Friday, May 10, 2013

Medical Examining Boards

By Alfred Jay Bollet, M.D.

Examining boards for physicians seeking regular army commissions met in various cities almost continuously throughout the war. Officially appointed by the secretary of war, each board consisted of "not less than three medical officers" who were designated by the surgeon general. State examining boards oversaw physician appointments to the volunteer regiments.

The Confederate army had the same system of examinations at the state and national levels. Typically, the examinations would last three or four and sometimes as long as six days. There was a high failure rate. Many candidates, fearing failure, cancelled their scheduled examination, and about half of those who did appear withdrew before the exam was completed, apparently too discouraged by their performance or too stressed to continue. Many of the latter blamed illness, and one candidate had an epileptic seizure while being questioned.

FROM: Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs


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