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U.S.C.T. History Collection:
Medical Books Belonging To The
Surgeons Who Were Assigned To The
United States Colored Troops
During the Civil War
In 1863 the Civil War was at full throttle and both the Confederate and Union Armies were in desperate need of men. Following the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 the Union began to enlist soldiers of African American descent. The United States War Department facilitated this enlistment of African American soldiers by issuing General order number 143 on May 22, 1863. Almost 175 regiments with over 178,000 free blacks and freed slaves served in the last two years of the war. This service bolstered the Union war effort when it needed it most. The U.S.C.T. made up almost 10% of the Union troops by war's end.
Anatomy, Descriptive & Surgical by Henry Gray. 1862. Marked U.S.A. Med. Dept. on toe of spine. Signed Henry Osborne Surgeon 51st U.S. Colored Infantry of ffep. Also signed John Fish on ffep.
A System Of Surgery by Samuel Gross. 1862. Marked U.S.A. Hospital Department on front cover. Vol I. of II only. Signed U.S.A. General Hospital, Baton Rouge Louisiana, John Fish on ffep.
A Universal Formulary by Eglesfeld Griffith. 1859. Signed John Fish on ffep and front pastedown. John Fish M.D., Auburn Ohio signed onto front cover.
A Treatise On The Practice Of Medicine by Wood. 1858. Vol I. of II only. Signed John Fish on ffep.
System of Surgey by Gross stamped U.S.A. Hospital Department
Griffith's Formulary signed on front cover by U.S.C.T. Surgeon, John Fish
System of Surgery signed by U.S.C.T. Surgeon, John Fish. Also USA General Hospital Baton Rouge, La.
Gray's Anatomy signed Henry Osborne Surg. 51st U.S. Colored Infantry on ffep.
Also signed John Fish.
THE SURGEONS IN DETAIL
HENRY OSBORNE- SURGEON, 51ST COLORED INFANTRY, SEPT. 1863 - MAY,
From the Roster of Regimental Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons Showing Henry Osborne as Surgeon to the 51st Colored Infantry From March, 1864 to June 16, 1866
From the Medical and Surgical History of The War of the Rebellion Showing
Surgical records of Henry Osborne during the War.
A significant fact to mention here is the April of 1865 dates shown. April 1-9 was the last major battle of the Civil War, The Siege of Fort Blakely Alabama. The following examples show Surgeon Osborne at the battle operating on soldiers who are participating in that siege.
SERVICE OF THE 51st (formerly the 1st Mississippi Volunteer Infantry)
* BATTLE OF MILLIKEN'S BEND, LOUISIANA JUNE 5, 6, AND 7, 1863.
* AT LAKE PROVIDENCE, LOUISIANA TILL MAY, 1864.
* POST AND GARRISON DUTY ST GOODRICH LANDING, LOUISIANA, TILL
* ACTION AT LANGLEY'S PLANTATION, ISSAQUEENS COUNTY, MARCH 22,
* FLOYD, LOUISIANA., JULY 2, 1864.
* WATERFORD, AUGUST 16-17, 1864.
* MOVED TO ALGIERS, LOUISIANA, FEBRUARY 28, 1864; THENCE TO
* MARCH FROM PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, TO BLAKELY, ALABAMA, MARCH
20-APRIL 1, 1865.
* SIEGE OF FORT BLAKELY, ALABAMA APRIL 1-9, 1865.
* ASSAULT AND CAPTURE OF FORT BLAKELY, ALABAMA APRIL 9, 1865.
* OCCUPATION OF MOBILE, ALABAMA APRIL 12.
* MARCH TO MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA APRIL 13-25, 1865.
* DUTY IN MONTGOMERY AND AT MOBILE UNTIL JUNE, 1865.
* ORDERED TO NEW ORLEANS, THENCE TO TEXAS.
* DUTY ON THE RIO GRANDE AND AT VARIOUS POINTS IN TEXAS UNTIL JUNE,
* MUSTERED OUT JUNE 16, 1866.
JOHN FISH - SURGEON 17th REGIMENT CORPS D'AFRIQUE, 88th COLORED INFANTRY, 65TH COLORED INFANTRY, AND ASS'T SURGEON, 10TH COLORED HEAVY ARTILLERY.
From the Roster of Regimental Surgeons
Excerpts from the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. In these excerpts John Fish writes about his experiences with various ailments in the deep south and its affects on the colored troops.
The writer is aware that the officers on duty at the Field Hospital for colored troops at City Point, Va., were of the opinion that although the colored people under similar conditions of exposure might be less liable to seizure than the whites, they were assuredly much less able to resist the febrile influence when the attack was developed. Surgeon JOHN FISH, 17th regiment Corps d'Afrique, appears to have entertained the belief that the negro was as liable to malarial attacks as the white soldier.(+)
The 17th regiment Corps d'Afrique was recruited at Baton Rouge, and first mustered August 10, 1863. Its strength at that time was 510 men. We left Baton Rouge on steamer for Port Hudson, September 18, 1863, and have been on duty here ever since. The most frequent diseases have been diarrhea and dysentery, intermittent fever, typhoid fever, scurvy, pneumonia and rheumatism.
I had supposed the black man to be peculiarly exempt front diseases due to malarial influences; but I should not expect to have encountered a greater number of cases of intermittent fever in a body of white troops equaling ours in number than we have actually had.--Port Hudson, La., Feb. 25, 1864.
Surgeon JOHN FISH, 17th Corps D'Afrique, Port Hudson, La., Feb. 25, 1864.--Scurvy certainly exists, but is generally associated with and masked by other diseases. It works insidiously, and while few are attacked with uncomplicated scurvy, the constitutions of many are so undermined that they yield with scarcely a struggle to the quick onset of more open foes, such as pneumonia and other acute diseases. My slender experience inclines me to think that scurvy often palms itself off upon the surgeon for chronic rheumatism. At any rate I am treating some cases of chronic rheumatism (+) with chlorate of potash, iron and Irish potatoes.
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