Armistead's wounds

klongstreet

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Mar 19, 2014
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UK
Armestead was hit twice, once in the fleshy part of the arm and once in the leg below the knee, neither wound damaged bone, nerves or arteries according to the the Physician attending him and neither mortal. So what killed him?
We have Septicemia, heat stroke/exhaustion, shock or a missed secondry internal injury or a combination of all. What would be your views?
I ask as many lives were saved even after amputation or major surgery, Dr Brinton the 11th corp Physician expected Armistead to live.
 

Tom Elmore

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Dr. Daniel Garrison Brinton, Surgeon-in-Chief of the 2nd Division, 11th Corps, had an impressive resume. He graduated from Yale in 1858, received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1860, and served as a student at Paris and Heidelberg in 1861. He became Medical Director of the 11th Corps and later Surgeon-in-Charge of the U.S. Army General Hospital at Quincy, Illinois. Assisting him with Armistead's case was a Dr. Harvey of Rochester, New York. I have not found additional information on Harvey. Presumably he was with the army, but many civilian contract doctors were brought in after the battle. As a high ranking, albeit enemy, officer, Armistead would have received good care and attention, including water and food. I'm not a doctor, but blood poisoning (septicemia) claimed many lives. Minie balls often carried clothing into the wound, and the field hospitals at Gettysburg were typically established in unsanitary farm buildings, as in this instance, at the George Spangler farm.

Alfred J. Rider of the 107th Ohio buried Armistead in the Confederate section of the temporary graveyard set up at the farm. Armistead's body was disinterred four months later and embalmed by a Dr. Chamberlain of Philadelphia.
 

klongstreet

Corporal
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Mar 19, 2014
Location
UK
Most likely septicemia. I doubt shock as Civil War medical personnel were pretty good at stopping bleeding in the extremities, unless a major artery was hit, as was the case with Sidney Johnston.
I'm not a Dr but i believe Septic Shock kills very quickly if not treated even now, Dr Brinton did mention a fever.
 

klongstreet

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I think he willed himself to die after realizing his fighting was directly against his good friend of many years, Winfield Hancock, unless one of the conditions above did him in. I like to believe it was from dying friendship.
Armistead was told that Hancock had been hit and may have feared the worse so yes Armistead may have lost the will to fight his wounds.
 

dlofting

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Aug 13, 2013
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Vancouver, BC, Canada
I'm not a Dr but i believe Septic Shock kills very quickly if not treated even now, Dr Brinton did mention a fever.

Septic shock is a significant drop in blood pressure caused by an infection. Septicemia is a bacterial infection of the blood that can then be carried to the entire body. So, yes, either could have caused Armistead's death.
 

bankerpapaw

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Rome, Georgia
I think he willed himself to die after realizing his fighting was directly against his good friend of many years, Winfield Hancock, unless one of the conditions above did him in. I like to believe it was from dying friendship.
I tend to think the same as you do. Died of a broken heart perhaps?
 

lelliott19

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There are some folks who believe that heat exhaustion may have contributed to Armistead's rapid demise. I believe he died at about 9am on July 5 which would be a little more than 40 hours after he was carried off the field.
 

Tom Elmore

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In the pre-dawn hours of July 4 the temperature dipped into the 70s. A line of severe thunderstorms approached at mid-day, with strong wind gusts and sheets of rain. Successive storms continued through the afternoon. Toward sunset the sky cleared somewhat, but thunderstorms soon reappeared, all of which dropped 1.33 inches of rain in Gettysburg by 9 p.m. It rained steadily from midnight until daybreak on July 5, and afterwards the rain returned at intervals for the remainder of that day. (Torrid Heat and Blinding Rain: A Meteorological and Astronomical Chronology of the Gettysburg Campaign, The Gettysburg Magazine, issue no. 13, July 1995, p.7)
 

rpkennedy

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From another thread, I wrote:

Interestingly, Wayne Motts has come to the conclusion that Armistead probably died from a pulmonary embolism, likely caused by the wound he suffered to the leg (he was also shot in the arm). He was in fairly good condition when he arrived at the Eleventh Corps hospital and was conversing with others while there. On the 5th, he took a very sudden downturn and died extremely quickly, much to the surprise of the doctors there.

Ryan
 
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