Dying of Gangrene

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(This pencil art is from an unidentified soldier or medical personnel, in a field facility, Corinth, Mississippi. Title: “Dying of Gangrene” from an exhibition of art at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, 1961 and 1962.)

( A copy of the approx. 260 pg book is available in out Sales Gallery.)

“Above 5000 wounded men, demanding instant and constant attention, made a call too great to be met successfully. A much larger proportion of amputations was performed than would have been necessary if the wounds could have received earlier attention. On account of exposures many wounds were gangrenous before the patients reached the hospitals. In these cases delay was fatal, and an operation almost equally so, as tetanus often followed speedily.  Where amputation were preformed, about eight out of ten died. The deaths in Corinth averaged fifty per day for a week after the battle. While the surgeons, as a body, did their duty nobly, there were some young men, apparently just out of college, who performed difficult operations with the assurance and assumed skill of practiced surgeons, and with little regard for human life or limb. In a few days erysipelas broke out, and numbers died of it. Pneumonia, typhoid fever and measles followed, and Corinth was one entire hospital.”

William G  Stephenson, Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army, 1862, New York


About the Author:

Vietnam era Army JAG, Asia, 17-yr Cold Warrior in Soviet-China Bloc green zone, Been shot at and hit, but in crime, not war; twice-broken nose for lying (same fellow) hence good law school candidate; Could have been Somebody in Corporate world and politics, but at every crossroad chose to be a man with a tawdry past instead. Gave up law and am now a redeemed American.
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  1. Allen  June 21, 2018

    They recently excavated a civil war hospital “limb pit” on the Manassas Battlefield. Two Union Soldiers bodies were found among the various arms and legs amputated. Vassar, I know your country ass would recognize Manassas but the yankees who read our site most likely know it as Bull Run. Both the first and second battles were Union blowouts, the Confederacy’s vastly superior Leadership was still kicking Union ass in 1862. Doctorin’ was still mostly luck in those days, remember Gus waitin’ to die rather than lose his leg? Life was short and brutal.


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