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BATTLE OF STONES RIVER MURFREESBORO TN - Other Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 10:39 pm
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mmmmikkimac
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I HAVE A GR-GR-UNCLE WHO DIED FROM 'MORTAL WOUNDS' RECEIVED ON JAN. 2, 1863 AT THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER, MURFREESBORO, TN.

HE DIED SEVERAL DAYS LATER.

WHAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A 'MORTAL' WOUND WITH THE TYPE OF WEAPONS USED IN FIGHTING THEN?

WHAT SORT OF WEAPONS  USED THEN WOULD HAVE CAUSED SUCH INJURIES THAT THE DOCTORS COULD NOT SAVE HIM AND YET HE LIVED FOR SEVERAL DAYS?

THANKS!

MIKKI



 Posted: Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 11:26 pm
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pamc153PA
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Mikki,

Any wound could become mortal, considering the lack of sanitation and antiseptics, etc. However, I believe many doctors at the time of the Civil War felt that a body wound--gut shot, etc.--was mortal, as well as a head wound. There was little or no exploratory surgery on the field, so it was a guesstimate at best, but often doctors were right. Also, there were many, many wounds that doctors considered survivable, only to have the patient die of what we know now to be infection. Remember, this was the time of "laudable pus," where they actually thought it was good to have wounds oozing pus. Go figure.

It wasn't uncommon for soldiers to linger for days, or longer, with their wounds. My ggggg-uncle died of such a wound. a member of the 153 PA at Barlow's Knoll on Day i of Gettysburg, he was wounded in the shoulder on July 1 and died in hospital in Harrisburg, PA, on July 27. General Lewis Armistead of the CSA was not considered mortally wounded in Pickett's Charge, but ended up dying two or three days later. His and my ancestor's was one of many wounds that today would have been surivable, but that then caused the patient to slowly succumb. At least this often gave the families time to visit the wounded a last time, perhaps even bringing them home to die. My ancestor's mother was able to travel to Harrisburg, and was with her son when he died.

Welcome to the board!

Pam



 Posted: Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 02:16 am
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19bama46
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Actually any wound could be considered "Mortal" given the lack of hygiene that was practiced by the medicos of the era. My ggg uncle got shot in the leg at Petersburg, had his leg amputated and died 3 days later from complications, read Infection...
some men got infections, some didn't.. those who did stood a higher chance of death from their wounds than those who did not..



 Posted: Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 02:36 pm
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j harold 587
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A mortal wound in post mortum writing would mean the wound was fatal. The initial triage determination of mortal would be a wound that was considered to be fatal. There fore that indiviual would be treated later than an individual who appeared to have a survivable wound. (Treating the injured with the highest probability of survival first)



 Posted: Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 03:05 pm
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19bama46
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you are right....
folks died from non mortal wounds, but mortal wounds were those considered fatal BEFORE death...
Somewhat like asking "did he die from anything serious?"



 Posted: Sat Mar 7th, 2009 06:34 am
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cklarson
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What reigment was your uncle in? I also had a ggguncle who died of wounds received at Stone's River. He was with the 36th IL who held the position near the RR tracks, I think, on the night of 12/31, serving under Sheridan.

He was captured and not returned to Union lines for a few days, so that could have made the difference in his survival, that is, proper medical treatment.

RE: wounds. Army doctors knew to sterilize wounds going back to Medieval times. They used either vinegar (which also stops bleeding) or wine. Frontier doctors also knew to use vinegar which was a staple for a number of conditions, including sunburn and fever. Microscopes were available, and doctore knew they were looking at germs, but didn't know what to associate them with. I think the real danger was surgery, as the contract surgeons just dipped scalpels in the same tub of bloody water. Nurses who were more likely to be home physicians knew better to keep things clean and ventilated. I've read a number of accounts of  nurses saving men's lives after doctors had given up on them. Let us also remember that discouragement and other conditions can complicate the patient's survivability: how long he's lain on the field or been taken prisoner, heat and cold, dampness, etc.

CKL 



 Posted: Sat Mar 7th, 2009 06:50 pm
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mmmmikkimac
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My gr-gr-uncle was born in Wethersfield, CT.  Still do not know how he ended up in Louisville, KY. And with my 3rd gr-grandmother!

He was in the 2nd Kentucky Mounted Infantry and it was expanded to teh 2nd Regt., KY Mounted Imfantry. He was in Company E as a Second Lt. and  was a Captain when he died.

I had been looking for them in CT and NY for over 20 yrs. He had an older brother who had married and moved to Buffalo, NY. His brother was 12 yrs older than he, and his two sons joined fought for the Union.

The uncle was in the Orphan's Brigade.  He joined the Confederate States and was wounded on Jan 2, 1862. 

Rumors had it that he was taken to the hospital set up in the Presbyterian Church there, and died a few days later and was buried in the church's graveyard. Someone who knew the family went there several years later and found an old wooden cross with his name carved on it and took a pencil or something and tried to darken the name.

I still do not know if he is still buried there, or if he and other Confederate soldier's were all re-interred in a mass grave for CSA soldiers at Evergreen Nat'l. Cemetery near Stones River.

 



 Posted: Sun Mar 8th, 2009 12:34 am
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CleburneFan
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Wounds easily and immediately identifiable as mortal wounds in the Civil War would include many severe injuries to the head and skull, severe intestinal and stomach wounds, deep chest wounds, severe wounds to the torso or back that could not be repaired. Deep hip wounds and pelvic wounds could be fatal eventually.

Some of the injuires to the soldiers were grotesque injuries such as losing the entire jaw or half the face or horrendous gut shots not to mention third degree burns over much of the body or broken necks and broken backs. Wounds came not only from gun shots and cannon fire, but from sabre and bayonette, knife, rifle butts, crushing under horses. The list is lengthy.



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