Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dr. Samuel Preston Moore

Some of the greatest heroes of Civil War medicine did not serve on the battlefields or hospitals. Great advances in health care administration were made by great organizational leaders. Samuel Preston Moore of Charleston, received his M.D. degree in 1834 from the Medical College of South Carolina. He entered the United States Army medical service immediately after his graduation and was known as a “spit and polish” officer. Moore served on frontiers in Florida, New York, Louisiana. During the Mexican War he was stationed along the Rio Grande. He served until the start of the Civil War, when he resigned his Federal position and was appointed Surgeon General of the Confederate Army by President Jefferson Davis.

At the start of the war, the Medical Department of the Confederate Army was understaffed, underfunded and disorganized. Moore’s clarity and love or order suited the task of creating an effective Medical Department. He established examining boards to weed out incompetent physicians. He faced a dramatic shortage of drugs and supplies by obtaining and utilizing medicinal plants from the Southern states and adopted the efficient new one-story pavilion hospital.

He organized the Association of Army and Navy Surgeons of the Confederate states and became its first president. The Confederate States Medical Journal was a publication he initiated in 1864. Despite the South’s drastic supply and manpower shortages, Dr. Moore headed a Medical Department that served its troops as well and maintained almost identical statistics to the much larger Medical Department of the North.

Physician and Surgeon-General of the Confederate States of America
Age in 1861: 48


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