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F&M College Library

Jonathan Messersmith Foltz Papers


This guide provides additional resources to assist in research with the Jonathan Messersmith Foltz Papers.

This collection documents the career of Dr. John Messersmith Foltz (1810-1877), a practicing physician for more than forty years during the nineteenth century. His diaries and medical journals provide a insight into the Civil War battles he participated in and document the changes in the practice of medicine during the nineteenth century. For more information, see the collection finding aid.

Significant Dates

Jonathan Messersmith Foltz  (b.1810 - d.1877)

  • 1810 Apr 25: born in Lancaster, PA.
  • 1825 - 1828: studied medicine with Dr. William Thompson in Lancaster, PA.
  • 1829 - 1830?: attended and graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 1831 Apr 4: commissioned as an Assistant Surgeon in the U. S. Navy.
  • 1831 Aug  19:  left New York on the U. S. S. Frigate, "Potomac."
  • 1831 - 1834: cruise on the "Potomac" around the world.
  • 1832  Feb 6: bombardment of Qualah Battoo, Sumatra.
  • 1834  Jun: returned to Boston with the "Potomac."
  • 1834  Jul: served on the Medical Bureau, Washington, D. C.
  • 1834 - 1838: stationed at the Washington Navy Yard. present at the duel between William C. Graves and Jonathan Cilley.
  • 1835: published "The Medical Statistics and Observations during a Voyage around the World, on board the United States Frigate 'Potomac,' in the years 1831-4."
  • 1837: received honorary degree of Master of Arts from Yale College.
  • 1838  Dec 8: passed [Naval?] examination; commissioned Assistant Surgeon in the Navy.
  • 1839  Apr 1: appointed Surgeon of the Naval Hospital at Port Mahon, Minorca Mediterranean Sea). visited Algiers.
  • 1838: published report in the New York Medical Journal  on "The Pernicious Fevers of Africa."
  • 1841  Mar 13: ordered to report as Surgeon of the U. S. Frigate "Brandywine" and returned to New York.
  • 1842: published a series of articles in the Baltimore American, "On the Employment of  Steamships of War in the United States Navy."
  • 1843: published essay, "On the Endemic Influence of Evil Government as illustrated in the Island of Minorca, with Notes on the Climate, Topography, and Diseases of the Island" and also accounts of the Medical Faculty, the French Military Hospital, and United States Naval Hospital.
  • 1843  Oct 30: reported for duty on board the U. S. Frigate "Raritan."
  • 1844  Feb 19: sailed on the "Raritan" from New York to Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1844 - 1846: served as Fleet Surgeon on the "Raritan" during the Mexican War. present at the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, the blockade of Vera Cruz, and the battles of Alverado and Tobasco.