Blood and Feathered!

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Feb 5, 2017
Soldier’s Tales, From My War, Civil War Times, April 1996

This is from a Union soldier that was wounded in the arm about 2 inches below the elbow joint.

“…One of the boys happened to have an old towel. Tying a knot he placed the knot on the artery above the wound and tying the ends together and with the aid of a stick he twisted it around, tightened it, and thus improvised a sort of tourniquet which probably saved my life. It was now sundown and I began to make my way slowly towards the rear. My progress was necessarily slow for several reasons such as, lack of sleep and rest for many days and nights, no food at all during the same period combined with a certain restlessness and nervous strain which always must attend a retreat of this kind and lastly the loss of blood left me in a condition which is impossible for anyone to understand unless they have been in the same condition. Besides the road was blocked with baggage, wagons artillery, horses and mules, some dead and some alive, wounded men and horses in all shapes and conditions, among them could be heard groans of the wounded and the dying.

Very slowly I picked my way through this mass of confusion and long after dark, one of our hospitals being a large house on a plantation near Turkey Creek and not far from the James River, I made my way inside the building and lay down on the floor in one of the lower rooms. In a short time 1st Lieut. Seaton of our company came in and lay down beside me. He was wounded in the leg. Shortley after midnight our Lieut. Col. Came into the building and ordered any and all of our regiment who were there and who were able, to get a move on them and fall in as the army was ordered to retreat ten miles farther down the river to a place called Harrison Landing, warning us if any remained, we would be captured and taken as prisoners to Richmond. There were a large number of our Regiment there for we had been in the thick of the fight that day.

I arose, weak and dizzy headed and made my way slowly towards the door with the others who were able to walk. I remember reaching the door. Remember standing in the door peering into the darkness. Remember hearing the rain pouring down in torrents. From this moment until 9:00 or 10:00 A.M. of what I supposed to be the next day, everything is a blank to me. I say I suppose---it might have been the second for all I know. No one ever told me. I suppose I must have fainted, fallen down the steps of which there were four or five, and was ten inside where I remained in an unconscious condition until morning.

I awoke with the feeling of one who had slept heavily for a long time. I managed to raise myself to a sitting position, by means of my right hand and elbow, and at the same time a comrade who was lying beside me did the same thing. As we looked about us we found ourselves in an upper room.

The sun was shining brightly through the curtain-less windows as we turned our faces toward one another and began to laugh at the most ridiculous sight I myself had ever beheld. We lay on a feather bed which seemed to have been placed on the floor for our accommodation but by some means it had been torn open and we as a consequence were lying as much inside as outside. Our clothes were covered with what had been fresh blood from head to foot. I suppose we had rolled in the feathers until completely covered. Now the blood was nearly dry. We were not tarred but blood and feathered and presented a very amusing spectacle indeed.