"Four Years with Morgan and Forrest" by Colonel Thomas f. Berry

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Silverfox

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Reading this now---Unreal---If true, the man operated on his own bowels to get a bullet out and repair the damage---is this possible?
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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Do you mean Colonel Thomas F. Berry operated on himself? Who operated on himself? If the intestines were pierced in anyway so fecal matter, no matter how minute, infiltrated the abdomen, I don't see how they wouldn't get peritonitis and die. If in some amazingly lucky way a "something" (bullet, shrapnel) entered the abdomen but didn't pierce anything, I suppose anything is possible but is it probable, not likely but there is always that one in a million chance I guess.
 
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Silverfox

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Do you mean Colonel Thomas F. Berry operated on himself? Who operated on himself? If the intestines were pierced in anyway so fecal matter, no matter how minute, infiltrated the abdomen, I don't see how they wouldn't get peritonitis and die. If in some amazingly lucky way a "something" (bullet, shrapnel) entered the abdomen but didn't pierce anything, I suppose anything is possible but is it probable, not likely but there is always that one in a million chance I guess.
The way he described it was that the Union surgeon had refused to operate saying the wound was fatal. His only meal in five days had been some parched corn. When the surgeon went out and was going to be gone a while---He had talked a young nurse into bringing him some instruments, cotton roll, thread and needle---and a mini ball to bite down on. He opened the wound and pulled out the intestine and put the cotton under it to hold it out. He searched around and found the bullet and pulled it out---after some rest he sewed up the intestine and then the wound ----the surgeon said if he wanted to kill himself he could after he came back. In about five days he started getting better. If true this was really amazing. He stated himself that had he eaten more he probably would have died.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Wowser! Okay, he was the one in a million. Don't let the insurance execs. get hold of this story or this will be the wave of our futures with the one day surgery centers!
 
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DBF

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If I remember the tale correctly - didn't both he and the young lady pass out as soon as he was done? I thought she landed across his legs, and he fell back in a faint and that is how they were found. I can't imagine how he saw where he had to sew you. You would think he'd be so weak at this point. I guess one does what one needs to do to live, but is this story true???
 

Silverfox

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If I remember the tale correctly - didn't both he and the young lady pass out as soon as he was done? I thought she landed across his legs, and he fell back in a faint and that is how they were found. I can't imagine how he saw where he had to sew you. You would think he'd be so weak at this point. I guess one does what one needs to do to live, but is this story true???
Yes on the passing out for he and the nurse---On my kindle the operation occurred at about 53%---.99 cent book and very entertaining--amazon--he was some kind of tough if half of the book is true.
 
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DBF

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She had to be pretty tough or maybe slightly shocked. Of course with a story like this we should not be surprised the General Forrest is front and center, after all he found him when everyone else left him for dead.
 
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diane

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Certainly a colorful character! I wouldn't say he was fibbing - stranger things have happened! - but Col Berry has been considered by some as not too reliable. He wrote his memoirs in old age and sometimes memory messes with the facts. He relates the confrontation between Bragg and Forrest after Chickamauga as if he was there, and says Forrest was arrested by Bragg and that he half-drew his sword as did Bragg before Bragg's guards intervened. No, only Bragg and Forrest were involved and neither said anything about it. In fact, there may be some doubt about that incident - Dr Cowan was quite elderly when he related it! (And he wasn't there, either.) Berry also relates that Forrest 'cut' his way out of Ft Donelson, which he did not. It's very well documented that he left by the back door as quietly as possible. So, I would recommend double-checking Berry's accounts - but his book is well worth reading nonetheless!
 

Silverfox

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I think you are spot on Diane----he was a real character----wounded often, captured often, escaped often , and a good recruiter always. I took it all with a little salt---but very interesting.
 
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