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[newspaper clipping]
             An Incident at Cold Harbor.
   Six days and nights of continuous fighting and
slaughter !  Ah, how tired I got of it, child as I
was, with all of a strong child s strength and
recklessness !  Four men carrying a pale infan-
tryman stop for an instant in my battery.  The
wounded one suffers intensely from a wound
through the foot.  My sympathy is excited for
the young fellow, and as we at the moment are
doing nothing, I ask for half an hour s leave.
Getting it, I accompany him back into the woods
to one of the Second corps  field hospitals.
Here, groaning loudly, he awaits his turn,
which soon comes.  We lift him on the
rude table.  A surgeon holds chloroform to his
nostrils, and under its influence he lies
as if in death.  The boot is removed then the
stocking, and I see a great ragged hole on the
sole of the foot where the ball came out.  Then
I hear the coatless surgeon who is making the
examination cry out:  The cowardly whelp ! 
So I edge around and look over the shoulders of
the assistant surgeon, and see that the small
wound on top of the foot, where the ball en-
tered, is blackened with powder !  I, too, mutter,
 The coward !  and am really pleased to see the
knife and saw put to work, and the craven s leg
taken off below the knee.  He is carried into the
shade of a tree, and left there to wake up when
he will.
    With a long breath he opens his eyes.  I am
with him at once, and look sharply at him.  I
will never forget the look of horror that fastened
on his face when he found his leg was off.  Utter
hopelessness and fear that look expressed.  I en-
tered into conversation with him, and he, weak-
ened and unnerved by the loss of the leg and the
chloroform, for once told the truth.  Lying on
his back, he aimed at his great toe, meaning to
shoot   it   off, but   being rudely   joggled by a
comrade   at   the   critical   instant,   his   rifle
covered the  foot  just below the ankle, and an
ounce ball went crashing through the bunch of
bones and sinews.  The wound, instead of being
a   furlough,  was  a discharge from the army,
probably into eternity.  Our guns at the front
began to howl at the rebels again,  and  I  was
forced  to  leave  the   hospital.  The  utter  con-
tempt of the surgeons, their change from careful
handling to almost brutality, when the discov-
ered the wound was self-inflicted, was bracing to
me.  It stung  me  up  as  whiskey would have
done.  I liked it, and rammed home  the  ammu-
nition in gun No. 1 with a vim.
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty: page twenty-four
Description:Newspaper clipping regarding the care of a wounded soldier, who had caused his own injury.
Subject:Amputation; Civil War; Firearms; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Medical care (U.S. Army); Military; Physicians and surgeons
Scan Date:2010-07-17

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of his experiences as a war correspondent for ""The New York Tribune"" at Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, especially Hilton Head, Port Royal, St. Augustine, Key West, and the end of his experiences with the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsular Campaign when he had to leave camp due to illness.
Subject:African Americans; Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Diseases; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marches (U.S. Army); Medical care (U.S. Army); Military; Military camp life; Peninsular Campaign (Va.); Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Port Royal, South Carolina; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Key West, Florida; St. Augustine, Florida; Virginia
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.