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Colonel Valery Havard

Biographies

THE ARMY MEDICAL BULLETIN, NUMBER 50 (OCTOBER 1939)

Valery Havard

Colonel, Medical Corps, U. S. Army

Valery Havard (Feb. 18, 1846-Nov. 6, 1927), Colonel, Medical Corps, U. S. Army, was born in Compiegne, France, the son of Stanislas and Eugenie Prudence Havard. After graduating from the Institute of Beauvais he began the study of medicine in Paris but coming to the United States he entered Manhattan College and the medical department of the University of New York, in New York, and graduated from both in 1869. For a time thereafter he was house physician in Children’s Hospital and professor of French, chemistry, and botany at Manhattan College, which gave him the degree of M. S. in 1871. On May 26, 1871, he was appointed an acting assistant surgeon in the army and served in this status, with one break, until November 1874. While at Fort Pembino, Dakota, he was commissioned an assistant surgeon in the medical corps on November 10, 1874. He continued here for the next three years with service in the field for six months in 1877 with the 7th Cavalry in Montana in pursuit of hostile Sioux and Nez Perce Indians. A short tour at Fort Lincoln, Dakota, was followed by others at Chattanooga, Tenn., and Fort Johnston, N. C. He was promoted to grade of captain on Nov. 10, 1879. In 1880 he joined the 1st Infantry then engaged in opening roads in the Pecos valley in west Texas. In the summer of 1881 he accompanied an exploring expedition into northwest Texas, headed by Captain William R. Livermore, Corps of Engineers. From stations at Fort Duncan and San Antonio he again went with exploring parties under Captain Livermore to the upper Rio Grande valley during the summers of 1883 and 1884. He spent the period from October 1884 to August 1887 at Fort Schuyler and Fort Wadsworth in New York harbor and then four years in Dakota at Fort Lincoln and Fort Buford. In 1890 he served with the 18th Infantry in field service at the Pine Ridge Agency. He was promoted to major on February 27, 1891, and in May he was transferred to Fort D. A. Russell in Wyoming. From here he was a delegate to the meeting in Chicago in 1893 of the Association of Military Surgeons of the National Guard, at which he read a paper on Litter and Ambulance Transportation. He served at the recruit depot at David’s Island, N. Y., from 1894 to 1898, during which time he was a member of the medical examining board at West Point.

With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he was sent in May 1898 to Columbus, Ohio, where he took part in the examination and muster of volunteer troops. Following this duty he was ordered to Tampa, Florida, and assigned as chief surgeon of the Cavalry Division. He accompanied the Division to Siboney, Cuba, in June and served it in the field during the assault on San Juan Hill on July 1, and later submitted to The Surgeon General an interesting report upon the medical service in that engagement. He was for a time acting chief surgeon of the 5th Army Corps, and on August 1, he was commissioned a lieutenant colonel of volunteers and shortly thereafter was appointed chief surgeon of the Department of Santiago. In October 1898 he took a trip to the United States on the hospital ship Relief and spent two months of detached service in the office of The Surgeon General in Washington. He was discharged from his volunteer commission on Nov. 5, 1898.

He served with General Leonard Wood at Santiago until that officer was transferred to Havana to take over the command of the Division of Cuba from General John R. Brooks in December 1899. In April he joined the staff of General Wood in Havana as chief surgeon of the Division of Cuba and continued with him when he became military governor. While in Havana in October 1900 he was the subject of a severe attack of yellow fever and on October 24, 1901, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

With the establishment of civil government in Cuba Colonel Havard was transferred in December 1901 to duty at Fort Monroe, Va. In July 1902 he went to Brussels, Belgium, as delegate to the Second International Congress for the Prevention of Venereal Disease and in October attended the maneuvers of the French army. Upon his return he was assigned to duty at the Military Academy at West Point. He was promoted to the grade of colonel on April 26, 1904, and in August was transferred to the post of chief surgeon, Department of the East at Governor’s Island, N. Y. In November he was detailed as medical attache with the Russian army in Manchuria and while on this duty was captured at Mukden by the Japanese on March 10, 1905. Taken to Japan he sailed from Yokohama in April for San Francisco and returned to New York. In September he read a paper upon his observations in Manchuria before the Detroit meeting of the Association of Military Surgeons. He had become a member of this society in 1898 and at the meeting at Buffalo in September 1906 he was elected its president.

In January 1906, while at Governor’s Island he was appointed member of a joint Army and Navy board to consider first-aid dressings and uniformity of equipment for the two services. In May 1906 he was ordered to Washington and placed in charge of the Museum and Library Division of The Surgeon General’s office and appointed president of the faculty of the Army Medical School. In October 1906 he went to Cuba as chief surgeon of the Expeditionary Force, sailing from Newport News and returning in January 1907. He remained in charge of the museum and library and of the medical school until his retirement for age on February 18, 1910.

Colonel Havard had married, in November 1885, Agnes J. Hewit of Bridgeport, Conn. Upon retirement he established his home in Fairfield, Conn., near Bridgeport. Here he continued a career of writing begun when he entered the service. His early articles were on botany and military hygiene, continued with reports on observations on the Spanish-American and Russo-Japanese Wars. While at Fort Lincoln in 1889 he published a Manual of Drill for the Hospital Corps. He won the Enno Sander prize given by the Association of Military Surgeons in 1901 with an essay on The Most Practicable Organization for the Medical Department of the United States Army in Active Service. Pamphlets on Transmission of Yellow Fever (1902) and The Venereal Peril (1903) were issued as government publications. During his last service in Washington he published his Manual of Military Hygiene (1909), with second and third editions (1914 and 1917) prepared at Fairfield. At time of publication this was undoubtedly the best work on military hygiene yet produced in this country. Colonel Havard was one of the most scholarly of the many educated men who have graced the corps, with a literary style that will warrant study and emulation. He was physically tall and well-proportioned, with a fine military bearing. Favored with a handsome face and a gracious manner he was altogether an outstanding medical officer of his time.

Incident to the World War Colonel Havard was called from retirement on September 22, 1917, and ordered to Havana, Cuba, for duty with the Cuban government in the reorganization of the medical departments of its army and navy. Following this duty he returned to Fairfield. He died of angina pectoris in his eighty-first year on board the steamship Columbo while returning from a visit to France. His wife, with one son and two daughters, survived him.

(Jour. of Ass’n. of Military Surg., Oct. 1906. The Military Surgeon, Dec. 1927. Jour. Am. Med. Ass’n., March 3, 1928. Reports of The Surg.Gen. U. S. Army. War. Dept. records.)

James M. Phalen,

Colonel, U. S. Army, Retired.