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  • Writer's pictureJill Newmark

Physician, Politician, Postmaster

Benjamin A. Boseman, Civil War Surgeon

Benjamin A. Boseman was a physician, politician, and postmaster and one of fourteen Black surgeons who served during the Civil War. A native of Troy, New York, Boseman was educated in the segregated schools of Troy and went on to gain a medical degree at the Medical School of Main at Bowdoin College in 1864.

With his degree in hand, Boseman turned his efforts towards obtaining a position as a surgeon with the Union Army during the American Civil War. After writing to Acting Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes requesting a position as a surgeon with the “colored regiments,” Boseman received an appointment as a contract acting assistant surgeon.

Stationed in South Carolina during the war, Boseman was assigned to a recruiting station for the United States Colored Troops (USCT) at Camp Foster in Hilton Head and served for a year examining recruits and tending to sick and wounded soldiers of the 21st regiment of the USCT.

After the war, Boseman’s ambitions and hopes for a better future led him to seek a position in the government and in 1868, he was among several African Americans who were elected to the state legislature for the first time in South Carolina. He became the only politician, black or white, elected to three consecutive terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives during Reconstruction. Boseman went on to engage in several businesses and became the first Black postmaster of Charleston.

Courtesy Library of Congress

Learn more about Benjamin A. Boseman in Without Concealment, Without Compromise: The Courageous Lives of Black Civil War Surgeons. Order today at Southern Illinois University Press and use SIUP20 for a 20% discount or from Amazon.

© Jill L. Newmark, 2023

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