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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Civil War Military Surgical Manuals and Medical Textbooks

Civil War Medical Books, Civil War Medicine

 A Collection of Medical text-books based on the Surgeon General's Office Library Catalogue in 1840, 1864, and 1865

Topics: Medical textbooks, Civil War medical books, antique medical books, and rare medical books which were used during the Civil War by surgeons both in the Union and Confederate Armies.

 U. S. Army & Confederate Army Medical Department Publications

U.S. Army Hospital and Medical Departments


Page One

 Medical Book Collection Index sorted by page  or  Index sorted by author


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


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During the Civil War, it was essential surgical manuals were published because most physicians who enlisted or volunteered during the war had little or no surgical experience.  Medical colleges typically offered two year courses to grant a medical degree and the medical textbooks they used are represented in this collection.  The medical textbooks were produced for or used by both contract and military surgeons during the Civil War.  In the latter pages of this collection are medical and surgical textbooks which would have been used in medical college just prior to or during the Civil War.  Those designated by the Medical or Hospital Departments were government issue for the U. S. Army.

A doctor in his office: library, stethoscope, skull, amputation set on top of the cabinet

The basis of this Civil War medical book collection is the presence of these medical textbooks in the Surgeon General's Office Library Catalogue as published in 1840, 1864, and 1865 See a list of all catalogues with publications and dates. The edition and year of publication is representative of those listed in the printed Catalogue in 1864 and 1865.  These books were chosen by the surgeons who ran the Union Army medical services prior to and during the Civil War.  The Confederate Army staff surgeons used many of the same textbooks as the majority of the CSA executive surgeons were in the Union Army prior to the War and most were educated at northern medical colleges.  The collection is currently being limited to 1860 to 1865 edition dates for additiions.

Civil War Surgeon General's library and publications ordered by the U.S. Army Medical Department during the Civil War

The assembly of the Echols collection is also cross-referenced to the Arnold G. Diethelm collection at the Reynolds Historical Library collection of Civil War Medicine, but the Reynolds collection is not based on the Surgeon General's Office Library.  Until recently very few collectors were aware of the SGO Library Catalogue due to the rarity of the printed catalogues.

Authors of some of the surgery manuals: Smith, Hamilton, Blackman, and Tripler, are some of the surgeons who were assigned the responsibility of selecting the instruments to be placed in Civil War surgical sets at the inception of the War.  These sets were then made by contractors like George Tiemann Co., Kolbe', Hernstein, Kern, and others.  It's all inter-connected.

The manuals and textbooks on these pages are not reproductions, they are originals and may have been used prior to or during the Civil War by the medical staff surgeons on either side.  Some of these books are not visually pretty due to their age and use by the doctors who owned the books.  They were actively used to learn and in some cases carried to war.  They are intended to represent a 'working' condition collection.   In many cases the texts are signed by their doctor owners. 


The Surgeon Generals' Library c. 1861

In some cases, these textbooks were issued to surgeons in the Army of the United States by the U.S. Army Surgeon General, Clement Alexander Finley, before the beginning of the Civil War. The National Library of Medicine states in an article by  Wyndam Miles, how many of various medical text books were published specifically for the Medical Department during the early years of the War, and that information is shown via the Wyndam Miles article.

Subsequent published Catalogues of the Surgeon General's Office Library list the books in that library in 1840, 1864, and 1865.  See a list of all catalogues.

To the left, is a period image of the Surgeon-General's Office Library in 1861.  See information on the Surgeon General's Office Library by Wyndam Miles 

Publications & text-books ordered by the U.S. Army Medical Department during the Civil War

Information on the Surgeon General's Office Library by Wyndam Miles

Article on early American Medical Libraries.

Ciba article on Civil War medical education

Ciba article on Civil War medicine during the Civil War

U. S. Army Surgical Manuals and Medical Books

The Civil War Era Medical Text-book Collection of Dr. Michael Echols


Page 1

Authors:  S. Smith, W. Grace, Gray, J. Janvier Woodward,  Medical Regulations U.S. Army, Revised U.S. Army Regulation, Wells, Strait

Click on images to enlarge


The Army Surgeon's Manual, for the use of Medical Officers, Cadets, Chaplains, and Hospital Stewards, (1861 to 1864, published 1864), by William Grace with permission of the Surgeon-General

The only complete source for the rules and regulations of the U. S. Army Medical Department, Grace’s Manual contains all general orders from the war department, and circulars from the surgeon-general’s office from January 1, 1868 to July 1, 1864. It lists the medical staff of the U. S. Army as of July 1, 1864.

A copy of this text book is listed in the 1865 Surgeon General's Office Library Catalogue or the list of medical textbooks which were published during the Civil War by the Army Medical Department.  This rare text contains all regulations from January 1861 to July 1, 1864.  200 pages.


List of U. S. Army Medical Department Surgeon's in 1864


Below: Recent publications for surgeon's,1864 by Bailliere Bros., N.Y.


Hand-book of surgical operations, (1863) by Stephen Smith, M.D.

A copy of this text book is listed in the Surgeon General's Office Library Catalogues and the list of medical textbooks which were published during the Civil War by the Army Medical Department or the list of medical textbooks which were published during the Civil War by the Army Medical Department.  See an 1865 receipt for purchase of this book by a Civil War assistant surgeon.

A Hand-book of Surgical Operations has been prepared at the suggestion of several professional friends, who early entered the medical staff of the Volunteer Army. It was alleged that the military surgeon of this country had no small and convenient work suitable for a pocket companion, containing the details of the more common as well as the important operations in surgery. He must either encumber himself with the large treatises on general .and operative surgery, or rely upon his unaided memory in the emergencies of the service.


In its scope the work is limited to those branches of operative surgery which are of the most importance to the military surgeon. This was deemed advisable, in order to render the volume as convenient and portable as possible. Within these limits the constant effort has been to embrace the greatest number of subjects, to arrange them in the best form for reference, and to give the largest amount of practical details, anatomical and operative.


As the value of such a work is much enhanced by engravings, care has been taken to illustrate every subject to the fullest extent. For this purpose works ou operative surgery have been largely consulted, and such illustrations selected as were deemed most valuable. To avoid frequent repetitions, no mention is made in the text of the source from which they have been derived, and this occasion is taken to make proper acknowledgment. In the chapter on Minor Surgery, the illustrations are copied from English surgical treatises, Sedillot's TraitS de Med. Operat., and Jamain's Manuel de Petit Chir,; the illustrations of the Operations on Arteries are from Sedillot {op. tit.) and Guerin's Elem. de Chir. Operat.; in the chapter on Amputations, the illustrations are from English works, viz. Skey, Fergusson, Listen, Guthrie, and Druitt, and from Guerin (op. cit.), Chassaign»-'s Traite Clinique et Pratique des Operations Chirurgicales, Spc., and Bernard and Huette's Illustrated Manual of Operative Surgery and Surgical Anatomy ; in the chapter on Resections, the illustrations of operations are from Chassaignac (op. cit.), Guthrie, Heyfelder's Operationslehre und Statistic der Resectionen, Erichsen, and Bernard and Huette (op. cit.). The illustrations of instruments through the volume have been selected by Tiemann & Co., and Wade & Ford, Instrument Makers, of this city, and generally represent the latest improvements.

Although this work is limited, as stated above, yet the subjects treated are, with the exception of Gunshot Wounds, such as constantly engage the attention of the surgeon in civii and hospital practice, and it is believed that it will prove to this class of practitioners a useful and acceptable aid to the memory. To the students of Operative Surgery, it presents in sufficient detail for the purposes of study and practice, the methods of performing the ordinary operations in Surgery.

May 16,1862.

Additional information on: Stephen Smith, M.D.

Bellevue Hospital Medical College lecture card for Stephen Smith, M.D.1870-71


Title: Hand-Book of Surgical Operations


Author: Stephen Smith, M.D.

Published: Bailliere Bros., N. Y. (1863) Hard bound, 6 7/8 x 4 3/4 x  7/8 in., 261 pages Multiple drawings


Signed: Dr. James E. Copeland, Round Hill, Loudoun Co, Virginia


He joined the Confederacy late in the war as a private, in the 35th  Virginia Cavalry Battalion and was paroled in Winchester, VA, on May 8, 1865 after his surrender.   James E. Copeland received his M.D. degree from Washington University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD in 1876. 


Surgical drawings from Smith's manual of surgery

Gray's Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical, by Henry Gray, (1862, second edition) U. S. Army Hospital Department Issue

Gray, Henry, F.R.S,  Lecturer on Anatomy at St George's Hospital London.   ANATOMY DESCRIPTIVE AND SURGICAL,  The Drawings by H. V. Carter MD, Demonstrator on Anatomy at St. George's Hospital the dissections jointly by the Author and Dr Carter Second American from the second revised and improved London edition in one magnificent imperial octavo volume of over 800 pages with 388 images and elaborate engravings on wood.  1862

Discussion of this text by the publisher Blanchard and Lea, 1863

Marked: U. S. A. Hospital Department


The book is marked: 'U. S. A. Hospital Department' on the spine. This copy is also pen marked: "Hospital 10th Ill (Illinois) Vol (Voluntary) Infantry on the title page. 

The 10th Illinois Volunteer Infantry was the only regiment from the state of Illinois to be mustered into service while in the field, under orders. They were sworn into service in Cairo, Illinois on 29 April 1861 for three months.

In July 1861, the regiment enlisted for three years. In January 1862, they moved with Grant's forces toward Paducah, KY. The unit intercepted the rebels in their retreat from Island #10, which led to the surrender of almost 6,000 Confederate troops at Tiptonville, TN.

In 1864, the 10th Illinois reenlisted as a Veteran regiment and participated in Sherman's March to the Sea as well as the Battle of Bentonville and other battles toward the end of the war. The 10th Regiment mustered out of service on 4 July 1865.

Hospital Steward's Manual, (1862) by Joseph Janvier Woodward, M.D., Asst. Surgeon U.S.A., U. S. Army Hospital Department Issue

Additional information on Joseph J. Woodward, M.D

The Hospital Steward's Manual, for the instruction of hospital stewards, ward-masters, and attendants, in their several duties. 

A copy of this text book is listed in the 1864 Surgeon General's Office Library Catalogue or the list of medical textbooks which were published during the Civil War by the Army Medical Department.

At the beginning of the Civil War Dr. Woodward entered the United States army as assistant surgeon, serving with the 2d United States artillery in the Army of the Potomac, and then became chief medical officer of the 5th division in the Department of Northeast Virginia, being present at the first battle of Bull Run. Later he became medical officer of three light batteries in General Philip Kearny's division in the Army of the Potomac. In May, 1862, he was assigned to duty in the surgeon-general's office in Washington, and charged with the duty of collecting materials for a medical and surgical history of the war and for a military medical museum. At the close of the war he received the brevets of captain, major, and lieutenant-colonel, and on 28 July, 1866, he was commissioned captain and assistant surgeon. He was made surgeon with the rank of major on 26 June, 1876. Dr. Woodward was associated in the management of President Garfield's case after he was shot,

HOSPITAL STEWARD'S MANUAL THE HOSPITAL STEWARD'S MANUAL A Book of Instruction for Hospital Stewards, Ward Masters, and Attendants in their several duties.  Prepared in strict accordance with existing regulations and the customs of service in the armies of the United States of America, By JOSEPH JANVIER WOODWARD MD, Assistant Surgeon USA 12mo

J.B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, 1862. Hard Cover. First Edition. 12mo. Dark brown cloth with gilt spine lettering. 324pp. B&W illustrations. Scarce 1st edition of this important medical book.

Authorized Medical Books from J. B. Lippincott & Co. Publishers.  Authorized and adopted by the Surgeon-General, U. S. Army, for use in Field and General Hospitals 1862


AMA Data Base


Name: Benjamin Williams
Death date: Nov 27, 1910
Place of death: Prospect Harbor, Maine
Birth date: 1835
Type of practice: Allopath
Practice speciality: GS General Surgery
States and years of licenses: Maine
Medical school(s): Bowdoin Medical School, Brunswick-Portland: Medical School of Maine, 1864


Printed label in the book


Signed in the front page and dated 1863:

"B. Williams,  A. H. S.  26th Me. Vols. Port-Hudson, June 1863  (Army Hospital Steward, 26th Maine Volunteers), later Benj. Williams was listed an Assistant-Surgeon in the 8th Infantry, Maine. until August 31, 1864."

Signature of Ben. Williams

From Bowdoin Medical College Biographies:  Benjamin Williams, M.D.  Born 1836 Thomaston.  26th Maine Volunteers 1862;  Assistant Surgeon 8th Maine Volunteers 1864-66.  Physician in  Freedon 1866-74;  Rockland 1874-1906.  Mayor of Rockland 1886-87.  Comdr. Maine G.A.R. 1884.  Retired to Prospect Harbor.  Died 1910.

Steward and later, Assistant-Surgeon B. Williams:  The inside cover is written on and signed by steward Ben. Williams while at the battle of Port Hudson, La..  (See history of 26th Regiment Maine, Vol. )  Above is a paper label with William's name printed and the page is also signed by: Ben. Williams, 2d, on the backside of the front board with the Port Hudson information.  

Benj. Williams is listed as a H. Stew. (Hospital Steward) from Rockland, Me, in the Roster of Surgeons on page 141 under the 26th Regiment Maine, they mustered out in August 17, 1863.

Benj. Williams, Rockland, Me, is later listed as an Assistant-Surgeon on page 138 of the Roster of Surgeons from August,1864.  Apparently Benjamin was promoted to an assistant surgeon between 1863 and 64.

Regulations for the Medical Department of the Army of the United States, War Department, Adj. General's Office, Washington, D.C. 1861

This small booklet (5 x 8 in.) approximately 60 pages, contains extracts from the General Regulations of the Medical Department of the Army which were published by order of Sec. of War, L. Thomas, Adj. Gen.  The book is more of a pamphlet, being bound with hard paper boards and the spine hinged with typical period black cloth and sewn pages.  It was published for issue to the Army Medical Officers and Stewards.

REVISED ARMY REGULATIONS REVISED REGULATIONS FOR THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, 1861.  By authority of the President of the United States and the Secretary of War With a full Index. One vol 8vo $1.75

Of considerable importance to this collection is the subject of 'contract' physicians and the Form 18, which the Army was required to fill out when hiring a physician for the Army.  The significance of this form today is it proves a given doctor served during the War as a contract physician.  The full text is provided below, but not the charts and tables in the balance of the book.  It spells out the duties and expectations for Union medical officers.


Form 18

Used by the U. S. Army to subscribe contract surgeons during the Civil War.  This type of form would be hard evidence a doctor served as a physician during the War

Roster of Civil War Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons, (1883) by J.W. Wells and N.A. Strait  

Note: Regarding signatures of doctors in the front of medical and surgical texts.   Just because a given doctor cannot be found in the Roster of Surgeon's does not mean they did not serve in the Civil War.  Only regular Army Surgeons or Assistant Surgeons are listed in the Roster.  The Roster list does not include any Confederate Surgeons, nor does it included any of the thousands of contract or volunteer militia surgeons who served in rear area hospitals or temporarily.  Tracking down who was and was not a 'surgeon' during the War is a major undertaking and requires hours of detailed work, luck, and persistence. 

Among the contract surgeons, there were both homeopathic and allopathic physicians and their training varied greatly.  The Union Army went to great lengths to weed out those ' wannabe surgeons' who may not have been adequately trained, but that information is difficult to find or verify.  See report on Gettysburg by Surg. Letterman about 'useless' civilian doctors

Additional information on this Roster and it's history.

By J.W. Wells and N.A. Strait

The original alphabetical list of the Battles of the War of the Rebellion with dates and a Roster of all the Regimental Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons in the hospital service of the Union Army during the Civil War including Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons assigned to the U.S. Colored Troops. The soft-cover book is 331 pages in length and measures 5 3/4" x 9". It was compiled after the War by J.W. Wells and N.A. Strait and published in Washington, D.C. in 1883.  It is the definitive resource for identification of staff doctors who were in the Union Army.  It does not list contract doctors, who may have served part-time or Confederate medical personnel.

View the full text on Google 'Books' for research purposes

Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States, (1861)

Rare original fully indexed copy of the 1861 Army Regulations, including the Medical Department, by authority of the War Department, published by J. G. L. Brown, Philadelphia. Book is 559 pages.   Foreword by Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, August 10,1861.

Signature is that of George Barton (Inscribed in front and back of book) who was a 2nd.Lieut in the 81st. Pennsylvania Infantry. Barton was severely wounded in December of 1862 at Fredericksburg, Va., resulting in the Amputation of his right leg. He was discharged in April of 1863 for the wounds he received.



Listing of Lt. Barton in the Medical & Surgical History

Table of contents of the Regulations

Continue to Page One-A

 Medical Book Collection Index sorted by page  or  Index sorted by author


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See information on Medical education and lecture cards during and before the Civil War

Wanted: Medical textbooks marked for the U.S.A. Medical or Hospital Dept. please contact Dr. Echols for a quote before you sell


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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Students doing reports or projects are welcome to use the content of this site without permission, but credits would be appreciated.


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