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[32] He must have passed an excellent examination, as his name stood third on the list. He was soon after ordered to the sloop-of-war Marion, and remained in her on the Brazil station about three years. Much of the time was spent in the ports of Rio Janeiro, Buenos Ayres, and Monte Video, especially in the two latter. At Buenos Ayres the American officers were treated with much attention by Rosas, who was then at the height of his power; and Dr. Wheelwright saw a great deal of him and his family. In a letter written during this cruise he says: ‘I passed seven as happy months as I ever knew in Buenos Ayres, and perhaps, had the country been quiet, I had been there still. But Rosas is losing ground. . . . . These South American republics, like the Kilkenny cats, fight till nothing but their tails are left.’ He little thought, as he wrote this letter, that he should, in a comparatively few years, see his own country engaged in a civil war in which more valuable lives would be lost on each side than Rosas and his antagonist had enrolled in their respective armies, and that his own would be among the number.

On his return, in 1843, he was for some time in the receiving-ship Ohio, at Boston, and the frigate Independence, one of the Home Squadron. In this year he passed the usual examination, and took the rank of Passed Assistant Surgeon.

In 1844 he left the Home Squadron; and after a short leave of absence, he was ordered, in 1845, to the Naval Hospital at Pensacola. The government was at this time constructing a new hospital at that station, and orders came from Washington, for some reason, to cut down the trees which grew on a marsh in the vicinity. The medical officers at Pensacola remonstrated against this measure, as being likely to cause malaria by exposing so much wet ground to the rays of the sun, but without effect. The summer of 1845 was dry, but the winter and spring succeeding were very wet and rainy; and after the heat of summer came on, a most violent form of bilious or yellow fever showed itself, and soon began to rage with great severity. The gentleman who held the position of surgeon during the first part of the sickly season was in very delicate

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