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Surgeon in the Army and Navy of the United States

medical, surgeons and corps

SURGEON IN THE ARMY AND NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES. The history of the connection of a regular staff of surgeons to the army dates back to the siege of Boston in 1775. At that time the Second Pro vincial Congress of Massachusetts Bay was in session and on 8 May 1775 appointed a com mittee ato examine such persons as are or may be recommended for surgeons with the army now forming in this colony." Of the 16 candi dates examined only six were rejected. On 21 July 1775 Washington urged in a letter to the Colonial Congress that a °Hospital Depart ment° be established, and on 27 July this de partment was created, having a director-general, chief physician and 20 surgeon's mates. In April 1776 Congress passed an act that the board of surgeons be increased exceeding one surgeon and five mates to every 5,000 men, to be reduced when the army is reduced.° Between no medical department was officially recognized by the government, but was in the latter year recognized and remained the same until 1821, when it took the form which it retained with no decided change until 1908 when the titles of all medical officers, excepting the surgeon-general of the army, became the military rank, major, captain, etc., followed by

the words, Medical Corps, U. S. A. Applicants for the medical corps must be between 22 and 30 years of age, be citizens of the United States and graduates of a reputable medical school and have had at least one year's hospital train ing. After successful examination they are commissioned as first lieutenants. The Act of 1908 also established the Medical Reserve Corps, the members of which rank as first lieutenants and are appointed by the President after an ex amination. During the Civil War and the Spanish-American War the corps was increased to meet the emergencies, but on the cessation of hostilities was again placed upon a peace foot ing. Consult Lamphere, 'United States Gov ernment' (Philadelphia 1880); Farrow, 'Mili tary Encyclopedia' (New York 1885); Ham ersley, 'Army and Navy Register' (New York 1:::) and other War and Navy Department records. See UNITED STATES, ARMY OF THE; UNITED STATES, NAVY OF THE