[352] examining board and commissioned in like manner; the same measure was followed in the hospital service.

The examinations before State and Confederate army boards were thorough, complete, and eminently practical. Each applicant was required in a given number of hours to fill out the answers to a number of written questions, under supervision of the secretary of the board; and this being done, he was invited into an adjoining room and submitted to an oral examination to the satisfaction of the assembled board. The Confederate board of examiners serving with the Department and Army of Tennessee, as I remember, consisted of Dr. D. W. Yandell, of Louisville; Dr. J. F. Heustis, of Mobile, and Dr. Stanford E. Chaille, of New Orleans, all being well-known teachers of medicine and surgery in their respective States, and at that time, or subsequently, of national reputation. Other medical examining boards were of like character. The late Doctor Chaille, the dean of the medical department of Tulane University, in a private letter, speaks of the work of the examining boards appointed in 1862 to report on the competency of the medical staff. The Confederate soldiers were almost exclusively volunteers who had elected their medical as well as other officers. Doctor Chaille reported that his board caused the dismissal of a number of the surgeons and assistant surgeons, sometimes incurring the hostility of the officers and men in consequence, ‘because of the gross incompetence of laymen then as well as now to judge of the incompetence of medical men.’ He goes on to say that the incompetent were ‘exceptions to the superior merit of the vast majority of the members of the Confederate medical staff.’ This statement goes far to explain any apparent contradictions in the testimony regarding the competence of Confederate surgeons, and must be generally accepted.

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