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W.H. Forwood

W.H. Forwood

Federal (USA)

Assistant Surgeon

William Henry Forwood

(1838 - 1915)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Education: University of Pennsylvania, Medical School, Class of 1861

Branch of Service: Medical

Unit: 14th United States Infantry, First Battalion

Before Antietam

In 1860 he was a 24 year old teacher (and probably medical student) living with his parents and older brother Jonathan, a physician, at Chester, DE. After graduating from medical school he was appointed Assistant Surgeon, USA, on 5 August 1861 and assigned to the Seminary Hospital in Georgetown, DC. In December 1861 he was sent to the field with the Army of the Potomac.

On the Campaign

He was with the First Battalion, 14th US Infantry on the Maryland Campaign of 1862.

The rest of the War

He was in the office of the Medical Director in Washington, DC to March 1863, and then back in the field. He was wounded by a gunshot to the chest at Brandy Station, VA in June 1863, and, after recovering, was assigned to the Satterlee General Hospital in Philadelphia from October 1863 to April 1864, then at Fortress Monroe and Whitehall Hospital, PA to the end of the war. He was honored by brevets to Captain and Major in March 1865 for his war service.

After the War

He was sent west to Kansas in October 1865. He was promoted to Major and Surgeon on 26 June 1876, to Lieutenant Colonel on 15 June 1891, and Colonel and Assistant Surgeon General of the Army on 3 May 1897. He was appointed Brigadier General and Surgeon General on 8 June 1902 and retired on 7 September 1902 - "compulsory retirement for age."

References & notes

His service from Heitman1 and Henry.2 His role at Antietam from Captain Brown's after-action Report. Personal details from family genealogists and the US Census of 1860. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph at the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD.

He married Mary Ann Y. Osborne (1853-1912) in September 1870.

He wrote several books based on his service experience including Geologic and Botanic Reports of Explorations of Parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana (1882) and Labor Among Primitive Peoples (1904).

More on the Web

For much more about his career, see a biography from the Army's AMEDD Center of History & Heritage.


09/07/1838; Brandywine Hundred, DE


05/12/1915; Washington, DC; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 430  [AotW citation 29170]

2   Henry, Guy Vernor, Military Record of Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, 2 Volumes, New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1873, Vol. 1, pg. 73  [AotW citation 29171]