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The Medical history of the Confederate States Army and Navy

Comprising the official report of Surgeon Joseph Jones, M. D, Ll. D., Surgeon General of the United Confederate Veterans; a report of the proceedings of the reunion of the survivors of the Medical Corps of the Confederate States Army and Navy, July 2, 1892, at N. B. Forrest Camp, Chattanooga, Tennessee, address of Surgeon-General Jones, with statistics of the armies of Mississippi and Tennessee, 1861-1861, and results of great battles, and official correspondence of Dr. Jones as to the forces and losses of the Southern States, 1861-1861, with reference to the number and condition of the surviving Confederate soldiers who were disabled by the wounds and diseases received in Defence of the rights and Liberties of the Southern States.

[The historical value and interest of the following papers is manifest. Professor Joseph Jones, M. D., Ll.D., a born devotee to useful research and faithful demonstration is a representative of intrinsic worth, and beneficent life in several generations. He entered the Confederate States Army, modestly, as a private in the ranks, but in a short time his ability constrained his commission as a surgeon, and he was detailed by the able and astute Surgeon-General, Doctor S. P. Moore (whose useful services as a citizen of Richmond, is held in grateful memory), to investigate camp diseases, and the native remedial resources of the South, to supply a vital want which the Federal authorities had created by declaring medicine contraband of war. His own voluminous publications, the experience of the Confederate Medical Staff and published provision and results, attest the priceless value of his acumen and service. He was the first Secretary of the Southern Historical Society, organized in New Orleans, May 1, 1869, and it is held an honor by the present secretary, to be, in a line, his successor.] [110]

I Official Report of Joseph Jones, M. D., of New Orleans, Louisiana, Surgeon-General United Confederate Veterans, Concerning the Medical Department of the Confederate Army and Navy.

156 Washington ave., New Orleans, La., June 30, 1890.
To his Excellency John B. Gordon, General Commanding United Confederate Veterans, Atlanta, Ga..
General—I have the honor to submit the following:

The Medical Department of the Confederate States was a branch of the War Department, and was under the immediate supervision of the Secretary of War. The Surgeon-General of the Confederate States was charged with the administrative details of the Medical Department—the government of hospitals, the regulation of the duties of surgeons and asssistant-surgeons, and the appointment of acting medical officers when needed for local or detached service. He issued orders and instructions relating to the professional duties of medical officers, and all communications from them which required his action were made directly to him. The great struggle for the independence of the Southern States ended twenty-five years ago, and all soldiers in the Confederate army, from the Commanding General to the private in the ranks, were, by the power of the conquering sword, reduced to one common level, that of paroled prisoners of war.

The objects of the Association of Confederate Veterans of 1890 are chiefly historical and benevolent. We conceive, therefore, that the labors of the Surgeon-General relate to two important objects.

First. The collection and preservation of the records of the Medical Corps of the Confederate Army and Navy.

Second. The determination by actual investigation and inquiry, the numbers and condition of the surviving Confederate soldiers who have been aisabled by wounds and diseases, received in their heroic defense of the rights and liberties of the Southern States.

To accomplish the first object, the following circular, No. 1, has been issued:

1. The Collection and Preservation of the Records of Medical Officers of the Confederate Army and Navy.


Circular no. I.

office of Surgeon General, United Confederate Veterans, New Orleans, La., April 9, 1890.
To the Survivors of the Medical Corps of the Confederate States Army and Navy:
comrades—The surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on this day, twenty five years ago, practically ended the struggle for independence of the Southern States, and during this quarter of a century death has thinned our ranks, and our corps can now oppose but a broken line in the great struggle against human suffering, disease and death. S. P. Moore, Surgeon-General of the Confederate Army, is dead; Charles Bell Gibson, Surgeon-General of Virginia; Surgeons L. Guild, A. J. Ford, J. A. A. Berrian, J. T. Darby, W. A. Carrington, S. A. Ramsey, Samuel Choppin, Robert J. Breckenridge, E. N. Covey, E. S. Gaillard, Paul F. Eve, O. F. Manson, Louis D. Foard, S. E. Habersham, James Bolton, Robert Gibbes, and a host of medical officers of the Confederate States Army are dead. The Association of the United Confederate Veterans was formed in New Orleans June 10, 1889, the objects of which are historical, social and benevolent. Our illustrious commander, General John B. Gordon, of Georgia, has ordered the United Confederate Veterans to assemble in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 3, 1890. It is earnestly hoped that every surviving member of the Medical Corps of the Confederate Army and Navy will meet upon this important occassion, and promote by his presence and his counsels the sacred interests of the United Confederate Veterans. It is of the greatest importance to the future historian, and also to the honor and welfare of the medical profession of the South, that careful records should be furnished to the Surgeon-General of the United Confederate Veterans, embracing the following data:

First. Name, nativity, date of commission in the Confederate States Army and Navy, nature and length of service of every member of the Medical Corps of the Confederate States Army and Navy.

Second. Obituary notice and records of all deceased members of the Medical Corps of the Confederate Army and Navy.

Third. The titles and copies of all field and hospital reports of the Medical Corps of the Confederate Army and Navy. [112]

Fourth. Titles and copies of all published and unpublished reports relating to military surgery, and to diseases of armies, camps, hospitals and prisons.

The object proposed to be accomplished by the Surgeon-General of the United Confederate Veterans, is the collection, classification, preservation and the final publication of all the documents and facts bearing upon the history and labors of the Medical Corps of the Confederates States Army and Navy during the civil war, 1861-‘65. Everything which relates to critical period of our national history, which shall illustrate the patriotic, self-sacrificing and scientific labors of the Medical Corps of the Confederate States Army and Navy, and which shall vindicate the truth of history, shall be industriously collected, filed and finally published. It is believed that invaluable documents are scattered over the whole land, in the hands of survivors of the civil war of 1861-‘65, which will form material for the correct delineation of the medical history of the corps which played so important a part in the great historic drama. Death is daily thinning our ranks, while time is laying its heavy hands upon the heads of those whose hair is already whitening with the advance of years and the burden of cares. No delay, fellow comrades, should be suffered in the collection and preservation of these precious documents.

To this task of collecting all documents, cases, statistics and facts relating to the medical history of the Confederate Army and Navy, the Surgeon-General of the United Confederate Veterans invites the immediate attention and co-operation of his honored comrades and compatriots throughout the South.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Formation of the Medical Corps of the Confederate Army and Navy.

The entire army of the Confederate States was made up of volunteers from every walk of life, and the surgical staff of the army was composed of general practitioners from all parts of the Southern country whose previous professional life, during the period of unbroken peace which preceded the civil war, 1861-‘65, gave them but little surgery, and very seldom presented a gunshot wound. The study of the hygiene of vast armies hastily collected to repel invasion, [113] poorly equipped and scantily fed, as well as the frightful experience of the wounded upon the battle-field, and the horrible sufferings of the sick and wounded in the hospital, unfolded a vast field for the exercise of the highest skill and loftiest patriotism of the medical men of the South. This body of men, devoted solely to the preservation of the health of the troops in the field, and the preservation of their precious lives, and the surgical care of their mangled bodies and limbs, and the treatment of their diseases in field and general hospital, responded to every call of their bleeding country, and formed upon land and upon sea one indivisible corps, which penetrated all arms of the service, and labored for every soldier, however exalted or however low his rank. When the storm of war suddenly broke upon the Confederacy, and the thunders of cannon were heard around her borders, and her soil trembled with the march of armed battalions; when her ports were blockaded, and medicines and surgical instruments and works were excluded as contraband of war, the medical practitioners of the South gave their lives and fortunes to their country, without any prospect of military or political fame or preferment. They searched the fields and forests for remedies; they improvised their surgical implements from the common instruments of every day life; they marched with the armies, and watched by day and by night in the trenches. The Southern surgeons rescued the wounded on the battle-field, binding up the wounds, and preserving the shattered limbs of their countrymen; the Southern surgeons through four long years opposed their skill and untiring energies to the ravages of war and pestilence. At all times and under all circumstances, in rain and sunshine, in the cold winter and the burning heat of summer, and the roar of battle, the hissing of bullets and the shriek and crash of shells, the brave hearts, cool heads and strong arms of Southern surgeons were employed but for one purpose — the preservation of the health and lives and the limbs of their countrymen. The Southern surgeons were the first to succor the wounded and the sick, and their ears recorded the last words of love and affection for country and kindred, and their hands closed the eyes of the dying Confederate soldiers. When the sword decided the cause against the

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