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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

William Turner Jordan, M.D., CSA

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

A Hernstein surgery set, which belonged to Dr. Jordan' is part of this collection. 

Click here to see the detailed display of the set.


Below is a note sent to the children of W. T. Jordan regarding his whereabouts during the War.  Jordan was born 11-13-1835 in Nansemond, County, Virginia and died 3-14-1922,  note courtesy of family member, John Litchfield.

Click image to enlarge


William Turner Jordan,  3rd Virginia Infantry, Company F, 1st Lieutenant, transferred to an Independent Scout Unit.  Jordan was born November 13, 1835, the son of William Edmund and Martha J. D. Gary Jordan. He attended University of Virginia medical school from 1855 to 1857. He married Amanda Charlotte Arthur (1841-1900), the daughter of James S. and Charlotte Ward Arthur in 1861. Jordan was a physician and farmer in Bellsville, Virginia. Around 1907, he wrote an historical
sketch of the farms and their owners in the Lower Parish of Nansemond County, which has been published by the Nansemond-Suffolk Historical Society. Jordan died March 14, 1922 and was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Block F, Lot 59.


In 1892, at age 62, Nansemond census:  Jordan, William T.       2 Lt.     F    3rd Va. Inf.  4-25-1861

(Nansemond County Civil War Veterans: This file is the product of many hours by Bruce Saunders and Marion Joyner Watson. We hope it is useful to many. This page may be freely copied, linked to, or used for any non-commericial purpose. It may not be copied for any commercial purpose. Property of Southampton County Historical Society. copyright 1998)

William Turner Jordan was a prisoner of war at Point Lookout Prison in Maryland in 1864.  He is listed in the archives as one of the doctors among the prisoners:


Point Lookout was the largest and one of the worst Union prisoner-of-war camps, established on August 1, 1863. It was located at the extreme tip of St. Mary's County, on the long, low, and barren peninsula where the Potomac River joins Chesapeake Bay.  The prison's official name was Camp Hoffman but it was hardly ever used. The site was originally leased to the Federal Government in June 1862, and quickly became a major government installation. The site was comparatively isolated and easily protected. At the extreme end of the peninsula, near the lighthouse, a 1,400-bed hospital complex was built with 20 buildings arranged in a circle, a large wharf to receive supplies and the wounded soldiers that came in from battlefields; a number of storehouses and stables; laundry and dining facilities; and additional quarters for officers, doctors, surgeons, and Union troops. The hospital became one of the largest and busiest medical facilities in the Union's service. Before long, the prison became the most populated and largest Union prison, because it was so close to the battlefields on the Eastern Theater.  Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates from 1863 to 1865 in the state of Maryland. Point Lookout housed over 52,000 Southerners, with a death count of over 14,000.  There was much animosity between the prisoners and the guards, who were mostly black troops. One Confederate who had managed to purchase his freedom from the prison reported that "murder was not only not scrupled at, but opportunities sought for its commission by the guards, who are known to have been offered by the officer of the day as much as $10 and $15 apiece for every prisoner they could shoot in the discharge of their duty."

Point Lookout CSA Doctors

Dr.John Wesley Wood, 12th AL
Dr. Hugh C. Martin, Co. C 2nd MD Cav.
Dr. J. N. Jones, Isle of Wight Country, VA
Dr. John Ball Waring, 27th SC Inf. Co. A
Dr. John Smyly, 4th SC Cav. Co. G
Lt. William Turner Jordan, M.D., 3rd VA Inf. Co. F

In the letter to his children above, Jordan says he was then acting as 'scouts' in 1864.

This is a citation of the Confederate Signalmen and Telegraph Operators from Virginia:

Jordan, William T.: Pvt. Enl. 2nd Co. Petersburg 9-3-1863, Present until captured Isle of Wright Co. 6-6-1864.  Sent to Ft. Monroe. Transferred to Point Lookout.  Exchanged 2-15-1865.  Paroled Dist. of Eastern Va. 4-22-1865.  Res. Nansemond County.


New Orleans, September 30, 1864.
Maj. Gen. E. R. S. CANBY,
Comdg. Mil. Div. of West Miss., New Orleans, La.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to your consideration a statement of the information received at this office this 30th day of September, 1864, from the following sources: A report from Bernard Norton, scout, mouth of White River, September 24; the statement of W. W. Aber, Vicksburg, Miss., September 20; the statement of
W. T. Jordan, Vicksburg, Miss. (Miss.??? must be a mistake), September 22. Mr. Norton states that General Price crossed the Arkansas on the 7th instant, at Dardanelle and Galls Rock, with 8,000 men, 12 guns, and 400 wagons. He is moving in the direction of Missouri. North of White River, at Jacksonport, Generals McCray and Shelby are moving in the same direction, with a force estimated at 6,000 cavalry. There is no force at Hot Springs. Colonel Logan is at Princeton, with 600 cavalry. Captain Cooper is at the North Fork of the Saline, with three companies of cavalry. Colonel Harrison's command, the Third Louisiana Cavalry, his own regiment, Colonel Capers' regiment, and Colonel McNeill's regiment., were at Oak Ridge, La., on the 13th instant, but were under orders to move into Arkansas to re-enforce Marmaduke, or to do picket duty near Monticello while the other troops move into Missouri. His force is estimated from 1,500 to 2,500. On the 13th Walker's and Polignac's divisions were still at Monroe, La., but under marching orders for the north. Price's army of invasion is said to be 20,000 or 25,000 strong. Captain Lee's guerrillas, seventy-five or eighty strong, on the 14th instant, were at Bone Wade's plantation, four miles above Floyd, La.

I am very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, Signal Corps, U.S. Army, Commanding.

The Signal Corps in the Confederate States Army Signal Corps, was a much smaller group of officers and men, using similar organizations and techniques as their Union opponents.  Although both services had an implicit mission of battlefield observation, intelligence gathering, and artillery fire direction from their elevated signal stations, the Confederate Signal Corps also included an explicit espionage function.

The Confederate Signal Corps perform duties and utilized equipment very similar to their Northern counterparts, with some exceptions. Electric telegraphy was not used in tactical battlefield communications due to shortages of telegraph wire and trained operators. Their aerial telegraphy was performed with similar flags, but with slightly modified codes and movements from the Myer methods. Unlike the Union Signal Corps, however, the Confederate Signal Corps also was chartered to conduct espionage for the South. (Both services provided valuable battlefield intelligence, and sometimes artillery fire direction, from their elevated observation points, but the Confederate corpsmen performed undercover missions behind enemy lines as well.) Acting as the Secret Service of the Confederacy, the corps administered the Secret Line, an information network that ran between Richmond and the North and extended into Canada. It is because of its clandestine nature that much of the work of the Confederate Signal Corps is lost to history. Many of its records were burned in the fall of Richmond and in a subsequent fire at Norris's home, which claimed his personal papers.


This is information from the AMA deceased physicians data relative to William Turner Jordan:

Name: William Turner Jordan
Death date: Mar 13, 1922
Place of death: Driver, VA
Birth date: 1835
Type of practice: Allopath
States and years of licenses: VA
Places and dates of practices: Driver, VA, 1859
Medical school(s): New York University Medical College, New York: Univ. of City of New York Med. Dept., 1859, (G) 
Journal of the American Medical Association Citation: 78:1145

(Note: there is no mention of Jordan attending the Univ. of Virginia in the AMA citation and I have not been able to find him listed as a student at Virginia?)

(Note: Driver, Virginia, was originally named "Persimmon Orchard", Driver was once located in the former Nansemond County between the former town of Suffolk and the City of Portsmouth, which was itself was located in the former Norfolk County.)

(The 1859 Alumni Report of The University of the City of New York, Medical Department shows W.T. Jordan as a graduate in that year, but there is no attribute to him as having served as a surgeon in the Civil War.)

The fact he graduated in 1859, leaves a large amount of time until the beginning of the Civil War.  The question is why didn't he serve as a medical officer instead of an infantry officer?  And why did he resign his commission and then later rejoin as a private in the signal service?   

Nansemond County Civil War Veterans:

William Turner Jordan                          
3rd Virginia Infantry, Company F, 1st Lieutenant, transferred to an Independent Scout Unit.
Jordan was born November 13, 1835, the son of William Edmund and Martha J. D. Gary Jordan. He attended University of Virginia medical school from 1855 to 1857. He married Amanda Charlotte Arthur (1841-1900), the daughter of James S. and Charlotte Ward Arthur in 1861. Jordan was a physician and farmer in Bellsville, Virginia. Around 1907, he wrote an historical sketch of the farms and their owners in the Lower Parish of Nansemond County, which has been published by the Nansemond-Suffolk Historical Society. Jordan died March 14, 1922 and was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Block F, Lot 59.

A Record of Farms and Their Owners in the Lower Parish of Nansemond County, Virginia by Dr. William    Turner Jordan (1835-1922)

"A Record of Farms and Their Owners in Lower Parish of Nansemond County, Virginia." by William Turner Jordan, M.D. (1835 - 1922); Published by Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society, Suffolk, Virginia; First Edition - 1968; Second Edition - 1977. From the introduction - "Beginning in 1907, Dr. Jordan, whose ancestors landed at Jamestown and who served the people of the Driver community as their friend and family physician for more than fifty years, recorded, as time would permit, both local history as he knew it and as it was told to him by those much older."

The plot thickens, it seems Dr. Turner attended the University of Virginia Medical School from 1855 to 1857, then went to the University of the City of New York in 1858-1859.


Courtesy of Dr. T. Hambrecht: (citation in Wallace, L. A. [1986]  3rd Virginia Infantry. 2nd edition, H. E. Howard, Inc.,  Lynchburg, VA. p.93)


JORDAN, WILLIAM TURNER: born Nov 13, 1835; physician;  enl. Ap.21, 1861, at Hargroves Tavern; 2nd Lt., Co F. Resigned, Sept. 17, 1861. Died Mar. 14, 1922.  Buried in Cedar Hill Cem. Suffolk.

W.T. Jordan's engraved Infantry saber (not a medical staff sword), courtesy of family member, John Litchfield.

The 3rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia.

The 3rd Virginia was organized at Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1856 with volunteer companies attached to the 7th Regiment Virginia Militia. It entered Confederate service during July, 1861. Its members were from Portsmouth and Petersburg, and the counties of
Nansemond, Dinwiddie, Surry, Isle of Wright, Southampton, and Halifax.

Three companies were in the fight at Big Bethel, then the regiment was assigned to General Colston's,
Pryor's, Kemper's, and W.R. Terry's Brigade. It fought with the Army of Northern Virginia from Williamsburg to Gettysburg except when it was detached to Suffolk with Longstreet. Later it was active in the conflicts at Plymouth, Drewry's Bluff, and Cold Harbor, the Petersburg siege south and north of the James River, and the Appomattox Courthouse Campaign.

This unit totaled 550 men in April, 1862, and reported 97 casualties during the Seven Days' Battles, 19 in the Maryland Campaign, and 11 at Fredericksburg. Of the 332 engaged at Gettysburg, more than thirty-five percent were disabled. Many were captured at Five Forks and Sayler's Creek, and only 1 officer and 60 men surrendered in April, 1865.

The field officers were Colonels Joseph Mayo, Jr. and
Roger A. Pryor; and Lieutenant Colonels Alexander D. Callcote, William H. Pryor, and Joseph V. Scott.



In the spring of 1863, Armistead and his brigade took part in a foraging expedition to southeastern Virginia and as a result missed the Chancellorsville Campaign (1863).

On the third and final day of Gettysburg, Pickett's division, which up to then had been held in reserve, was chosen to spearhead Lee's major attack against the center of the Union line. Armistead's brigade supported the division's front. With his hat on the tip of his raised sword, he led his brigade on foot across the open ground and into the chaotic fight on Cemetery Ridge. The brigade reached the Union line, commanded in part by Hancock, but went no farther. Armistead had just placed his hand on a Union cannon when he was struck by a volley of rifle fire. While lying badly wounded, he asked to see Hancock, but Hancock's command responsibilities and his own wounds prevented it.

Instead, Armistead was carried to a nearby Union field hospital where he died on July 5 from a combination of blood loss and exhaustion


September 6, 1862 - Lewis A. Armistead is assigned to duty as provost marshal of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. He serves in that role during the Maryland Campaign.
July 3, 1863 - Lewis A. Armistead leads his brigade in the attack known as Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. Armistead and his men reach the Union line, commanded by his old army friend Union general Winfield Scott Hancock, but the attack fails and Armistead is struck down by a volley of rifle fire and taken to a nearby Union field hospital.
July 5, 1863 - Two days after he is wounded during what became known as Pickett's Charge in the Battle of Gettysburg, Lewis A. Armistead dies in a Union field hospital.




2014 update on Dr. Jordan's home:


The present owners (Jeff and Sara Johnson) of the house where Dr. Jordan lived in Virginia graciously sent follow-up details and photos of the house and grounds.  I've included their comments and the photos below:


The house is located just outside the town of Driver in old Nansemond County. The Jordan family operated a mill on the property pre-Civil War and the foundation for the mill still exist on our neighbors property.  We have one of the mill stones in our front yard which has been used as a well cap for as long as anyone can remember.  The Jordan property (known as Jordan's Mill Hill) was eventually sold off after his death (date of sale unclear) and parceled out over the years but the house has survived mostly in its original condition.  Locals refer to the property as the old Whedbee farm. 

Only two of the original outbuildings have survived the years, one which was an old wood smoke house we now use as a shed and an old crumbling brick pump house.  We know that Dr. Jordan operated his practice out of the house (we think in a1907 addition) and that for a time the house was also used as the "county court house" after a fire at Hargrove's Tavern. 

The current house did not exist on the property during the American Civil War, but relics of the conflict have been found in the yard .

It's interesting that the info from genealogical records and on your website states that Dr. Jordan is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk.






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American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Wednesday, October 18, 2017