- Feb 5, 2017
One prisoner, who was captured at Vicksburg, had been shot in the eye during one of Grant's ill-fated assaults. The eye was gone, but otherwise the man was fine. "He walked about our room with a handkerchief tied around his head, smoking complacently," Richardson recalled, "apparently considering a bullet in the brain a very slight annoyance." The prisoners loved stories like that, freakish tales of men who had miraculously survived shots that should have killed them.
There was the story of a soldier who was lying in the dirt, firing his rifle, when a Rebel cannonball hit the ground beside him and plowed a tunnel about six inches under him before it popped up on his other side like some kind of round metal gopher. And the story of the lieutenant who shot in the mouth, which was open at the time, and the bullet knocked out three false teeth, which went flying into the thigh of the sergeant standing next to him--and both of them were barely scratched. And there were countless stories about men who found one, or two, or nine bullet holes in their clothes or their hats after a battle, but not a scratch on their bodies.
And stories of men saved when the bullet that hit them was deflected by something in their pockets--a silver half-dollar, or a plug of tobacco, or, for one soldier, a little book of risque' song lyrics.
"I'm sorry to say that I heard of no instance in which a life was saved by a Bible," Browne noted wryly, "and I'm bound to believe the fact is owing to the great scarcity of the sacred volume in the army, rather than to any want of preserving power in the Holy Book itself."
Edited to add: Source is from "Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy" by Peter Carlson