91st PA--medical care, surgeons, and hospital attendants in the 91st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (US Civil War, 1861-1865)

91st PA--medical care

Medical care

In November 1861, Surgeon Knight acknowledged that 'the ladies of the "Union Relief Association" of Philadelphia had donated bandages and other medical supplies to the 91st. ['Acknowledgement', Philadelphia Inquirer 25 November 1861 page 8]

Their duties included signing death certificates for soldiers who died of natural causes.

On 31 May 1863, Andrew Brown (C) wrote his father from the 5th Corps Hospital. He reported that they had 'very poor attendance and very little to eat except what we have to buy', with only 'pork potatoes and sour bread' to eat. His wound was healing 'and with proper care would soon get well'; he was hoping to be able to go home to get that care. He did have regular visitors from the regiment.

Surgeons and assistant surgeons

The regimental descriptive book lists these surgeons and assistant surgeons:

The earliest extant consolidated morning reports have Knight absent as "acting medical director", and 2 assistant surgeons (presumably Young and Thomas) absent without leave (consolidated morning report, 7 Feb 63). On 9 February 1863, 2 assistant surgeons were dropped from the report. Daniel D Swift (from the 126th PA) and Otto Schittler (from the 129th PA) had been transferred to the regiment, presumably as temporary replacements for Young and Thomas. Perhaps one of them was the assistant surgeon who was captured in April 1863. (Daniel D Swift was mustered into service in the 126th PA on 15 August 1862, and mustered out with the regiment on 20 May 1863; Otto Schittler was mustered into service in the 129th PA on 15 August 1863, and mustered out with the regiment on 18 May 1863 [Official Army Register]. A Daniel D Swift also served as surgeon of the 6th PA Cavalry; when the regiment was consolidated with others on 17 June 1865, he was appointed and waiting to be mustered into service; he then served as surgeon with the 2nd Provisional Regiment until it was mustered out on 7 August 1865; he was still waiting to be mustered into service [Official Army Register].)

Some surgeons were assigned extra duty during and after an engagement. On 22 June 1863, the regiment received an order from brigade hq assigning Isaac Knight as surgeon in chief of the brigade and assistant surgeon William Kier as recorder in the division hospital if an engagement occurred. Isaac Knight was relieved on 2 August 1863 because of disability. Brigade headquarters issued an order on 15 September 1863 giving the detail of surgeons in case of a battle.

Enoch Carroll Brewster's court-martial record preserves a few details of his medical care. Dr Isaac Knight had prescribed treatment for neuralgia and neuralgic rheumatism, perhaps six times in the previous three weeks. And on the day Brewster was accused of being drunk on duty, he had prescribed Dover's Powder, composed of opium and ipecacuahana, to be taken once in three hours. But he testified that Brewster's condition should not have caused him to stagger, and Dover's Powder would not cause him to appear drunk.


E Banker was matron of the 91st's hospital from 28 December 1861 through 28 February 1862.

Mary B Roberts was another matron; she was attached to the hospital on 8 May 1862, and was listed on the May-June 1862 hospital muster roll, but not on any other muster rolls

Hospital stewards and attendants

The regimental descriptive book lists two hospital stewards: Philip Elberti and David B Thomas. Other hospital attendants include:

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revised 8 Apr 15
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