Thursday, October 6, 2011
Dr. James Mills Browne, Surgeon General (1888-1893)
James Mills Browne (1831-1893) became an assistant surgeon in 1853. His first duty was on a store ship in San Francisco and second duty was as the first medical officer at the Mare Island Navy Yard. He was later attached to the African Squadron engaged in suppression of the slave trade. As senior medical officer of USS Kearsarge, during the Civil War, Dr. Browne witnessed the sinking of the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama. In 1883 he became the first director of the Naval Museum of Hygiene. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1888 and during his term the new steel Navy saw many innovations. Habitability became a top priority in the form of better ventilation, heating, lighting, berthing spaces, refrigeration, and larger improved sick bays.