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Object Record

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Object Name Kit, Surgical
Catalog Number 0985.06.00059, a-r
Description The surgical kit comes in a walnut case (.59) with brass corners and a red velvet interior. A brass nameplate with "G. Whitfield / [11th or 12th] Ala Regt" scratched on it is attached to the case. The contents of the case are as follows: capital bone saw (a), metal tenacula (b), ivory handled tenacula (c), metacarple saw blade (d), blade handle (e), wood handled catlin (f), ivory handled amputation knife (g), bone forceps (h), slide catch artery forceps (i), tourniquet strap (j), tourniquet metal pieces (k), tourniquet ball pieces (l), two spring action travel fleams (m and o), two fleam cases (n and p), key hole cover from case (q), and suture thread, which may not be original to the kit and may have been added in the intervening years (r).
Dimensions H-3 W-5.75 L-15.25 inches
Owned George W. Boteler (tentative) ; George Whitfield (tentative)
Owner Regiment 12th Alabama Infantry (tentative)
Provenance According to the donor, Dr. George W. Boteler of Brownsville, Maryland, used this surgical kit during the American Civil War; he was said to have served in the 11th Alabama Infantry.

However, Dr. Boteler did not become a doctor until 1865, although he did study medicine prior to that date. And he never enlisted in an Alabama regiment. It is therefore questionable if he used these during the war.

The name and unit scratched on the nameplate, "G. Whitfield, (11th or 12th) Ala Regt" may suggest the original owner of these instruments: Dr. George Whitfield, surgeon of the 12th Alabama Infantry. He joined the regiment near Manassas on July 23, 1861; was with them at the Battle of Antietam, and he remained in Maryland until late October to care for the wounded; and tended wounded Union and Confederate soldiers following the Battle of Gettysburg. On September 3, 1864, the regiment "Went to our well known resting
point, Bunker Hill [West Virginia]. A few shells
were fired, and one wounded our skillful and
popular Surgeon, Dr. George Whitefield [sic],
from Demopolis, Alabama, in the arm. His
absence will be a great loss to us." (quotation
from the diary of Robert Emory Park, 1st Lt.,
Co. F, 12th AL Infantry). He was taken to Richmond, and admitted to the hospital for a gunshot wound to his left forearm. He was recovered by February 1865, when he reported for duty as surgeon at Howard's Grove Hospital, Richmond, Virginia. He was captured and paroled on April 3, 1865.
People Boteler, George W. (tentative)
Whitfield, George (tentative)
Subjects Medical care
Medical equipment & supplies
Medical personnel
Surgical instruments
Wounded in war
Wounds & injuries