* OFFICIAL *
- Mar 15, 2013
Equipped with surgical dressings, I entered the charge with the brigade at Gettysburg July 2, 1863... As Hancock's batteries opened fire a shell burst in the face of a soldier close to me in front. His shattered head violently struck my breast, covering me with brains and blood, and the smoke so obscured me that I was reported killed. Recovering self-possession, when I found that I really was alive, after stopping to help a slightly wounded man, I hurried forward. A moment later, with its sharp sting a minnie ball passed through my upper left arm....Hardly twenty steps further had I gone when another rifle ball pierced my right shoulder. Not realizing the severity of my wounds, I kept on, and found an officer mortally wounded. After leaving him I ran to the line of battle, where our brigade (Wright's) having cut through the Union lines, was fighting. Suddenly, a crashing blow near my left knee felled me to the ground...
At the Battle of Gettysburg, James Robie Wood was a member of Company C, 2nd Battalion Georgia Infantry, Ambrose Wright's brigade, Anderson's division. Wood later became a medical doctor, but during the war, he served as a Private soldier. "...I felt that the honor of being a private in the Second Georgia battalion, Wright's brigade, was almost equivalent to holding a brigadier general's commission elsewhere."
Wood was wounded three times at Gettysburg, including a canister shot in the left leg, about the knee, which nearly resulted in amputation. During the night, Brigadier General Alexander Stewart Webb of the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, Winfield Hancock's Second Corps, stumbled upon Wood, lying wounded on the field and had him removed to a Union field hospital. By the time the Union surgeons examined him, the knee was very swollen and inflamed, making it impossible to tell what type of missile had inflicted the wound.
Amputation was averted and Wood carried the 3/4 inch canister shot in his leg for thirty-two years. The knee, Wood claimed, flared up on the anniversary of the battle for several years in a row. "This year," said Wood, "the suffering was so prolonged that I requested Dr. John C. Minor to explore the wound. On opening the leg, he found and extracted an iron canister shot three-fourths of an inch in diameter - which I find infinitely more comfortable in my pocket than it was in my leg."
Both of the accounts provided below include information of interest to those who study tactics and movements of the Battle of Gettysburg, but I was fascinated by the story of the canister shot, carried in Wood's leg for 32 years. @rpkennedy @Tom Elmore @infomanpa @Gettysburg Guide #154
St. Paul Daily Globe.(St. Paul, MN), October 27, 1895, page 15.
The Macon Telegraph. (Macon, Ga.), October 21, 1895, page 4.