Thursday, October 6, 2011
Dr. William Wood, Chief of BUMED/First Navy Surgeon General (1869-1871)
William Maxwell Wood (1809-1880) was commissioned an assistant surgeon in the Navy in 1829. After a colorful and varied service, Dr. Wood served as Fleet Surgeon for a blockading squadron during the Civil War. President Grant appointed him Chief BUMED in 1869. During Wood's administration, the Naval Appropriations Act of 3 March 1871 was passed grouping medical officers in a separate and distinct staff corps with grades established by law. This act also prescribed the title of Surgeon General, which Dr. Wood assumed, along with the rank of commodore.