3

Autograph letter signed : Washington, D.C., to [Abby Ann Newbold Cox, New York, N.Y.?]

Abraham Liddon Cox (1800-1864)
Autograph Letter Signed : Washington, D.C., to
[Abby Ann Newbold Cox, New York, N.Y.?], July 15, 1862.
Purchased for the Boston Medical Library, 1966.

Former professor of surgery at the New-York Medical College, Abraham L. Cox resigned his New York practice at the opening of the war and became the Surgeon-in-Chief, 1st Division, 20th Corps, of the Army of the Cumberland.  “Hastened by the labor and exposure incident to the active campaigns of that army,” Cox died of dysentery at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, in July, 1864.

In this letter to his wife, early in his military career, Cox describes an amputation case.

"Officers, 5th Mass[achusetts] Cav[alry]"

Photograph of the Officers of the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry, circa 1863.
Gift of Mrs. Harold Bowditch to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1968.

Autograph letter signed : Ely's Ford, Va., to [Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch, Boston, Mass.].

Henry Pickering Bowditch (1840-1911)
Autograph Letter Signed : Ely’s Ford, Va., to [Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch, Boston, Mass.], November 29, 1863.
Gift of Mrs. Harold Bowditch to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1968.

In this letter to his father, H. P. Bowditch reassures his family after being wounded in his arm two days earlier.   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in a letter to Bowditch’s mother several days later, said, “Everything is going as well as possible.  Your son’s wound is not a very bad one, save in so far as to me all wounds are bad ones.  The ball passed through the right arm, just below the elbow, without touching the bones.  There is no great inflammation; and I heard the surgeon say to him, ‘You will soon be well again.’”

Certificate of leave of absence from Company E, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry.

Certificate of Leave of Absence from Company E, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, February 3, 1864.
Gift of Mrs. Harold Bowditch to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1968.

Henry Pickering Bowditch's certificate of Leave of Absence from Company E, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry.

Radiograph of the right elbow of Henry Pickering Bowditch, showing fragments of bullet

Ernest Amory Codman (1868-1952)
Radiograph of the Right Elbow of Henry Pickering Bowditch, Showing Fragments of Bullet Received at New Hope Church during the Civil War, circa 1896.
Gift of Mrs. Harold Bowditch to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1968.

After completing his medical studies, Ernest Amory Codman (1868-1952) became Assistant in Anatomy at Harvard Medical School and, in 1896, began to consider the utility of radiography for the study of the anatomy of bones and the movement of joints.  Around this period, Codman took an X-ray of the elbow of H. P. Bowditch, showing fragments of a bullet he had received on November 27, 1863, when he was shot in the forearm, leading a charge at New Hope Church.  Codman, who would marry Bowditch’s niece, Katherine, in 1899, presented the X-ray plate as a Christmas gift.