There are few detailed records available from which an account of
the life and work of these physicians among Wake Forest men might
be constructed. It is evident, however, that their influence was most
helpful to the College. The profession of medicine in its very nature
makes those who practice it the trusted counselors of men of every
class, and renders them loved and respected in their communities. A
hundred doctors who had studied at the College must have served as a
powerful recommendation of it. Furthermore, no account of the
College would be complete that did not make some record of the loyal
and patriotic service these physicians rendered in the Civil War, and
also make record of prominence attained by certain of them in the
profession and their contributions to its progress.
In the Civil War more than thirty of these former Wake Forest
students who had become physicians were in the Confederate States
Army, and twenty-two of them are definitely classed in the General
Catalogue,2 as surgeons or in North Carolina Regiments.
Heading the list of Wake Forest graduates of this period who
entered the profession of medicine, of all of whom a brief notice will
be found here, is the name of Oscar Fitz Allen Baxter of Currituck
County. He came to Wake Forest in 1835 and was graduated in the
class of 1840. After two years he won the degree of Doctor of
Medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. Then he became a
surgeon in the United States Navy and before 1861 had attained the
rank of Passed Assistant Surgeon. At the outbreak of the War he
resigned his place and became a surgeon in the Confederate States
Army.3 In June, 1849, the Trustees asked
Greek and Mathematics to his credit, and receive his degree of Doctor of Medicine
after two years in the medical college.
2 'The surgeons were: T. L. Banks, O. F. A. Baxter, John Berry, T. J. Boykin, I.
G. Cannady, J. S. DeVane, S. B. Flowers, W. G. Freeman, F. Gilliam, C. S. Green,
J. G. M. Luther, J. H. McAden, T. M. Nixon, W. E. Poole, S. S. Satchwell, J. W.
Sessoms, H. R. Thorp, M. T. Waddill, D. R. Wallace, C. Whitfield, D. S. Williams,
Others who were physicians in the army are: S. M. Byrd, O. D. Coppedge, F. R.
Freeman, L. G. Hunt, A. A. Johnson, J. E. Norwood, J. S. Outlaw, R. J. Steele, A. J.
Thompson, W. H. Watson, B. C. Wilkerson.
3 The General Catalogue says, "Surg. 49th Inf. C. S. AR." but there is no record
of his service in North Carolina Regiments. Probably he was in a regiment of some