Seth Callis Hunkins
Senior Surgeon of the 2nd Brigade 3rd Division 2nd Corps
Seth Callis Hunkins was born 10 December 1821, the older son of John Muzzy Hunkins and Miriam Blake Hunkins in Sanbornton, New Hampshire. He had one brother, Edgar J Hunkins, born 22 January 1829 in Sanbornton, Hew Hampshire.
By the mid 1840’s, Seth was at Dartmouth studying medicine. For the school year 1844-1845, he was a junior and E Hoyt, MD was his instructor. In 1846, he wrote a paper on Typhus Fever. By 1851, he had his medical degree and was teaching at Berkshire Medical College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In the 1850’s, he was the mentor of renowned Maine surgeon William Warren Greene (1831 – 1881) who pioneered the thyroidectomy.
On 21 June 1861, he was mustered in the Army of the Potomac as a surgeon in the 4th Regiment Maine Infantry. George Dyer was the Assistant Quartermaster of Maine regiment. Seth had a close look at the Civil War’s Battle of First Bull Run. He wrote, “Matters here in most horrible confusion” in his transcript on 23 July 1861, and, “None of field or staff killed. William Allen, Benjamin Buxton, and Seth Hunkins – regimental surgeons – remained with the wounded on the battlefield, and were captured. He was paroled in Richmond on 11 August 1861 and returned to Washington, DC. By September 1862, a prisoner exchange had been made, and he was reassigned to the NY 101st Division Hospital at Fort McHenry. This new enrollment was for 2 years. In April 1863, he returned to his original regiment.
In January 1863, he was working at Windmill Point Hospital which is located on Marlborough Point in Potomac Creek, Stafford County, Virginia. This is documented in “This Birth Place of Souls – a Civil War Nursing Diary”. In April 1863, he returned to his original regiment and served in the Army of the Potomac where he became Senior Surgeon of the 2nd Brigade 3rd Division 2nd Corps on 28 March 1864. This unit was at the Battle of The Wilderness 5-6 May 1864 near Saunders Field.
He mustered out in 18 July 1864 since his term of enrollment was up. In a letter he wrote 28 August 1864, he requested another appointment as surgeon. He stated in the reappointment letter that he had served as Medical Director of the Brigade and Division and also established general hospitals in Baltimore, Aquia Creek, Culpeper, and Fredericksburg. When mustered out, he was preparing the West Ware House for a hospital when ordered to the field.
After the Civil War was over, he went to Bangor, Maine where he began to practice medicine again. In 1866, Seth and several others formed the Tontogoa Petroleum Company for the purpose of boring or sinking wells for oil and salt.
Seth died 15 May 1867 in Portland, Maine of Heart Disease. He was buried in Portland. His tombstone reads in part: “He was eminent in the profession and accounted for a surgeon of rare skill and his loss to the fraternity will be sincerely missed.”