Open Debate Bentonville Battle Casualty List Peculiarities

Joined
Jun 7, 2021
What - if anything- is going on here?
I routinely scan casualty lists looking for my somewhat obscure family names, and in reading the Bentonville battle list in the Raleigh NC Semi-Weekly Standard, published 3/24/1865, I was struck by the high number of wounds in the left hand. I've never seen this before. In the partial list below there are four solders in a row (!) listed as being wounded in the left hand. The officer list contains the type of wounds generally seen, but in the ranks there are multiple hand injuries listed.

At first I thought perhaps old guns were exploding in the hands of the soldiers - but on doing a Google search on battle wounds I came across an article saying that in WW 1 soldiers with wounds to their left hand or the top of their feet were separated from other wounded soldiers because they were suspected of inflicting wounds on themselves to avoid battle or staying in the trenches.
This is not an attempt to discredit these soldiers at all. But given that I think the Confederacy was clearly on its last legs at this point, if this is what was happening, these men were perhaps making the decision that going home and rebuilding their communities and supporting their families was a better option than dying in glory.

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Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Now that is a very intriguing question.
Lubliner.
It does make you wonder. In every battle both armies had stragglers and shirkers, but a wound in the hand is the proverbial " million dollar wound" that would get you out of the fighting for a considerable amount of time. In this case, time enough for the war to end.
 

Lubliner

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
It does make you wonder. In every battle both armies had stragglers and shirkers, but a wound in the hand is the proverbial " million dollar wound" that would get you out of the fighting for a considerable amount of time. In this case, time enough for the war to end.
I would think the foot or toe could become a common casualty.
Lubliner.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
I would think the foot or toe could become a common casualty.
Lubliner.
Agreed. The WW1 article specifically mentioned wounds inflicted from above into the top of the foot - as I picture it- caused by a soldier shooting straight down - as being treated as suspicious.
Sort of off thread, but I read somewhere that because ACW soldiers needed to be able to bite off the end of cartridges in order to load guns in battle, some men, to avoid the draft, would have their front teeth pulled. Dental care was not as advanced then anyway, so maybe losing your front teeth was a small price to pay. You would be losing your teeth eventually anyway. Getting rejected for service was otherwise pretty hard to do.
 
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