Sunday, April 8, 2012

Surgeon Pro Tempore

This entry is from Diary of a Confederate Soldier  by John S. Jackman of the Orphan Brigade, edited by William C. Davis.

Jackman, a Confederte soldier from First Kentucky Regiment, or "Orphan Brigade." was ill and got separated from his regiment.  He was attempting to join them, with the assistance of a horse a farmer had entrusted to him.  It was the first day of the Battle of Shiloh. Other things were in store for Jackman on this day, rather than fighting. . .

April 6, 1862
  . . .Four miles brought us to Monterey, and just beyond, we met some of the wounded on foot with their arms and heads bound up in bloody bandages, & I felt then that I was getting in the vicinity of "warfare." Soon we met ambulances and wagons loaded with wounded, and I would hear the poor fellows groaning and shrieking, as they were being jolted over the rough road. . . . .

. . . While passing a hospital on the roadside, I happened to see one of our company lying by a tent wounded.  . . There were heaps of wounded lying about, many of them I knew, and first one then another would ask me to give him water or do some other favor for him.  Wile thus occupied, Dr. P. told me to stay with him, that I was not able to go on the field -- that I would be captured.  There was no one to help him, and I turned surgeon, pro tempore, . . Part of my business was to put patients under the influence of chloroform.  I kept my handkerchief saturated all the time, and was often dizzy from the effects of it myself. . . .

Confederate Soldier photo from Library of Congress


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