Stonewall Jackson: The Gory Details of May 3-10, 1863. His Wound, Evacuation, Transport & Medical Care

lelliott19

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"Captain R. E. Wilbourne, provides a much more detailed account of the actual wounding, and severity of Jackson's injuries. Wilbourne states that Jackson's entire party, with the exception of himself and a member of the signal core, lieutenant William Win, had been killed, wounded, or dispersed. Wilbourne and Win helped Jackson down from his horse, and Wilbourne used a penknife to cut away the India rubber coat, dress coat, and two shirts from Jackson's bleeding arm. He bound a handkerchief tightly above and below the wound and placed the arm in a sling. Jackson was given whiskey and an immediate evacuation ordered as the federal line was not more than 150 yards to the east. Captain Lay arrived at the litter and Jackson was placed upon it. One litter bearer was shot through both arms by artillery fire, dropping the litter. Jackson fell to the ground, landing on his wounded side. He began, quote, bleeding afresh." May 3rd -10th marks the anniversary of Stonewall Jackson's wounding and death. We've had some great threads about the circumstances and events leading up to the wounding.

For those who would like to learn more about the medical details of Stonewall Jackson's wound and subsequent care, I'm providing a link to a very detailed video of Wayne E. Richenbacher, M.D., speaking before the History of Medicine Society January 24, 2013. His presentation is entitled "The Demise of Stonewall Jackson, a Civil War Case Study" and it includes some details you may have never heard before! http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/histmed/id/53
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http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/histmed/id/53
The video is about 56 minutes in length. Dr. Richenbacher's presentation begins at about 3:00 minutes in. He provides background on Jackson and Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire and then, at about the 20:00 minute mark, details the aftermath of Jackson's wounding and subsequent medical care, citing a number of primary sources.
 
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bdtex

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Learned a couple things I didn't know right off the bat. Orphaned at age 7 and raised by an uncle. Graduated 17th out of 59 at West Point in the Class of 1846.
 

ucvrelics

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I normally don't click on anything you post that starts out "Gory" but just had to look. (Mommy always said "Don't Look Into The Eye of the Sun boy" but mommy "That's where the fun is") Great Info as I didn't know they had much trouble getting Jackson evac'ed
 

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Thanks for your replies @bdtex and @ucvrelics
I didn't know they had much trouble getting Jackson evac'ed
I thought it was really interesting too. How would you like to have been known as the guy who dropped Stonewall's litter? :frantic:

While I found the whole presentation fascinating, I thought it was interesting that Dr. Richenbacher suggests that Jackson's pneumonia may have preceded his gunshot wound. He notes Jackson's gaunt appearance in an image taken just a couple of weeks earlier and the four layers of clothing Jackson was wearing when the temp was 80 degree F (confirmed by Capt Wilbourne's account of cutting through the India rubber coat, the dress coat, and two shirts.) I dont think Ive ever heard anyone propose the theory that Jackson may have actually contracted pneumonia prior to his wounding?
 

bdtex

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Thanks for your replies @bdtex and @ucvrelics
I thought it was really interesting too. How would you like to have been known as the guy who dropped Stonewall's litter? :frantic:

While I found the whole presentation fascinating, I thought it was interesting that Dr. Richenbacher suggests that Jackson's pneumonia may have preceded his gunshot wound. He notes Jackson's gaunt appearance in an image taken just a couple of weeks earlier and the four layers of clothing Jackson was wearing when the temp was 80 degree F (confirmed by Capt Wilbourne's account of cutting through the India rubber coat, the dress coat, and two shirts.) I dont think Ive ever heard anyone propose the theory that Jackson may have actually contracted pneumonia prior to his wounding?
Watched part of the video earlier. Going in for more now.
 

bdtex

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Thanks for your replies @bdtex and @ucvrelics
I thought it was really interesting too. How would you like to have been known as the guy who dropped Stonewall's litter? :frantic:

While I found the whole presentation fascinating, I thought it was interesting that Dr. Richenbacher suggests that Jackson's pneumonia may have preceded his gunshot wound. He notes Jackson's gaunt appearance in an image taken just a couple of weeks earlier and the four layers of clothing Jackson was wearing when the temp was 80 degree F (confirmed by Capt Wilbourne's account of cutting through the India rubber coat, the dress coat, and two shirts.) I dont think Ive ever heard anyone propose the theory that Jackson may have actually contracted pneumonia prior to his wounding?
I watched the rest of the video and his theory about the pneumonia is plausible. I have had friends who walked around with it for days and didn't know until they went to a doctor. Good info in the video about Gen. Jackson's medical team too. Thanks for the link.
 

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That pneumonia (or any kind of a lung infection in May) these days is thought a bit fishy. So are theories regarding pleuritis caused by the fall. The most likely cause of Jackson's death is pulmonary embolism due to the amputation. It is all a mystery and almost as controversial as his shooting. What is more clear is that Jackson was not mortally wounded, but died due to a medical complication.
 

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Good info in the video about Gen. Jackson's medical team too. Thanks for the link.
I had always thought there were complications from the amputation that led to the development of pneumonia. Evidently, the wounds were doing well - healing "by first intention" was starting to take place in the wound on his hand (other arm) and the stump. The pain in his right side - which presumably indicates the initial onset of pneumonia - was first reported at 10 am on May 3rd, just hours after the wounding and subsequent amputation. It's great that this evaluation of the evidence was done by a renowned cardiac surgeon and that he is really good at explaining things so the rest of us can understand what he's talking about. :D

That pneumonia (or any kind of a lung infection in May) these days is thought a bit fishy. So are theories regarding pleuritis caused by the fall. The most likely cause of Jackson's death is pulmonary embolism due to the amputation. It is all a mystery and almost as controversial as his shooting. What is more clear is that Jackson was not mortally wounded, but died due to a medical complication.
Thanks for your reply E. Makes sense since the first complaint happened so soon after the amputation. Pneumonia or pleuritis would have taken longer to develop. Thanks again.
 

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That pneumonia (or any kind of a lung infection in May) these days is thought a bit fishy. So are theories regarding pleuritis caused by the fall. The most likely cause of Jackson's death is pulmonary embolism due to the amputation. It is all a mystery and almost as controversial as his shooting. What is more clear is that Jackson was not mortally wounded, but died due to a medical complication.
This is exactly what I have believed for years. As the "official" cause has been considered pneumonia, as a nurse and paramedic I have always believed that most likely he developed an embolism following the surgery. Since a pulmonary embolism causes the chest to fill and become congested, it would mimic pneumonia in that era, since embolisms were little known or understood. I believe that many post surgery deaths of Civil War soldiers were probably due to embolisms, along with the known fact of sepsis related deaths.
With modern medicine today, even with the use of anti-embolism stockings and devices, and the use of blood thinners, embolisms are still a very real threat and danger, and many patients develop an embolism despite these precautionary measures. Think of how much more lethal and widespread it would have been then?
 

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"Captain R. E. Wilbourne, provides a much more detailed account of the actual wounding, and severity of Jackson's injuries. Wilbourne states that Jackson's entire party, with the exception of himself and a member of the signal core, lieutenant William Win, had been killed, wounded, or dispersed. Wilbourne and Win helped Jackson down from his horse, and Wilbourne used a penknife to cut away the India rubber coat, dress coat, and two shirts from Jackson's bleeding arm. He bound a handkerchief tightly above and below the wound and placed the arm in a sling. Jackson was given whiskey and an immediate evacuation ordered as the federal line was not more than 150 yards to the east. Captain Lay arrived at the litter and Jackson was placed upon it. One litter bearer was shot through both arms by artillery fire, dropping the litter. Jackson fell to the ground, landing on his wounded side. He began, quote, bleeding afresh." May 3rd -10th marks the anniversary of Stonewall Jackson's wounding and death. We've had some great threads about the circumstances and events leading up to the wounding.

For those who would like to learn more about the medical details of Stonewall Jackson's wound and subsequent care, I'm providing a link to a very detailed video of Wayne E. Richenbacher, M.D., speaking before the History of Medicine Society January 24, 2013. His presentation is entitled "The Demise of Stonewall Jackson, a Civil War Case Study" and it includes some details you may have never heard before! http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/histmed/id/53
View attachment 306542
http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/histmed/id/53
The video is about 56 minutes in length. Dr. Richenbacher's presentation begins at about 3:00 minutes in. He provides background on Jackson and Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire and then, at about the 20:00 minute mark, details the aftermath of Jackson's wounding and subsequent medical care, citing a number of primary sources.
In this photo of the raincoat which Jackson was wearing at the time of his wounding that I've posted several times before and which is currently on display in the museum at VMI there is no evidence other than the holes made by the bullet of damage or of it being cut off, unless it's been subsequently repaired:

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Jackson's own handkerchief, bearing his name in his own handwriting and stained with his blood, may have been one used to bind his wound:

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Notice in the account also that although it had been a hot May afternoon, Jackson was wearing in addition to the raincoat and heavy uniform coat not one but TWO shirts! This s seen by some as evidence he may already have been suffering from chills and the fever that would kill him eight days later.
 
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View attachment 306540
"Captain R. E. Wilbourne, provides a much more detailed account of the actual wounding, and severity of Jackson's injuries. Wilbourne states that Jackson's entire party, with the exception of himself and a member of the signal core, lieutenant William Win, had been killed, wounded, or dispersed. Wilbourne and Win helped Jackson down from his horse, and Wilbourne used a penknife to cut away the India rubber coat, dress coat, and two shirts from Jackson's bleeding arm. He bound a handkerchief tightly above and below the wound and placed the arm in a sling. Jackson was given whiskey and an immediate evacuation ordered as the federal line was not more than 150 yards to the east. Captain Lay arrived at the litter and Jackson was placed upon it. One litter bearer was shot through both arms by artillery fire, dropping the litter. Jackson fell to the ground, landing on his wounded side. He began, quote, bleeding afresh." May 3rd -10th marks the anniversary of Stonewall Jackson's wounding and death. We've had some great threads about the circumstances and events leading up to the wounding.

For those who would like to learn more about the medical details of Stonewall Jackson's wound and subsequent care, I'm providing a link to a very detailed video of Wayne E. Richenbacher, M.D., speaking before the History of Medicine Society January 24, 2013. His presentation is entitled "The Demise of Stonewall Jackson, a Civil War Case Study" and it includes some details you may have never heard before! http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/histmed/id/53


I watched it and enjoyed it, thank you
 
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Thanks for your replies @bdtex and @ucvrelics
I thought it was really interesting too. How would you like to have been known as the guy who dropped Stonewall's litter? :frantic:

While I found the whole presentation fascinating, I thought it was interesting that Dr. Richenbacher suggests that Jackson's pneumonia may have preceded his gunshot wound. He notes Jackson's gaunt appearance in an image taken just a couple of weeks earlier and the four layers of clothing Jackson was wearing when the temp was 80 degree F (confirmed by Capt Wilbourne's account of cutting through the India rubber coat, the dress coat, and two shirts.) I dont think Ive ever heard anyone propose the theory that Jackson may have actually contracted pneumonia prior to his wounding?
He could certainly been run down from prior battles . The situations they were continually in were stressful. The ate a poor diet, etc....
 

James N.

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He could certainly been run down from prior battles . The situations they were continually in were stressful. The ate a poor diet, etc....
He shouldn't have been so at Chancellorsville - he was just coming away from a visit with his wife and daughter during an extended period in winter camp following the battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862. However, he was said to be suffering from what may have been the onset of the pneumonia that killed him or maybe just a bad cold and fever.
 
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He shouldn't have been so at Chancellorsville - he was just coming away from a visit with his wife and daughter during an extended period in winter camp following the battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862. However, he was said to be suffering from what may have been the onset of the pneumonia that killed him or maybe just a bad cold and fever.
The video said there was no treatment for pneumonia at the time. So that was it for Stonewall. It sounds like he had the best medical care he could have had.
 

TSJ

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View attachment 306540
"Captain R. E. Wilbourne, provides a much more detailed account of the actual wounding, and severity of Jackson's injuries. Wilbourne states that Jackson's entire party, with the exception of himself and a member of the signal core, lieutenant William Win, had been killed, wounded, or dispersed. Wilbourne and Win helped Jackson down from his horse, and Wilbourne used a penknife to cut away the India rubber coat, dress coat, and two shirts from Jackson's bleeding arm. He bound a handkerchief tightly above and below the wound and placed the arm in a sling. Jackson was given whiskey and an immediate evacuation ordered as the federal line was not more than 150 yards to the east. Captain Lay arrived at the litter and Jackson was placed upon it. One litter bearer was shot through both arms by artillery fire, dropping the litter. Jackson fell to the ground, landing on his wounded side. He began, quote, bleeding afresh." May 3rd -10th marks the anniversary of Stonewall Jackson's wounding and death. We've had some great threads about the circumstances and events leading up to the wounding.

For those who would like to learn more about the medical details of Stonewall Jackson's wound and subsequent care, I'm providing a link to a very detailed video of Wayne E. Richenbacher, M.D., speaking before the History of Medicine Society January 24, 2013. His presentation is entitled "The Demise of Stonewall Jackson, a Civil War Case Study" and it includes some details you may have never heard before! http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/histmed/id/53
View attachment 306542
http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/histmed/id/53
The video is about 56 minutes in length. Dr. Richenbacher's presentation begins at about 3:00 minutes in. He provides background on Jackson and Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire and then, at about the 20:00 minute mark, details the aftermath of Jackson's wounding and subsequent medical care, citing a number of primary sources.
Sad day 😥
 
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