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Federal (USV)

Assistant Surgeon

Richard J. Curran

(1838 - 1915)

Home State: New York

Education: Harvard Medical School

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 33rd New York Infantry

Before Antietam

Born in Ireland, he emigrated with his family to the US in about 1850. He had attended Harvard Medical School (Class of 1861), but left in 1860, and was living in Seneca Falls, NY immediately before the War. He helped raise two companies of volunteers from the Seneca Falls area when the War began. He enlisted, age 22, on 18 May 1861 and mustered as Private, Company K, 33rd New York Infantry on 22 May. He was promoted to Hospital Steward on 1 October 1861, and mustered as Assistant Surgeon on 29 August 1862.

On the Campaign

Assistant Surgeon for the Regiment, he was later awarded the Medal of Honor for staying at the firing line and helping the wounded at the battle on 17 September 1862. In his after-action Report Brigade Commander Irwin wrote:

... The practice of the enemy was rapid and very accurate, and in a short time our loss was very heavy, and the dead and wounded encumbered our ranks. They were carried to the rear to a temporary hospital, where Asst. Surg. Richard Curran, Thirty-third New York Volunteers, was assiduous in his attention to the wounded ... Asst. Surg. Richard Curran, Thirty-third New York Volunteers, was in charge of our temporary hospital, which unavoidably was under fire; but he attended faithfully to his severe duties, and I beg to mention this officer with particular commendation. His example is but too rare, most unfortunately.

The rest of the War

He mustered out with his Regiment 2 June 1863 at Geneva, NY. He then enrolled in the 6th New York Cavalry as Assistant Surgeon, mustering on 1 July 1863. He was promoted to Surgeon, 9th New York Cavalry on 18 September 1864. He mustered out with them on 17 July 1865 at Cloud's Mills, VA.

After the War

After the war he opened a drugstore, Curran & Goler (with "Colonel" George Washington Goler, late Major, 6th NY Cavalry), in Rochester. He was School and Park Commissioner there, and was elected to the State Legislature in 1891. He was elected Mayor of Rochester in 1892.

References & notes

Service from the New York Adjutant General.1 Details from Devoy's A History of the City of Rochester from the Earliest Times (1895) and Harrington's The Harvard Medical School: A History, Narrative and Documentary (1905). His gravesite is on Findagrave.

More on the Web

See a post-war photograph of him, from the US Army Office of Medical History. He was the inspiration for a Sierra Leone postage stamp(!), and was honored by a plaque at the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Rochester, NY, in 2004.


1/4/1838; Ennis, County Clare, IRELAND


6/1/1915; Rochester, NY; burial in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rochester, NY


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, For the Year 1900, Serial No. 22, pg. 35; 1894/Vol.2/p.435; 1894/Vol.3/p.82  [AotW citation 17594]