Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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THACHER, James, physician, born in Barnstable, Massachusetts, 14 February, 1754; died in Plymouth, Massachusetts, 26 May, 1844. He began the study of medicine under Dr. Abner Hersey, in his native town, about 1771, applied for a place in the medical department of the Continental army in 1775, and was appointed surgeon's mate in the hospital at Cambridge, of which Dr. John Warren was the senior attending surgeon. In February, 1776, he was made surgeon's mate in one of the regiments that occupied Prospect Hill He marched with his " regiment to Ticonderoga, and was surgeon's mate in the general hospital of that fort as long as it was held by the Continental army. He then retired with the sick and wounded to Fort Edward, and subsequently to Albany. He was transferred from the hospital to the field service by his own desire, was appointed chief surgeon to the 1st Virginia regiment in 1778, and to a New England regiment in 1779. Dr. Thacher was present at nearly all the important movements of the Continental army until the surrender of Cornwallis, and became known for his patriotism and self-sacrificing devotion to his patients, as much as for his skill in his profession. After his retirement from the army he practised in Plymouth, at the same time engaging in literary and scientific pursuits. He was a member of the Pilgrim society of Plymouth, and of the Massachusetts medical society. Besides publishing works of a purely professional or scientific character, he wrote extensively on general literature, especially on that of his profession. He published "American New Dispensatory" (Boston, 1810); "Observations on Hydrophobia" (Plymouth, 1812) ;" American Modern Practice" (Boston, 1817) ; "Military Journal during the American Revolutionary War," which is one of the most reliable authorities on the Revolution, and completely vindicates the conduct of Washington toward And r6, from the aspersions of contemporary English writers (1823); "Practical Treatise on the Management of Bees" (1829);" American Medical Biography" (2 vols., 1828); " Essay on Demonology, Ghosts, Apparitions, and Popular Superstitions" (1831) ; "History of the Town of Plymouth" (1832); and "Observations relative to the Execution of Major John Andre as a Spy in 1780" (1834).
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