Samuel Preston Moore
Samuel Preston Moore, surgeon
general of the Confederacy, was born on September 16, 1813, at Charleston, South
Carolina, the son of Stephen West and Eleanore Screvan Gilbert Moore. His
father, a native of Virginia, was a prominent Charleston banker whose family
were among the first inhabitants of Maryland. Two other Moore brothers became
army officers, including Louisiana General Stephen Westmore. Moore attended
school in Charleston and graduated with an M.D. in 1834 from the South Carolina
Medical College. He then established his practice in Little Rock, Arkansas. In
1835 Moore joined the U.S. Army as a surgeon, serving in the Mexican War and
President Jefferson Davis with his abilities. After that war he worked at a variety of army posts, including a stint as a surgeon at West Point. In 1849 he was promoted to the rank of major.
Resigning his commission on February 25, 1861, Moore at first practiced medicine in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his relatives had property. In June, 1861, he was named surgeon general of the Confederacy and held that post for the rest of the war. Moore's war efforts won general contemporary praise for "his great work as an organizer, his remarkable executive ability" as well as his "great brusqueness of manner" and his sternness as a disciplinarian. The Confederate medical corps grew to a strength of about three thousand men and was known for its innovative and devoted practice. In 1864 Moore founded the Confederate States Medical Journal to disseminate information to army surgeons. Moore also founded the "Association of Army and Navy Surgeons of the Confederate States," America's oldest military medical society. To ensure that physicians were properly trained and qualified, he established review boards to help weed out incompetents. He helped pioneer innovative medical practices, including the employment of dentists in the army. The lack of trained personnel and essential supplies hampered Confederate medical efforts throughout the war. Moore directed almost frantic programs to develop indigenous plant medicines and establish pharmaceutical laboratories.
After the war Moore remained in Richmond. He established a medical practice there and served six years on the Richmond School Board. Moore died in Richmond on May 31, 1889, and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery.
CV lists Moore as a brigadier general, appointed from South Carolina in 1865. The act of February 26, 1861, which organized the Confederate medical corps, provided that the surgeon general was to have the rank of colonel. Subsequent proposed legislation to give the surgeon general the rank of brigadier general of the PACS failed to become law.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.