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[civilwarwest] Re: [USCW-SHILOH-L] Your List

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  • L.A. Chambliss
    Dear Cheryl, Matthias qualifies for the Luckiest Man of 1861 Award, if there were such a thing! Civil War medicine is a fascinating subject, albeit a most
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 10, 1999
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      Dear Cheryl,

      Matthias qualifies for the Luckiest Man of 1861 Award, if there were such a
      thing!

      Civil War medicine is a fascinating subject, albeit a most morbid one. You had
      several conflicting trends going on: numerous "schools" of medicine
      (osteopathic, homeopathic, sympathetic, botanic, etc.); a conflict between
      "professional" medicine (all male) and "folk" medicine which was primarily
      female herb doctors and midwives, etc.

      What they did NOT have was any concept of germ theory. If Pasteur's work had
      been published (I don't know the dates on that right offhand) it certainly
      would not be commonly known or accepted in general practice for another couple
      of decades. In consequence of this, there was NO concept of the importance of
      keeping operating theaters or instruments sterile, to avoid transmitting germs
      from one patient to the next, and the next, and the next....

      Please understand that what follows is pure speculation. However from the data
      you give I wonder very strongly if Matthias didn't get caught in a bit of
      hand-to-hand combat, possibly getting smacked in the face with somebody's gun
      butt. This was not at all unknown at Shiloh. I just think that an injury of
      that sort would be vastly more survivable, much less something that would heal
      up in time for him to re-enlist in another regiment and finish out the war.

      A hit in the jaw from a bullet, fragment of artillery, or suchlike projectile
      weapon would seem far more likely to be lethal, within days from infection if
      not immediately from loss of blood or airway.

      There is a Museum of Civil War Medicine in some town I don't remember in
      Virginia. There is also a museum covering military medicine through all of
      American conflicts at or near Walter Reed Hospital outside Washington. This is
      notable if only for the fact that they still have, on display, the actual leg
      bones of Gen. Daniel Sickles, which were detached from their owner by action
      of an artillery shell during the Battle of Gettysburg. He used to go and visit
      them after the war......

      Ahem, but I drift off-topic. Good luck in finding more details on Matt's life
      and times. You might do netsearches to see if anyone has put up a site for
      either of the regiments he served with. Possibly some reenactment group
      portrays one of them.
      Another possibility would be to consult the Official Records of the War of the
      Rebellion, which is now available on CD-Rom and an invaluable aid for any
      research into the CW period. It is available for $70 from
      http://www.guildpress.com
      , if that is a bit steep you might try to get your local library to spring for
      a copy. If you have a Civil War Round Table group in your community they would
      almost certainly have somebody who could loan you one or do a search of it for
      you.

      Finally, on the subject of Civil War era wounds, there is a huge and
      distressingly expensive book called "Orthopaedic Injuries of the Civil War."
      This was a compilation of doctors' descriptions of "interesting" cases and how
      they were treated. It includes photographs and is NOT for the weak of stomach.
      I don't have it but have seen excerpts, it is graphic in the extreme. It goes
      in and out of print, if you can't find it currently check www.bibliofind.com or
      the used bookstore net of your choice.

      On this cheerful note I will sign off, best of luck on your project. ;)

      Laurie Chambliss
      Civil War Interactive
      www.almshouse.com

      CKramer909@... wrote:

      > Looking for any information on my great grandfather, Matthias Kramer.
      > Matthias was wounded at Shiloh (had his jaw shattered) when he was only 16.
      > At the time of the battle, he was in Company D, 30th Indiana Volunteers.
      > After recovering from his wounds, he re-enlisted and served until the end of
      > the war with Company N, 11th U.S. Regulars.
      >
      > Since Matthias never applied for a pension, I can only get the battles the
      > units he served with were in during the war, from NARA, no real detailed
      > information on Matthias himself.
      >
      > Any information on these units, pictures, how his wound would have been
      > treated etc., would be very welcome!
      >
      > Thanks,
      >
      > Cheryl
    • L.A. Chambliss
      Dear Cheryl, Matthias qualifies for the Luckiest Man of 1861 Award, if there were such a thing! Civil War medicine is a fascinating subject, albeit a most
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 10, 1999
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Cheryl,

        Matthias qualifies for the Luckiest Man of 1861 Award, if there were such a
        thing!

        Civil War medicine is a fascinating subject, albeit a most morbid one. You had
        several conflicting trends going on: numerous "schools" of medicine
        (osteopathic, homeopathic, sympathetic, botanic, etc.); a conflict between
        "professional" medicine (all male) and "folk" medicine which was primarily
        female herb doctors and midwives, etc.

        What they did NOT have was any concept of germ theory. If Pasteur's work had
        been published (I don't know the dates on that right offhand) it certainly
        would not be commonly known or accepted in general practice for another couple
        of decades. In consequence of this, there was NO concept of the importance of
        keeping operating theaters or instruments sterile, to avoid transmitting germs
        from one patient to the next, and the next, and the next....

        Please understand that what follows is pure speculation. However from the data
        you give I wonder very strongly if Matthias didn't get caught in a bit of
        hand-to-hand combat, possibly getting smacked in the face with somebody's gun
        butt. This was not at all unknown at Shiloh. I just think that an injury of
        that sort would be vastly more survivable, much less something that would heal
        up in time for him to re-enlist in another regiment and finish out the war.

        A hit in the jaw from a bullet, fragment of artillery, or suchlike projectile
        weapon would seem far more likely to be lethal, within days from infection if
        not immediately from loss of blood or airway.

        There is a Museum of Civil War Medicine in some town I don't remember in
        Virginia. There is also a museum covering military medicine through all of
        American conflicts at or near Walter Reed Hospital outside Washington. This is
        notable if only for the fact that they still have, on display, the actual leg
        bones of Gen. Daniel Sickles, which were detached from their owner by action
        of an artillery shell during the Battle of Gettysburg. He used to go and visit
        them after the war......

        Ahem, but I drift off-topic. Good luck in finding more details on Matt's life
        and times. You might do netsearches to see if anyone has put up a site for
        either of the regiments he served with. Possibly some reenactment group
        portrays one of them.
        Another possibility would be to consult the Official Records of the War of the
        Rebellion, which is now available on CD-Rom and an invaluable aid for any
        research into the CW period. It is available for $70 from
        http://www.guildpress.com
        , if that is a bit steep you might try to get your local library to spring for
        a copy. If you have a Civil War Round Table group in your community they would
        almost certainly have somebody who could loan you one or do a search of it for
        you.

        Finally, on the subject of Civil War era wounds, there is a huge and
        distressingly expensive book called "Orthopaedic Injuries of the Civil War."
        This was a compilation of doctors' descriptions of "interesting" cases and how
        they were treated. It includes photographs and is NOT for the weak of stomach.
        I don't have it but have seen excerpts, it is graphic in the extreme. It goes
        in and out of print, if you can't find it currently check www.bibliofind.com or
        the used bookstore net of your choice.

        On this cheerful note I will sign off, best of luck on your project. ;)

        Laurie Chambliss
        Civil War Interactive
        www.almshouse.com

        CKramer909@... wrote:

        > Looking for any information on my great grandfather, Matthias Kramer.
        > Matthias was wounded at Shiloh (had his jaw shattered) when he was only 16.
        > At the time of the battle, he was in Company D, 30th Indiana Volunteers.
        > After recovering from his wounds, he re-enlisted and served until the end of
        > the war with Company N, 11th U.S. Regulars.
        >
        > Since Matthias never applied for a pension, I can only get the battles the
        > units he served with were in during the war, from NARA, no real detailed
        > information on Matthias himself.
        >
        > Any information on these units, pictures, how his wound would have been
        > treated etc., would be very welcome!
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > Cheryl
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