Forwood, W. H. (William Henry), 1838-1915

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Biographical History

William Henry Forwood (1838-1915) was born in Brandywine Hundred, Delaware, on September 7, 1838. He studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1861. He served as a surgeon in the army during and after the Civil War. Between 1881 and 1883, Forwood served as surgeon and naturalist on several military reconnaissance and exploring expeditions with General Philip Sheridan, President Chester A. Arthur and Secretary of War Robert T. Lincoln. Forwood led one such expedition through the Big Horn Mountains, Yellowstone National Park. In 1893, he was appointed professor of military surgery at the newly established Army Medical School (to eventually become the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research) in Washington, D.C. He would later become the president of faculty. Forwood also held the chairs of surgery and surgical pathology, and of military surgery at Georgetown University, which conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. During his career with the army, he supervised the building of two military hospitals, Whitehall General Hospital near Bristol, Pennsylvania, and the General Hospital of Savannah in Georgia. On June 9, 1902, Forwood was promoted to Surgeon General, with a grade of brigadier general. Shortly thereafter he reached his compulsory retirement age and retired from the position on September 7, 1902. Forwood died on May 12, 1915, in Washington, D.C. His botanical collecting is documented in the Department of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History.


  • Library of Congress. NACO. Control Number: no2007153517
  • U.S. Army Medical Department. (2009, February 20). William H. Forwood. Retrieved from
  • Pilcher, J. E. (1905). The Surgeon generals of the Army of the United States of America. Carlisle, PA: Association of Military Surgeons. Retrieved from

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  • Botany
  • Surgeons


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  • Botanists
  • Surgeons