Monthly Archives: September 2013

Meeting of October 10, 2013

Valerie Josephson on “Stirring Times, The Lives of New Jersey’s First Civil War Surgeons”

Alvin Satterthwait

Alvin Satterthwait

Even before President Lincoln called for 75,000 militia volunteers, four New Jersey regiments were forming for a three month tour. One surgeon and one surgeon’s mate were commissioned to each unit. They were not your average doctors. In a time when it was still possible to become a doctor by apprenticeship, two did and six attended prestigious medical schools. Six had gone to the American frontiers before the war. One was a graduate of the London School of Pharmacy who came to America to seek his fortune. When the three-month enlistment was up, only two did not apply for further service. Four entered the Volunteer Medical Corps, two served with four New Jersey regiments, and one was commissioned in the U.S. Navy.

Valerie described the four regiments, their mission in Virginia and the actions of the medical staff during this period. She provided a brief profile of each physician, but focused on the 4th New Jersey Militia, which was drawn from the Trenton-Camden area and their two medical men, Dr. Alvin Satterthwait and Dr. Elias B. Woolston.

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