Peter St. Medard’s Copy Book
Peter (Pierre) St. Medard, born in 1755 on the Ile d’Oléron off the west coast of France, trained as a surgeon in the French merchant marine. Following imprisonment by the British during the American Revolution, he became an American citizen and joined the Continental Navy, anglicized his name from Pierre to Peter, and later settled in Boston. After establishing a private practice in Boston, Medard joined the United States Navy and served on board USS Constitution during the Quasi-War with France.
In 1802, during the first Barbary War, Medard was appointed surgeon on board United States frigate New York. The frigate was ordered to the Mediterranean as part of a squadron along the coast of North Africa defending American merchant ships from attack. Medard kept this handwritten copy book while on board from 1802 to 1803. In it he recorded copies of letters to Captain James Barron and the Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith, listed food and supplies for the sickbay, and reported diseases presented among the crew and methods of treatment.
Medard died in 1822 in Boston.