Jacksonville & Fort Leland, 8 May, 10, 16, 28 August, 4 September 1856. Five original Folio manuscripts, each ca. 30,5x19 cm. Four single leaves and one bifolium with 1, 4, 1, 1, 1 (=8) pp. of text. Brown ink on blueish wove and laid paper; all documents with more or less visible blind-stamped papermaker’s monograms in the left upper corners. All documents docketed on verso (the bifolium on verso of the first leaf). Fold marks and minor creases, one document with two minor tears on folds and a small loss on the upper margin not affecting the text, the bifolium with a minor loss on the right lower corner not affecting the text; overall a very good collection of legible documents.
Historically significant collection of original documents, giving insight into the organization of medical service and supplies in the Second Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers in April-August 1856, during the last months of the Rogue River War. The war between the US Army, local militias and volunteers and the Native Americans from the Rogue River Valley area lasted from October 8, 1855 to June 1856, ending with the forceful removal of the native people to the Coast Reservation in southwestern Oregon. The Second Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers was created on the basis of the so-called Northern and Southern volunteer battalions (formed by the proclamation of the Oregon Governor G.L. Curry on October 15, 1855) and was disbanded in July 1856.
The most interesting document is the original letter by one of the regiment’s surgeons, Dr. L.J. Coombs, reporting on his travels in April-July 1856 and providing lists of medicines and supplies delivered to the camps of the Southern battalion in the Illinois Valley and the Applegate Creek, and to the hospitals at Fort Vannoy and Camp Meadows. Addressing M.C. Barkwell (then the Surgeon General of the Oregon Territory), Coombs also reports about “stale rations” and “many cases of diarrhea” among the troops in the Illinois Valley camp and lists the medicines and supplies lost during transportation.
The second letter, also addressed to M.C. Barkwell, was written by Henry Wixom, who came to California to mine gold in 1852. In ca. 1854-56, he raised stock in the Rogue River Valley and operated “one of the stations for the Overland trail and stagecoach routes.” During the war, he “joined the company to quell the uprising of the Indians” and “asked to be admitted to the surgeon’s corps, as he had quite an intimate knowledge of medicine and nursing which he had learned from his father, Dr. Reuben Wixom” (see more about Wixom in: Wixom Family History/ J.H. Wixom, R.S. Widdison. Salt Lake City, 1963, pp. 49-50; https://archive.org/details/wixomfamilyhisto00wixo_0/page/49/mode/1up?view=theater&q=1820).
Three one-page documents are the period copies of certificates of military service of the surgeons employed by the Oregon Mounted Volunteers. The documents copy M.C. Barkwell’s signatures and date back to August 1856. Overall an interesting collection of original manuscripts on the history of the medical service in Oregon during the Rogue River War.
A list of documents with excerpts from the text:
1) COOMBS, L.J., M.D. “Surgeon by contract, 2nd Regt. OMV” ALS to M.C. Barkwell, Surgeon General of Oregon Terr. Jacksonville, O.T., August 10th, 1856. 4 pp. Certified on the bottom of the 4th page by William Hoffman, Justice of the Peace, Jackson Co., Oregon Territory.
“Dear Sir, In obedience to your orders of the 6th April inst. I repaired to the Camp of the Southern Battalion in Illinois Valley on the 7th [April] 1856. At the time the troops had been comparatively idle for some time & for want of exercise; these who were from any cause predisposed to disease of the digestive organs were attacked by remittent and intermittent fevers. The rations at that time issued to them were very stale, which being added to the exceedingly unwholesome manner of its preparation induced many cases of diarrhea.
I desire herein to transmit such statements of facts as I omitted to mention at the time of transactions. On the 10th of April, Lieut. Col. Chapman notified me to be in readiness to start for Lower Rogue River by the 15th ult. As no medicines had hitherto been furnished me by the department & as there were no hospital stores or camp equipage in the field, I was under the necessity to repair to Jacksonville for supplies. Duplicates furnished you at the time show what supplies were gotten from the hospital, in Mr. [Homfry’s?] departments at that post.
When on route on the 15th of April to rejoin the S. Battalion, camped north of the mouth of Applegate Creek, which was much swollen at that time by recent rains, & which it was necessary for me to cross, in attempting to swim the stream, my horse became confused and was carried some hundred yards down stream, before reaching the north side. During my horse’s struggles in the water the following articles were lost from off him: one pair saddle bags, containing one case no 1 […?] pocket case instruments, 6 surgical needles, one silver male catheter, one pocket case medicines, one pair molar dental forceps, one yard patent lint 100 yards, bandages ½ yd […?] &c.
On march down the river the following articles were lost: packing, one camp kettle, three pint tin cups, one tin lantern, two flexible catheters.
E.D. Byrne, asst. surgeon, received from me the following at Vanoy hospital: 3 bottle mustard, 3 bottles pimento, ½ lb capsicum, 50 lbs sugar, 116 lbs ham. <…>
At Camp Meadows No. 2 I transferred to G. Karadine Elliot, surgeon, the following articles & quantities <…>: [a list of 58 positions, including] ½ dox. boxes pills, 1 lb capsicum, 1 yd patent lint, 2 oz zinci sulph., 1 lb castile soap, 1 lb gum acacia, ½ lb agua ammonia, 1 case amputation instruments, 25 lbs ham. 20 lbs sugar, 50 lbs rice, 100 lbs flour, 1 large syringe, 3 glass syringes, 1lb tartaric acid, 2 ox Fouler’s solution, 4 oz collodion, 1 oz potassii iod, 3 bottles mustard, 1 large bread pan, 1 wash bowl, & c. <…>
One riding saddle I transferred to surgeon H.W. Stanton, on the 5th day of August, & one riding bridle & saddle blanket have been worn out in service <…>.”
2) WIXON, H.W. ALS to “Gen. Barkwell”. Headquarters, Fort Leland, May 8th 1856. 1 p.
“Sir, Yours of the 6th inst. arrived last evening. The horse Dr. [Douthit?] rode has been turned over & receipted for Harry has not yet arrived. The pack mule you had is not here, but I understand that Mr. [Duchez?] took it to [Fort] Vannoy & I have written to have it forwarded here. Your orders shall be promptly attended to. Sam. Lane is improving slowly, other patients are about the same. Maj. [W.H.] Latshaw is to leave for the Meadows tomorrow. Your communication from Camp Vannoy I received with those dispatches from Camp Meadow <…>.”
3) BARKWELL, M.C. “Duplicate of discharge of Doct. W.W. Stanton and his certificate dated Aug. 10th/56. Recorded page 10.” 1 p.
“Dear Sir, you are hereby honorably discharged from service in the Second Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers as surgeon in charge of the Roseburg Hospital. Verry [sic!] respectfully, M.C. Barkwell, Surgeon Genl. of Oregon.
I hereby certify that Henry William Stanton has faithfully discharged the duties of the Roseburg hospital of the Second Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers from the first day of June 1856 to the 10th day of August 1856 and is entitled to the highest pay in such service one at my office in Jacksonville, Sept. 4th, 1856. M.C. Barkwell, Surgeon Genl. of Oregon.”
4) BARKWELL, M.C. “Duplicate of G.K. Elliott’s, discharge and certificate, April 14/56 and Aug. 16/56.” 1 p.
“Dear Sir, you are hereby honorably discharged from the service of Oregon Mounted Volunteers as assistant surgeon. Verry [sic!] respectfully, M.C. Barkwell, Surgeon Genl. of Oregon.
I hereby certify that George [Karadine?] Elliott has faithfully served in the Second Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers as assistant surgeon from the 17 April 1856 to the 16th day of August 1856 and is entitled to the highest pay in such service. M.C. Barkwell, Surgeon Genl. of Oregon.”
5) BARKWELL, M.C., Surgeon General of Oregon. “A. Shoue’s Certificate of Service.” 1 p.
“This may certify that Adolphus Shoue was appointed assistant surgeon of the Second Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers by me on the tenth day of June 1856 and continued in office until the 28th day of August 1856. That he performed the duties of assistant surgeon as above with ability and strict attention and that he is entitled to the highest pay in such service. Witness my had done at my office in Jacksonville, this 28th day of August 1856. M.C. Barkwell, Surgeon Genl. of Oregon.
Jacksonville, Aug. 28th, 1856. Dear Sir, the volunteer service being closed, your service will be no longer required, you are therefore honorably discharged from further duty. I have the honor of verry [sic!] respectfully your obedient servant, M.C. Barkwell, Surgeon Genl. of Oregon.”.
Price: $3,250.00 USD