View single post by pamc153PA
 Posted: Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 12:26 am
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Joined: Sat Jun 14th, 2008
Location: Boyertown, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 407

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Any wound could become mortal, considering the lack of sanitation and antiseptics, etc. However, I believe many doctors at the time of the Civil War felt that a body wound--gut shot, etc.--was mortal, as well as a head wound. There was little or no exploratory surgery on the field, so it was a guesstimate at best, but often doctors were right. Also, there were many, many wounds that doctors considered survivable, only to have the patient die of what we know now to be infection. Remember, this was the time of "laudable pus," where they actually thought it was good to have wounds oozing pus. Go figure.

It wasn't uncommon for soldiers to linger for days, or longer, with their wounds. My ggggg-uncle died of such a wound. a member of the 153 PA at Barlow's Knoll on Day i of Gettysburg, he was wounded in the shoulder on July 1 and died in hospital in Harrisburg, PA, on July 27. General Lewis Armistead of the CSA was not considered mortally wounded in Pickett's Charge, but ended up dying two or three days later. His and my ancestor's was one of many wounds that today would have been surivable, but that then caused the patient to slowly succumb. At least this often gave the families time to visit the wounded a last time, perhaps even bringing them home to die. My ancestor's mother was able to travel to Harrisburg, and was with her son when he died.

Welcome to the board!


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