F. M. Eveleth
August 19, 1861
Francis Eveleth was a 28 year-old doctor living with his wife, Ellen, in Presque Isle, when he decided to enlist in the army.
Maine’s military needed physicians, and Eveleth believed that he was qualified.
The State was forming 10 regiments of nearly 1,000 soldiers each. Recruits had to undergo medical examinations to enter the service, and the soldiers needed surgeons and other doctors to treat wounds and combat illnesses.
By the end of June, 1861, Maine Governor Israel Washburn and new Surgeon General Alonzo Garcelon had set up a State Examination Board of medical practitioners to evaluate recommendations and administer applications for those surgeons and doctors seeking to join the U.S. Army or fill positions within the State.
Washburn and Garcelon asked Dr. William Wood, Dr. John L. Gilman, and Dr. Henry H. Hill to serve on the Examination Board.
Another doctor, J.C. Bradbury, would join them by 1862 to assist in placing qualified surgeons and assistant surgeons with the regiments.
The Board’s examination decision letters ranged from containing personal recommendations by board members for the applicants, and notice of a successful, passing examination, or a failing, unsatisfactory examination.
On August 19, the Board convened in Portland, and submitted their opinion to certify that F.M. Eveleth of Presque Isle of Aroostook County, has passed a satisfactory examination for the position of assistant surgeon.
Eveleth was assigned to the 7th Maine Infantry Regiment.
In a follow-up letter to the official recommendation, H.H. Hill writes to Gov. Washburn to notify him of satisfactory examinations for surgeons and assistant surgeons. Hill’s letter lists Eveleth. Additional examinees included Dr. Albert S. Black, of Bristol, Surgeon; Dr. George W. Colby, of Richmond, Surgeon; and Dr. Wm. A. Harvey, of Yarmouth, Assistant Surgeon.
The men would stay busy.
The 7th Maine took part in battles at Yorktown, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Fort Stevens while Eveleth was with the regiment.
Regimental casualties amounted to 128 soldiers killed in battle or fatally wounded, 427 others who were wounded and survived the war, and 212 who died of disease.
Eveleth returned to Maine after the war and moved with his wife to Rockland.
- What sort of qualifications might be sought in evaluating a military surgeon?