John G. Westmoreland papers, 1857-1932

Emory University

Historical Collections

Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library

1462 Clifton Road, NE

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/gs8pn

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Westmoreland, John Gray.
Title: John G. Westmoreland papers, 1857-1932
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 006
Extent: 0.21 linear ft. (1 box)
Abstract:Consists of surgeon's files from Westmoreland's time as a surgeon in the Confederate States Army, as well as articles and essays about Westmoreland, and transcribed correspondence and news articles.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in This Repository

Atlanta Medical College Records, HS-S001; Emory Health Sciences Center Library Biographical Files, HS-S022.


[after identification of item(s)], John G. Westmoreland Papers, Historical Collections, Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library, Emory University.


Processed by Clayton McGahee, 2014.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Born in Monticello, Georgia in 1816, John Gray Westmoreland spent his childhood in Fayetteville, Georgia before attending the Augusta Medical College, where he graduated in 1843. He then returned to his old home and worked as a country doctor for the next several years. During this time his younger brother, Willis Foreman, served as his apprentice.

During the 1850s, John G. Westmoreland moved to Atlanta where he, James F. Alexander, and his brother Wilis Foreman Westmoreland petitioned the Atlanta City Council for a permit to build a hospital where city patients could be cared for at a cost of one dollar per day. He then focused his efforts to construct a medical college. A charter was drafted for the Atlanta Medical College in 1854, and its first classes were held in the newly built Atlanta City Hall during the summer of 1855. Soon however, it became evident that a building was needed, and the challenge to garner sufficient funds to erect and equip the necessary building was significant. John G. Westmoreland eventually resigned from his practice and, in the summer of 1857, entered the race for state legislature as the representative of Fulton County. Soon after the election which he won, Westmoreland was given $15,000 for the building, with the stipulation that one student from each congressional district receive a scholarship to the college.

When the Civil War began in 1861, Westmoreland sided with the Confederate States Army, serving as a surgeon for the duration of the war. Following the war, Westmoreland returned home relieved to see that the Atlanta Medical College was spared, largely due to Dr. D’Alvigny, a professor of the school who managed to convince the Union army that the building was in use as a hospital. Upon his return, Westmoreland recruited the best Atlanta-area talent that remained in the medical profession and re-opened the college.

John Gray Westmoreland died on June 3, 1887 at the age of 70.

Scope and Content Note

The John G. Westmoreland Papers consist mostly of papers from the Civil War period when he was a Confederate surgeon at College Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia. These original papers include special requisitions of hospital supplies, the most common requests being whiskey, candles, and molasses. Also included are morning reports of the surgeon of the regiment, reports of the sick and the wounded, invoices, and a surgeon's certificate of exception issued by Westmoreland, given to a soldier with extensive tuberculosis. Other papers include transcribed correspondence and news entries from the Atlanta Daily Examiner, Daily Intelligencer, and other sources (original material not included), as well as an essay on Westmoreland written by J. L. Campbell, and an article published in The Pulse, an Emory University Hospital publication.

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Container List

Civil War Papers
Box Folder Content
1 1 Photocopied letter and requisition, 1862
1 2 Surgeon's files (1 of 2), 1861
1 3 Surgeon's files (2 of 2), 1861
1 4 Surgeon's files, 1861-1862
1 5 Surgeon's files, 1862
1 6 Surgeon's files, 1862, 1864
1 7 Transcribed correspondence and news articles, 1861-1864
Other Papers
1 8 "Makers of Atlanta Medicine," by J. L. Campbell, undated
1 9 The Pulse issue, 1932 April
1 10 Transcribed material, 1857-1859