Alexander T. Augusta’s Surgical Kit
On April 4, 1863, Alexander T. Augusta received a commission with the U.S. Army as a surgeon. When he arrived in Washington, D.C., he made the rounds of several hospitals, including Armory Square Hospital where he encountered poet Walt Whitman, who served there as a nurse. Augusta was stationed at Contraband Hospital as surgeon-in-charge until he received his orders to muster in with the 7th Infantry of the United States Colored Troops at Camp Stanton in Benedict, Maryland. When Augusta arrived, he carried with him a surgical kit and his copy of the Hand-Book for the Military Surgeon which he inscribed with his name and regiment. In a letter to Surgeon General William H. Hammond, he described the surgical kit that was in his possession upon arrival.
Transcription of Letter from Major Alexander T. Augusta to Surgeon General William H. Hammond describing his surgical kit, December 3, 1863
Camp Stanton Benedict Dec 3/63
Genl. W.A. Hammond Surgeon Genl. Wa.
I have the honor to report the following personal instruments in my possession, and all in good order. One field case Mahogany containing two amputating knives one large and one medium, one catling, one pair of scissors, one pair of dissection forceps, five scalpels, one hernia knife, one probe and one sharp pointed curved bistonry, one tenaculum, one artery needle, one Capital, one Chain, one Metacarpel, one Hey’s saw, one Trocan and Canula, one tourniquet, screw, with pad, one Trephine, one pair of gullet and one of bone forceps, one brush, one elevator, two pair of bullet forceps, twelve surgeons needles, three gum Catheters, one silvered Catheter, and three double curved silvered bougies.
One pocket case containing the following, one Catheter, one Scalpel, one pair of scissors, one thumb Lancet, one bullet probe, one bistonry, one bullet forceps, one probe pointed bistonry, one artery needle, two probes, one tenaculum, two forceps, one dressing forceps, and six surgeons needles.
I Remain Your Obt Servant,
A.T. Augusta, Surgeon 7th USCT