American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection


As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, Antiques & Collecting publications, and various TV programs

Confederate Brig. General John Echols, CSA

(The following are the personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)


BORN: 1823 in Lynchburg, VA.
DIED: 1896 in Staunton, VA.
CAMPAIGNS: First Bull Run, Shenandoah Valley, Kernstown,
Droop Mountain, New Market and Cold Harbor.


John Echols was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, on March 20, 1823. After graduating from Washington College in Virginia, he studied law at Harvard, and was admitted to the bar. He served as commonwealth attorney, and as a Virginia state legislator.

Echols was a physically imposing man, at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 260 pounds. When Virginia seceded from the Union, Echols worked to recruit volunteers in western Virginia. Appointed lieutenant colonel of the 27th Virginia, he led his regiment in the First Battle of Bull Run, joining four other Virginia regiments in winning fame as the "Stonewall Brigade."

Echols took part in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, and was seriously wounded at Kernstown in March of 1862. On April 16, while recuperating, he was commissioned a brigadier general. He took over a brigade in the Army of Western Virginia, then became commander of the Army of Southwest Virginia.

In the summer of 1863, he served on the court of inquiry to examine the July surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi. His troops were defeated at Droop Mountain in November of 1863. After serving under Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge at the Battle of Newmarket, he and his brigade went east and fought at Cold Harbor.

He took command of the District of Southwest Virginia, then took over Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early's position as commander of the Department of Western Virginia. On his way to east to join with Gen. Robert E. Lee's army, he found out about the surrender at Appomattox. Marching to North Carolina, he joined Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army, then surrendered in Augusta, Georgia.

After the Civil War, Echols went back to his legal practice. He became a wealthy lawyer and businessman, involved in banking and railroads. Echols died on May 24, 1896, in Staunton, Virginia.


Echols was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was educated at the Virginia Military Institute, Washington College and Harvard College. Entering upon the practice of law at Staunton, he soon attained distinction. A tall imposing man, standing 6 feet 4 inches tall, Echols quickly became a leader among his peers. He played a prominent part in the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861, and then offered his service to the state's army. Commissioned as a lieutenant colonel, he was ordered by General Robert E. Lee to call out and muster in the volunteer forces in the vicinity of Staunton for Joseph E. Johnston's fledgling army.


Echols was then assigned command of the 27th Virginia Infantry, leading the regiment in the fighting at the First Battle of Manassas under Stonewall Jackson. He was soon promoted to colonel, serving in the Valley Campaign. He was severely wounded on March 23, disabling him for several weeks. Echols was promoted to brigadier general on April 16, 1862  during his convalescence.  Later in the year, he was assigned to command a brigade of the army of Western Virginia.  He participated as a brigade commander in William W. Loring's occupation of the Kanawha Valley in September. After Loring withdrew to the mountains, Echols replaced him in command of the Department of Western Virginia. He promptly reoccupied Charleston, but was forced to retreat by a superior enemy force.
He resigned his departmental command in the spring of 1863, and, during the following summer, served upon the three-man court of inquiry held in Richmond to investigate the cause of the fall of Vicksburg. Later in the year, he commanded the Confederate forces in the Battle of Droop Mountain, stubbornly resisting a series of Federal attacks. In May 1864, he commanded John C. Breckinridge's right wing at the Battle of New Market in the Shenandoah Valley.

Echols' Brigade was recalled by Robert E. Lee to rejoin the Army of Northern Virginia near Cold Harbor during the Siege of Petersburg. On August 22, 1864, he was given charge of the District of Southwestern Virginia, and on March 29, 1865, Echols was assigned command of the western department of Virginia, relieving General Breckinridge, who had joined the staff of President Jefferson Davis. On April 2, Echols, with nearly 7,000 men, began a hasty march to unite with Lee. He reached Christiansburg, Virginia, on April 10, where he received a telegram announcing Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. At a solemn council of war, Echols decided to march to unite with Johnston's army, and Echols led two brigades southward towards North Carolina. Subsequently, he accompanied President Davis to Augusta, Georgia.

After the war, Echols resumed his Staunton law practice and was a member of the Virginia General Assembly. He helped select the members of the Committee of Nine, a group of state leaders who worked to ensure that the state be readmitted into the Union. He became President of the Staunton National Valley Bank, and Receiver and General Manager of the Chesapeake, Ohio & Southwestern Railroad, living in Kentucky the last ten years of his life as he managed the railroad's affairs.

Echols was twice married, first to a sister of Senator Allen T. Caperton of West Virginia, and, after her death, to Mrs. Mary Cochrane Reid of New York. He died at the residence of his son, Edward Echols (later lieutenant governor of Virginia), at Staunton, where he is buried in Thornrose Cemetery.

General John Echols
Monroe County

Sign located at the intersection of Route 219 and Route 3

It reads: "Gen. Echols was born March 20, 1823 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He entered the Confederate Army from his home in Union. With rank of Lieut. Col., Echols commanded the 27th Virginia Brigade, Staunton Infantry, at Manassas and was severely wonded at Kernstown. He was commissioned Brig. Gen. on April 16, 1862. His later service was mostly in West Virginia. He died May 24, 1896 and was buried in Staunton."

A letter sent to Major Wm. McLaughlin by Brig. Gen.John Echols

Dr. Mc.

I hope to be a the Narrows on next Monday.  I wish that you would ask Col. Wharton if he cannot help me in some way to get home, either by ambulance or some other safe way.  Bowyer has just come in and we are just going down to try t get your (cloth?).  He will leave here on Saturday night and if nothing happens will be in Dublin on Sunday.  It is forever now snowing hard and very cold.  I wish that you could see that I can get the quarters where you are, if you should be ordered away, or stay with you when I report for duty, which will be in a very few days.

No news except what you will see in the papers,

In haste very truly yours

Jno Echols

(Wm. Mc Laughln was a lawyer too, served with John Echols as his Chief of Artillery)



Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols



Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Please note: information on this site may not be normally referenced as this is an active and long-term educational research project.  Personal notes may not be properly cited for publication.  Various articles are digitally reproduced under the 'fair-use act' of the copyright laws and are intended for educational purposes only.  Many citations are from Google digital 'books' and can be traced backwards via a search of a unique string in the citation.


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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016