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Thread: Advice needed for Sick Call

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Advice needed for Sick Call

    I am in the process of starting up a medical impression in my regiment as a Steward, and I'm looking for some help on how Sick Call was carried out.

    I understand (and please do correct me) that Sick Call was announced, the First Sgt. led ailing troops to the Surgeon/Asst. Surgeon, they were diagnosed, and prescribed remedies as needed. A Steward or other clerk maintained a ledger for each patient with their ailments and prescriptions. A Steward also acted as apothecary to compound and package the medications.

    My concern is how were the prescriptions processed and distributed to the troops? Were they at the ready on-site during Sick Call and given immediately, or compounded en mass at the conclusion of Sick Call and distributed at convenience? If the prescription needed multiple doses before next Sick Call, who received the medication and handled the dosages?

    For context, we have a Surgeon and myself as Steward, and would like to do a representation of a Sick Call to showcase the frequency of sickness, and that medical is more than blood and butchery. I would like to also show how medications were created, using safe substitutions that could be administered to a select few (for preventing lawsuits due to a violent allergic reaction to cola syrup ).

    Also general advice towards a Sick Call and Steward impressions is very welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    You may want to contact Sulliven Press. I have used them for supplies needed for an impression I do from time to time. His paper work such as ledgers and forms are very good quality reproductions. They also carry labels for your medication bottles and containers.
    Nick Sekela carries some bottles and containers you may be interested in and Charlies Boat Works makes a great apothecary box.
    Hope this helps.

  3. #3


    You might care to consult the Hospital Steward's Manual by Woodward. Google Books features the 1863 edition. Here are a few references to "surgeon's call".

    I think this topic may have been discussed before... many re-enactors having given AAR (after action reports) of the relative success or lack of success of portraying a surgeon's call. Does the search function here turn anything up?
    -Elaine Kessinger

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012


    Nightstalker, I am mostly squared with my paperwork, and should have everything I need reproduced soon, thanks to a visit to the museum in Frederick. I plan to build an apothecary box myself based off an example I found there, and will stock it with a hodgepodge of bottles with hand written labels. This is to contrast with my Squibb and it's neatly labeled tin containers, in order to show what means an apothecary Steward would utilize to keep from hauling out the 80-lb iron clad case for dispensing a few common medications.

    Elaine, the Hospital Steward's Manual holds a prominent place in my "reading room", as it has given me a great jump-start to the murky and mysterious world of how things really happened. I have tried to search as best as I could for previous discussions but came up empty for answers to my original questions, though the adventures of others have answered questions I didn't know I had.

    I have gathered some copies of original Union Sick Call paperwork, but their description of the events are slim, and I would like to avoid basing my impression around a single nugget of second-hand fact (aka Jaguar Pants Syndrome).


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