A conundrum in Atlanta

bamarebl

Private
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
I have an ancestor - Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Yates of Company I, 56th Georgia Infantry - that was severely wounded in the Atlanta Campaign. The Confederate Order of Battle shows the 56th as present in Cumming's Brigade of Stevenson's Division at the Battle of Atlanta - July 22, 1864. The problem is, his record shows in detail that he was wounded on July 20, 1864. That would have placed him at Peachtree Creek. But the Order of Battle for Peachtree Creek does not list the 56th Ga as present. But the Wikipedia entry for Major General Carter L. Stevenson claims his division was there.

From Wikipedia:
General Stevenson reported to the Army of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was given command of a division in William J. Hardee's corps, stationed on the right flank guarding Lookout Mountain. He withdrew his troops after the Battle of Lookout Mountain and destroyed the bridges over Chickamauga Creek and other waterways to delay the advance of Joseph Hooker's Union corps. He reinforced the main Confederate battle line on Missionary Ridge just before the Battle of Chattanooga. During the 1864 Atlanta Campaign, Stevenson's division was in John Bell Hood's corps and fought in the battles around Atlanta, including Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain and Peachtree Creek. When General Hood was elevated to command of the army, Stevenson temporarily assumed command of Hood's Corps.

So, I'm wondering what is right and I know that the fine members of this board can set me on the right path. Here is the card from his service record:

Page 4.jpg
 

bamarebl

Private
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
That was my first thought, but since the Wiki entry for the Division Commander says he was at Peachtree Creek, it confused me.
 

Chattahooch33

Sergeant Major
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Cobb's Legion Country - Bowdon, Ga.
The thing to remember about the Atlanta Campaign was that there was fighting every day on all parts of the line. The Confederates were behind their inner defenses by this time and the federals were closed up on them well within rifle range. Sniping and potshots were a constant. It is possible he was wounded in line nowhere near the battle. I am at work so I don't have any of my books with me but I am pretty sure the 56th wasn't at PTC.
I would assume this was just a typo. It can be confusing, especially at that time, to differentiate between The Battle of July 20, The Battle of July 22, Battle of Peachtree Creek, Battle of Atlanta, Battle of Legget's Hill, etc. There was an actual "1st Battle of Atlanta" before the "actual Battle" where the Federals pushed the Confederates off Legget's Hill. They set up a battery and fired the first shots into the actual city from there. On July 22 was the actual battle everyone knows about.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
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Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
First understand that wiki... is a dubious source at best. And as Chattahooch33 noted there was fighting all along the line almost continuosly. And as noted the Battle for Atlanta can be seen as one continuous fight from 20 July through the end of the 22nd. IMO it was a fight as desperate and brutal as Gettysburg & I believe a more significant battle as it's end result doomed Atlanta and some might say the CS.
 

AUG

Major
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Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Location
Texas
The thing to remember about the Atlanta Campaign was that there was fighting every day on all parts of the line. The Confederates were behind their inner defenses by this time and the federals were closed up on them well within rifle range. Sniping and potshots were a constant. It is possible he was wounded in line nowhere near the battle. I am at work so I don't have any of my books with me but I am pretty sure the 56th wasn't at PTC.
I would assume this was just a typo. It can be confusing, especially at that time, to differentiate between The Battle of July 20, The Battle of July 22, Battle of Peachtree Creek, Battle of Atlanta, Battle of Legget's Hill, etc. There was an actual "1st Battle of Atlanta" before the "actual Battle" where the Federals pushed the Confederates off Legget's Hill. They set up a battery and fired the first shots into the actual city from there. On July 22 was the actual battle everyone knows about.
Yes, that "first day of Atlanta" on July 21st was Cleburne's Division taking position on Bald Hill/Leggett's Hill in support of Wheeler's cavalry, against Brig. Gen. Mortimer Leggett's Division, Brig. Gen. Manning F. Force's Brigade. This fight produced some 1,000 casualties and Patrick Cleburne called it "the fiercest fight of my life".
 

bamarebl

Private
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
Something I found fascinating with this card... It says the gunshot fractured the thigh bone followed by gangrene. But he kept his leg. I have been under the impression up to now that most serious limb wounds - especially those accompanied by gangrene - would have led to amputation. But maybe medicine was a little more advanced than I thought. And this is Confederate medicine. Learn something new every day.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
Something I found fascinating with this card... It says the gunshot fractured the thigh bone followed by gangrene. But he kept his leg. I have been under the impression up to now that most serious limb wounds - especially those accompanied by gangrene - would have led to amputation. But maybe medicine was a little more advanced than I thought. And this is Confederate medicine. Learn something new every day.

the biggest thing would have been keeping the wound clean... there were some novel methods for doing that, some of them rather accidental.
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
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Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Something I found fascinating with this card... It says the gunshot fractured the thigh bone followed by gangrene. But he kept his leg. I have been under the impression up to now that most serious limb wounds - especially those accompanied by gangrene - would have led to amputation. But maybe medicine was a little more advanced than I thought. And this is Confederate medicine. Learn something new every day.
Larry J Daniel, writing in Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee, has a whole chapter on the medical wonders done by CS doctors in the Atlanta Campaign, with lots of interesting stats.
 
Joined
May 18, 2005
Location
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Interesting accounts of boys in Cheatham's Division that suffered from gangrene and how they were treated. It appears if you got gangrene in the army hospital, the staff would try to have you transferred to a private residence some distance away.


This guy was a soldier in the 28th Tennessee and was wounded on the 22nd of July.

"It was only a few days after this, when one morning our surgeon came around to make his daily examination of our wounds and he said to me, young man you have gangrene in your wound. I saw that he was somewhat excited and confused and not knowing anything about the trouble, having never heard of it before, I asked, What is gangrene? What does it mean? He said it means there is only one salvation for you and that is to cut it out right now, and then explained the nature and ravage of the infection. I then told him to cut it out. He said "we have no ether, chloroform or other narcotic to administer, can you stand the operation without anything? "I think I can" I said "and will do my best". He then gave me a short lecture on the importance of the work and the necessity of me keeping still and quiet. He went back to his office and got his knife and hook, and in a few minutes had me on his table. I had made up my mind not to flinch, move, or in any way cause him to fail in making his work a success. It took him two or three minutes to remove the putrid parts and I did not move or grunt until he was through. When he said "It is all over now", I was glad and appreciated the compliment he passed on me in saying I was the best grit he ever laid a knife on. "Now" said he, "If you remain here you are apt to have it again and I must send you to the country. Where shall I send you?" "I have no relations or friends this side of Tennessee, said I and one place will suit me as well as another." "Then I will send you to Hawkinsville, and give you a letter of commendation which will assure you of a good home and good attention."

After arriving at the house and family that would take care of him...

"They gave me a room to myself and a Negro boy to wait on me. In a day or two my wound began to be offensive and I could smell it. This was so humiliating to me, that I refused to go to the table with the family for my meals, or to sit near anyone for fear they would get a whiff of the horrid odor from my wound. Everyone seemed grieved or sorry that I had an idea that I was offensive and persuaded me to discard all such thoughts. However the evidence was so strong that I was right in my conclusion, that I could but look on their acts as manifestation of their friendship and sympathy for me."

"Aunt Pensy had the boy to bathe and thoroughly cleanse with a syringe, the wound every morning, noon and night until I was better. She made large pads to fit around the wound to absorb the corruption which were changed three times a day. I suppose I should mention right here that antiseptics and germ destroying fluids were not much in use, in that age of medical science. When this period of sloughing was over, my affliction took on a more favorable aspect."

Another soldier in the 16th Tennessee that was wounded on the 22nd of July.

“Gangrene (now called blood poison) set up in my arm, matter collected below the wound, and my arm, hands and fingers were terribly swollen and a doctor at Macon said amputation was the only remedy, but I hated to give it up, cried and begged to risk it. I got a fellow to help me to the depot, and I took the train for Dawson, near where lived Mr. Leek, who refugeed from Dalton with whom I stayed and who requested me to go to him if I ever got sick or wounded. On my arrival there I was in bad shape, and he called in his family physician, (his name was Roushenburg), who examined my arm and left morphine. He visited me often, and knew what he was doing. At the proper time he lanced my arm and it began to heal at once.”

Jamie
 

DaveBrt

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Something I found fascinating with this card... It says the gunshot fractured the thigh bone followed by gangrene. But he kept his leg. I have been under the impression up to now that most serious limb wounds - especially those accompanied by gangrene - would have led to amputation. But maybe medicine was a little more advanced than I thought. And this is Confederate medicine. Learn something new every day.
I had a History Prof who had been a Marine on a 5" mount on the USS Houston when she was sunk in 1942. He was captured and ended up working on the Railroad of Death in Thailand. There was no medicine, so when someone got sick or badly injured, they died. My Prof fell and cut his thigh, which became infected and was a sure ticket out of this life.

The soon-to-die were put in a small camp a little way down the hill from the main camp so they could die without affecting the morale of the troops who were working on the railroad. My Prof was sent there, but was too stubborn to give up and die. He boiled water and poured the boiling water into his wound, cup after cup, for days, dozing off when he could no longer stay awake. His treatment worked and he claimed to be the only person to walk out of that lower camp.

As proof of his story, he showed his leg to those of us who had asked to see the "scar" of the wound -- there was no normal scar, just a large hole most of the way through his right thigh.
 
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