Commission - Hospital Steward George Garvin June 4, 1863 National Archives - Pension Record
This document is a commissioning from the commanding officer of the 2nd Regiment of South Carolina Vols. appointing George Garvin as Hospital Steward. The commanding officer was Col James Montgomery who signed the document. Until this assignment George Garvin was a 1st Sergt of 34th USCT Company A. He was commissioned on June 4, 1863.
The lowest ranking members of United States Army Medical Departments during the Civil War were usually hospital stewards, noncommissioned officers who received the pay and allowance of a sergeant major. Each regiment was authorized to have one hospital steward, who was often chosen by the regimental surgeon from the enlisted men in the unit.
The hospital steward was controlled whiskey. He was also responsible for keeping medical records. His other duties included assisting the field surgeons in operations, supervising hospital cooks and nurses, and even prescribing drugs and performing minor operations. In later years George Garvin would treat his own problems with drugs that he mixed.
Regulations called for Union hospital stewards to wear the red trimmed uniform of artillerymen. It is unknown if George Garvin in the USCT received the same uniform. The uniform insignia consisted of an emerald green, yellow edged, half-chevron that bore a two-inch-long yellow caduceus (staff with two entwined snakes and two wings at top).
This document was used to say that the veteran: 1. could do his own treatment. 2. was given the position because he was disabled.