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Thread: Surgeons and Commissions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Long Island

    Default Surgeons and Commissions

    In doing research on my persona, I discovered that he, George F. Adams, MD joined the 67th NY as an Asst. Surgeon. Within less than a year, the Regimental Surgeon dies of fever and Dr. Adams takes over as Regimental Surgeon.

    My question is, would that have involved a rank change (Capt. to Mjr)? Would his rank have stayed the same? Where could I find this information?

    I know that in regards to the Army in general a surgeons commissioned rank did not allow him to command troops (against Army regs). The rank helped out with pay, pension and in a large field hospital or general hospital.

    I just want to get my info correct when I talk to the public.

    John Ferrannini
    Asst Surgeon
    67th NY a.k.a. 1st Long Island Volunteers

  2. #2


    It is my understanding he would go from the "rank" of "Assistant Surgeon" to the "rank" of "Surgeon." He would be expected to upgrade his uniform to that in keeping with the rank of "Major" at his earliest opportunity. His pay grade and benefits would also increase to those suitable for his new "rank." He would cease being addressed as "Assistant Surgeon Adams" and begin being addressed as "Surgeon Adams"... though many would call him simply "Doc" if they weren't on his table and words best left heard by the surgery walls while on his table. :-p

    The military doesn't recognize Assistant Surgeons or Surgeons as having the ranks of Captain or Major, rather having a "rank equivalent to a Captain or Major, with the perks and responsibilities entailed."
    -Elaine Kessinger

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Unless you can find a roster or genealogical information online your best bet might be the regimental descriptive book. Sometimes regimental histories have this as well. You can also search online through the General Orders of the War Department (Google Books has these), which often list officer promotions, at least through 1863. I think that whether or not your persona received a promotion might also depend on the strength of the regiment. If it had lost a great many men, the billet for a full surgeon might also have gone. Quite a few depleted regiments were commanded by captains.
    M. A. Schaffner
    Midstream Regressive Complainer


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