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Appendix H

Table of Contents

APPENDIX H AN ACT TO REGULATE THE MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT, 2 MARCH 1799

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That in the medical establishment of the United States there shall be the following officers: A physician-general, who shall be charged with the superintendence and direction of all military hospitals, and, generally, of all medical and chirurgical practice or service concerning the army and navy of the United States, and of all persons who shall be employed in and about the same, in camps, garrisons, and hospitals. An apothecary-general, and one or more deputies, who shall be charged with the safe keeping and delivery of all medicines, instruments, dressings, and other articles, for the use of the hospital and army. A purveyor, who shall be charged with providing medicines, stores, and whatsoever else may be necessary in relation to the said practice or service. A competent number of hospital surgeons, who shall be liable to serve in the field, and who shall have the immediate charge and direction of such military hospitals as may be committed to their care, respectively. A suitable number of hospital mates, who are to observe the directions of the hospital surgeons, and shall diligently perform all reasonable duties required of them for the recovery of the sick and wounded.  

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That each military hospital shall have a steward, with a competent number of nurses, and other attendants; which steward shall be charged with the procuring of such supplies as may not otherwise be furnished, and with the safe keeping and issuing of all supplies.  

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the said physician-general, hospital-surgeons, purveyor, and apothecary or apothecaries, deputy or deputies, shall be appointed as other officers of the United States; and the said mates and stewards shall be appointed by the authority, and at the direction, of the said physician general, subject to the eventual approbation and control of the President of the United States, and shall be removable by the authority of the said physician-general; and that the surgeon of each hospital shall appoint, employ and fix the compensations of, the nurses and other attendants of such hospital, subject to the control of the said physician-general, or the hospital surgeon, of senior appointment, with a separate army, or in a separate district.  

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That as often as the regimental sick will not suffer by the employing of regimental surgeons or mates  


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in the temporary or other hospitals of the United States, the physician-general, or the hospital surgeon, of senior appointment, with a separate army, or in a separate district, with the consent of the general and commander-in-chief, or the officer commanding a separate army, may require the attendance of such surgeons, or surgeon's mates, as in his opinion, can be with safety so withdrawn from their regiments.  

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the physician-general, with two or more hospital surgeons, to frame a system of directions relative to the description of patients to be admitted into the hospitals; to the means of promoting cleanliness in the hospitals; to the prevention of idleness, skulking, and gambling, in the hospitals; to the prevention of the spread of infectious distempers in the camps and hospitals, and the government of nurses, and all others charged with the care of the sick in camps or hospitals, subject, in the first instance, to the approbation and revision of the commander-in-chief, the commander of a separate army, or in a separate district, as the case may be, and, eventually, to the approbation and control of the President of the United States: Provided always, That the said directions, having received the sanction of the commander-in-chief, or the commander of a separate army, shall be operative, and remain in full force, unless altered or annulled by the President of the United States.  

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That the compensations of the said several officers shall be as follows: of the physician-general, one hundred dollars pay per month, and fifty dollars per month, which shall be in full compensation for forage, rations, and travelling expenses: of the purveyor, one hundred dollars pay per month, in full compensation for his services, and all expenses: of the apothecary general, eighty dollars pay per month, and thirty dollars per month, in full compensation for forage, rations, and all expenses: of each of his deputies, fifty dollars pay per month, and sixteen dollars per month, in full compensation for forage, rations and all expenses: of each hospital surgeon, eighty dollars pay per month, and forty dollars per month, in full compensation for forage, rations, and all expenses: of each mate, thirty dollars pay per month, and twenty dollars per month, in full compensation for forage, rations, and all expenses: of each steward, twenty-five dollars pay per month, and eight dollars per month, in full compensation for forage, rations, and all expenses: Provided, That none of the officers aforesaid shall be entitled to any part of the pay or emoluments aforesaid, until they shall respectively, be called into actual service.  

Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That, for the accommodation of the sick of the army and navy of the United States, the physician-general, and hospital surgeon of senior appointment, with the approbation of the general commanding the army within the district where he shall be, shall have power to provide temporary hospitals; and the physician-general, with the approbation of the President of the United States, shall have power to provide and establish permanent hospitals.  

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That all the said officers, and others, shall, as touching their several offices and duties, be liable to the rules and regulations for the government and discipline of the army and shall be bound to obey, in conformity with law and the usages and customs of armies, the orders and directions of the chief military officers of the respective armies, and within the respective districts in which they shall respectively serve and be.  

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted. That the physician-general or, in his absence, the senior medical officer, with the approbation of the commander-in-chief, or commanding officer of a separate army, be, and hereby is, authorized and empowered, as often as may be judged necessary, to call a medical board, which shall consist of the three senior medical officers, then present, whose duty it shall be to examine all candidates for employment or promotion in the hospital department, and certify to the secretary of war the qualifications of each. (Approved, March 2, 1799.)  

SOURCE: Trueman Cross, Military Laws of the United States; to Which is Prefixed the Constitution of the United States (Washington: Edward de Krafft, 1825), pp. 96-99.