Prevented by law from serving in the military, this 29-year old medical school
graduate chose to serve instead as a civilian contract surgeon. A veteran of service
in tending the wounded on the battlefield at Bull Run and later accepted as a volunteer by
Major General Ambrose Burnside, the doctor could often be seen at the scene of battle,
treating the wounded despite intense fire. Wearing the gold-striped trousers of an
army officer and a green surgeon's sash, with the ever present straw hat with an ostrich
feather, the doctor served through many battles including Chattanooga, Chickamauga and the
Battle of Atlanta. Some evidence suggests the doctor even risked life and safety as
a Union spy behind enemy lines, saving "Major General William T. Sherman's forces
from a serious reverse."
Captured by the enemy, this civilian volunteer to the Union Army spent four
months at a Prisoner of War camp in Richmond, before finally being released. Always
one to do the unorthodox, saving hundreds of lives in war time, offending thousands of
more traditional citizens in peacetime, the doctor paved the way for many
Americans to follow.