, I do not consider that Dept. as at all responsible for the injury done to the citizen, and should not recommend the payment of any money on account of it except under the express order of Maj Genl Foster himself, who ordered the property to be taken.

Very Respectfully
E.B. Whitman
Capt. U.S.A.


Jan. 29. 1864

Respectfully referred to Capt. J. H. Dickinson Chief Q.M. Dept. of the Ohio for his instructions.
J. M. Huntington
Capt A.Q.M.
Office of Chief QuarterMaster
Knoxville Tn. [illegible]
Capt E. B. Hillman A.Q.M. will [illegible] fully the written case, + by [illegible illegible] the private dwelling of Geo. Th. Fagan was taken [illegible] for a hospital.
J.M. Huntington
Acting Chief Q.M.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Letter of the Day: January 24

No. 14
S.G.O. Washington D.C.
January 24th 1863


In examining the very interesting history of the Hospital in Baltimore formerly under your charge; I see that you allude to some future Surgical report which will include notes of cases +c.

I am exceedingly desirous of collecting for the “Surgical History of the War,” as many such memoirs & monographs as possible. Would it be possible for you to furnish a resume of the Surgical facts connected with the Hospital during the time you were in charge? Of course such a paper would appear in print, in the form in which it was written, and as your report. I should especially wish your experience as to Resection in continuity; & as to Teales’ amputation, & Symes. If you have any drawings of interest they could readily be cut in wood or stone.

Very Truly Yours
J.H.B. [John Hill Brinton]
Surgeon U.S. Vols.

Asst. Surgeon Bartholow, U.S.A.

Dr. Hasson’s consolidated Report for the months of September-December, 1862, is in the office., He reports 9 cases of Symes. You mention 2. Yours were I suppose done first, and were not included in his enumerations.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Letter of the Day: January 23

No. 13

S.G.O. Jany 23d 1863


The S.G. directs that accurate notes be taken of the progress of the cases when names are returned on the Enclosed list. All of these patients were until recently under the care of Surg. Squire, at the Locust Spring Hospl. Md. The date of transfer to your hospital, is marked opposite to the name of each patient. As Surg. Squire has already furnished most valuable records of these patients up to the period of transfer, it is exceedingly desirable that the observations subsequent to that date should in each instance be accurate and minute.

Very resply your. Obt servt
By order of the S.G.
JHB [John Hill Brinton]
Surg USA

To Surg. Van der Kieft
Smoketown Genl. Hospl. U.S.A.
Near Sharpsburg Md

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Letter of the Day: January 22

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 461

January 22, 1895

Mr. Michael H. Curlin,
538 Congress St.,
Portland, Me.

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the 18th inst. in regard to the excised portion of the tibia has been received.

The specimen has been described in the Catalogue of this Museum published in 1866, and a detailed history of the case, with a woodcut of the specimen has been given on page 453 of the Third Surgical Volume of the History of the Rebellion. As all these records would be vitiated by allowing the specimen to go out of the Museum, it is deemed impracticable to grant your request.

Very respectfully,

John S. Billings.
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
In charge of Army Medical Museum and Library.

Friday, January 21, 2011

'Terminal Ballistics of Antique and Modern Firearms' online now

Terminal Effects of Projectiles from Antique and Modern Firearms in Ordnance Gelatin / Bone Targets (A1908-83-0010)

Ballistics experiments conducted by shooting bones embedded in gelatin blocks, done at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology by Dr. Bruce D. Ragsdale, M.D., Orthopedic Pathology Department, AFIP & Arnold R. Josselson, LTC, USAF, MC, Forensic Sciences Department, AFIP. Circa 1970.

Viewable at