Courtesy of the U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy Seal

Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military

Surgeon General Phineas J. Horwitz:
Chief of the Navy Bureau of Medicine

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Surgeon General Phineas J. Horowitz was the Chief of the Navy Bureau of Medicine, 1865-1869. He was born on March 3, 1822, in Baltimore. Maryland. His parents were Jewish. He graduated from the University of Maryland, in 1845, with a Doctor of Medicine degree.

On November 8, 1847, he was appointed as an Assistant Surgeon. It was during the war with Mexico, while serving with the Gulf Squadron, he was placed in charge of a temporary naval hospital at Tabasco. He performed his duties so well that Squadron Commander Commodore N.C. Perry thanked him and gave him a commendation.

Horwitz was promoted to a passed assistant surgeon in January 1853. He was at sea much of the time and had been in South America and Africa. In 1859, he was promoted to assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. When Dr. Whelan, Chief of Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery died, Horwitz replaced him and served for four years.

During his tenure as Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Horwitz he reorganized the disarrayed records of those who were wounded and of those who died. He ordered that each doctor have a writer assigned to him to speed the processes.

When he ceased to be Chief of the Bureau, Congress approved the highest shore pay for his grade during his term of office. He then served in Philadelphia as a medical officer in command of the naval asylum and as president of the examining board.

Horwitz was promoted to a medical inspector on March 3, 1871 and medical director, in 1873. He retired from the Navy in 1884. He died on September 28, 1904 and was buried in Philadelphia.

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