They say that scorpions aren't very common in Virginia, but there is this one kind -- known as the Southern Devil Scorpion. Apparently, these have venom. And sometimes, the venom can cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.
James Scully, age 21, enlisted into Company H, 6th New York Cavalry September 19, 1861 at New York and mustered in as a Corporal on October 28, 1861 to serve for three years. He re-enlisted as a Private December 16, 1863 and was discharged June 7, 1865 at Annapolis, MD. https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/cavalry/6thCavCW_Roster.pdf
But it's what happened to him at Fair Oaks on June 27, 1862 that made the "record." Corporal Scully was stung by a scorpion on the back of the neck, between the 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae, and it came very near killing him. He was treated by Surgeon A. P. Clark of the 6th New York Cavalry, who reported the details:
The man was of robust constitution and of good health. I saw him a few minutes after the reception of the wound, which occurred at 10 A.M....there was no swelling of the part, but he complained of intense pain in the back and lower extremities....Severe spasms soon came on ....he remained in this condition for two and a half hours, when he gradually became insensible, the action of his heart becoming more feeble and irregular.
Luckily, Surgeon Clark had on hand some "Bibron's antidotal mixture," a Bromine compound touted as an effective anti-venom for snakebites and, apparently, also useful for scorpion stings. Dr. Clark administered Bibron's, along with tablespoonfuls of equal parts Brandy and water, every half hour until 2 1/2 ounces of Brandy had been administered. Surgeon Clark's report continues:
At 12 o'clock his face and hands began to swell, the skin of these parts resembling an attack of phlegmonous erysipelas, though of a duskier hue. The swelling continued to increase until about 6 P.M., at which time his head was of an enormous size and his eyes very glassy, appearing as if they would burst from their sockets.....The patient still remaining unconscious, I took twelve ounces of blood from the left median cephalic vein and cupped him along the spine and lower part of the thorax, put two minims of croton oil upon his tongue, and administered an enema of warm water and olive oil. Sinapisms [mustard counter-irritant plasters] were still continued."
After all that bloodletting, poulticing, and enema administration, it's no wonder Scully woke up! Surgeon Clark continues:
About 2 A.M. on the following morning signs of returning consciousness appeared, when another enema was given and his feet were put in warm water. In about a quarter of an hour afterwards, he had a copious discharge from his bowels, very offensive and of a dark gelatinous character, which was soon followed by the vomiting of a large quantity of matter of similar but not so offensive nature.
The swelling gradually subsided and, by 3 P.M. on June 28, Scully was well enough to be transported by ambulance to Harrison's Landing. He arrived there on July 1, 1862 and rejoined his company with no lingering or recurring ill effects. Surgeon Clark concluded his report by saying:
During the course of the first day some ten different medical officers saw the patient and none of them entertained any hope of his recovery. I am of the opinion that it was through the action of Bibron's antidote conveyed into the circulation that the virus of the scorpion was neutralized or eliminated from the system, and that the action of the medicine was promoted by the other measures employed. Source: The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, Volume 2, Part III, page 656. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31822000922120;view=1up;seq=11
A couple of years ago, I posted a story about another member of the 6th New York Cavalry who received a nasty injury when he was kicked by a horse. I ran across this unusual case of a near-fatal scorpion sting while looking for a snake bite for @NH Civil War Gal 's thread about snakes. Interestingly, this one happens to involve another member of the 6th NY Cavalry. I guess their surgeons kept better records than most?