medical Sailors was hereby increased. Surgeons
stewards ranked second in seniority among the ships
petty officers, next only after the master-at-arms.
SURGEONS STEWARDS AND NURSES
The year 1861 brought civil war to this country,
anddue to the enormous expansion of the Navy
because of the warchanges and developments in the
medical department ensued. On June 19, 1861, a Navy
Department circular order established a new name for
the loblolly boy.
In addition to a surgeons steward, 1 nurse
would be allowed for ships with a complement
of less than 200; 2 nurses would be allowed for
ships with a complement of more than 200;
and sufficient nurses would be allowed on
receiving ships in a number proportionate to
the necessities of the vessel.
While the shipboard medical department changed
the titles of its personnel, new techniques in mass care
of the sick and wounded were also developed. A
captured sidewheel steamer was repaired and modified
to care for patients. Refinements to the ship included
bathrooms, kitchens, and laundrieseven elevators
and the facilities to carry 300 tons of ice. On December
26, 1862, the USS Red Rover became the first Navy
vessel specifically commissioned as a hospital ship.
The medical complement included 30 surgeons and
male nurses, as well as four nuns.
APOTHECARIES AND BAYMEN
Postwar reductions in the size of the Navy brought
new classifications to enlisted medical personnel. The
title surgeons steward was abolished in favor of
three grades of apothecaries in 1866. Those selected as
apothecaries had to be graduates of a course in
pharmacy or possess the same knowledge gained
through practical experience. The Apothecary, First
Class, ranked with a warrant officer, while the second
and third classes were petty-officer equivalents. The
three rates were reduced to one petty officer
apothecary on March 15, 1869.
Nurse, as a title for junior enlisted medical
personnel, was replaced by the title bayman (defined
as one who manned the sick bay) in the early 1870s.
U.S. Navy Regulations of 1876 used the title officially,
and it remained valid for 22 more years.
An apothecary of the 1890s mixed and dispensed
all medication aboard a ship. He was responsible for
all medical department reports, supply requests, and
correspondence, and he helped maintain medical
department records. The apothecary administered
anesthesia during surgery and was the primary
instructor for new baymen.
The apothecaries responsibilities did not end
(See figure APP-I-1.)
shipboard surgery, the bayman focused an electric light
on the incision site while the surgeon did his work on
what served as a combination of both writing and
operating table. He sterilized surgical instruments by
boiling them, then stored them in a solution of 5
percent phenol. Bandages and dressings were
sterilized by baking them in a coffee can in the ships
oven. Sick bay itself was prepared for surgery by
wiping the entire room down with a chlorine solution.
On days when the ships routine called for scrubbing
bags and hammocks, a bayman was responsible for
washing those of the sick. When required, he painted
the ships medical spaces.
During the last two decades of the 1800s, many in
the naval medical establishment called for reforms in
the enlisted components of the medical department.
Medicine had by now progressed far more as a science,
and civilian hospitals all had teaching schools for their
nurses. Foreign navies had trained medical Sailors,
and the U.S. Army had established its own Hospital
Corps of enlisted men on March 1, 1887. Navy
Surgeon General J. R. Tryon argued, in his annual
report of 1893, against the practice of assigning
landsmen to the medical department with nothing
more than on-the-job-training.
He advocated the
urgent need for an organized hospital corps.
Physicians in the fleet were equally certain of the
need for changes. Surgeon C. A. Sigfried of the USS
Massachusetts made his views known in his report to
the Surgeon General in 1897.
The importance of improving the medical
department of our naval service is more and
more apparent, in view of the recent advances
in the methods and rapidity of killing and
wounding. The great want is a body of trained
bay men or nurses, and these should be better
paid and of better stamp and fiber. Now and
then we procure a good man, and proceed with
his training as a bay man. He soon finds
opportunity for betterment in some one of the
various departments of the ship, in the matter
of pay and emolument, either in some
yeomans billet or in some place where his
meager per month can be suddenly