GRAPHIC Simply awful


Oct 30, 2018
There has been some discussion here on some ghastly wounds (head wounds) and resecttion of arms instead of amputations. Chamberlain's wound comes to mind as a terrible wound from which he survived. It must have been simply awful to have a drain in your body yet we have pictures of Chamberlain mounted and riding proudly. He was fairly young when wounded yet he lived a long and active life. I would like to submit two other wounds that occurred to soldiers that seems just simply unimaginable to live with.

Priv. Asher King Co A 8th NJ- Gunshot wound to hip and scrotum June 16,1864 Petersburg, bullet enter left hip and passed through scrotum, survived and discharged
Priv Reuben E Bickham Co F 6th NJ- Gunshot wound May 5 1862 Williamsburg, hit in backside, bullet passed through and exited through penis, suffered rest of life from incontinence. Dr's report in 1873 on pension "The pensioner is practically emasculated and the discharge is offensive. The disability is equivalent to a loss of a limb in consquence of the digusting nature of the complaint." Bickman was only 26 years old at time of wounding.
Jul 22, 2021
I was an Army medic and surgical assistant during my four year military stint. I worked most of that time in a large Army medical center on virtually all kinds of surgery including trauma. I can tell you that given the trauma that can happen, then the often times surgical intervention, the slow recovery, and finally the constant assault of an infectious agent on the body, it is truly miraculous what a human body can stand.

There are many images of these survivors and we tend to forget those who lived with these injuries for the rest of their days. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland has many examples in their photo collections and displays. The use of the weapons of war were mainly for killing but there were many more who lived on with horrific after effects that included illnesses not acquired in the midst of battle. And this was a time before the advent of aseptic techniques and antibiotics! It was gruesome.

James N.

Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Feb 23, 2013
East Texas
The worst one that always comes to my mind was one I saw watercolor documentation of in a special Centennial medical display in 1964 put on in Richmond by the Virginia Medical Association. These watercolors were made during the war to document various traumatic injuries. The one in question was a poor fellow who had quite literally had his a** shot off by a passing shell! He was pictured lying on his stomach and where his buttocks should've been were instead what resembled two mounds of ground meat.