Born: 11 December 1824, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Died: 15 March 1872, San Francisco, California
Buried: Arlington National Military Cemetery, Section S.C., site 1869
Training: Graduated from Jefferson College 1845
Graduated from Jefferson Medical College 1849
Pre War Profession: Commissioned a Captain and appointed as an Assistant Surgeon on 29 June 1849 in the U.S. Army. Served in Florida in the campaigns against the Seminole Indians from 1849-1853, transferred to Fort Ripley, Minn., marched with troops from Fort Leavenworth, KS, to New Nexico. Served at Fort Defiance against the Navajo Indians, then was engaged with Col. Loring’s expedition against the Gila Apaches and served in New Mexico until the fall of 1858. Stationed at Fort Monroe, VA in 1859. Then 1860 found him in California Against the Pah Ute Indians.
Civil War Service:
January-May 1862 West Virginia Campaign
May-June 1862 Medical Director of the Department of West Virginia.
2 July 1862 promoted to Major and Surgeon.
June 1862-December 1863 Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, serving under Major Generals McClellan, Burnside, Hooker and Meade.
December 1863-December 1864 Medical Director of the Department of the Susquehanna.
Post Civil War:
Resigned his commission in December 1864 and moved to San Francisco, California where he practiced medicine and served as a medical examiner. 1867-1872 Coroner of San Francisco, California.
Started the first ambulance corps with trained attendants and separated from the Quartermaster Corps.
Instituted the concept of triage for the treatment of casualties
Developed an evacuation system involving both field and general hospitals, use of trains, ships/boats, and wagon trains.
Established an efficient distribution system for medical supplies
Wife: Married in October 1863 to Mary Lee Diggs, Fredrick, Md.
Daughters: Mary Catherine Letterman and Anna Madeleine Letterman
JONATHAN K. LETTERMAN
M A J O R
FATHER OF BATTLEFIELD MEDICINE