Hospital Stewards were among the highest pay enlisted men at $30 a month and were considered to have a very
responsible position. They
assisted the regiment surgeon, acted as dressers and dispensed medication. Many of them had some medical background.
At a time when there were no medical licenses or even a formal requirement of what credentials were necessary to be
called a physician, a few hospital stewards were promoted to the position of assistant surgeon. Army regulations specified that men
hospital stewards had to be of good
"temperate, honest, and
in every way reliable, as well as
intelligent, and skilled in pharmacy".
an important quality
since one responsibility of the
was controlling and dispensing medicinal
he was responsible
for keeping many medical records, the
needed to be literate and
intelligent. For a Hospital Steward--a half chevron of the following description, --viz.: of emerald green cloth, one and three-fourths inches wide, running obliquely downward from the outer to the inner seam of the sleeve, and at an angle of about thirty degrees with a horizontal, parallel to, and one-eighth of an inch distant from, both the upper and lower edge, an embroidery of yellow silk one-eighth of an inch wide, and in the center "caduceus" two inches long, embroidered also with yellow silk, the head toward the outer seam of the sleeve.
Measures approximately 10" x 1-7/8". Priced per set. 1866 Quartermaster Photograph of a Hospital Steward in Dress Uniform - QM Museum, Fort Lee
NCOs of the 13th N.Y. Cavalry, including the Hospital Steward on the far right of the photo.