Return of 34 USCT
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.
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