Medical Histories of Confederate Generals

By Jack D. Welsh | Go to book overview

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DANIEL WEISIGER ADAMS ·Born May 1, 1821, in Frankfort, Kentucky. In a duel in 1843, Adams killed a writer who had been critical of his father. The man had thrown him to the ground and was on top of him when Adams pulled a derringer from his pocket and shot him in the head. Adams later became a practicing lawyer and eventually entered Confederate service as a lieutenant colonel of the 1st Louisiana Regulars. On April 6, 1862, while at Shiloh, a rifle ball hit him in the head. The projectile penetrated the skull above the left eye and came out just behind the left ear, resulting in the loss of the eye. Taken from the field in a helpless condition, Adams was thrown into a wagon with the other wounded soldiers. Progress was almost impossible because the muddy road had been torn up by the wagons and artillery. Because Adams was senseless and covered with mud, the driver thought he was dead and threw his body along the road to lighten the load. Men of the 10th Mississippi noticed signs of life and attended to him. He had nearly regained both his physical and mental capacities by the middle of May and was promoted to brigadier general on May 23. He was ordered to report for duty on August 13, 1862, and participated in the Battle of Perryville on October 8. In command of the Louisiana Brigade at Murfreesborough on December 31, 1862, he received a slight wound of the left arm from a piece of shell. Not able to go back to the field the next day, he turned over his command. In May 1863, he felt well and wanted to return to duty. Participating in a charge at Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, Adams was wounded in the left arm again. He remained in command until he became so exhausted that he was left on the field and captured by Federal troops. He was taken to the hospital at Murfreesborough without having received any medical aid. A ball had fractured the middle third of the left humerus and produced considerable tumefaction and pain. He was administered chloroform on September 23 so that doctors could determine the extent of the injury and whether amputation was required. The ball was embedded among the bone fragments, all of which were removed, together with the pointed end of the upper fragment. The specimens consisted of six pieces of bone, which represented two inches in length, and a battered conical ball. Although shortening of the limb would result, conservative treatment was selected, because any deformity was considered tolerable if the functions of the hand could be preserved. About four weeks after the operation, the arm was put up in splints of coaptation, and Adams was sent through the Confederate line under a flag of truce at the solicitation of Gen. Braxton Bragg. He went to La Grange, Georgia, to recuperate; after his recovery he was given command of the cavalry brigade in northern Alabama and

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Medical Histories of Confederate Generals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Medical Histories of Confederate Generals *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • A Sequence of Medical Incidents During the Civil War 245
  • Glossary 261
  • Bibliography 280
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