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Appendix D: organization and personnel of the medical Department of the Confederacy

Deering J. Roberts, M. D., Surgeon, Confederate States Army
The organization of the Confederate Medical Department was identical with that of the United States army at the breaking out of hostilities, and the army regulations under which rank and discipline were maintained were those of the United States, the only copies which came under the writer's observation being those printed prior to the war. The medical staff of the armies of the Confederacy embraced only three grades of rank, viz.: one surgeon-general with rank, emoluments, and allowances of a brigadier-general of cavalry; about one thousand surgeons with rank, allowances, and emoluments of a major of cavalry; and about two thousand assistant surgeons, with the rank of a captain of cavalry; among the latter, or possibly in addition thereto, were a number of contract surgeons or acting assistant surgeons, with the pay of a second lieutenant of infantry, who were temporarily employed; nearly all of these, however, at some period subsequent to their employment as contract surgeons were examined by an army board of medical examiners and were commissioned as surgeons or assistant surgeons, or dropped from the army rolls.

The following statement is quoted from an address by S. P. Moore, M. D., surgeon-general of the Confederate States army, delivered at Richmond, Virginia, October 19, 1875:

Congressional legislation.

To make the corps still more effective, to hold out rewards to distinguished medical officers, to offer incentives (if needed) to faithful and efficient performance of duties, and to confer additional and commensurate authority on those in most important positions, a bill was prepared creating the offices of two assistant surgeon-generals, one to exercise authority west of the Mississippi, the other to be on duty in the surgeon-general's office; medical directors, medical inspectors, medical purveyors, all with rank of colonel. This bill passed both Houses of Congress (they appearing willing always to aid the department in its effort toward a more perfect organization), but was vetoed by the President. It seemed useless to make further efforts in this direction.

The Southern practitioner, vol. XXXI, 1909, p. 494.


To each regiment of infantry or cavalry was assigned a surgeon and an assistant surgeon; to a battalion of either, and sometimes to a company of artillery, an assistant surgeon. Whenever regiments and battalions were combined into brigades, the surgeon whose commission bore the oldest date became the senior surgeon of brigade, and although a member of the staff of the brigade commander, was not relieved of his regimental duties; sometimes, however, he was allowed an additional assistant surgeon, who was carried as a supernumerary on the brigade roster. To the senior surgeon of brigade, the regimental and battalion medical officers made their daily morning, weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports, and reports of killed and wounded after engagements, which by him were consolidated and forwarded to the chief surgeon of the division to which the brigade was attached; regiments and brigades acting in an independent capacity forwarded their reports to the medical director of the army or department, or to the surgeon-general direct. Requisitions for regimental and battalion medical, surgical, and hospital supplies, as well as applications for furlough or leave of absence, discharge, resignation, or assignment to post duty, on account of disability, were first approved by the regimental or battalion medical officer, after giving his reasons for approval and the nature of the disability in the latter instances, and forwarded by him to the senior surgeon of brigade, and by him to the chief surgeon of division and the other ranking officers in the corps and army for their approval. Independent commands reported to the medical director of the department or army, or the surgeon-general direct. Medical purveyors nearest to the army, as promptly as possible, forwarded all needed medical, surgical, and hospital supplies, on approved requisitions.

Assignments to the position of chief surgeon of division were sometimes made in accordance with seniority of rank of the senior surgeons of brigades, in other instances on application of the general commanding the division. His duties, in addition to approving reports coming from the senior surgeons of brigades, were to advise with the division commander in all matters pertaining

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