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To the Editor:
—I was extremely interested in the fine article by Dr. R. J. Popkin, "Doctors Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor" in the Dec 29 issue of The Journal (182:1319). A recently issued book, Above and Beyond by Joseph L. Schott (New York. Putnam & Sons, 1962) is a history of the Congressional Medal of Honor and lists all who have received it. The medal was first authorized in 1863 on a recommendation to Congress by the Secretary of the Navy and followed 6 mo later by authorization to the Army. At first, Secretary Stanton was hesitant because of General Scott's objections to medals. In the early days the medal was awarded for all sorts of acts, courageous and some not so courageous. In fact, the last award of a Civil War medal occurred in 1917.An interesting fact that Dr. Popkin fails to mention was that
Berry FB. Doctors Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. JAMA. 1963;184(7):601-602. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700200123031