Pain in the Patella: Canister Shot Removed 32 Years Later

Tom Elmore

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One gun of Battery B/1st Rhode Island was indeed temporarily captured by Wright's brigade:

CemRidge1905 001.jpg
 

redbob

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I know it seems impossible, but here's another member of the 2nd Georgia Infantry Battalion who was also wounded by canister shot in the left leg, and he carried his own iron ball for many years! [I'm assuming that the ball described is canister shot?]

Sgt. Simeon E. Theus (B/2nd GA BN) was captured in the hospital after the battle and sent to the Union General Hospital 19 July 1863. He appears on a Roll of Prisoners of War at General Hospital, Chester, PA dated 31 July 1863. He was sent to City Point for exchange 17 August 1863, furloughed, and detailed at Macon, GA. He is then listed as disabled. He returned to his regiment September 6, 1864 and apparently had recovered sufficiently to march.

His canister shot was removed in May 1892 - after having languished in his left leg for nearly 29 years! Theus seems to indicate that his wound was inflicted by a Rhode Island battery?
View attachment 394071

Theus' wounding in the manner reported is also confirmed by Lieut (at the time Sgt.) Lorenzo Dow Ripley (B/2nd GA BN) in a post-war reminiscence, published in The Macon Telegraph. (Macon, Ga.), October 31, 1897, page 1.
View attachment 394077
For those who may be interested in reading Ripley's entire account, I posted it over in another thread here
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/wrights-brigade-gettysburg-accounts.183342/#post-2379976
With the phrase about a shell bursting above them, it sounds more like case shot than a different brand of rifled cannister such as the Dyer which used smaller lead balls.
Case shot.JPG
 
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lelliott19

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Thanks for these two great articles. My favorite part is the phrasing by Dr. Wood (formerly Private Wood) about comparing the sensation of his shoulder wound to the use of a "persuasive hickory . . . to instill fractions in fractious . . . boys". I think my teachers used pine rather than hickory, but the concept was similar.
Great! Glad you enjoyed the articles!

My favorite part was his quote about the surgeons he remembered:
With pleasure I remember Doctors T.M.C. Rice, Talliaferro, Pope and that brave old Senior Surgeon Sweeney or McSweeney. I vividly recall his cool courage as he operated upon the wounded with a firm hand, while shells were tearing limbs from trees above him. "Of what use," said he, "are field hospitals so far away from the line that the wounded may die before help reaches them?"

Senior Brigade Surgeon William Edwin "Mark" Swinney
Dr. Swinney was b. 15 May 1821 in Greene County, GA. He attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School 1842-1845. In 1846, he married Emaline Jones and the couple had one son b. 1848. The son was named after his father and also went on to become a physician.

At the outbreaking of the war, Mark Swinney was a well-respected physician, practicing in Augusta, GA.
Dr. Swinney, Senior Surgeon of Wright's brigade, died 15 September 1872.
  • Appointed July 4, 1861 as Asst. Surgeon 10th Georgia
  • Appointed June 6, 1862 Surgeon 48th Georgia
  • Signs as Senior Surgeon, Wright's Brigade on an undated requisition for 2 pair of shoes received at Petersburg.
  • Tried to resign Sept 19, 1863 and October 27, 1863, but he was offered a transfer to Hospital Service instead. <How many Surgeons received the opinion of Robert E. Lee regarding their resignations?>
1615660142355.png

Head Qrs Army NoVA, 1 Nov 1863
Res fwd and acceptance not recommended. I think the service of the Country paramount to private interests.
R E Lee, Genl
  • Leave of Absence/Furlough and returned Nov 2, 1863 at from General Hospital No 4 Richmond, VA
  • Transferred to Hospital Service in Georgia. (Exact date unclear, but prior to Jan 17, 1864.)
  • Assigned in charge of Asylum Hospital, Augusta October 6, 1864.
  • Serving at Asylum Hospital on register dated January 24, 1865.
  • Returned to Augusta and serving as a physician in 1865.
  • Served as Surgeon in Charge of the City Hospital, Hospital Physician for the Jail, and at the Small Pox Hospital in Augusta, GA 1868.
It seems all were in agreement that Dr. Mark E. Swinney was an exceptional surgeon.
1615659369087.png

The Southern Watchman. (Athens, Ga.), July 20, 1864, page 4.

[Note: Carded records for Dr. Swinney are filed under officers as M. E. Swinney and Mark E Swinney.]
 
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Cycom

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His account of what it feels like to be advancing against an enemy is one of the more descriptive I have read.
Lubliner.
Gotta wonder how often line soldiers had to change their undergarments in a campaign. Walking briskly, shoulder to shoulder directly into rifle and cannon...can’t be good for composure.

I’m likely exaggerating it all, as I’m sure a properly trained infantryman would have been properly able to deal with this kind of stress.
 

Lubliner

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Gotta wonder how often line soldiers had to change their undergarments in a campaign. Walking briskly, shoulder to shoulder directly into rifle and cannon...can’t be good for composure.

I’m likely exaggerating it all, as I’m sure a properly trained infantryman would have been properly able to deal with this kind of stress.
Unit cohesion and morale among the men, with the ever-present peer pressure to perform and not run allowed the advance. But I know I would be whispering some frightful words of feeling into my head if I was one of them.
Lubliner.
 

Scott1967

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Gotta wonder how often line soldiers had to change their undergarments in a campaign. Walking briskly, shoulder to shoulder directly into rifle and cannon...can’t be good for composure.

I’m likely exaggerating it all, as I’m sure a properly trained infantryman would have been properly able to deal with this kind of stress.
No normal person deals with this kind of stress its like anything after a while you get used to it , Training does not prepare you for battle nothing can its how you act as an individual that really counts as many men would have reacted differently.

As has been mentioned its the friendship and not wanting to let your comrades down that drove men on in horrid battlefield conditions , How they did it is a mystery to me , Having been in a modern army and on active service my self I still find the ACW soldiers the bravest of the brave and remember what's even more remarkable is these were volunteers not regulars.
 

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