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Full text of "Recollections of a Rebel surgeon, and other sketches : or, in the doctor's sappy days"

PutMc Ubrary 




RECOLLECTIONS 

c 

OF A 

Rebel Surgeon 

(AND OTHER SKETCHES) 



OR 



IN THE DOCTOR'S SAPPY DAYS. 



BY 



,>y>'^"'c'^'^ 



F. E DANIEL, M. D, ^^^v\^\^ 



ILLUSTRATED. 



igoi 

CLINIC PUBLISHING C< 
CHICAGO 



,4...>,awBie,\ 



j THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

100^214 

ASTOR. LENOX ANB 

TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 

K 1 923 L 



CONTENTS 

Introductory i 

The Old Doctor Talks , . 9 

Sunshine Soldiering 15 

Disinterested Solicitude 22 

The Doctor Gets Dinner 25 

How the Big Dog Went 30 

Bill and the Bumble-bees' Nest ; 35 

Supper With one of the F. F. V's 38 

The Doctor Routs the Federal Army 45 

A Violent Eruption of "Lorena." 53 

Crossing the Cumberland ... 55 

An Extensive Acquaintance 58 

A Brush with the Seminary Girls 64 

Breakfast with the Yankees 69 

Scents the Battle From Afar 78 

Questionable Spoils 88 

Recollections of Bacon 91 

Somebody's Darling 93 

A "Small Game" for a Big Stake 97 

The Bushwhackers After the Doctor 107 

A Frog Story 113 

Poking Fun at the Medical Director 118 

Dr. Dick Taylor, of Memphis 126 

Presumptive Evidence 13^ 



A Close Call 134 

Smuggles Contraband Supplies . 142 

The Hospital Soldier 147 

The Hospital Dietary 150 

A ^ledical "High Daddy" 155 

His Idea of Happiness 158 

Why He was Weary 160 

Hospital Experiences 163 

Enchanted and Disenchanted 169 

The Clever Quartermaster 175 

Love's Stratagem 191 

What Puzzled the Doctor 199 

The Story of a Stump 201 

Old Sister Nick 208 

When the Dogwoods Were in Bloom 213 

Confederate States Shot Factory 224 

Doctor Yandell and the Turkey 226 

Wisdom in a Multitude of Counsel 231 

A Night in ^Meridian 235 

A Chapter for Doctors 247 

In the Land of the Blue Dog 260 

Jimmy was All Right 274 

Circumstances Alter Cases 276 

Uncle Hardy Mullins 281 

The Little Hu-gag 285 

The Doctor Sees a Lady Home 291 

Fine Points in Diagnosis 297 

One on Thompson 300 

Halcyon Days 3^2 

Seeks Comfort in the Bible 310 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Our Genial Friend Frontispiece 

"Doctor, is that a 'Porgie' or a Trout?" 4 

"Did You Ever Look Through the Butt-end of a 

Telescope ?" 12 

"Every Feller Had a Sweetheart." 17 

"Heigh-ho," I Wish I Had Some Buttermilk 23 

"Lit Out After George and Me" 28 

"How Did That Big Dog Go?" 32 

Fighting Those Bumblebees 36 

Yerger Was Mad Anyhow 42 

You Bet We Ran 49 

"How Are You Dickey?" 61 

"Doctor, Can I Help You?" 85 

A Fatal Assault loi 

"We Fairly Flew." 109 

Recognized the Major 1 14 

"Wha— What's This?" 124 

Making the Atmosphere Purple 130 

Cleared the Fence 137 

The Worst You Ever See'd 152 

What Command Do You Belong To? 156 

"Why— He W^as Weak and Weary" 161 

Hauled Off and Struck Me 166 

A Standing Dare to Kiss Her 170 




OUR GENIAL FRIEND. 



INTRODUCTORY. 



The Old Doctor — the narrator of these remin- 
iscences — is well known to the readers of The 
Texas Medical Journal. He is the JournaVs 
"Fat Philosopher," "Our Genial Friend," "The 
Jolly Old Doctor," etc., as he is variously called, 
through whom the editor has for some years 
gotten off "good jokes," especially on himself; 
and who, now and then, has been in the habit of 
dropping in in the JoiirnaVs sanctum and regal- 
ing ye tired editor and employes with his humor- 
ous view of things. 

It is an interesting and somewhat remark- 
able fact that most Southern men, especially of 
the older generation, however well educated, 
and who write and speak the English language 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

correctly, nevertheless, in their familiar social 
intercourse make use of expressions which they 
know to be grammatically incorrect. I attribute 
it largely, if not altogether, to early associations 
with the black slaves of the South, our nurses 
in childhood. It is disappearing with the younger 
generations. It is not "slang" so much as a cor- 
ruption or mispronunciation of words, or the 
lack of a distinct pronunciation of each syllable, 
and the consequent running together of words. 
For illustration, take the very general use of 
such words as "can't," "don't," "ain't," "wan't," 
"narry," (never a) etc., words proper enough if 
pronounced and used as they should be ; but cus- 
tom has sanctioned the use of a plural noun 
with a verb singular, and vice versa, and we have 
such vulgarisms as "they das'nt" (dares not), 
and "he don't," etc. 

There are many words and expressions m 
general use in the South which have become idio- 
m.atic, having lost their original meaning and 
acquired a significance altogether different. 
"Shonuff," one of the commonest words in daily 
use in the more familiar intercourse — for in po- 
lite society when one is on his "p's" and "q's" 
he doesn't use such words — is used in a sense 
of "real" or "true," as opposed to false or pre- 
tended, and not in the sense of "sure enough" or 
of "certainty." Another word of the kind is 



INTRODUCTORY. 

"sorter." One would think it was used in a sense 
of ''sort of" or "kind of," but not so. "Sorter" 
indicates degree. But of all the words of this 
kind in general use, and with a perverted mean- 
ing, I believe that "tollible" is the commonest 
and most generally employed by black and white, 
and by well educated persons. Naturally one 
would suppose that it meant "tolerable," that 
v/hich can be tolerated, or borne. But it has 
acquired a meaning altogether different, and is 
used and intended as a qualifying adverb. Few 
persons seem able to find any other word with 
which to express the state of health of either 
themselves or their family ; and when interro- 
gated on that head, the invariable reply is "tol- 
lible," or "just tollible." I have been told of an 
old farmer who looked up the word in the dic- 
tionary, and vv^as much disgusted to find it 
spelled, as he said, "entirely wrong," and hav- 
ing a meaning altogether different from the ac- 
ceoted one ; and he said : 

"Webster is away off on 'tollible.' He spells it 
Vvith an 'er,' and says it means 'that which can 
be endured or tolerated,' when you and I and 
every other fool knows that it don't mean any 
such thing. I say 'my health is tollible.' Don't 
any fool know that good health is not endured or 
borne or tolerated?" 

Notwithstanding what has been said about en- 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

during or tolerating good health, there is a large 
class of Southern people who invariably speak of 
''enjoyin' very poor health," in a sense of "hav- 
ing" poor health. 

Of this class of expression I must mention the 
very general use of *'I used to could," or *'I used 
to couldn't," do a certain thing. 




"DOCTOR, IS THAT A 'PORGIE' OR A TROUT? 



There is another peculiarity of the Southern 
vernacular : It is the pronunciation, or rather the 
mispronunciation, of certain words. For in- 
stance : We do not say "corn," but "cawn" ; New 
York is "New Yawk" ; Saturday is "Saddy," 
and dog is "dawg." 



INTRODUCTORY. 

Some years ago while attending a meeting of 
the American Medical Association in Washing- 
ton city, as a delegate from Texas, I had the 
honor to be the guest of my distinguished friend, 
the late Doctor Baxter, Surgeon-General of the 
army. He, like myself, was very fond of fishing ; 
and after the business was finished which took 
me to Washington, we went down the Potomac 
to 'Tour-Mile-Run" fishing for "porgies," the 
doctor called them. I didn't know what a "por- 
gie" was ; they don't grow in Texas. Presently 
tlie doctor caught a fish that was new to me, and 
I asked: 

"Doctor, is that a 'porgie' or a trout?" 

He laughed immoderately at my pronunciation 
of "trout." 

He said : "Listen at Dan'els calling a *trowt' 
(heavy accent on the "w") a 'trut.'" 

I said : "Listen at Baxter calling a trout a 
'trowt'." 

That was Vermont against Virginia; and 
v/hile there was a big diflference in our pronun- 
ciation, I observed with some surprise that he 
said "listen at." Until that time I had supposed 
that "listen at" was a Southern vulgarism. 

Many words are pronounced differently north 
and south. There are many exceptions. There 
is one brilliant exception which I trust indulgent 
readers will pardon me for mentioning In this 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON". 

connection : It Is a proper noun, and is univer- 
sally mispronounced. Yea, from Maine to Mex- 
ico ; from Key West to Klondike ; from Carolina 
to far Cathay ; from Alabama to the Aleutian 
Islands, by native and foreign, by Jew, Gentile, 
Pagan and Poet ; by Scot and Hun, Frank and 
Celt, saint and sinner, the patrician patronym 
'•Daniel" is called "Dan'els," with a long accent 
on the first syllable, and an extra ''s" tacked on. 

I have studied "Trenck on Words," I have 
dipped more or less into philology, and I can 
understand how the beautiful Virginia name 
"Fauntleroy" came down through the genera- 
tions from "Ejifants de la Roi," the inscription 
on the banner of the Crusaders carried by the an- 
cestors of that old family; I can understand that 
"Tolliver" and "Smith" are the same name ; 
"Tolliver" being a corruption of "Talliaferro," 
which means a "worker in iron" — hence, a 
smith — hence, "Smith." But for the life of me I 
cannot understand by what universal perverse- 
ness my name should be and is distorted into 
"Dan'els." It is provoking; but then, what are 
you going to do about it? 

For the purposes of these few brief and un- 
pretentious sketches the Old Doctor is a portly 
gentleman of sixty years of age, with a benevo- 



INTRODUCTORY. 



lent countenance which is always upon the point 
of breaking out into wreaths of smiles, while 
little dabs of humor hang from the corners of his 
mouth, and fun twinkles in his honest blue eyes. 
He resides at the classical village of "Hog Wal- 
low," this county, and he honors the 
Journal with a visit every time he comes 
to Austin. He is a typical Virginia gen- 
tleman of the older generation, and like all 
others of his class, when his reserve is thrown 
off, in familiar social intercourse, he uses the 
idioms that characterize the educated men of the 
Old South. Unknown to the doctor, we rigged 
up a phonograph inside of the desk at which he 
always sits, concealed by a thin curtain, and we 
have been enabled thus to catch his interesting 
talks with all the sparkle and snap of spon- 
taneity — their principal charm. 

As will be seen upon examination, the follow- 
ing reminiscences are mostly humorous (al- 
leged) ; some are sad; some pathetic; and they 
were all actual occurrences; no fiction, but all 
fact. They do not relate to the professional 
duties of the army surgeon (as might be sup- 
posed from the title of the book), or but veiy 
little; but are for the most part recollections of 
fun, frolic, fishing or flirting, as the case may be, 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

"endurin' of the war," in the doctor's ''sappy" 
days. To these have been added a few of the 
Old Doctor's later-day observations. 

F. E. Daniel, M. D. 




8 



RECOLLECTIONS 

OF A 

REBEL SURGEON 



THE OLD DOCTOR TALKS— HIS 
RETROSCOPE. 



The Old Doctor sat down in our easy chair 
as usual, it being by common consent, even of 
the office-boy, understood to be pre-empted by 
and for him whenever he should drop in; and 
without any preliminaries began: 

When the war broke out I was not quite 
twenty-two. The battle of Bull Run (i8th of 
July, 1861) was fought on my twenty-second 
birthday, and I was there with a musket, a pri- 
vate soldier. 

I cast my maiden vote against secession, I want 
it remembered ; by posterity especially, as it is a 
matter of great importance to the truth of his- 
tory. I was opposed to secession, not because I 
thought the South was not justified, under the 
circumstances, but because I did not believe there 
was a possibility of the South's being permitted 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

to "go in peace." The love of the U/iion was 
strong, and the opposition to slavery, the result 
of the fifty years' quarrel over it, had attained 
almost the aspect of a religious crusade. What 
the South claimed as a right, guaranteed by the 
Constitution, the North regarded as a monstrous 
v.Tong, an evil which had been tolerated as long 
as an advanced civilization and a growing hu- 
manity would permit; and the abolition party, 
the strongest in the North, practically said : 
"Constitution be hanged ! The evil of slavery is 
a blot on civilization and must go." And it went 
■ — and I am glad it went. Although a slave- 
owner myself, and my family had been for gene- 
rations, I was an advocate of gradual emanci- 
pation. Hence, recognizing that, call it by what- 
ever name we will, put the pretext for secession 
on "principle," State Rights, or what not, refine 
it as we will, slavery was the real issue of the 
war ; and it goes without saying that had the 
South gained independence slavery would, in all 
human probability, have still been an "institu- 
tion" in the country. Hence, as I said, I was op- 
posed to the war from every standpoint. In the 
first place the hope of coping successfully against 
such great odds as the South had to encounter 
was a forlorn hope, indeed ; and if there were any 
in the South who hoped for "peaceable secession" 
they were badly left. But when the State, my 



10 



THE OLD DOCTOR TALKS. 

State, then Mississippi, seceded, and the alter- 
native was to take up arms for or against the 
South, there were no two ways about it, and I 
joined the first compaix/ ready to leave my town. 

So, the war came on ; my vote didn't stop it, 
you see, and everybody had to go in the army. 
Those that didn't volunteer were made to "vol- 
unteer." See? Funny thing how some fellers 
can sit in offices and send you and me and every 
other feller out to fight, whether we want to go 
or not ; when, in fact, we had rather stay at home 
and play marbles, or hunt the festive squirrel, or 
spark the girls; eh, Dan'els? 

And, Dan'els (he always would call me "Dan- 
'els," confound him), looking back at it now 
through the vista of thirty-odd years, you are, I 
believe, a just man, a good man — my wife says 
I am, but then she is partial, you know I don't 
see how you and I and others of our sort could 
ever for a moment have tolerated, condoned, 
thought slavery was right. Well, we were born in- 
to the world and found it here, and thought not 
much about it at first. But there is no consideration 
that could now induce us to have it restored ; we 
are happily rid of it. Why, we smile at the blind- 
ness and bigotry of good "old Mrs. Watson," 
who was so grieved because she could not 
Christianize Huck Finn; at the same time she 
was offering a reward of $200 for the arrest of 

II 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

her runaway nigger, Jim, and proposed to sell 
him for $800. Yet she was but the type of many 
thousands of truly pious people in the South, 
who saw nothing un-christian in selling a "nig- 
ger." And that, Dan'els, only thirty-odd years 



03 







'DID YOU EVER LOOK THROUGH THE BUTT-END 
OF A TELESCOPE?" 

ago. Doesn't it look paradoxical even to us, 
the survivors of the terrible struggle? 

But look here, Dan'els, I don't like to talk 
about unpleasant things ; it's against my princi- 



12 



THE OLD DOCTOR TALKS. 

pies, and it's against the principles of my Retro- 
scope. 

''What is your Retroscope, Doctor?" 

"Dan'els," said he, "when you were a boy did 
you ever look through the butt-end of a tele- 
scope?" 

"Yes, of course," said I; "why?" 

Didn't it make things look away off yonder? 
That's the way the war looks now ; it seems like 
it was a thousand years ago. But I have an in- 
strument of my own invention which not only 
brings things near, like a telescope does when 
the little end is used, but when I look into the 
past it has the faculty of making things look like 
'twas only yesterday, and it brings the past in re- 
view before me in sections, with the added effect 
of bringing out, conspicuously and in bold relief, 
all the pleasant things, all the funny things, all 
the amusing or ridiculous memories, and of sup- 
pressing or effacing the painful, disagreeable 
ones, or rounding off the rough edges, at least. 
It's a fact. When we look back at the war, with 
all its horrors and sufferings, it is remarkable 
that my memory brings to light mainly the funny 
side, or the pleasant side, of those days of pri- 
vations and sacrifice and suffering. 

I reckon my Retroscope is something like Edi- 
son's great invention, whereby he grinds granite 
mountains into fine dust, and separates all the 

T3 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



iron ore, the only valuable part, and sells it. My 
"machine" extracts and parades before my mind 
only the laughable or pleasant incidents of that 
painful period; and there is a lot of it; and, 
good Lordy, what a lot of worthless "sand." 
They say, tho', that Edison has found a market 
even for his sand ; the iron sells itself. 

(Here the Old Doctor took out his knife and 
chipped a splinter from the edge of the desk, and 
shaping out a toothpick, leaned back in my easy 
chair, and closing his eyes ruminated a little.) 

Sell the best part of my "siftings?" Make 
marketable my recollections of the funny things 
that happened during the war? Jokin, ain't you, 
Dan'els? Well, I'll ask my wife about it. There's 
a lot of ''trash" on the literary market now, and 
they do say there's money in "junk." We would 
have to call it "Placer Mining for Jokes," eh, 
Dan'els? But I tell you here and now, I can't 
talk to order, nor talk to a machine ; so, if you 
want to get down any of my recollections you'll 
have to stenograph it without my knowledge ; 
and if you sell it you've got to give me half ; you 
hear ? 

(It was then we put in the phonograph, as 
stated in the Introductory, and the Doctor does 
not know to this day that he has been "taken 
down;" a pretty good joke itself.) 



SUNSHINE SOLDIERING. 



SUNSHINE SOLDIERING. 



"There's a fascination in the beginning- of all things." 

What crude conceptions of war we did have, 
to be sure! said the Old Doctor. (He had come 
into the office in a reminiscent mood, it was evi- 
dent; and taking his customary seat began at 
once to talk of the past, all unconscious of the 
fact that even his gurgling laugh was being 
faithfully recorded. What a pity it cannot be 
reproduced on paper!) 

When we went into camp, out in an adjoining 
old field near our town, each company had its 
clean new tents, and every man a cot and. com- 
fortable things, and it was a picnic. It was real 
fun. Nothing to do but drill a little, and have 
dress parade, and the balance of the day lie in 
our tents or under the shade of the big oaks and 
read. It was in the lovely month of May, a time 
when Nature is at her best and all things are 
lovely. Oh, the recollection of those days ! The 
ladies would come out from town to visit the 
boys and witness dress parade; and the cakes, 
and the pies, and the roast turkeys, and the 
sv/eets of all kinds! The boys — they were all 
"boys" however mature — were simply deluged 
with flowers. The bouquets we did get, to be 

15 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

sure! And every feller had a sweetheart, of 
course. Such times ! Oh, the glorious days of 
youth, when the blood is warm and quick, and 
''the heart beats high at the glance of Susan 
Maria's "eye," or words to that efifect. We just 
ate, and flirted, and drilled, and played soldier. 

It was too good to last ; and bye and bye com- 
panies began to be assembled at various rendes- 
vous, and regiments to be formed, and we went 
to Corinth. Now, as James Whitcomb Riley says 
of "Jim," that he was just as good soldierin' as 
he was "no-'count farmin'," Corinth was just as 
disagreeable as Jackson had been pleasant. We 
left all the girls behind — and the pies made by 
feller's mothers — not your army pies of a sub- 
sequent date, of which I will tell you some day. 
We left the bouquets and the good victuals, and 
the smiles all behind us ; tho' the soldier was 
smiled on all along the road, and everywhere, at 
first, by all the ladies, and there was an added 
charm to the soldier's life. All conventionalities 
were set aside ; every soldier was petted, and he 
could talk to the girls without an introduction. 
All social distinctions were brushed away, and 
every soldier, however humble, was a hero. The 
ladies would give him flowers and praise him ; 
tell him what a fine soldier he was as they pinned 
them on for him. And, Dan'els, between me 
and you, that is one thing that made our boys so 

t6 



SUNSHINE SOLDIERING. 



brave and made them endure privations with 
such fortitude, the thought of what would be 







"EVERY FELLER HAD A SWEETHEART." 

^aid of them at home. It is pride, pride of char- 
acter that makes a soldier brave. But for that, 

17 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

there are few who would **seek the bubble repu- 
tation at the cannon's mouth," I tell you ; for it 
ain't any fun, you bet. 

To give you an idea of my conception of war — 
notwithstanding I had read a great deal of his- 
tory, of course — I took along a sole-leather valise 
with me, full of broadcloth suits, patent leather 
shoes, linen shirts, fancy socks and ties. I had 
an idea (what a fool I was) that both armies 
would march out in an open place and meet by a 
kind of understanding, and after a few selections 
by the band, go to fighting; and at sunset, or 
sooner, the one that whipped would have some 
more music by the band, and then we'd retire. 
We v/ere to be the ones that whipped, of course ; 
and then for the social part of it, and there is 
where the good clothes were to come in, see? 

And, do you know, every feller in our com- 
pany — it was made up of college boys or young 
professional men, society men, the "better class" 
so-called, took along a trunk full of the same 
kind of clothes? The last I ever saw of my sole- 
leather valise and my good clothes, my long- 
tailed coat and my pretty socks and cravats and 
things, was at Manassas Junction. Came an 
order that all baggage was to be sent to the rear 
that every feller was to carry his outfit on his 
back, like a snail or turtle (except that we had a 
knapsack and the turtle didn't). And one blan- 

i8 



SUNSHINE SOLDIERING. 

ket, rolled lengthwise and swung around the neck 
was to be his bed. This, with the old Spring- 
field rifle (with which we were first armed, 
weighing about fifteen pounds), a heavy leather 
cartridge box full of bullets, a tin canteen, a 
white cotton bag swung from the neck to hold 
your grub, constituted our outfit; and instead of 
fine clothes we were reduced to a coarse gray 
flannel shirt, blue cotton pants and a belt. That 
was our summer rig; pretty tough, wasn't it? 

At first we all had tents, each tent a fly, which 
we stretched in front of the tent as a kind of 
front gallery, a tent to each eight boys. We 
had, each mess, a camp-kettle of sheet iron, about 
the size of a small nail-keg, and we had tin cups, 
and tin plates, and iron knives, forks and spoons. 
Our rations consisted of fresh beef, corn meal, 
rice, molasses, salt, and at first a little sugar. 
This was seldom varied (tho' we could buy milk, 
butter, eggs, poultry and anything else — those 
who had money). And a little bacon at intervals 
was esteemed a great luxury. Camp life was still 
a picnic ; we did nothing but drill a little, and 
laze. How distinctly I remember the sensations 
of early camp life just after our arrival at Ma- 
nassas. We were amongst the first to arrive. 
Our white tents spread over a lovely green lawn, 
speckled with white clover-blossoms, a snow- 
white village, surrounded by thickets of pine, the 

19 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

dark green contrasting so beautifully in the sum- 
mer sun with the white tents, made a picture long 
to be remembered. 

Under the shade of the pines and cedars the 
boys picked the wild strawberries and dewber- 
ries ; and the cool, clear little stream, as yet un- 
defiled by aggregations of men, that within a 
stone's throw of us wended its way to the sea, 
was a source of keen enjoyment to the young fel- 
lows. Privileges were easily obtained from the 
officers, then ; we were all "chums" at home, and 
discipline was as yet unknown. Such bathing in 
the little stream, and such trying to fish, for 
there were no fish in it larger than a minnow. 

But, oh, Lordy ! That didn't last long. When 
we started on the march — all baggage sent to the 
rear — tents ditto, or given to the staff-officers — 
cooking-utensils followed next, till later we had 
to carry all on our backs, fry our meat on the 
end of a ramrod, and make bread in a silk hand- 
kerchief, or in the company's towel. 

"Tut, tut. Doctor, what are you giving us?" 
Hudson said, while Bennett grinned. 

Fact, said the Old Doctor; you ask any of the 
boys who were soldiers in Old Virginia, and 
they will corroborate my statements. Ask Dan- 
'els. 

On our first march I found my knapsack too 
heavy, and I went through it to lighten it. I 



20 



SUNSHINE SOLDIERING. 

took out my extra drawers, my extra undershirt, 
my extra socks (we wore a flannel top-shirt all 
the while; didn't need change) I couldn't throw 
any of them away ; my towel and soap, couldn't 
spare them ; my smoking-tobacco — couldn't find a 
blessed thing that I could throw away, except 
two sheets of letter-paper and two envelopes, on 
which I had expected to write to my sweetheart ; 
fact! 












21 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



AT MANASSAS. 



DISINTERESTED SOLICITUDE. 

"A fellow-feeling makes us wondrous kind." 

In the company was a fat young fellow about 
twenty-two, named Bright. Ke was real fat ; 
about the size of Governor Hogg, and like all 
fat men, but me, he was jolly. He was the life 
of the camp. The least exertion would make him 
blow like a porpoise. He wasn't fit for a sol- 
dier; had no business being there. He was a 
college boy, and a great Shakesperian quoter. 
We had also in the company an elderly gentle- 
man about fifty, Mr. Russell, and his two grown 
sons. Mr. Russell was a quiet, grave gentleman, 
a,nd the boys all looked up to him and showed 
him respect. He was a strong, healthy man, in 
the prime of life, but the others, so much younger 
than he, screened him whenever they could from 
exposure to night-duty and labor as much as 
possible. 

I was first sergeant, and the captain had re- 
quested me to practise the men in running — i. e., 
in the double-quick movement. 

It was a lovely June morning, getting pretty 
warm. The band out in the edge of the pine 
thicket was practising a new piece; the air was 

22 



DISINTERESTED SOLICITUDE. 

odorous of clover blossoms and sweet peas, and 
young grass rudely trodden by the feet of the 
men as they were put through the company drill ; 
and at the command "double-quick — march!" 
away we went, up one slope, down another, over 
the lovely green sward — practising how we could 
run (away from the Yankees, had such a contin- 
gency ever suggested itself to any of us). Oh, 
it was a frolic. At the command "halt!" such a 
merry, ringing laugh v/ent up from the young 
scamps, who really enjoyed it. 




HEIGH-HO," I WISH I HAD SOME BUTTERMILK. 



Mr. Russell had taken a seat on a log, and 
was gently fanning himself with his hat — cool 
and collected — when Bright wobbled up to me, 
swabbing his face with a red handkerchief, 

23 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

whose color his face discounted ten per cent., and 
in disjointed ejaculations as he could get his 
breath, said: 

"Sergeant — I wouldn't — make — the — men dou- 
ble-quick up hill ; it tires Mr. Russell so bad !" 

At night, while the "pale inconstant moon rode 
majestically thro' the blue cloudless sky" (see 
G. P. R. James' novels), we boys lying outside 
of the tent on the grass, gazing skyward, were 
thinking of the loved ones at home, of our sweet- 
hearts, and of course many of the chaps were 
homesick. Billy Lewis, who was a nice, clean 
little law student, as much fit for a soldier as a 
canary bird is to make a chicken pie, he had it 
bad. ' 

"Heigh-ho," he said, "I wish I was at home.^' 

"Heigh-ho," said Bright, just as solemnly, "I 
wish I had some buttermilk." 

And as the "Liztown Humorist" says, "You'd 
oughter heard 'em yell." 



..i.. 




If w% 

ii 



-24 



THE DOCTOR GETS DINNER. 



THE DOCTOR GETS DINNER. 



Before we struck camp and went to marching, 
said the Old Doctor, before they took our tents 
away, and our camp-kettles, we fared nicely. 
Nearly every mess in our company had a negro 
servant, belonging to some one of the boys ; and 
thus our cooking was done as it should have been 
done — considering. Our cook belonged to Gwyn 
Yerger, as fine a young fellow as you ever saw, 
and as gallant as Custer, whom, by-the-bye, he 
strikingly resembled; tall, straight, a blue-eyed 
blonde. Of course he was very popular with the 
ladies — tell you a good one on him some day. 

Well, Gus, that's the negro cook, got sick, and 
we fellers had to take it turn-about cooking. I 
was a httle pale-faced, beardless, dandified med- 
ical student, and knew about as much about 
cooking as a cat; but it came my turn. I never 
let on, but went and got the rations for the mess 
from the commissary, and put it all on to cook 
for one meal. I was a little jubous about the 
rice. I had seen a roast on the table at home as 
large as our piece of beef, and I thought I was 
doing the right thing to cook it all at once, so 
as to have it cold for luncheon, as I had seen 

25 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

done at home. But the rice — there was about 
two gallons of it, I suppose — so I said to George 
Newton, one of my mess-mates : 

"George, how much rice ought we to cook for 
dinner?" 

''Oh, I don't know," said George; "about a 
peck, I reckon." 

Thus assured, I was confident that our water- 
bucket half-full would be none too much ; so I 
put her in, and 

"George," said I ; "how much water ought I 
to add to the rice?" George was trying to go to 
sleep; he had just come off of guard. 

"Oh, I don't know," said George, "fill the ket- 
tle, I reckon." He turned over to get a fresh 
hold on his nap. 

So, I filled the four-gallon camp-kettle about 
half-full of rice, and poured' in water up to the 
brim, and set it on a roaring fire. Presently it 
began to boil, and, oh, horrors ! to slop over. 
That would never do ; we had none to spare, and 
couldn't afford to waste it, 

"George," I called out again, "this dawgawnd 
rice has swelled; its boiling over; what shall I 
do?" 

"Oh, don't bother me so, Dick. Scoop her out 
and put it into the vessels we eat out of," said 
George; and he went back to sleep. 

I filled the coffee-pot; I filled all the tin cups. 

26 



THE DOCTOR GETS DINNER. 

and tin plates and pans, and it kept boiling over. 
Every time I would dish out about a gallon, it 
would fill up, and in a minit began to run over. 
I was in despair. 

"George, do for the Lord's sake get up and 
come and help me. I'll relieve you from guard- 
duty if you will" said I, in a low tone, for I 
dasn't let any one hear me ; I was the boss ser- 
geant, don't forget, and made the details for 
work, guard, etc. 

So George came, hitching up his gallusses with 
one hand, and rubbing his eyes with the other. 
He had a keen sense of the ridiculous, and he 
took in the situation at a glance. Every tin thing 
was full of half-done, seething rice ; and still she 
swelled and swelled and slopped over. My ! it 
looked like there was rice enough for the regi- 
ment. 

George looked around for something to help 
hold the surplus, and a twinkle came in his eye, 
as he spied Bright, asleep on his back, and snor- 
ing like a trooper. His big horse-leather boots 
stood at the head of his cot, and as quick as 
thought, George got them and said : 

"Here, put it in this ; it will get cool before 
Bright wakes up, and it will be a good joke on 
him!" 

I was as full of fun and deviltry as George; 
so no sooner said than done. We filled both 



27 




'lylT OUT AFTER GEORGE AND ME 



THE DOCTOR GETS DINNER. 



boots to the ankle, and set them back; and still 
the confounded cataract of boiling rice was roar- 
ing. 

Just then the captain called : 

"Bright! Oh, Bright! come quick, here's a 
lady wants to see you !" 

"The ladies'' were Bright's great weakness. 
Fat as he was, he was as vain as Beau Brunimel, 
and set up for a Lothario. 

Bright sat up, rubbing his eyes ; and as quick 
as he could, seized one boot, and socked his foot 
into the scalding rice ; wdien, gee- whiz ! what a 
hovvd went up, of mingled pain, wrath and sur- 
prise ! He made the atmosphere thick with a 
most florid rhetoric ; and with his scalded foot 
still smoking, and redolent of rice, lit out after 
me and~ George with a six-shooter in each hand. 
Fact. He'd have killed us, but we took refuge in 
the captain's tent, and slid out the back way, and 
each one sheltered himself behind a big oak tree. 

Well, Bright sat down on a rock near by, and 
with cocked pistol ready, swore that he'd kill the 
first one of us who put his head out. He kept 
us there till roll-call, and would have had us there 
yet, if he had not been called to go on regimental 
guard. 

He got even with us later; tell you about It 
sometime. 




RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



HOW THE BIG DOG WENT. 



In my company was a big, strong jolly fellow 
named Bill Hicks. He was a great story teller, 
and was always welcome at any of the camp- 
fires or mess-tables. I'm speaking still of the 
times, you remember, at Manassas, before the tug 
of war came; when we actually had candles, as 
well as tents and cots and other comforts. It was 
a common thing for Bill to get a lot of the boys 
around him, and tell them yarns. One night he 
told us of a dog-fight he had witnessed, and he 
depicted it with the greatest reality, imitating 
the big dog how he ''went," and the little dog 
how he "went" ; and he had gotten the boys very 
much interested. 

"The big dog would jump at the little dog, and 
go 'gh-r-r-rh,' " Bill said, imitating a hoarse 
growl. "And the little dog, he'd jump at the big 
dog, and catch him by the leg, and go 'br-e-w-r-r- 
rer,' " said Bill, imitating a shrill bark and growl. 

He had gone over this two or three times, illus- 
trating it with his whole body, and had gotten 
to the point where the laugh comes in. The boys 
enjoyed it immensely. 

Just at that point, in stalked Tump Dixon, a 
burly bully from an adjoining camp; a rough, 
disagreeable fellow, drunk or drinking whenever 



HOW THE BIG DOG WENT. 

he could get whisky, and half of his time in the 
guard-house. 

"What's that you are telling, Bill ?" said Tump, 

"Oh, nothing," said Bill ; "nothing worth hear- 
ing." 

"Tell it over. I want to hear it; I heard a 
part of it." 

"Oh, go 'way, Tump Dixon, I ain't agoin' to 
make a fool of myself just to please you," said 
Bill, looking rather sheepish. 

"You ain't f' said Tump. 

"No, I ain't," said Bill, doggedly. 

Tump poked his head out towards Bill, and 
looked him steadily in the eyes ; meantime slowly 
reaching behind him, he drew out and cocked a 
big six-shooter, and pointing it at Bill's head 
said: 

"How-did-that-big-dog-go ?" 

"Gh-r-r-rr-h," said Bill, gruffly, imitating a 
hoarse growl as before. 

"How-did-that-little-dog-go?" said Tump. 

"Brew-er-rrh," said Bill, imitating a shrill 
bark. 

"How-did-that-big-dog-go?" said Tump. 

"He went 'g-h-r-r-rrh'," said Bill, the boys just 
yelling with laughter. 

"How-did-that-little-dog-go?" said Tump, 
pistol still in Bill's face, dangerously near, in the 
hands of a half-drunk rowdy. 

31 




'HOW DID THAT BIG DOG GO. 



HOW THE BIG DOG WENT. 

"He went 'b-r-e-w-r-rh'," said poor Bill, still 
feebly imitating the actions of the dog. 

"How-did-that-big-dog-go?" said Tump. 

**He went 'g-h-rr-rh','' said Bill bursting into 
angry tears, and saying what he'd do if Tump 
Dixon would put up that pistol. 

Tump had the drop on him, else there would 
have been a fight, for Bill was brave, while Tump 
was a coward, and he knew it wouldn't be safe. 
Tump left presently, and any time after that, if 
one wanted to get a fight on his hands he had 
only to ask Bill "how the big dog went?" 



Bill was sleeping one day under a big tree — 
he had been on guard all night, and he slept the 
sleep of the just. George Newton and a lot of 
the other young scamps tied up his jaws, crossed 
his hands on his breast — "laid him out" — and 
getting the prayer-book, George was delivering 
the burial service over him with variations, when 
Bill was called to report at the captain's tent. 
Whoopee! If he didn't larrup me, and George 
Newton and Thad Miller, the smallest of us and 
all he could catch ! 

Well, that's one of the disagreeable, unpleasant 
things which I told you my Retroscope rounded 
off so nicely or obliterated ; but, my stars, I ain't 

33 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

done aching yet when I think of the pounding 
Bill gave me for playing he was dead. Poor 
fellow, he's dead to stay, though, now; long 
since. Peace to his ashes. 




34 



BILL AND THE BUMBLEBEES NEST. 



BILL AND THE BUMBLEBEES' NEST. 



On the march to Leesburg that lovely early 
autumn day — oh, how vividly the scenes at 
Goose Creek and the crossing of Bull Run at 
McLean's Ford appear still. There is where 
Stonewall Jackson was dubbed "Stonewall." I 
witnessed the charge and the repulse at McLean's 
Ford, of Bee and Bartow, and the arrival on the 
cars of Johnston's reinforcements from Win- 
chester just in time to save the day. But I'm 
not going to bore anybody with that. 

We moved up to Leesburg (our brigade,) in 
August or September, 1861. I know blackberries 
were still plentiful. On the road Bill and I strag- 
gled, that is, fell out of ranks, and followed along 
slowly at our leisure. You must remember that 
we were all from the same section, all friends 
and acquaintances, and were "hail-fellow" with 
the officers ; there was no such thing as discipline 
then. Bill and I picked blackberries leisurely 
along the roadside, when, looking back, we saw 
three mounted field-officers coming — strangers to 
us ; they were brigade-officers. Two of them had 

General B under arrest. Bill and I thought 

we had better not let them see us, — so we dodged 
off the road into a deep wood, and hid behind a 
log. To our horror, one of them apparently fol- 

35 








:^'^'^^.|? 



Vis 







lip' 






\ 



FIGHTING THOSE BUMBLEBEES. 



BILL AND THE BUMBLEBEES^ NEST. 



lowed US, and the other two rode rapidly after 
him, and I heard one of them say ,"General, what 
does this mean? You are under arrest; come 
with us." 

Now, I never did know what that meant. But 
Bill and I thought they were after us, so we ran 
again, and Bill threw himself down behind a 
great big old sycamore log, and, by Jo, right 
plump into a bumblebees' nest ! He ran again — 
you bet he did! and such a sight I never saw — 
Bill running like a scared deer, and fighting those 
bumblebees oflf with both hands, and every now 
and then, as one would get in his work, to hear 
Bill yell was just too funny for anything in this 
world, unless it be a Wild-west show. 

Bye-and-bye when the excitement was over, we 
resumed our march leisurely. Our regiment had 
halted in an old field about a mile from Lees- 
burg, stacked arms, and the men were unloading 
the wagons, throwing out the tents and things. 
Every wagon we would pass the men stopped 
work, and straightening up, would gaze at us like 
we were strangers. 

I said: "Bill" (I noticed that he kept a little 
behind me), "what does this mean?" 

"Don't know," said Bill. 

But it got worse and worse. A crowd began 
to gather towards us, gazing at me, like I was a 
Yankee. I looked around at Bill for an explana- 
tion — and I found it. Bill was marching me into 
camp at the point of a bayonet, confound him ! 

37 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



THE DOCTOR TAKES SUPPER WITH ONE OF 
THE F. F. VS. 



There was but one good coat in our com- 
pany, said the Old Doctor on this occasion, and 
that belonged to Dick Ledbetter. Poor fellow, 
he's dead, too; the bravest boy and the luckiest. 
He participated actively as a private, with a 
gun, in seventeen of the big pitched battles in 
which Longstreet's famous division was engaged 
in Virginia and elsewhere, and in hundreds of 
skirmishes, and never received a scratch, nor lost 
a day from duty. 

Speaking of Dick, reminds me to tell you of 
the time when our regiment was making a charge 
on the Yankees during the battle of Bull Run 
(July 1 8, 1861). Dick and I were side by side. 
We had a big ditch or gully to cross, and in doing 
so, Dick exclaimed: 

"Gee ! Dick ! look at the dewberries !" and 
throwing down our guns we went to picking and 
eating the delicious berries, and — got left. 

But about Dick's coat, and the tea-party. The 
coat was a pretty, bluish-gray frock coat, with 
pretty brass buttons on it. It was the most ac- 
com.modating garment that ever was made, I do 
reckon. It would fit all of us, every man in the 
company. 

38 



SUPPER WITH ONE OF THE F. F. V S. 

One night our captain was invited to take sup- 
per at the residence of one of Leesburg's fore- 
most citizens, a Mr. Hempstead. He was re- 
quested to bring with him two of his young 
friends, and he invited Gwin Yerger and me. 
Yerger was the handsomest young fellow in the 
company. I shan't say anything about myself 
on that score, but as Mr. H. had three pretty 
daughters, it is reasonable to suppose the cap- 
tain, who was very vain, thought to please the 
girls in the selection; hence (ahem!). Yerger 
was a blonde, and a great lady's man. He had 
borrowed Ledbetter's pretty coat, and Lieutenant 
Session's shoulder-straps, — the bars that a lieu- 
tenant wears on his collar, rather, and rigged 
himself out for conquest, as "Lieutenant" Yer- 
ger. That evening it was "Lieutenant" this, and 
"Lieutenant" that. Already so early in the war 
a preference was shown by the fair sex for of- 
ficers. 

With the three handsome daughters we were 
lions. It was a picnic. They had an elegant sup- 
per, such as peace times knew ; something we had 
not seen nor tasted for many weary months; 
strawberries, broiled chickens, hot rolls, cream, 
coffee, butter, preserves, cakes, umph ! but it was 
a feast. The girls were charming. Old Bon- 
taine, the captain, tried to monopolize the con- 
versation with the girls, all three of them. But 

39 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Yerger and I were something of drawing-room 
adepts ourselves. We used at home to ''court the 
amorous looking-glass," and were not unpro- 
ficient at "capering nimbly in my lady's cham- 
ber." 

The conversation was general at first, and 
amongst other things it turned naturally on hos- 
pitality, and Virginia's fame for hospitality, the 
symbols of hospitality with different peoples and 
nations, etc. You bet I lost no time in letting 
them know that I was one of the F. F. V's my- 
self. But poor Yerger put his foot into it, if he 
did have on the best coat, and was playing he was 
an officer. He spoke of his State, Mississippi, 
and the hospitality of her people, when presently 
one of the young ladies said : 

"Lieutenant Yerger, what is regarded as the 
symbol of hospitality in your old home, Missis- 
sippi ?" 

"Well," said Yerger, "I hardly know; but 
amongst men, usually about the first thing set 
out when a neighbor calls, is whisky, I believe; 
eh, Captain?" 

Before the captain could reply, as quick as a 
wink (the lady of the house, the mother, had just 
glanced at the pretty yellow maid who was wait- 
ing on the table), there was a decanter of whisky 
sitting by Yerger's plate. 

Poor Yerger! he looked as if he wished the 

40 



SUPPER WITH ONE OF THE F. F. V S. 

earth would open and swallow him up, Ledbet- 
ter's coat and all. He never used liquor in any 
way in his life, that I know of. 

Of course the ladies were invited to visit our 
camp, papa, too, especially, to witness dress pa- 
rade. They came sooner than we expected. 

Next evening, just as luck would have it, Gus 
was sick again — that's the cook — and it was Yer- 
ger's time to get supper. He had built the fire 
and made every preparation to get supper, and 
was sweating and fussing over the fire, face be- 
grimed with smoke, he in his shirt-sleeves and 
hair all towseled. The regiment was on dress 
parade at that moment, and Yerger was mad any- 
how. Just at that juncture up came a cavalcade 
of ladies on horseback, foremost amongst whom 
were the Misses Hempstead. They rode up to 
the fire where Yerger was, and asked for **Lieu- 
tenant" Yerger. Well, he was covered with con- 
fusion, as well as with sweat and soot ; but being 
ready-witted, everything passed oflf nicely ; but 
you bet Yerger didn't invite them to stay to sup- 
per. 

* * * * 

While telling my recollections of my short ser- 
vice in the ranks in Virginia, and of the boys' 
first lessons in cooking — for you must know that 
by-and-by they had to cook or go hungry; the 
negro cook business soon played out — I'll tell 

41 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



YOU another one on Bill ; that same Bill Hicks I 
was telling you about. 

One day, or one night, rather, we had gone into 




YERGER WAS MAD ANYHOW. 

camp for the night (I mean our regiment), and 
Bill was trying to cook some rations for next 

42 



SUPPER WITH ONE OF THE F. F. v's. 

day's march. He mixed his corn meal and water 
all right nicely in the company towel, and put in 
a little grease and salt, and turned out a real nice 
"pone," ready to cook. He first thought he'd 
make an ash-cake of it — roast it in the ashes, you 
know — but luckily, finding a clean flat rock near 
by, he put that on the embers, and when it got 
hot he spread out his pone on it, and sat down to 
watch it. By-and-by Bill thought it wasn't 
browning fast enough, so he thought to acceler- 
ate it by turning it over and giving the other side 
a chance. In attempting to do so, the plagued 
thing crumbled and fell to pieces. 

Bill just made the woods ring with remarks 
much louder and more emphatic than elegant, or 
than the occasion called for ; so George Newton 
thought. George was a terrible wag. He said: 

"Oh, Bill, don't take it so hard. The Saviour 
once broke bread, you remember !" 

Bill looked at him for about a minute, a dark 
look, and then in a tone of contempt said : 

"The hell he did! He didn't drop it in the 

ashes, did he?" 

* * * * 

Alas, poor Bill ! He was a fine young man, an 
Apollo in form, and a model of strong physical 
manhood. Had he lived he would surely have 
had a career of usefulness. But like thousands 
of others of the flower of the youth of the South, 

43 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

he was needlessly sacrificed to what the South 
believed to be a principle ; rights guaranteed the 
South under the Constitution, violated and no 
other recourse for redress, they thought. Bill 
lost a leg in battle, and after the war, although 
he began the practice of law with flattering pros- 
pects, the loss of his leg so preyed on his mind, 
the thought of going through life such a cripple, 
in a fit of despondency he blew out his brains. 




44 



THE DOCTOR ROUTS THE FEDERAL ARMY. 



THE DOCTOR ROUTS THE FEDERAL ARMY. 



Sitting by the fire at home one day lately, 
said the Old Doctor, our Fat Philosopher (by 
which cognomen we had just saluted him on his 
entering our sanctum), mentally figuring to see 
how I was going to make that $5, which Bill 
Jeffries promised to pay me next Saturday week, 
pay my subscription to the Texas Medical Jour- 
nal, buy a pair of red-top boots for Johnny, and 
get my wife that pattern of calico she saw in 
Simon's window for Christmas, and still have 
some left for tobacco, when my wife — who was 
mending my other shirt — looked up and said : 

''Doctor, do you reckon Dr. Daniel ever heard 
of that ten-dollar fee you got last year for a 
surgical operation?" 

''Why, no," said I. "What put that in your 
head?" 

"Why, I don't know why else he would call 
you the 'fat-fee-losopher'," she said. "That's 
the only fat fee you ever made, ain't it, honey?" 
And the old fellow just shook with suppressed 
merriment at the recollection. 



Promised to tell you about our captain, did I ? 
Oh, yes ; so I did. 



45 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

The old man was a scholar. Many people here 
in Texas remember him well. He was a nat- 
uralist. He was also an Episcopal minister. But 
I must say, he had less common-sense than any 
man I ever saw, and was as ugly as the devil 1 
He was a man of the most inordinate vanity, 
moreover ; vain of his personal appearance ! His 
face looked like a gorilla's ; high retreating fore- 
head, narrow but high ; large superciliary ridges, 
high cheek bones, a real prognathous skull ; eyes 
deep-set and cavernous; little, twinkling, rest- 
less eyes, and a mouth like a catfish. He wore 
his hair in little tight corkscrew curls, and when 
he spoke there was a kind of whistling sound fol- 
lowed. To see him rigged out in his full fighting 
paraphernalia was a sight to make Ajax green 
with envy, and Achilles and Hector go ofif and 
grieve. But — well, he got to be the captain of 
our company in some way — after Captain Burt, 
for whom the company was named, was made 
colonel of the regiment. 

At Manassas, up to the time when our tents 
were taken from us, he used to have prayer- 
meeting at his tent every night, and the spoony 
and homesick boys all attended with a religious 
regularity that was most commendable. He sud- 
denly discontinued it; and when asked why, he 
said that he had been fighting the devil all his 
life, and now that he had the Yankees to fight 

46 



THE DOCTOR ROUTS THE FEDERAL ARMY. 

in addition, doubling teams on him as it were, he 
couldn't do justice to both. He was brave. I 
don't think he knew what personal fear was. 

The battle of Manassas was fought on a lovely 
summer day (July 21/61), beginning about sun- 
rise. Our regiment was not engaged until late 
in the afternoon. Somebody blundered. I'm 
glad of it. I might have been killed, and see 
what the world v/ould have lost if I had! As it 
was, I got to see it all, from a safe distance ; an 
experience that few can boast of. 

Early in the morning we were marched ahead 
of and at right angles with the line of battle, for 
about a mile; and there on top of a high hill, 
overlooking the entire battlefield, we were halted, 
and there remained inactive till about five o'clock. 
It was the intention, we learned afterwards, that 
we should charge by the flank — swing around, 
you know, and shut in, like a knife-blade. The 
idea was to get in behind the enemy, and some 
think that had this been done late in the after- 
noon, as was intended, when the rout came we 
would have bagged the whole shooting-match. It 
seems that the courier carrying the order was 
killed, and the other regiments which, with ours, 
were to do this swinging-around-act, didn't come 
up ; so we waited in vain nearly all day for them, 
as stated. In the meantime, resting here on that 
hill, we had a most excellent view of the battle, 

47 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

almost from beginning to end, participating only 
slightly, as I will tell you, in the final charge 
about sundown. 

I wish I could describe the scene to you. We 
looked west from where we were ; that is, up the 
run or creek; Bull Run. We could see almost 
every movement ; see the charges which have be- 
come historic, as I told you on a former visit, I 
believe. We saw every cannon discharge, saw 
the curl of smoke before we heard the report; 
we saw the train arrive from Winchester bring- 
ing Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Kirby 
Smith with reinforcements ; saw them disembark, 
form column and forward on the run; saw them 
halted and thrown into line; saw them charge, 
and turn the tide of battle. Oh, it was a most 
glorious sight — from a distance. The battle 
raged nearly all day. 

Byme-by the order came to forward — our regi- 
ment that had been lying there all day just look- 
ing on, and skinnin' slippery-elm trees of the 
bark and chewing it — the boys were very fond of 
slippery elm bark, and they skinned every tree on 
that hill. We were told to throw away our blan- 
kets, or rather to leave them there, and we could 
get them after we had run the Yankees oflF. 

So, late in the afternoon, the sun was setting 
and shone in our faces by that time, we went for- 
ward on a brisk trot till all of a sudden wc were 

48 



THE DOCTOR ROUTS THE FEDERAL ARMY. 



on the brink of a precipice, steep, deep, rocky and 
with almost perpendicular sides. And there we 
were; could get no further. The ravine (it was 




'fwm^^ t 




YOU BET WE RAN. 



the bed of Cub Run, a tributary to Bull Run, 
when it rained; it was dry now) was fifty yards 
or more wide, and on the opposite bank stood the 

49 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Yankees, infantry, regulars, concealing a terrible 
battery. It looked like there were a thousand of 
them in line. It seemed to me that their coat- 
tails were all exactly the same length, from the 
glimpse I had of them; for we stood not there 
long idle. They saw us, and just poured grape 
and canister into us from that battery, while this 
line of infantry just mowed us down like grass. 
There was but one thing to do ; that vv^as to I'lin. 
You bet we ran. And as we scattered, the shots 
just whistled after us "through the emerald 
woods where the breezes were sighing." 

About that time, panic having seized the enemy 
at the other end, where, it seems, our men hac; 
charged them with the bayonet, and spread to 
the line in front of us, bless your soul, unexpect- 
edly to us, and without the least cause that we 
knew, they just limbered up their cannon, about- 
faced, and got. That is a fact. They had noth- 
ing to fear from us, our regiment, for as stated 
we couldn't get near them. 

But do you know, or rather would you be- 
lieve it, when I was discharged later, of which 
I have told you, haven't I, and went home, the 
old captain gave me a letter — I have it yet; I 
prize it as a curiosity, and am keeping it as an 
heirloom — in which he testified that I "had al- 
ways been a good soldier; had always done my 
full duty," and that he would "never forget the 

50 



THE DOCTOR ROUTS THE FEDERAL ARMY. 

day, nor my gallantry, when I helped him strike 
the last blow to the enemy's reserves, when they 
fled, panic-stricken from the field" ; thus "helping 
him save the honor of the Confederacy." Fact — 
a positive fact — verbatim. I have that letter yet. 

When I got home I showed it to my mother. 
I asked her to feel of me. I asked her if there 
were any birth-marks on me by which my iden- 
tity could be positively established. I said that 
it was not I — impossible. It must surely be the 
spirit of Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar and 
Wellington all rolled into one and personated by 
me on the occasion referred to. I didn't know I 
was such a warrior. 

Now, the fact is — I ran. But he didn't. He 
just stood there like a fool, popping away at 
those U. S. Regulars, fifty yards off or more, 
with a little 22-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, 
and they just pouring grape and canister-shot at 
him and at us at random — till the big scare struck 
them. It's a fact ; the enemy fled when no one, 
from our crowd at least, pursued them. 

The old captain did then rally a few of our 
scattered company, and attaching them to the 
tail-end of another command, marched us off the 
field to where we had left our blankets, fortu- 
nately. A great many of our company were 

killed. 

* * * * 



51 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

After the regiment moved up to Leesburg after 
the battle of Manassas (first Manassas), I pro- 
cured a discharge. I had ascertained that fight- 
ing as a private was not my specialty, and didn't 
fit in at all with either my talent or my taste. Mr. 
Davis had issued a proclamation stating that the 
war would last some years, and ofiicers would be 
needed ; that it was like ''grinding seed-corn" 
to kill up the students (in which sentiment I 
fully concurred), and oflfered to release from the 
ranks all who were studying medicine. I re- 
turned home and immediately went to New Or- 
leans and took another course of lectures, got my 
diploma and got out, just before Ben Butler cap- 
tured the city. In less than six months more, to- 
wit : July 8th, 1862, I was examined by the Army 
Board of Medical Examiners for Bragg's army 
at Tupelo, Miss., and greatly to my surprise, I 
was given a commission by the Secretary of War 
as Surgeon, upon the report and request of this 
board. I was just ten days less than twenty-three 
years of age. I was at once assigned to duty with 
the examining board as secretary, at the request 
of the president of the board, the late Dr. David 
W. Yandell. 



A VIOLENT ERUPTION OF LORENA. 



INVADING KENTUCKY. 



A VIOLENT ERUPTION OF LORENA. 

The Doctor walked into the office one morn- 
ing, looking very sober, and gently whistling 
*'Lorena." Taking his accustomed seat, my easy 
chair, he said : 

Dan'els, did you ever notice how any tune, onc« 
familiar, will bring back recollections of the time 
you heard it? Memories long dormant? How 
certain thoughts and recollections are associated 
in some way with certain airs? Yes, and even 
with the odor of certain flowers? 

"Oh, yes," said I, "often." 

Well, "Lorena" is associated in my mind with 
more pleasant memories of war-times than any 
other song; for it had its birth, lived its little life, 
and perished, was sung to death during those stir- 
ring times. It is essentially a war-song; and in 
my mind is associated peculiarly with Bragg's 
celebrated Kentucky campaign : 

"The sun's low down the sky, Lorena, 

The snow is on the grass again ; 

Er-rer-something-or-other-Lorena, 

The frost gleams where the flowers have been," 
sang the Old Doctor, low to himself, with an ex- 
pression on his face of mingled gravity and hu- 
mor. 

53 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

I was thinking of the time, said he, speaking of 
Lorena, when the snow was on me about a foot 
deep, before we got out of Kentucky, those of us 
who did get back ; for there was many a poor 
fellow who went with us, gaily singing "Lorena" 
all along the road who — staid there — alas ; most 
of them at Perryville and Munfordsville. 

On the march going in — it was glorious weath- 
er in the early fall, when the leaves in the forest 
were putting on their earliest fall tints, when the 
grapes with their purple lusciousness hung 
temptingly near the roadside, when the apples, 
red-ripe, were dropping of their own plethora of 
sweetness on the march, "Lorena" was sung 
morning, noon and night. The forests rang with 
it. "Every lily in the dell knows the story — 
knows it well" — ought to, at least; lily, leaf and 
bird, forest, stream and valley, heard it often 
enough, the Lord knows, and loud enough, to re- 
member it forever. 



54 



CROSSING THE CUMBERLAND. 



CROSSING THE CUMBERLAND. 



It brings to my mind especially, and in vivid 
pictures, continued the Old Doctor, after refresh- 
ing himself with a cigarette, the scene at Mussel 
Shoals where the army crossed the Cumberland 
one lovely October morning at sunrise. I shall 
never forget it. The soldiers were in fine spirits ; 
it was a frolic for the youngsters. 

I can see now, gathered on the near bank, gen- 
erals and staff-officers in brilliant uniforms, di- 
recting the Vv^ork of putting over the wagons and 
the artillery ; wagons with snow-white covers 
gleaming in the clear morning light, each wagon 
drawn by six stout mules — see the ambulances — 
now the artillery, with mounted drivers in gay 
colors — the guns and caissons — descending cau- 
tiously the grade to the water; see those already 
over, slowly pulling up the opposite bank — the 
forest-covered hills not yet lighted up for the 
day, giving a glorious dark background to the 
brilliant picture; see the horses, interspersed 
here and there amongst the wagons and the cais- 
sons and the cannons, their riders rattling with 
carbine and spur ; see those amid-stream, wagons, 
horses, guns. I hear the striking of the hoofs 
against the boulders as a horse impatiently paws 
the water, drinking leisurely and little at a time, 

55 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

or as I suspect, making believe he was drinking, 
by burying his nose in the water as a pretext to 
lave his tired legs in the delicious limpid coolness 
of the water. I see again the shallow but broad 
stream, clear as ice, slowly crawling along, fret- 
ted here by a rock, checked and diverted there 
by the bank, but still on, on, as in ages past it has 
been going, as it is now ; ever changing its par- 
ticles, yet ever the same river; on, on, to finally 
mingle with the great gulf. The birds in the 
forest, "winged songsters," chirping their early 
matins, looking on with curious eye at the un- 
accustomed scene, all unconscious of the deadly 
nature of our mission. As an accompaniment to 
the drama — a lovely scene of action set to music 
— rang out, clear and strong on the morning air : 
"A hundred months have passed, Lorena, 
Since last I held thy hand in mine." 

Lorena palled after awhile, and I felt some- 
what by "Lorena" as I suppose Nanki Poo in 
Mikado did about Yum Yum : "Well, take Yum 
Yum, and go to the devil with Yum Yum," said 
he. And so I said about "Lorena." 

How like life was that stream. Every particle 
of the water changing every mmutc at a given 
point, passing on, its place taken by a new one — 
and yet — it is the same river. , 

Now, here am I — old, gray and grizzled. There 
is not a particle of bone, blood, muscle or sinew, 

56 



CROSSING THE CUMBERLAND. 

not a cell in my body, that was there that bright 
morning thirty-five years ago, when throbbing 
with the pulse of youth, fired by hope and ambi- 
tion probably, I gazed upon that scene of life, 
pulsing like a locomotive impatient to be going. 
And yet, it is the same, the identical ego ; and like 
that stream I am still going on, on, checked here, 
fretted there, turned out of my course yonder, 
buffeted about by ''circumstances over which I 
have no control," here, there, anywhere ; but still 
on, on, I go with the years, to mingle finally with 
the great gulf — eternity. And then? 







57 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



AN EXTENSIVE ACaUAINTANCE. 



The army had halted after all had gotten 
safely over; the infantry, cavalry, artillery, the 
wagon train bringing up the rear. It was 
stretched out along the road about six miles. 
Here and there dashed a staff-officer carrying a 
message ; some were eating, some lying down by 
the side of the road, some doing one thing, some 
another; the army had halted. The men were 
resting, "resting at ease," but ready to resume 
the march at a word. Everywhere was heard 
"Lorena." She was epidemic. You could hear 
her far off; you could hear her near by, played 
by the band, whistled, hummed and sung, always 
the same, until I begun to think that "a. hundred 
months" was about all there was of her, till I 
learned the balance, later, about the snow and 
the flowers and the grass. 

The medical director had requested me to ride 

ahead up the road till I had found the regi- 

mxnt, and to tell the surgeon of that regiment, 
Doctor — somebody, something. He might have 
sent a courier, but he didn't. 

Now there I was, a stripling of a young fellow, 
just past 23, a full surgeon, with the rank and 
pay of major, and with a high staff position. 
That is to say — and here you will have to pardon 

58 



AN EXTENSIVE ACQUAINTANCE. 

a slight digression, for these recollections are 
nothing if not veracious — Dr. Yandell of Louis- 
ville was Medical Director of Hardee's corps. He 
was President of the Army Board of Medical 
Examiners, and when I passed my examination at 
Tupelo, Miss., in July, 1862, before we started on 
this Kentucky march — you remember my telling 
you ? — my first assignment to duty was at his re- 
quest, as secretary of the board. The board was, 
therefore, attached to General Hardee's head- 
quarters, and was a part of his military family; 
and when in camp my duties were, as secretary of 
the board, clerical. On the march and in battle 
they were various. I was surgeon to the cavalry 
escort, one thing; I had to pull the men's teeth, 
dress any little (or big) wound, prescribe for 
their numerous ailments, on the march assist the 
medical director and medical inspector, and dur- 
ing and after a fight I had charge of the ambu- 
lance corps and the litter-bearers. I'll tell you 
about Perryville some day, if I don't forget it. 

Well, as I said, there I was, a young fellow 
about as fat as a match, delicate physically, hold- 
ing a surgeon's commission, and away up ; wear- 
ing on my collar a gold star on each side, and 
trimmin's to match — gold lace galore. That is : I 
was entitled to do so, if I had had a uniform, 
but the fact is, I didn't. I had on a little thread- 
bare citizen's frock coat which had been a "Prince 

59 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Albert," once, — and on the lapels of it, you bet, 
I had the gold stars, at least, as big as a silver 
quarter. 

My cap was a dilapitated affair, brim torn half 
off, and it flopped up and down as I paced along, 
jiggity-jig on my little mustang mare. I must 
have cut a comical figure, I reckon ; but I had the 
rank — had the position of dignity, and wore con- 
spicuously on my lapels the insignia of it; be- 
sides — I had on military gloves. True, they were 
a great deal too big for me — but what matter? 
I tried to look the soldier, at least. 

Now, Dan'els, lookin' back at that time, and 
the occurrences as memory recalls them, either 
through my Retroscope, or as they are conjured 
up by the magic of "Lorena," through the long 
vistas of years that have intervened, years bringing 
experience, poverty and gray hairs, but alas, not 
wisdom, I fear, I am impressed with the convic- 
tion that at that time I thought I was some 
pun'kins. I'm sure of it. The panorama of life 
opened up before my vision, painted in glowing 
colors. I was going to do great things — I didn't 
exactly know how or what ; I was going to dis- 
tinguish myself in some way — probably get to be 
a great surgeon, compared to whom Velpeau, 
Gross, Erichsen, wouldn't be in it at all. As I 
rode along on that errand what thoughts of glory 
and of future greatness did not come to my mind ! 

60 




HOW ARE YOU DICKEY." 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Did you fellers ever read "Bud Zuntz's Mail" 
(by Ruth McEnery Stewart) ? Bud thought he 
would return from the war at least a colonel. He 
would ride up to his sweetheart's father's front 
gate on a fine white charger, carrying a Con- 
federate flag in one hand and a brevet-general's 
commission in the other, and demand the fair 
one's hand as a reward for his valor. '"Stid of 
that," he says, ''they fetched me home in an 
amb'lance, with a sore laig, and I've been a driv- 
in' that team of oxen for a livin' ever since ; 'Bud 
Zuntz's fiery untamed chargers,' as old Mrs. 
Pilkins calls them." Now, I didn't fare quite as 
badly as Bud ; I came out without the "sore laig," 
at least. 

I rode along gaily that bright October morn- 
ing, wrapped in delicious visions of future great- 
ness, and, as said, evidently thinking I was some 
pun'kins. In the infantry line, which was 
stretched out along the roadside for miles and 
miles, was my old regiment, and my old com- 
pany with which I had served as a private soldier 
in Virginia the year before. There were George 
Newton, Dick Ledbetter, Gwyn Yerger, Bill 
Hicks, Bright, and all of my old chums — who had 
not been killed or sent to hospital. Most of these 
had known me since childhood, and they called 
me by my familiar nickname. As I rode past 
them with my head up and my thoughts away 

62 



AN EXTENSIVE ACQUAINTANCE. 

off yonder, Bill, or George, or some of them 
sang out : 

"How are you, Dickey?" 

"How are you Dick ?" and the others took it up, 
and it spread along the line like fire when you 
touch off a field of dry broom-sage. All along 
as I passed, I was hailed with: "How are you, 
Dickey?" "How are you, Dickey?" from regi- 
ment to regiment, clear to the end of the line, 
where I found my man and delivered the mes- 
sage. 

Beginning with my home boys, the army told 
me, or asked me, rather, "How are you, Dickey?" 
for about six miles. It fetched me to the earth 
again, and took the conceit out of me, quite. 



63 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



A BRUSH WITH THE SEMINARY GIRLS. 



COLD COMFORT. AND SOME OTHER THINGS. 



About the snow? said the Old Doctor. The 
army went as far as Bardstown and went into 
camp. We staid there about three weeks. I did 
not know what for, till afterwards. All I knew 
was that the young officers had a glorious time 
flirting with the pretty Kentucky girls, and being 
entertained and feasted by the Confederate sym- 
pathizers ; but the greater part of the people were 
"Union," and from them we got only scowls. 

I remember, the medical director sent me to 
select and ''press" suitable buildings for addi- 
tional hospital accommodation ; and I went to the 
big female seminary, first pop ; a big two-story 
brick building with plenty of room, situated in a 
lovely lawn. It would make an ideal hospital, I 
thought. 

At the door I was met by the principal, a schol- 
arly looking spare-made gentleman, who was 
very courteous to me. With him on the big front 
gallery — ''porch" they call it there — were about 
fifty girls of the seminary age and type. I made 
my mission known, and such a hum of protest — 
such an outburst of indignation — amongst the 
"Union" girls. The principal was very nice about 

64 



A BRUSH WITH THE SEMINARY GIRLS. 

it, and begged that I would take his school build- 
ings only as a last resort and emergency, to which 
request the girls added their petition ; and I 
hadn't the heart to interfere with such a happy 
combination. Another building was found and 
made to answer the purpose. 

But those bright-eyed little rogues ! They made 
a picture there is no use trying to describe. I 
could tell every "reb" sympathizer in the bunch 
by the cut of her eye, the silent welcome she 
gave; and tho' she didn't say so, I could clearly 
see and understand that she felt that if the poor 
sick soldiers of the Confederacy needed the build- 
ings, they ought to have them, that's all. 

When I told them that I would not press the 
academy unless we had a battle and it became 
absolutely necessary, you ought to have seen the 
grateful expressions of gladness on their faces ; 
and one real pretty little black-eyed beauty, evi- 
dently ''Southern" in sentiment, stepped boldly up 
and pinned a geranium blossom on my coat. Her 
lips were much redder, and looked much sweeter 
than the geranium, and when she looked up in 
my face her lips and eyes had such an inviting 
look, that — I couldn't have helped it if my life 
had depended on it — just as quick as a wink, and 
before she had time to dodge, or say "don't," I 
kissed her right smack on the mouth and ran. 
Such a fuss ! Such a ''my, Jennie !' 'and "Did you 

6s 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

ever!" and "the hateful thing!" and "impudent 
fellow !" and similar expressions, you never did 
hear. 

But I was a young officer; vain enough ,to be- 
lieve that there were uglier men in the army than 
I — and I bet Jennie didn't cry. 

^ *j* ^ >}i 

My stars, I have straggled so I forgot all about 
the snow. I am worse than Widow Bedott for 
branching off. 

When the army retreated after the battle of 
Perr3^ville, at Camp Dick Robinson General Har- 
dee turned over the command of his corps to 
General Buckner, the late "gold-bug democrat" 
candidate for President. General Buckner had 
been bom and raised in that section of Kentucky, 
and when Bragg's army captured Munfordsville 
going in, General Buckner, out of consideration 
of the fact that he had gone to school at that 
place, was granted the honor of receiving the 
surrender and the Federal general's sword. The 
surrender took place at a big spring, where, 
Buckner said, he had toted water to the little 
schoolhouse many a time in boyhood days. Don't 
forget to remind me to tell you about the capture 
of Munfordsville, for my Retroscope brings out 
some two or three humorous reminiscences of it 
as well as some sad ones. 

After the battle of Perryville, General Hardee 

66 



A BRUSH WITH THE SEMINARY GIRLS. 

with his staff pushed on ahead, making a hurried 
retreat out of Kentucky ahead of the army. He 
had pressing business, I reckon. I know it was 
considered mighty dangerous for so small a force, 
or party, rather, as a general with only his staff 
and escort of a cavalry company to go through 
those mountains alone. At night we slept with 
our saddles for pillows, arms handy, and our 
horses picketed right at hand. In fact, men and 
horses slept together, if any sleeping was done ; 
we didn't "retire," in the sense of "going to bed," 
but slept with both eyes open. 

Coming through Cumberland Gap, — it was the 
most God-forsaken, the most desolate looking 
country I ever saw — it was late in November, 
and getting to be very cold — the only living thing 
I saw on that day's march through the Gap was 
an old lean ewe sheep, up on the side of the moun- 
tain. Dave, Dr. Yandell's colored cook, cook for 
our mess, whom the doctor had brought with him 
from Louisville when he first came to join the 
army, bought, borrowed, begged or stole that lone 
old ewe ; most likely the latter, for there was no 
one in sight from whom to borrow or buy. Dave 
was a famous cook; had been cook for a toney 
restaurant in Louisville; and when we arrived at 
Crab Orchard Springs we had roast mutton and 
mushrooms for dinner. Dave found plenty of 
nice mushrooms there, out in the old orchard in 

67 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

which we bivouached, and he knew what to do 
with them. It was a feast for ye tired soldiers. 

It was a clear, cold, November afternoon. We 
dined about sunset and I went early to bed. Do 
you know — I hadn't yet gotten "Lorena" out of 
my head — and that night I spread out my vulcan- 
ized rubber sheet on the ground, laid my quilt 
on it, and my gray blanket on that, and with 
boots, clothes, overcoat and all on, I laid down on 
the edge of my pallet and rolled myself up in it, 
like dried apples in a dried-apple roll. I went 
to sleep, thinking, if not singing — 

"The sun's low down the sky, Lorena, 
The snow is on the grass again." 
I don't know what put it in my mind, particu- 
larly ; it was only incidental to ''Lorena" ; there 
wasn't a speck of cloud nor the slightest indica- 
tion of snow, but it fell all the same, and I tell 
you now, that night was the most comfortable, 
it was the sweetest night's sleep, the soundest and 
the warmest sleep I ever had. Talk about "cold 
comfort." That was comfortable cold, at least. 
I had covered up, head and ears with the bed- 
clothes, and my hat was over such of my hair as 
was not protected ; and when I 'woke early next 
morning, without a suspicion of the snow, I dis- 
covered that there was about six inches of it cov- 
ering me and my pile like a shroud, and covering 
everything else. 

68 



BREAKFAST WITH THE YANKEES. 



THE DOCTOR TAKES BREAKFAST WITH THE 
YANKEES. 



While the surrender was taking place at Mun- 
fordsville, Ky., of which I told you, began our 
Philosopher, assuming an easy attitude in his ac- 
customed seat, and throwing his fat legs over the 
edge of the desk, from which movements we felt 
assured that he was in a talking humor, and we 
prepared for a good one ; it was about sunrise one 
lovely October morning, an order came to me 
from Dr. Yandell, Medical Director of Hardee's 
corps, to go into the village, take possession and 
make an inventory of the medical and surgical 
supplies of the garrison, that were to be turned 
over to us along with other property. 

I hastened to dress, when — horrors ! — my horse 
was gone. On making inquiry the colored driver 
of the headquarters amb'lance told me that my 
white orderly had gone off on him to forage. 
Do you fellers know what foraging is ? I bet you 
don't. It is to hunt up something good to eat. 
This feller was a famous hand at finding it, and 
altho' we had nothing but Confed. money — which 
wouldn't pass muster in Kentucky — he managed 
somehow to always come back with chickens, 
eggs, milk, honey, potatoes, fruit — something 
good, always. 

69 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

This confounded fellow played the shrewdest 
trick on me I reckon, that ever was. He was so 
addicted to stealing, that, like the nigger we read 
of in the joke books, who used to slip up behind 
himself and pick his own pockets to keep his hand 
in, this feller, while we were camped at Bards- 
town, came to me one morning with a distressed 
look and stated that my best horse was missing, 
along with one belonging to Captain somebody, 
I've forgotten, as that part of it was only to make 
the story go, as I learned too late. As the horse 
was in his charge and keeping, he was responsi- 
ble. "That's what hurt" him so, he said. The 
fact that I looked to him to see that my horse was 
safe and cared for, he said, made him feel the 
responsibility dreadfully, and he vowed that he 
was determined to get that ''boss" back, if he was 
in the county; if he had to go right into the 
Yankee's camp to get it. He denounced the thief 
who had been so slick as to steal two horses, he 
said, from right under his nose, and made ter- 
rible threats of what he would do to him if he 
just could get his hands on him. Well, of course, 
I gave permission to him to go and search for my 
horse, and told him to be sure and find him before 
he came back. He went in search of the horse 
and was gone all day. Late in the afternoon he 
came into camp on a pony, and leading my pet 
horse, which looked as if it had been ridden very 

70 



BREAKFAST WITH THE YANKEES. 

hard, and had not been fed. He told a plausible 
story of heroic daring on his part, and described 
how he had found the horse in the stable of a 
man ten miles off, and how near he was to being 
killed when he claimed the horse, and told thq 
man he would have it at the *'resk of his life." 

Now, you boys will hardly think I was green 
enough to swallow that stufif, but I was. I was so 
rejoiced to get my horse, that in addition to 
thanking the fellow I gave him a $50 Confed. bill. 
Tt is unnecessary to say that the whole thing was 
a lie, a put-up job to blackmail me and have a 
day's frolic. He and a chum had ridden our 
horses to a frolic some distance off and stayed 
all night. Afraid to be seen coming in after day- 
light, riding our horses looking so jaded, he hid 
them out and took all next day to find them. 

But I am away off of my story again. Con- 
found this chair. Every time I sit in it, it makes 
me scatter. Get a new one. 

So, to resume where I left off, when I found 
that this fellow was gone on my horse foraging 
(it was before the occurrence just related, and 
was all right), my only recourse was to use one 
of the amb'lance horses. When I searched for 
my saddle and bridle, behold, they were gone also; 
my orderly had taken the rig. Hence my only 
show for a ride was an amb'lance horse with a 
blind-bridle and bare-back. 'Twas that or walk. 

71 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

You can imagine what a figure I cut as I rode into 
that village on such a turn-out, and dressed as I 
\vas, in a little, thin, black, cloth frock coat, very 
threadbare, — heavy horse-leather boots, in which 
my legs looked like a straw stuck in a bottle ; great 
yellow gauntlets much too large for me, and 
reaching to the elbows. My slim little arms 
would rattle in them. I had on a military cap 
with the brim, or visor, as it is called, half torn 
off. Notwithstanding the incongruity of the get- 
up, I had a big gold star on each lapel ; you bet 
I did. Of course such an odd specimen would 
have attracted attention anywhere. I was a 
source of curiosity to the gayly dressed young 
officers of the garrison with their bright spick- 
and-span uniforms on. They eyed me with great 
curiosity, yet treated me with the utmost respect. 

Presently one of the young fellows stepped up 
to me with a very respectful manner, saluting as 
to a superior officer, and said : 

'Will you kindly decide a dispute for us, sir, 
as to your rank in the Confederate army? Your 
insignia — two stars — indicate that you are a gen- 
eral ; that is the rank in our army — and surely 
you are too young (and, he might have added, 
but he didn't, tho' no doubt he thought it: 'too 
dilapidated and no-count') to be a general?" 

''Certainly, sir," I said. "I am a surgeon ; and 
the military rank of surgeon with us is major; 

72 



BREAKFAST WITH THE YANKEES. 

and a star on each side is the badge or insignia 
of that rank — the branch of service or staff to 
which the wearer belongs being determined by, 
his colors. For instance : a surgeon wears black 
(that was a lie; the uniform consisted of black 
pants, it is true, and gray coat with black collar 
and cuffs), cavalry, yellow; artillery, red; in- 
fantry, blue trimmin's, etc. One star on each side 
and black-trimmed clothes (I wouldn't say 'uni- 
form'), means a surgeon-major; stars, with yel- 
low trimmin's, a major of cavalry, etc. The badge 
or decoration for a colonel is three stars on each 
side ; a lieutenant-colonel, two stars ; a captain, 
three bars, etc. ; while a general wears three stars 
surrounded by a wreath." 

He thanked me, and saluting, backed off to his 
companions to enlighten them on the mysteries 
of the Confederate decoration, and explain if he 
could how it happened, as Dick Ledbetter would 
say, that "every feller was uniformed different." 

I was asked to take breakfast with the sur- 
geons, one of whom was a big fat old fellow 
whose name I have forgotten. The other was 
Dr. A. Flack, a slim, middle-aged man. I shall 
never forget him, and I would like to know if he 
is still living. He was surgeon of an Indiana 
cavalry regiment, a part of the garrison of the 
little town that had just surrendered. 

There was a lot of amputating cases amongst the 

73 ' 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

stores turned over to me, and as I did not have 
any instruments, I remarked that I was going to 
buy one of these cases from our quartermaster 
when they were turned over to him. Dr. Flack 
said : 

''Doctor, those are contract instruments. They 
are no account for service; here is a Tieman's 
case which I will make you a present of, if you 
will accept it, as under the terms of the surrender 
the surgeon's personal effects, instruments and 
side-arms are not spoils. But as I will have to 
walk back to Louisville, I don't want to carry this 
case. Please accept it with my compliments," 
and he scratched his name on the brass plate with 
his knife-blade: "A. Flack, 54 Ind." (I think 
it was the 54th). 

Amongst the horses turned over to our quarter- 
master there were some magnificent ones. You 
bet we young officers were properl}^ mounted 
after that capture. I got a splendid iron-gray, a 
fast single-foot racker. Instead of his being 
afraid of anything, say, a hog on the side of the 
road, for instance, he would make fight and would 
attack what would make most horses shy from 
under a saddle. The quartermaster had to ap- 
praise the value of a horse when an officer wanted 
to buy, and had, of course, to take Confederate 
money. It would have been unbecoming a Con- 
federate officer to depreciate the money; we had 

74 



BREAKFAST WITH THE YANKEES. 

to make believe amongst ourselves that it was 
equal to gold ; so prices put on such property were 
low. Just think : I paid $65 for that horse. The 
money then was worth about 20 cents on the dol- 
lar, but the quartermaster dasen't depreciate it. 

I sold that horse in Chattanooga subsequently 
for $4000. 

They had for breakfast — those surgeons did — 
fried breakfast bacon (after beef thirty days out 
of every month, and three times a day, the most 
delicious thing that could have been set before 
a famished Confed. sawbones), corn meal muf- 
fins, boiled eggs, battercakes with nice fresh but- 
ter and honey, and just oodles of milk — cream, 
bless you ! After breakfast the old fat doctor 
handed me a cigar. It was the first cigar I had 
smoked since the beginning of the war. He re- 
marked, "that is a real Havana cigar." I never 
let on but that I was used to smoking that kind 

every day. But he knew better. 
* * * * 

By-the-by, you all knew Dr. Bemiss — of course 
— late Professor of Practice in the New Orleans 
Medical School ; everybody knew him as a yellow 
fever expert. Well, we got him in Kentucky on 
this raid. He and Dr. Joshua Gore, and a young- 
doctor named Bedford, joined us as soon as we 
entered the State. But after the bloody battle of 
Perryville Dr. Bedford backed out; went back 

75 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

to his **old Kentucky home" ; couldn't stand it ; 
too sanguinary for him. Dr. Bemiss and Dr. 
Gore stuck, however, and followed the fortunes 
of the Confederacy till its banner went down in 
defeat to rise no more. Dr. Bemiss early left the 
army in the field (like I did; wanted a softer 
place). After serving a short time in hospital 
he was taken into the office of the Medical Di- 
rector of Hospitals, Dr. Stout, succeeding me as 
chief clerk. I found that place most too soft. 
You will say I was hard to please. Remember, 
I was young; I was ambitious, also. I stated to 
Dr. Stout,* the Medical Director of Hospitals, 
that in a position in his office, however soft and 
secure from shot, shell and capture, likewise from 
cold and exposure ; however honorable, it afford- 
ed no opportunities for getting any practical 
knowledge of surgery ; that wars didn't occur 
every day, and that the chances for operative ex- 
perience afforded by the war were too rare to be 
wasted ; that I didn't care to be carried through 
**on flowery beds of ease" in so soft a place, while 
others were, figuratively, wading through "bloody 
seas ;" and that I wanted a place in some good 
warm and safe hospital, where I could study and 
practice surgery. Thus it was that Dr. Bemiss 
having, I presume, all the practical knowledge of 
surgery that he needed in his business — he was 

*Dr. S. H. Stout, now of Dallas, Texas. 

76 



BREAKFAST WITH THE YANKEES. 

considerably older than I — was content to take 
my seat. After he was inaugurated into my 
place, confound it, the position which had been 
nothing more than a head clerkship, and known 
as such, was dignified by being called "Assistant 
Medical Director of Hospitals." I can account 
for that only on the grounds that Bemiss was 
larger than I, as well as older. 




77 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



PERRYVILLE. 



THE DOCTOR, LIKE THE WAR-HORSE, SCENTS THE 
BATTLE FROM AFAR. A CAVALRY CHARGE. ETC. 



Now, said the Old Doctor, taking his seat de- 
Hberately, and putting a big "chew" in the south- 
west side of his mouth, don't you think for a mo- 
ment that in telling you about some things that 
happened at the battle of Perryville, I'm going 
to bore you with a description a la war-corres- 
pondent, about pouring volleys into them, and 
so forth, for I ain't. I'm just going to give you 
a few remarks, my way — my recollections of what 
I saw, not what I did. I reckon I saw more bat- 
tles and participated in fewer than most any- 
body. You remember, I saw Manassas nearly all 
day before being ordered up. Well, I saw this 
one all day, and when ordered up it was not to 
"charge," but to help bring away the wounded. 

The battle began early — I had nearly said "just 
after breakfast." It is told of one of the Confed- 
erate brigadiers that he divided time by the 
meals, they were with him the eras of each day, 
and that on one occasion he reported to his su- 
perior that he would "start in pursuit of the Yan- 
kees immediately after breakfast, and if they 
didn't cross the creek by dinner-time, he thought 

78 



SCENTS THE BATTLE FROM AFAR. 

he would be able to overtake them about supper- 
time." 

I remember, it was a pretty clear, sunshiny day. 
Early in the morning I was ordered to take a po- 
sition, with all the ambulances belonging to that 
army-corps, and some litter-bearers, in a deep 
ravine, and there await orders. Our position was 
between two big hills, and well sheltered from the 
enemy's fire, unless our army should be driven 
back, which it wasn't. Well, I waited all day, the 
battle raging furiously with varying fortunes, till 
near sundown, when there was a charge which 
seemed to be the deciding "throw" in the game, 
and our folks threw sixes and won. I wish I 
had the powers of Stephen Crane to describe that 
charge a la "Red Badge of Courage," but I have- 
n't, and for fear of a flat, I'll go slow. I'll tell 
you how it was from my standpoint, literally. 

First part of the day I staid with the men, for 
the most part down in the hollow, out of danger. 
We could hear the battle; hear the rattle and 
bang, and now and then the bullets would come 
uncomfortably near us; so would cannon-balls. 
They went over our heads, cutting limbs, but not 
doing any damage. By-and-by, I got sorter used 
to it, and attracted by curiosity I suppose, more 
than anything else, I went up on top of the hill 
where I could see what was going on. The fight 
was, say, half a mile off, and seemed to stay in 

79 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

one place all day. I had noticed that our folks 
had a battery right in front of where I was stand- 
ing. It had been booming all day. It was Swett's 
battery, of Vicksburg, and was commanded on 
that occasion by Lieutenant Tom Havern, a 
brother-in-law of Colonel Swett. Tom Havern 
did valiant service that day and — it is another one 
of those instances of the irony of fate, like 
Colonel (Lord) Cardigan, who led the charge of 
the Light Brigade at Balaklava and came out un- 
scathed, was killed, was killed some years later 
by the kick of a horse — Havern was killed by the 
falling of a limb of a tree. 

Screened by a big white-oak I witnessed this 
charge. It became so interesting that I didn't 
mind the bullets a bit. They were hitting around 
me pretty peart, and grapeshot were limning my 
tree same time, but, like Casablanca, I hadn't per- 
mission yet to "go." 

This charge, I say, ended the battle. It surely 
was the grandest sight I ever witnessed. The 
battery had evidently been a source of much an- 
noyance to the enemy all day, and they made one 
determined effort to take it. They imdertook to 
capture it by a charge in force. 

Away on my left, and the left of the line of 
battle, in front of this battery, and between us 
and the setting sun, I saw vast bodies of horse- 
men being massed. The dark blue uniforms made 

80 



SCENTS THE BATTLE FROM AFAR. 

the body look like a great black cloud gathering 
in the west. They formed in platoons ; that is, 
about twenty or thirty abreast, and came towards 
us, at first at a trot. After they had gotten un- 
der way, it seemed to me, at the sound of a shrill 
call on the bugle every man drew his saber, and 
holding it aloft where the rays of the setting sun 
were reflected and multiplied a thousand times, 
they stood up in their stirrups and came at a 
sweeping run. Havern, having meantime ceased 
to fire, double-shotting each gun, held it till the 
charge was nearly on him ; till "we could see the 
whites of their eyes," as one of the gunners told 
me afterwards. On they came like a blue tornado 
— a black cyclone, bent on death and destruction, 
as it was in very truth. The earth trembled. 
There was a roar as of a whirlwind, or the "rush- 
ing of many waters." Picture the scene if you 
can. "The sheen on the spears" of the Assyrians, 
that time they "came down like a wolf on the 
fold," you remember, when, Byron says, it 

" was like the stars on the sea, 



Where the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Gali- 
lee" 

wasn't a circumstance to the myriad of sunflashes 
glinting from that sea of uplifted sabers, as that 
mighty mass came on, hurled by the Titans of 
war upon the handful of devoted gunners in gray. 

8i 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Oh, it was as if all the furies of hell had been 
loosed for the occasion. 

Havern held his fire until the cavalry seemed 
to me to be about to run over the battery, when 
six double-shotted guns, charged with canister- 
shot, were turned loose at once. Such a blow, 
right in the face, of course staggered them. The 
charge was arrested in mid-career, horses and 
men hurled back on those behind them, hundreds 
going down under the fearful discharge, to be 
trampled by the horses' hoofs out of all semblance 
of humanity, 

" horse and rider, 

In one red burial blent." 

Oh, it was dreadful ! Horrible beyond the power 
of language to describe ! The charge recoiled up- 
on itself, staggered, then the trumpeter sounded 
"The Retreat," and not a man reached the guns. 

That settled it. The battle was lost and won. 
"Grim-visaged war" for the nonce "smoothed his 
wrinkled front," and whistling to his "dogs," 
now full fed on "havoc," they licked their gory 
chops as Ihey slunk away in the gathering 
gloom. Pity wept. Mercy, frightened away by 
the din early in the day, now returned, and driv- 
ing away the black angel, summoned her minions, 
the surgeons, to come and repair the damage. 

I went up with the ambulances. Oh, horrors 

82 



SCENTS THE BATTLE FROM AFAR. 

Upon horrors. Who can depict the horrors of a 
battlefield after such butchery. Shame upon 
shame ! Brothers, of one blood, of one race ! Let's 
drop the curtain. It makes m.e sick even now to 
think of what I saw that night, and the next, and 
the next. I wouldn't, if I could, describe it. My 
Retroscope goes back on me, and I am glad o£ 
it ; don't know how I ever got onto such a dis- 
agreeable subject, unless it was that bad cigar I 
smoked awhile ago. 

With my ambulances and litter-bearers I went 
up to the scene of conflict, and all night and all 
next day I was engaged in hauling off the 
wounded ; first to temporary or field hospitals, as 
they are called, where the wounded received the 
first attention ; then to Harrodsburg ten miles dis- 
tant, where there Vv'ere general hospitals already 
established for the continued treatment of the 
wounded. Of course, all these wounded fell into 
the hands of the enemy, as General Bragg got out 
of Kentucky as fast as possible. The battle was 
conceded to the Confederates as a victory. It 
was a dearly-bought one, a few more of which 
would have soon ruined us. True, v/e took many 
guns, and got a lot of stuff, but I'll tell you of 
that later ; the subsistence stuff, stuff we needed in 
our business and could use. 

At Harrodsburg all night, along with a score or 
so of other surgeons I operated or dressed 

83 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

wounds. That was the second night, mind yon, 
without rest and without food. I was nearly 
starved. 

I was adjusting a splint to the arm of a 
wounded man, when a pretty, plump girl of about 
twenty came to me and said : 

"Doctor, can I help you?" 

I thanked her, and said that if the ladies would 
see that the wounded got something to eat, it 
would be greatly appreciated. (I was unselfish 
in the request. I wasn't wounded, tho' I wanted 
something to eat pretty bad myself. I said noth- 
ing about that, however.) She said: 

'T helped Dr. Bateman amputate a man's leg 
just now; see?" and raising up her skirt, the 
skirt of her dark calico dress, showed me where 
her underskirts were bespattered with the char- 
acteristic spirting of an artery. 

*Tf that is what you mean," said I, ''you can 
help me, and thank you, too." 

Well, sirs, that girl just pitched in — she had 
been pitching in before I made her acquaintance 
— and rendered as intelligent assistance as a sur- 
geon could have done, after showing her a little. 
Why, she could pick up an artery with the 
tenaculum as quick as a wink, and put a string 
around it before you could say ''scat" to a rat. 
Besides that she administered chloroform for me 
more than once. Oh, she was a brave girl. She 

84 




'DOCTOR, CAN I HELP YOU?" 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

was a heroic girl, a Southern sympathizer. She 
said her name was Betty Johnson. I wonder what 
ever became of her? 

In connection with that night's work I am re- 
minded of a circumstance that may be thought 
interesting. There was a man who was shot in 
the left side, just below the ribs. A buckshot had 
entered his body, and if it came out there was 
nothing to show for it. There was a little bit of 
a hole just over the spleen, and from it protruded 
a tongue-like slip of flesh about as big as one's 
forefinger. It was part of the spleen. It was 
clasped tightly by the orifice of the wound, and 
looked bluish. I just tied a silk string around it, 
cut it oflf close up and dropped the stump back in 
the abdomen. I didn't know what else to do. I 
washed it, of course — we didn't knov/ anything 
about antiseptics then, you know. There was 
nothing else to do, in fact. It so turned out that 
that was just the correct thing. I had not read 
much medical literature at that time, and did not 
know, and for many years afterwards did not 
know, that there was no record of anybody ever 
having amputated the spleen or a part of the 
spleen for gunshot wound. Some years after the 
war, after "Otis' History of the Surgery of the 
Rebellion" was published, some one told me that 
this case was mentioned in that work; that the 
Federal surgeons on taking charge of Harrods- 

86 



SCENTS THE BATTLE FROM AFAR. 

burg and the wounded we left there, had noticed 
this case, the man stating to them what I had 
done; "just cut her off and dropped, her, string 
and all, back into the cavity." The chronicler re- 
gretted being ''unable to get the name of the 
operator." Well, I was the operator. I was 
thus, unconsciously, the first surgeon to "ampu- 
tate the spleen or a part of the spleen for gun- 
shot wound." I am late claiming it. It ain't any 
great glory, and I wouldn't care a cent if it had 
never been heard of. I ain't proud a bit. 




S? 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



QUESTIONABLE SPOILS. 



Just before we reached Glasgow, a small 
town in Kentuclcy, we came to a cross-roads store. 
I was told that on arrival of the first of our folks 
they found the store deserted and locked up. Who 
opened it I do not know. When our party ar- 
rived I found gray-backs swarming inside like 
bees in a hive, and they were mostly officers. 
Some of our party, myself amongst them, got suf- 
ficient cloth to make us a suit, each, and I took 
possession of a two-ounce vial of prussic acid. 
I was afraid some fellow would get hold of it who 
did not know what it was, — did not appreciate the 
beauty of its uses upon proper occasions. After 
my observations on the field of battle and in hos- 
pitals I regarded it as a boon to be cherished in 
case of being badly wounded, or, what I regarded 
as worse, being sent a prisoner to Johnson's 
Island. In either case it would make my quietus, 
give me the means of euthanasia. It's the stuff, 
you remember, that stood Jonas Chuzzlewit so 
w^ell in hand in a tight, enabled him to cheat the 
gallows, and ''fool" the police. It enabled the 
Oily Gammon to do likewise, and in addition 
he worked the insurance company, you remember, 
in favor of a little girl he had wronged ; about 
the only virtuous act he ever did ; virtuous, even 

88 



QUESTIONABLE SPOILS. 

if it were criminal. See "Ten Thousand a Year," 
the best novel in the English language. 

Now, you fellers needn't ask ; of course we 
would have paid or offered to pay for the things 
we took, if there had been anybody there to pay ; 
but as we had nothing but Confed. scrip, I sup- 
pose it is all the same ; they wouldn't have re- 
ceived it — but we just had to have the cloth and 
things, you see? Retribution overtook every one 
of us. I'm glad of it. I could never have worn 
that cloth with my customary pride and self-re- 
spect. I'm sure it would have been a Nessus' 
shirt on my back. 

Now, I see you smirking ; t'ain't no "sour 
grapes" at all. It was just fate. When we ar- 
rived at Glasgow, of course we under-officers did 
not know how long we were going to stay, and 
had not doubted that we would rest long enough 
at least, to have a suit of clothes made. So we — 
those of us who had "provided" for an outfit 
(self-respect will not allow me to call a spade a 
spade in this case) — had our measures taken, and 
the old tailor promised us our suits in a week. 
Before sundown that same day we were out of 
Glasgow, and going west. At the appointed time 
— we were at or near Munfordsville by that time 
— one of the staff-officers who was "in it," that is. 
had a suit in prospective, detailed one of the pri- 
vates of the escort and sent him back to Glasgow 

89 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

with a note for our suits. We never saw the 
''hair nor the hide" of the feller afterwards. His 
name was Corey (it's unnecessary to say that 
our name was ''Dennis"). Whether he was shot 
by the bushwhackers, arrested and shot as a spy, 
or whether he got away^with our outfits, deserted, 
go ask ye whisperin' winds ; / don't know. 




90 



RECOLLECTIONS OF BACON. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF BACON— LIKEWISE OF 

PORK. 



When Bragg's army was retreating from Ken- 
tucky — and we came as rapidly as circumstances 
would admit, for, you see, we were loaded — said 
the Genial Philosopher on this visit to our sanc- 
tum, when he had "blowed a little," he said, after 
pulling up those steep steps (Hudson grinned and 
said to Bennett, sotto voce, that the Doctor 
"blowed" most of the time — good thing he didn't 
hear it), we had to pass through Cumberland 
Gap again. It was a most desolate country, and 
was swarming with bushwhackers at the time. 
We had bitten off more than we could chew, 
to use a more recent aphorism. Our quarter- 
master and commissary officers made hay to some 
purpose while the sun shone; that is, they col- 
lected supplies of every kind and stored them at 
various points along our line of retreat in greater 
quantities than we could handle for want of 
transportation. As it was, the wagon-train 
stretched over miles and miles of road, and great- 
ly retarded the retreat of the army. I have for- 
gotten how many thousand wagon-loads we had, 
and how many droves of fat beeves we got away 
with. But at several points there were stored 
churches full of stuff — guns, bacon, jeans, Ken- 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

tucky jeans (homespun and highly prized), 
pickled pork, etc., and having no transportation 
for it, it had to be burned up. What a pity ! But 
that's war, you know ; "I can't have it, and you 
shan't." Well, at Camp Dick Robinson, it was 
necessary to do the burning act, and the infantry 
men passing along were told that they could have 
all they could get away with. Well, sirs, it was 
the funniest sight you ever saw (however, as you 
didn't see it we'll say the funniest sight imagina- 
ble), to see about six miles of bayonets, each one 
bearing aloft a side of bacon, or a ham, or a bolt 
of jeans ! The hot sun made the grease run out 
of the meat in streams, and it trickled down on 
the feller's faces, and necks, and backs, and then 
the red dust would settle on it, and it was a funny 
combination ; they looked like a bedraggled Mardi 
Gras. Some of the officers had a side of bacon 
strapped behind their saddles. 




92 



SOMEBODY S DARLING. 



SOMEBODY'S DARLING. 



Many of the soldiers were barefooted, con- 
tinued the Doctor, after a moment's hesitation. 
Cold weather was coming on, too. It was painful 
to see the boys, some of them hobbling with sore 
and bleeding feet over the stony mountain roads, 
but they were always cheerful, even merry, and 
ever ready for a joke or to guy some comrade. It 
it astonishing what kept up their spirits, for they, 
suffered every privation and hardship. At Cum- 
berland Gap, going in, I saw shelled com issued 
for the ''ration" for supper and breakfast. Rid- 
ing along in the headquarters amb'lance of which 
I told you, coiled up snugly with comforts, etc., 
I overtook a ''Johnny" — the name of all and sin- 
gular of the Confederate soldier — a boy of per- 
haps eighteen years, barefooted, limping along 
with bleeding feet. As he went along with gun 
on shoulder — he had dropped out of the ranks 
and was "going it alone" — he was throwing 
grains of com into his mouth, and seemingly en- 
joying his breakfast. I said : 

''Hello, Johnny, have you had any breakfast?" 

"Yes," said he, "had what the others had — 
cawn." 

I took from my haversack a piece of meat and 
a piece of bread that Dave, the cook, had put up 

93 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

for my noon lunch, and gave it to him. He ac- 
cepted it without thanks or comment, and went 
to eating it in a very matter-of-course way. I 
said: 

"Where are your shoes, Johnny?" 
"Havn't got any/' was the laconic reply, be- 
tween mouthfuls. I took out my best boots, for I 
had this extra pair, which were really too light 
for service and I only kept them for social affairs, 
and asking him 'Svhat size do you wear?" and if 
he thought he could get his hoofs into these, 
threw them to him. He said he could wear any- 
thing he could get his foot into, and while they 
"wem't any great shakes," he said "they beat no 
shoes, pretty bad." The last I saw of Johnny 
he was sitting on a rock on the roadside tugging 
at the boots. 

^ *i* *?* ^ 

It was a little after daylight that morning when 
I came upon a company of infantry, just break- 
ing camp ; or rather about to leave the spot where 
they had bivouacked, and resume the march. 
Some eight or ten men were standing around the 
remains of a camp-fire, by which was lying a boy 
of perhaps sixteen or eighteen years of age, ap- 
parently in a trance. As I rode up one of the 
party said : 

"Here comes a surgeon now." 

They told me that "Henry" (they called him 

94 



SOMEBODY^S DARLING. 



"Henry") had sat up late the night before cook- 
ing rations for the march; that they all went to 
sleep and left him cooking, and when they got 
up they found him "just like he is now," they 
said, and "couldn't wake him." I dismounted, 
and carefully examined the poor boy, and there 
were no signs of life, tho' he was still warm. 
Artificial respiration was tried ; hot water dashed 
over the region of the heart also failed to start 
the pulsation. I held a small pocket-mirror over 
his mouth and nose, but there was not a sign of 
respiration. The boy was dead. 

He was roughly clad and looked like a farmer 
boy. In one hand he held an ambrotype (that 
was the prevalent kind of pictures then ; photo- 
graphs had not come into use in the South). It 
is evident that the last thing the boy did before 
the death-angel closed his young eyes, was to 
gaze on that picture, lovingly. We took it ten- 
derly from his grasp ; it was the picture of a plain, 
faded, wrinkled old woman of the commoner sort, 
the poorer country people. It was his mother. 
Ah, to his childish eyes she v/as not old, nor 
wrinkled, nor ugly, nor faded, nor common. To 
him she was beautiful ; she was young ; she was 
the apotheosis of all that was lovely and lovable. 
She was "mother." Alas, poor mother. It is 
doubtful if she ever heard when, where or if he 
died. She may be waiting yet for his coming. 

95 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Poor mother. * * * "Plain," "common," "only a 
private," a "conscript" most likely — his loss will 
not be felt ; "only one of the men" — a unit in the 
great whole, he will not be missed. But oh, how 
dear was he to that simple old mother! He was 
her "boy," her son, her darling. 

Weep, poor mother, as weep thousands of 
hearts wrung by a common grief, and each with 
a grief of its own. 

In the distant Aiden shall she clasp her long 
lost boy? Away beyond the skies, where there 
are no wars, no conscript officers, no partings, no 
death; before that great white Throne where 
there are no distinctions of persons, shall her 
grief be 'suaged, her tears dried? 




96 



'a small game^' for a big stake. 



A "SMALL GAME" FOR A BIG STAKE. 



THE LITTLE CAPTAIN S TOAST^ AND WHAT HAP- 
PENED. 



The Old Doctor came in late one afternoon, 
and taking his seat, said he could only stay a 
few minutes ; and that he wasn't in a talking 
humor. He didn't want anybody to ask him any 
questions. 

I expressed the hope that he wasn't sick. 

Oh, no, he said ; only I've been lookin' thro' the 
wrong end of my Retroscope, contrary to my 
principles, and before I was aware of it, there had 
come trooping before my mental vision a whole 
lot of unpleasant recollections, and it has de- 
pressed me somewhat, and I havn't gotten entire- 
ly over it, altho' I have taken a bath and disin- 
fected myself. 

"How on earth do you disinfect yourself. Doc- 
tor?" said I. 

Why, by reading up on James Whitcomb "Riley 
and Mark Twain. They are the best antidotes for 
the "blues" I know of; they are antiseptic, for 
"blues" is pisen. It will take me a week to goX 
into good talking trim, at least, and then I'll tell 
you about the time we captured Munfordsville. 
Kentucky, and what happened about three days 

97 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

before the arrival of the army ; I mean the main 
army — Bragg's army. 

You see, the army was composed of two army- 
corps ; one commanded by General Leonidas Polk 
(an Episcopal minister, a Bishop, by-the-bye, you 
remember), who was killed later by a cannon-shot 
at Kenesaw Mountain in sight of Marietta, Ga., 
where I was stationed at the time ; and the other 
by General Hardee; both lieutenant-generals. 

Brigadier-General James R. Chalmers, after- 
wards Congressman from Mississippi, and lately 
deceased, was in command of a brigade of Mis- 
sissippi troops that had won the name of "The 
Fighting Brigade" (as if all brigades were not 
"fighting brigades"), and he thought he could 
just do anything with them. He had assaulted 
the place and was repulsed with a loss of two 
hundred of his Mississippi boys killed, and twice 
as many wounded. He was much censured for it, 
because, acting as advance guard of the army, he 
had no instructions to make an attack on a for- 
tified place, especially when he did not know the 
strength of the garrison, which was the case in 
this instance. 

The little village of Munfordsville nestles down 
between three mountains, separated by two little 
clear streams which unite there and form Green 
river; part of the town is on each side of the 
river. It was held by Brigadier-General Wilder, 

9S 



'a small game'' for a big stake. 



of the Federal army, with a brigade of splendid 
cavalry, 4500 strong; Chalmers had 2800 infan- 
try. 

The place was fortified by pine poles six or 
eight inches in diameter, split in two pieces and 
driven in the ground, slantin' outv/ards. They 
were about fifteen feet high. Under the slope, all 
around, was a ditch full of water. These poles 
were not an inch apart; they formed an almost 
solid wall, with loop-holes through which to fire ; 
and the trees and bushes all around had been cut 
down, and the trunks and limbs were so arranged 
as to obstruct a charge by the enemy, and sub- 
ject him to a fire from the loop-holes while tan- 
gled up in the abattis. Even if Chalmers' men 
could have charged through the clearing, and got- 
ten over this terrible abattis, a veritable death- 
trap, when they had reached the ditch they could 
not cross it ; nor was it possible to scale the walls 
without ladders. The fort was simply impreg- 
nable. 

But Chalmers charged it. My brother, who 
commanded a company in the Tenth Mississippi, 
informed me lately that after Chalmers had got- 
ten his nien tangled up in the abattis he could 
neither advance nor retreat — had to "get some- 
body to help him let loose" — and that it was only 
by a ruse that he was enabled to withdraw his 
men. At nearly night he sent in a flag of truce 

99 



10 O ^!r o -* i 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

and asked permission to carry off his wounded. 
It was of course granted, and under cover of 
darkness and this truce he withdrew his men. 

It was currently reported, and generally be- 
lieved, that General Chalmers was in doubt as to 
whether he should attack the place or wait till 
the arrival of the main army, and that he and his 
young staff-officers played a game of "seven-up"" 
to decide it. Chalmers won, and that meant "as- 
sault," and he "assaulted" — butted his brains out, 
figuratively. 

I do not know whether this is true or not, con- 
tinued the Old Doctor, but it probably is. Those 
gay youngsters would play cards, you know, and 
they'd bet on anything. They were very dare- 
devils, and did not stop at anything. 

It is a very remarkable coincidence that this 
same General Chalmers attacked Fort Pickens 
earlier in the war, and was badly repulsed, and 
that the same General Wilder was in command of 
the garrison at Fort Pickens, Looks like having 
had his fingers burnt once would have made him 
a little more cautious how he tackled Wilder. 

Chalmers was only about 26 years of age, and 
was as ambitious as he was handsome and brave. 
In that fatal assault, amongst the other gallant 
Mississippians, needlessly sacrificed, was the 
brave and much-beloved colonel of the loth Mis- 
sissippi Infantry, Colonel Bob Smith, of Jackson, 

100 




A FATAL ASSAUI^T. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Miss. I went in under a flag of truce to see him, 
when Bragg had arrived with his army two or 
three days later, but Colonel Smith was past 
knowing any one. I noticed in the ''Confederate 
Veteran" that a granite shaft has been erected 
by the Mississippi people to his memory, on the 
spot where he fell. My brother, captain of one 
of Smith's companies, and whom you all know, 
was desperately wounded while leading his men 
over that murderous abattis. 

5|C 3^ JjC 3jC 

About 2 o'clock on the third day after the as- 
sault the army arrived, and bivouacked all around 
the little town on the mountains. That night, 
when the camp-fires were lighted. General Wil- 
der saw that an army had arrived in force, and 
sent out a flag and offered to surrender, or in 
reply to a demand to surrender, I do not know 
which. That is the surrender of which I told you, 
I believe, before ; the one conducted by General 
S. B. Buckner, out of compliment to him, he hav- 
ing gone to school at Munfordsville when a boy. 

After General Wilder had handed his sword to 
General Buckner, the men all having stacked 
arms and were prisoners, he asked General Buck- 
ner what force we were in, as he wished to know 
whether he had surrendered to anything like an 
equal number without making a fight. General 
Buckner said: 

102 



"a small game'' for a big stake. 

"I shall not tell you anything more than if you 
had not surrendered at daylight, in an hour, we 
would have opened fire on the fort with seventy- 
eight cannon." 

"Good Lord," said General Wilder, "you would 
have blown us off the face of the earth." 

H: * n" * 

But I'm getting ahead of my story. 

About 2 p. m. General Hardee, with his staff 
and escort, arrived on the south side of the town, 
on top of one of the mountains, on which there 
was a road, and we rode into a little grove on the 
roadside, and dismounted to go into camp, or 
bivouac, rather; no tents, you know. 

Now, I had a nice saddle-horse, and a white 
"orderly" (servant) ; besides, the amb'lance that 
belonged to headquarters, driven by a negro boy, 
was in my charge; and in it were carried the 
medical supplies for headquarters, as well as my 
valise and blankets, etc., on the march. When I 
got tired riding horseback I'd coil up in the amb'- 
lance and take it easy, see? To tell you the truth, 
I early developed a wonderful faculty for finding 
comfortable places, and I somehow escaped much 
hardship that others felt. You bet I got out of 
the field before the severity of winter set in, and 
the offer of the empty honor, later, of being ap- 
pointed assistant medical director on Bragg's 
staff, could not — did not — tempt me to go back. 

103 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

When, after leaving the Medical Board and Gen- 
eral Hardee's party later, I was assigned to duty 
at Chattanooga, Dr. Richardson of New Orleans, 
now deceased, was then medical director. He was 
transferred to Richmond at his request, and Dr. 
Llewellyn, of Georgia, was made medical director 
in his stead. Dr. Llewellyn did me the honor to 
ask me to accept the position of assistant medical 
director, made vacant by his promotion. Declined 
with thanks. I had then a soft thing, and I pre- 
ferred it to a hard thing with more "honors" ; 
and life in the field, in the mountains of Tennes- 
see in snow-time, was a hard thing, you bet. But 
I have scattered again. Dan'els, can't you hold 
me down to a steady gait? I'm awful at break- 
ing. 

Amongst other "medical stores" in that amb'- 
lance in my charge, was a five-gallon demijohn 
of real good old Kentucky whisky — Bourbon. 
That I was popular with the staflf (on that ac- 
count) goes without saying. Excepting Dr. 
Yandell and the members of the Board of Exam- 
iners, the staff-officers were young men. There 
was Captain Wilkins, aid-de-camp, the same 
Judge Wilkins now of Sherman, Texas ; Cap- 
tain Roy, A. A. G. ; Captain Dave White, aide ; 
Major Hoskins, chief of artillery; Dr. Breysach- 
er, medical inspector, now living at Little Rock, 
Ark. ; Dr. Lunsford P. Yandell, Jr., the late popu- 

104 



A SMALL GAME FOR A BIG STAKE. 

lar lecturer in Memphis Medical College, brother 
to the medical director, several others, and last 
but not least (tho' he Zi'as the smallest one in the 
lot), was Captain Harry Dash, aide, the same 
Harry Dash now of the big grocery firm of Dash, 
Lewis & Co., New Orleans. Dash was a poet ; 
had written a small volume of poems at that time. 
Well, when we halted, dismounted and hitched 
our horses, the first thing was — to see how the 
"medical stores" were holding out. The exam- 
ination extended only to the demijohn, however. 
I made my orderly get out the demijohn, and 
seated on the grass with the demijohn in the 
center of the circle formed by the young staff- 
officers just mentioned, we had each poured out 
about two fingers in our tin-cups, and Captain 
Dash had said : 

"Hold up, boys, I want to propose a toast." 
So, with cup in hand — no thought of the old 
adage, "many a slip" — each sat. expectant, cup 
uplifted, listening to the toast. It was long, aye, 
very long, to thirsty, weary pilgrims, and before 
it v/as finished — Dash was saying something 
about an elephant having a trunk, and not being 
allowed to cross the Cumberland with it ; I didn't 
hear it out — here came a shot from the besieged 
garrison, a Parrott shell, screaming over our 
heads and it burst right in our midst. Before 
it exploded every feller had thrown himself down 

105 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

flat on the ground, and in so doing had not only 
spilt his whisky, but we kicked over the demijohn 
and lost the last drop of the precious medical sup- 
ply. Fortunately nobody was hurt. But that was 
the most indignant crowd of youngsters you ever 
saw. 

What did we do? Why, Wilkins and White 
just seized the little captain, after damning his 
toast and damning his eyes, and taking him by 
the legs and arms, with his back swung near the 
ground, just bumped him — bumped his seat 
against a black-jack tree about twenty bumps ; 
that's all. 

Here the Old Doctor took out a cigar, which 
he said somebody had given him, and lighting it 
puffed away with much relish. 

"Thanks, Doctor," said I. "That's a pretty 
good story for a man who wasn't going to stop 
but a minute, and wasn't in a talking humor. Sit 
longer! No? Well, do come. Doctor, some time 
when you are in a talking humor; it must be a 
sight to see." 

The Doctor grunted a good-natured grunt, and 
said: 

I can't help talkin' ; I've just got to talk, and 
you fellers are about the only ones I know who 
will listen to me about "war times." They say, 
"oh, g'wan, Doctor, we live in the present." Well, 
boys, I reckon I am an anachronism, a back num- 
ber. So long, boys. 



THE BUSHWACKERS AFTER THE DOCTOR. 



THE BUSHWHACKERS AFTER THE DOCTOR. 



After operating all night and otherwise at- 
tending to the wounded at Harrodsburg after the 
battle of Perryville, said the Old Doctor, resum- 
ing his account of the occurrences in Kentucky, 
about daylight I mounted my horse and lit out 
to overtake General Hardee and his party. I had 
not had anything to eat in nearly forty-eight 
hours, and was nearly starved. I rode rapidly. 
It was a cold, clear morning, late in October, and 
on the beautiful macadamized road my swift sin- 
gle-foot racker fairly flew. 

I had gone perhaps six miles before it occurred 
to me that I might be on the wrong road — going 
the wrong way. Presently I met a man in a cart, 
and I asked : 

"Is this the road to Camp Dick Robinson?" 
(I knew that was the general's objective point.) 

"My! — No!" said the man. "You are on the 
Versailles road, and going right t'wards the Yan- 
kees ; they are coming this way." 

Here was a predicament. All those six miles 
to retrace, and the danger of being captured— r 
perhaps shot for a spy — ^being alone, and away 
from my command. But I turned back and went 
flying, I tell you. 

107 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

A little after sun-up I came in sight of the 
general's party, just breaking camp and about to 
be off. They had bivouacked inside of a far- 
mer's stable-lot where there was plenty of oats, 
cawn and fodder ; something my horse needed 
mighty bad. The general and his staff and escort 
had mounted and were off before I had dis- 
mounted. Dave, the black cook, had saved me a 
mutton-chop and some bread, and the coffee-pot 
was still on the fire. He was busy packing the 
camp-chest and loading the camp things into the 
wagon. I put my horse in the stable, after giving 
him his fill at the trough, and shaking down some 
oats and cawn for him, I prepared to take a nap 
on a pile of straw while he was feedin'. I had 
devoured my breakfast meantime. 

Before I had gotten a good hold on my nap, 
"bang," "bang" and keep-on "bang"-ing, went 
the guns close by, the bullets whistled through 
the bam like hail. It was our rear-guard. Gen. 
Joe Wheeler, keeping back the enemy's advance, 
which was crowdin' us. General Hardee had a 
closer call than he knew, being already detached 
from his command and goin' it alone. My horse 
feeding at the trough was frightened, and jumped 
around considerable. I hastily put on the saddle, 
and in doing so I dropped this ring from my 
hand, said the Old Doctor, here removing from 
his finger a large, well-worn onyx seal ring. 

io8 



THE BUSHWACKERS AFTER THE DOCTOR. 



which he said his father gave him on his sixteenth 
birthday, and which he prized very highly. 

My hands were cold and the ring, always a 
little too big for me, slipped oft* and fell in the 




l^-r.. '- 




"WE FAIRLY FLEW." 

straw. I was terribly distressed at the thought 
of leaving it, yet the bullets kept warning me that 
it was about time I was thinkin' of gettin' fur- 
ther. It was dark in the stable, and just as I had 

109 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

despaired, and was about to mount, a movement 
of my horse threw a gleam of Hght on the ring. 
I grabbed it, with a handful of straw, and at a 
single leap was in the saddle and out of that like 
an arrow. My horse seemed to be as much im- 
pressed with the necessity of getting away as I 
did. A volley from the enemy followed us — they 
were now in sight, and our men driven back, 
were in the stable-yard. We fairly flew. 

A mile away the road ran along at the base of a 
low range of mountains for several miles. As I 
went flying along — ring still clasped in my hand 
— hadn't had time to put it on — ''biz" went a 
rifle from somewhere on the side of the moun- 
tain, and the bullet cut my cap. "Bing" went an- 
other rifle, further down, ahead of me; and 
glancing up I saw the little ring of smoke made 
by the old-fashioned Kentucky rifle, the old muz- 
zle-loader, with which I was so familiar in my 
boy days as a squirrel-hunter — the most accurate 
firing rifle of them all. 

I realized that I was now running the gauntlet 
of bushwhackers ; stay-at-homes — Union men — 
guerillas, as they were variously designated. I 
just laid flat down on my horse's neck, making 
myself as small as possible, wishing I could make 
it invisible, and giving him rein — no need of spur 
— he was as much impressed with the "gravity of 
the situation" as was yours truly — we went like 

no 



THE BUSHWACKERS AFTER THE DOCTOR. 

an arrow. I have no idea how many cracks they 
took at me, but it seemed like several hundred 
thousand. It was "whiz," as a bullet would go 
by me ; "twang," as another would ring just over 
my head; "bang," "pop," "biz," for several miles. 

Presently I came in sight of some of our party, 
an officer of the staff and some teamsters. As I 
rode up — they were dismounted at a little road- 
side "store," or "grocery" — one said: 

"Here comes the surgeon, now." 

I rode up, dismounted, and put on my ring. 
One said: 

"Doctor, Bogle is shot." 

Bogle was the wagon-master of our headquar- 
ters. He had gone into a field near by, with two 
of the men and a wagon, by orders of the captain 
of the cavalry escort, to get some cawn. They 
were engaged in gathering and loading the wagon 
with cawn, and while so engaged Bogle was shot 
thro' the fleshy part of the shoulder with a minie 
ball ; while the horse of one of the men was shot 
thro' the head and killed. The horse was killed 
by the bullet from a Kentucky rifle, small bore; 
and the third shot took effect in the horn of the 
saddle of the other man. It was evident that three 
persons had fired, and that each of the party was 
a target. 

The captain took a squad of men and went up 
on the mountain-side where the shots came from, 

III 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

and in a little cabin they found an old, gray- 
bearded man, and two strapping mountain boys, 
of some eighteen or twenty. They were bush- 
whackers, and were by the rules of war, outlawed. 
The men found secreted in the cabin a minie rifle 
and two small-bore Kentucky rifles, the calibers 
of all of which corresponded with the bullet-holes 
in Bogle's shoulder and in the horse's head, and 
in the saddle, and all three rifles were still warm, 
showing that they had just been discharged. 

That was proof enough. Without judge or jury, 
or the form of a trial or investigation, the old 
man and the two boys were taken out — some- 
where — I didn't go; I was busy dressing Bogle's 
wound. But one of the men told me that the old 
man never said a word, but manifested the 
stoicism of an Indian. 




112 



A FROG STORY. 



A FROG STORY. 



Said the Old Doctor on this occasion, seating 
himself with his usual make-yourself-at-home 

air: 

While the army was around about Tupelo, Miss., 
after the battle of Shiloh, and General Hardee's 
headquarters were at Tupelo, one afternoon in 
August, after the day's work of the board of 
medical examiners was over, I remember that 
Drs. Yandell, Pim, Heustis, the members of the 
board, and myself (I was secretary, you remem. 
ber I told you), were sitting in camp talking and 
smoking. There were other officers of the staflf 
present also, as all of the officers' quarters were 
near together in a nice grove; and some one of 
the party, I have forgotten whom, but I think it 
was Major Kirkland, one of the engineer officers, 
stated it as a fact that a toad would swallow coals 
of fire, and that it would not hurt him. He could 
not explain it, he said, as it would hardly do to 
say that the toad thought the coal was a "light- 
ning bug," or that he ''thought" at all. But what- 
ever be the reason, it was a fact, he said. 

The party laughed at him, and said that his 
credulity was of a robust and full-grown sort; 
that he was easily imposed upon, and the state- 
US 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

ment was scoffed at and ridiculed. Dr. Yandell 
said : 

"Come, Kirkland, what do you take us for? 
That's an old woman's tale that I have heard all 
my life, but it is not to be supposed that anybody 
would believe it." 




RECOGNIZED THE MAJOR. 

I didn't say anything. I was too young, and 
too green, and altogether too inexperienced to 
take a position on so momentous a question in 
natural history. I had read, however, a good deal 
about toads and frogs, and other reptiles, in 
works on physiology, and amongst other things I 

114 



A FROG STORY. 



had read, somewhere, that away back yonder in 
the early days of Egyptian civiHzation the 
tenacity with which a toad cHngs to Hfe had been 
observed and recorded ; that they had been known 
to be found walled up in solid masonry, I don't 
know how many centuries old; and I remember 
an instance being cited of a toad having been 
found in the reign of Ram-Bunk-Shus III, or 
Ram Shaklin, or some of those old Egyptian 
rams, that had been buried a thousand years. 
But I kept mum. 

The major was a little ruffled at the merciless 
way the party guyed him ; so he offered to prove 
it. That made matters worse. They laughed 
more than ever, and that made the major mad. 
Luckily for him and for science, and for the 
truth of this story — 

''Come, now, Doctor; you are not going to tell 
us that yarn for straight, I hope," said Dr. Hud- 
son, Junior Editor of the Journal. "What do 
vou take us for?" 

''Ain't T, though?" said the Old Doctor. "It's 
gospel straight, laugh if you will." 

As I was saying, it being summer time and 
toads were plentiful in that country, and it being 
about sunset, presently the major spied a large 
warty toad hopping about as if he were out for a 
lark ; a comfortable looking old fellow, and send- 
ing Henry the colored boy for some coals, we 

115 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

prepared for a circus — a demonstration — a fail- 
ure (of course), a fight or a foot-race. There was 
great interest manifested. A crowd assembled. 

The major, now thoroughly on his mettle, kept 
saying, "I'll show you." 

He went cautiously towards the toad, and with 
thumb and finger thumped a live coal right plump 
in the frog's path — right before his face. Well, 
sirs, that old toad stopped, straightened up, 
turned his head on one side and took a square 
look at the coal. It must have been just what he 
was looking for, as he seemed pleased to meet 
it. His eyes shone with a new light, and he made 
a grab at the coal and swallowed it with apparent 
relish. Fact. His eyes sparkled still more, and 
beyond doubt he registered the mental reflection 
that that certainly was the much talked of "hot 
stuflf." He set out to look for more I suppose ; 
but we were not done with him yet. 

Dr. Yandell said that the major had taken an 
unfair advantage of the toad ; that he was evi- 
dently getting old, from his looks — and his eye- 
sight was not good ; that "the shades of eve were 
falling fast," etc., and that he would bet the toad 
wouldn't eat another. The major repeated the 
trick with success several times, till every one was 
satisfied that the toad had not swallowed the fire 
under a delusion ; he seemed to know it was hot, 
and rather liked it. But Dr. Yandell insisted that 

ii6 



A FROG STORY. 

it would kill the frog; it would surely produce 
inflammation of the stomach ; no living creature 
could take fire into its stomach and live, he said. 
Well, sirs; the major said he would make good 
his whole story. He declared that the frog would 
be none the worse for his hot supper. He had 
Henry to get a wooden box and put the toad in it, 
and shut him up over night. As I live, boys, next 
morning that toad was not only alive, but gave 
unmistakable evidences of being hungry ! He 
recognized the major and winked at him; and 
when a candle-bug, one of those yellow fellows 
with a hard shell, was thrown in the box, the frog 
snapped him up like a trout would a minnow; 
fact. 



117 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



POKING FUN AT THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR. 



During the siege of Atlanta, said our Genial 
Friend on this occasion, looking radiant and 
happy in a new suit of linen, his blue eyes twink- 
ling with merriment, when Atlanta was head- 
quarters of Hood's army, the Medical Director of 
Hospitals, the venerable Dr. Samuel Hollings- 
worth Stout, now living at Dallas, Texas, for- 
merly of Giles county, Tennessee, issued orders 
that every patient at the hospital-post of Coving- 
ton, Ga., forty miles below Atlanta, should be 
sent further down into the interior, so as to make 
room at that, the nearest and largest hospital- 
post, for the wounded expected during the battle 
which was daily expected, but which hung fire, 
literally speaking, for many weeks. 

There were at Covington some six large hospi- 
tals ; I mean, there were six separate hospital or- 
ganizations of large accommodating capacity, but 
some of them occupied four, five or six separate 
buildings. The Hill hospital was all under one 
roof, the only one that was — a female college 
building ; but the others were simply beds on each 
side of the room in every little "store," little 
rough plank one-story buildings, arranged on the 
four sides of the public square, in which stood 
the court-house; the stereotyped plan of little 

ii8 



POKING FUN AT THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR. 

towns throughout the South. The churches were 
also filled with bunks. We didn't have any nice 
little enameled bedsteads, or iron-framed cots; — 
ours were just rough, undressed scantlings, 
knocked together ; and our feather beds were 
sacks filled with hay; pillows ditto. 

Well, there were on duty at that post seventeen 
medical officers, I amongst the rest. When the 
patients, all that were able to bear transportation, 
vvcre sent away, and the battle didn't take place, 
and no new arrivals came, there were more doc- 
tors at the post than patients, and we Hterally had 
nothing to do but frolic, ride with the girls, have 
picnics and fishing parties. But Dr. Stout issued 
an order that each day one of the medical officers 
should be detailed by the post-surgeon — of whom, 
by-the-bye, I'll tell you a good story — to serve as 
"Officer of the Day." From 7 a. m. one day, 
till 7 a. m. the next day, he was to be "on duty".; 
that is, he was to wear a sash and sword, and 
stay where he could be called at night if wanted : 
and during the day he was to strut around (that 
wasn't in the order, however) and do nothing. 
There just wasn't anything to do, I tell you ; nev- 
ertheless, the order was that the officer of the day 
should visit and inspect each ward (most of them 
were empty; we were to look for spooks, I reck- 
on), and visit every department, kitchen, laun- 
dry — everywhere; inspect the food, the cooking, 

119 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

etc., and to make a written report every morning 
to headquarters. 

All this red-tape was nonsense, and the report 
soon degenerated into a mere statement that ev- 
erything was O. K. — a perfunctory performance 
of about four lines. 

The officer of the day was the only one who 
would stay in town ; all the others would go off 
frolicking or fishing. By-and-by Dr. Stout wrote 
down to the post-surgeon, saying that the medical 
officers did not show zeal enough in their duties, 
and that they must be required to make more de- 
tailed reports. I made one of twenty-four pages 
of foolscap, which was all words. I didn't say 
a thing more than I had been saying in four lines, 
but said it differently ; rang all the changes on it. 

It began by saying: 

"The English language is happily so constructed 
that a great many words of diverse origin and 
derivation can be so brought to bear as to convey 
one and the same idea ; and consequently, one best 
versed in the resources of the language will 
naturally be most facile in its use." "Thus," I 
said, to give an illustration : "Instead of saying 
as Dr. Brown did yesterday, that the bread was 
a little scorched, it might be expressed thus : 

"In consequence of inattention, ignorance, in- 
competence, temporary absence or preoccupation 

120 



POKING FUN AT THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR. 

of the colored divinity who presides over the cul- 
inary establishment of Ward 3, vulgarly called 
the 'cook/ a part of the nutriment, the subsis- 
tence, the 'grub,' a very essential part, which was 
that day being prepared and intended for the ali- 
mentation and sustenance of the unfortunate be- 
ings who, by accident, exposure or fate were at 
that time sick or wounded, and lying prone on a 
roughly extemporized bunk in a building near by, 
by courtesy called a hospital, sick, wounded or 
else convalescent, and dependent on others, our- 
selves, to-wit, and deprived, doubtless much to 
their sorrow and regret, of the privilege of being 
at the front in the trenches or on the line of battle, 
battling for their country ; to-wit, the bread, being 
too long exposed to the oxidizing influence of the 
oven, had been somewhat scorched, burnt, or 
otherwise injured, being thereby rendered un- 
wholesome and unfit for the purposes for which 
it was intended ; to-wit, the nourishment of the 
said sick, wounded or convalescent soldiers." 

Or the fact that the bread was burnt, I said, 
"might be thus expressed, if one were very scru- 
pulous as to the elegance of his diction, and 
wished to be exact, and not in the least to mislead 
or disappoint the Honorable Medical Director 
who, we knew^ in his zeal, was famishing for tid- 
ings from the half-dozen patients and the seven- 
teen doctors at that post, saying nothing what- 

121 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

ever as to the condition of the bunks and their 
sole tenants, the Lectularius family," and so 
forth, and so forth. I strung her out twenty-four 
pages, and didn't say anything except that the 
bread was burnt in cooking. 

Dr. Warmuth (now living at Smyrna, Tenn.), 
came into the post-surgeon's office one morning 
where all the officers assembled once a day at 
least, to make his report as officer of the day for 
the preceding twenty-four hours. Dr. Macdon- 
ald, an old U. S. army surgeon, and a strict dis- 
ciplinarian, was the post-surgeon — a good one 
on him presently. Dr. Warmuth wrote out his 
report and handed it to Dr. Macdonald. He said 
there was nothing to report, as usual, except that 
a pig had fallen into the sink in the rear of Ward 
3, and he respectfully suggested that Surgeon 

, who would now come on as officer of the 

day, be requested to get him out. 

Of course they had the laugh on me, and rigged 
me no little about the pig. 

I put on my uniform — coat buttoned up to the 
chin and devilish uncomfortable, I tell you ; sum.- 
mer time ; fly-time — fishing time, and the trout 
were striking like all-possessed. I put on my 
sword and sash and went on duty as "Officer of 
the Day:" all the other fellers went fishing, and 
took all the ladies, girls and wives, with them, 
leaving me, I do believe, the sole occupant of the 

122 



POKING FUN AT THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR. 

town, outside of the hospital people; big fish-fry 
and dance at the mill. Just my luck, I said. 

I never once thought of the pig; there was no 
pig in it, of course ; Dr. Warmuth was only pok- 
ing fun at me and the medical director. 

Next morning when we were all assembled in 
the post-surgeon's office, and Dr. Dick Taylor 
was telling how big that fellow was that broke his 
hook and making me green with envy, I was re- 
minded that my report was then due, and I 
thought for the first time of that pig. I took 
a piece of paper and a pen, and knocked oflf this 
(here the Old Doctor handed Dr. Hudson a news- 
paper clipping) without a break, and gave it to 
Dr. Macdonald : 

"Surgeon Warmuth in reporting mentioned 
that a pig in sporting on the brink of the sink, 
attracted by the od'rous vapors began to cut up 
divers capers, and essayed at last to take a peep 
into the depths of the nasty deep ; but owing to 
a little dizziness he got his pig-ship into business. 
I heard a squealing, which, appealing to every 
feeling of my nature, I quickly ran to get a man 
to lend a hand to help the porcine creature. The 
pig, in the meantime, became apprehensive that 
the stink of the sink (which was very oflfensive), 
would produce a fit of indigestion, revolved in his 
mind the knotty question, To be, or not to be.* 
He soon decided that if taken by our hands weM 

123 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

save his bacon (not the Friar, but the fried), then 
another effort tried. Striving then with might 
and main, he landed on the land again, and 
scampered off with caper fine, a happier and 
wiser swine." 

Dr. Macdonald began to read : 

'*Wha — what's this ?" he said ; "- - pig in sport- 
ing on the brink of the sink ?" 




WHA— WHAT'S THIS?" 



"That's my report as officer of the day, sir," 
I said. 

"Respectfully forwarded to the medical di- 
rector, not approved," he wrote on the back of it. 

Dr. Stout returned it "not approved," and 
added "this dignified officer is expected to make 
a more dignified report." 

124 



POKING FUN AT THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR. 

But the young fellows in Stout's office ''ap- 
proved" of it, and they made copies of it, and it 
got into the Atlanta Constitution. There is where 
I got this; my wife found it with my old war- 
things lately. 




125 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



DR. DICK TAYLOR, OF MEMPHIS. 



Among the medical officers at Covington at the 
time I speak of, said the Old Doctor, was Dr. 
Dick Taylor, of Memphis. He was a rattler — 
full of fun as a kitten, and as chuck full of fight 
as a buzz-saw. He is living yet, I believe. He 
was an impetuous, hot-headed little fellow, but 
withal a genial and most companionable one. He 
had his wife with him, and they had a little boy 
about three 3^ears old, named "J^^se Tate." Mrs. 
Taylor, like Mrs. Boffins in "Our Mutual 
Friend," was a "high-flyer at fashion" — a society 
lady. She was very proud of her little boy, and 
took great pains to train him in the way he should 
go, so that in the sweet bye-and-bye, he would not 
depart therefrom, but follow in the footsteps of 
his pa (nit). She had taught him the name of 
the President of these United States (tempora- 
rily, then, dis-"United"), the name of the Presi- 
dent of the Confederate States, the Queen of 
England, and a whole lot of other information 
that it is thought all children should possess, and 
her great pride was to have the little fellow show 
oflF before company. 

"Jesse Tate," his mother would say, "Who is 
President of the Confederate States?" 

"Jeff Davis," the little chap would say. 

126 



DR. DICK TAYLOR OF MEMPHIS. 

"Who is Queen of England ?" 

"Victoria," Jesse would answer stoutly, and so 
on ; she would put him through his paces before 
all callers. 

Dr. Dick got tired of this nonsense, and he 
purposely confused the boy for a joke. 

"Jesse Tate," he would say, "Who is President 
of the United States?" 

"Abraham " 

"Tut, tut," his daddy would say. "Queen Vic- 
toria is President of the United States." "Now, 
who is Queen of England?" 

"Vic ." 

"Tut, tut," his father would say, "You mean 
Jeff Davis," and so on, until he got the little fel- 
low so confused that he didn't know which from 
'tother. 

One day some fashionable ladies called, and of 
course Jesse Tate had to go through his perform- 
ances. 

"Jesse Tate," his mother said, "tell Mrs. Hen- 
derson, like a good little boy, who is President of 
the United States." 

"Queen Vic Davis," said Jesse stoutly. 

"Oh, no, my son ; you forgot ; Abraham Lin- 
coln is the President of the United States." 

"Abraham Lincoln," said the child. 

"Now tell Mrs. Henderson ; who is the Queen 
of England?" 

J 27 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

"Jeff Toria," said Jesse Tate. 

Poor Mrs. Taylor was mortified beyond expres- 
sion. She said : 

"That's some of Dr. Taylor's work; he's al- 
ways spoiling the child." 

'K *!* *** •!* 

One morning when we had assembled in Dr. 
Macdonald's office as usual, Dr. Macdonald who, 
you remember, had been a U. S. army officer, and 
was a great stickler for etiquette, said to Dr. 
Taylor : 

"Doctor Taylor, I am much pained and sur- 
prised to hear that you so far forgot yourself 
yesterday, as I understand, as to curse one of the 
men, — a private. Kennedy, the ward-master, 
complained to me yesterday that you cursed him. 
You ought to remember, Doctor, that in this war, 
we are engaged in a cause almost holy ; we are all 
brothers ; our soldiers are citizens, not hirelings, 
and at home, for all you may know, Kennedy's 
social position may be as good as yours. It is 
only the accident of war that makes you an officer 
and him a private. Reverse the situation ; and 
suppose that you were a private ; how would you 
like for any one to curse you, just because he was 
an officer? You should treat the private soldier 
with all kindness and cgn^ideration, because of 
their defenseless position and the hardships — " 

Just then Kennedy burst in at the door, which 

128 



DR. DICK TAYLOR OF MEMPHIS. 

had been closed, and in great excitement, ex- 
claimed : 

"Doctor Macdonald, the house is on fire." 

Macdonald, furious with rage and anger, had 
already, before Kennedy had gotten the words 
out of his mouth, jumped up, and had seized a 
chair and was in the act of knocking Kennedy 
into kingdom-come, saying: 

"You d - -'d scoundrel ! — how dare you enter 
my office without knocking?" 

"But, Doctor, the house is on fire !" said poor 
Kennedy. 

"I don't care if it is," said Macdonald; "I'll 
teach you to knock at my door when you have 
anything to communicate to me !" 

We pacified him bye-and-bye. Kennedy had 
gone, crestfallen and much hurt. 

"Doctor Macdonald," said Dick Taylor, "I am 

pained and surprised to see that you would so far 

forget yourself as to curse a private. You should 

remember. Doctor, that we are engaged in a holy 

cause, and that we are all brothers, and " 

"Oh, you be hanged," said Macdonald. 
* * * * 

I had rooms in the house occupied by Dr. Tay- 
lor and his wife and Jesse Tate. It was a little 
cottage of four rooms and a hall through the 
center. It was Dr. Taylor's invariable custom to 
take a nap after dinner. It was summer. He 

129 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



would Spread a pallet on the floor in the hallway, 
and would snooze an hour or so every afternoon. 
I used to sit on the little gallery, or "porch" 
as they called it in Georgia, and read, usually, 
meantime. I had brought with me from Missis- 
sippi one of my men, a slave, a big black fellow 
named Jim. Jim was a kind of Jack-at-all-trades. 
I had given him permission to open a barber shop 




MAKING THE ATMOSPHERE PURPLE. 

on his own account on the corner near our house. 
Of course he went by my name, and he had up a 
little sign, ''Barber Shop," and his name under- 
neath. 

One afternoon the shop was closed, I suppose, 
for a big strapping fellow, a "sick soldier," — a 
"hospital rat" as the chronic stayers were called, 

130 



DR. DICK TAYLOR OF MEMPHIS. 

~a great gawky six-footer,— had been there to 
get shaved, I suppose, and not finding Jim, made 
inquiry for him, and had been directed to me, his 
owner, for information as to his whereabouts, as 
Jim went by my name So, this "grim, gaunt and 
ungainly" specimen came up to the little porch 
where I was sitting, reading, and with an at- 
tempt at a salute that looked more like grabbing 
at a fly than a salute, said : 

"Is you the man what keeps the barber-shop?" 
The spirit of mischief, always on me, prompted 
me to say, very kindly : 

"No ; there he is, lying down in the hall. He 

told me to call him if anybody came; walk in." 

So, the big fellow went in, and waked Taylor 

up. I dodged behind the comer of the house, for 

I knew what was coming. 

Out came the fellow, at double-quick, and Tay- 
lor right at his heels, smashing Mrs. Taylor's lit- 
tle rocking chair over his head and back, and at 
every lick making the atmosphere purple with 
remarks that won't do to print. 

"The confounded scoundrel!" said Taylor, 
when he was able to speak ; "To have the impu- 
dence to wake me up, and, damn him, to ask if I 
was the man that keeps the barber-shop !— your 
nigger r' 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



PRESUMPTIVE EVIDENCE. 



My wife had a pretty, bright little darkey 
named "Flora." She was about ten years old, 
and while not old enough or trustworthy enough 
for nurse for the baby, she was an excellent hand 
to amuse him, and to keep him from swallowing 
the tack-hammer, for instance. She was an ad- 
mirable mimic, and, like many of her race, was a 
bom musician. I remember she got hold of a 
harmonicon, somewhere, one of those little cheap 
toy things that now sell for a dime, and it is as- 
tonishing the amount of ''harmony" she could 
get out of it. 

My wife undertook to teach Flora to read. She 
got one of those little blue-back primers, in which 
there is a picture to illustrate the simple words. 
Like Smike in "Nicholas Nickleby," whom old 
Squeers, the Yorktown schoolmaster made spell 
"horse," and then go and curry his horse and 
feed him, so as to impress it upon the mind ; there 
was "a-x, ax," and a picture of an ax ; "o-x, ox," 
and a picture of an ox, and so on. Flora learned 
very rapidly to spell "a-x, ax," and "o-x, ox," 
and "j-u-g, jug," etc., and could rattle it off 
nicely. 

One day my wife, suspecting that Flora was 
getting along too fast, — that she was not leam- 

132 



PRESUMPTIVE EVIDENCE. 

ing to connect the sound of the letters with the 
object, after putting her through all of the "a-x, 
ax," and *'b-o-x, box," exercise, put her thumb 
over the little picture of the ox, and said: 

"Flora, what is that?" 

"0-x, ox," said Flora. 

"How did you know that was "o-x, ox," said 
my wife. 

"I see'd his tail," said Flora, with a shame- 
faced grin. 



133 



EFCOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



A CLOSE CALL— A BAD STAND AND A WORSE 

RUN. 



I've been tellin' you fellers about Covington 
a good deal, said the Fat Philosopher at his next 
visit, but I b'lieve I didn't tell you about the time 
I was killed, did I? No? 

Well, it was while there were so few patients 
there and so many doctors, that General Stead- 
man, or Stoneman, I don't recollect which, don't 
make much difference — raided the place. We 
thought maybe he had heard of the state of af- 
fairs there, and being short on real good doc- 
tors sought this opportunity to replenish. 

Now, surgeons, non-combatants, are usually 
not taken prisoners ; but on this occasion we 
feared that finding so many of us, and with noth- 
ing to do, he'd relieve the Southern Confederacy 
of the tax of feedin' us. At any rate, we feared 
that the Yanks might take along some of us, at 
least, if only as specimens, leaving only enough 
to care for the few remaining sick and wounded 
at that post. 

Now, like the parable in the Bible about all 
those fellers who were invited to a party and 
didn't want to go, every feller had some excuse. 
For my part, like also one of the aforesaid, I had 
"married a wife," and we had a baby, and it 

T34 



A CLOSE CALL. 

would have been exceedingly inconvenient, to say 
the least, for me to make a trip North, even at 
the invitation of so distinguished a gentleman as 
General Whateverhisnamewas, without the wife 
and baby especially. I particularly didn't relish 
the idea of visiting Johnson's Island at that sea- 
son of the year, however attractive that place 
might be thought by others to be; so, when the 
news of the approach of the raiders was received 
every man at the post lit out for the timber to 
hide and wait till the clouds rolled by. We never 
dreamed that they would want us so bad as to 
pursue us. It never occurred to any of us that 
the Federal army might be so short on doctors 
as to have these fellers scour the woods for a 
lot thought to be particularly choice. But they 
did. 

Lesassieur and I (Lesassieur of New Orleans; 
he was bookkeeper at the hospital), we hid in a 
thicket, down in a little creek bottom about two 
miles from town, and kept as still as mice. By- 
and-by we heard the Yanks talking, and heard the 
rattle of their accouterments and the tramp of 
their horses' hoofs up on the hill to our left, and 
quite near us. It is likely, if we had staid still 
they would have passed us unobser^^ed ; but Le- 
sassieur, like a fool, jumped up and ran. And I, 
like another fool, did the same. ^ 

There was a dense woods, the river bottom or 

135 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

swamp, about half a mile off, and that was our 
destination. We knew if we could reach that 
cover, pursuit would be impossible and would 
cease. But we had to cross an *'old field" of 
broom sage before getting to it, and it was sepa- 
rated from the old field by a ten-rail fence. Across 
the field Lesassieur went like a scared rabbit, 
and cleared the fence at a single bound, as easily 
as a buck could have done it. 

Now, as a jumpist I was never regarded by 
my many admiring friends with that degree of 
enthusiasm with which they regarded my many 
other accomplishments ; and as for running — 
well, I never practised, you know. I followed 
as fast as I could, however, but not near fast 
enough to keep even in speaking distance of Le- 
sassieur. He was scared — that's what ailed him. 
I thought, however, that a bad run was better 
than a bad stand, so I put in the best licks I 
knew how. Of course I wasn't scared — oh, no. I 
just desired to advise Lesassieur to hurry up. He 
had an old mother, he said, who would grieve for 
him if he came up missin'. 

I hadn't gotten half way across this field when 
the Yankees hove in sight. They were in hot 
pursuit — seven of them, well mounted. They be- 
gan to fire at me about three hundred yards off, 
and came with a whoop. They yelled like 
Comanche Indians. Thev were elated, I don't 




ClyEARED THE FENCE. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

doubt, at the prospect of capturing an unusually 
fine specimen, — a young one. 

They were getting uncomfortably near, and 
"bang," "zip," "bang" went the guns, the bullets 
hitting the ground all around me. The situation 
was getting serious. Lordy — everything mean 
that I had ever done in my life went through my 
mind like a panorama in brilliant colors. I re- 
called without an efifort all those things that I 
had done which I hadn't orter done, and similarly 
all those things that I had left undone, etcetera, 
and I felt that there was "no health in me" (see 
Sunday School books) ; and it did look as if very 
soon there would be no breath in me. At least 
that wasn't a very healthy place for doctors about 
then. Something had to be "did," and that pretty 
quick, or I'd be a cold corpus, and my wife a 
widow, to say nothing of the great loss to science 
and the Confederate army. 

I had in my hand a small mahogany watch-box, 
in which was my wife's watch, her diamond ring, 
and some eighty dollars in gold coin. (Lordy, 
if those Yanks had known it.) My own fine 
watch I had in my pocket, but no sign of it was 
visible, you bet. I had prudence enough to not 
tempt those young men ; it would have been 
wrong. Presently a bullet struck that box and 
shattered it, scattering the contents "promis- 
cuous." , 

138 



A CLOSE CALL. 

I saw that I would be killed before I could 
reach the fence, and you know a feller thinks 
mighty fast when death is looking him in the face 
at short range. Stratagem came to my mind. I 
stopped, faced my pursuers, who, by that time 
were coming on the run, one feller checking up 
now and then to take a crack at me — and throw- 
ing up my hands, waved my handkerchief in to- 
ken of surrender. But, confound them, their early 
education in the ethics of war had evidently been 
neglected ; they didn't know what a flag of truce 
was (it was a clean handkerchief, or I would not 
have much blamed them for not recognizing it). 
"Zip," "zip," went the bullets still, cutting pretty 
close, but missing me. At the pop of the next 
shot, I threw up both hands, and fell heavily for- 
ward — dead — they thought. 

"Oh, I fetched him that time," said one. 

In an instant they were all around me. I laid 
still. One fellow was drunk, and when he found 
I was not dead he pointed his gun at me and 
fired. He would have unquestionably finished me 
but for the boy, the youngest of the party, who 
knocked the gun up just in time to save me. 

"Oh, don't shoot a wounded prisoner," said he. 

"Are you much hurt?" asked one of them. 

"No," I said, very much at a loss how to round 
it off, fearing that when they found I had tricked 
them they would kill me. "I am not hit at all; 

139 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

but I saw I would be killed, so I offered to sur- 
render, but you kept shooting, and that was the 
only way I could think of to make you stop. I 
surrender to this man," said I, pointing to the 
boy. 

I got up on the boy's horse behind him, and 
slipped a $5 gold piece in his hand (one I had 
picked up of my scattered coin). The drunken 
man still wanted to shoot me. The boy gave me a 
pull at his canteen, for I was nearly famished for 
water. I was "spittin' cotton." Do you fellers 
know what that is? The boy said: 

"I'll protect you and take you to the general." 

The general, as soon as he saw that I was a 
surgeon, released me and said: 

"What did you run for ? You might have been 
killed. We don't take medical officers prisoner." 

You bet I had a big attack of glad. I went 
home to my wife and baby with a light heart. 
Dinner was about ready; we had a good dinner, 
too, and I made that Yankee cavalry boy sit right 
down to the table with us, and we just treated him 
like a brother. We stuffed his haversack with 
pies and apples, and gave him a bottle of home- 
made Scuppernong wine, ten years old, a product 
for which the Georgia people are famous. I wish 
I knew what became of that boy. I kept his name 
and home address a long time, but lost it, some- 
how. 

140 



A CLOSE CALL. 

Find my stuff? Well, yes, most of it. Next 
day I went to the spot. ( I thought at one time of 
erecting a monument to me on the spot where I 
fell a martyr to the Lost Cause — where the Yan- 
kees killed me — as they thought.) I hunted 
around in the broom sage where I fell, and was 
lucky enough to find most of the contents of my 
box. I've forgotten now, how much of it was 
missin'. 



^^^S^^^- 




141 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



THE DOCTOR SMUGGLES CONTRABAND STJP- 

PLIES. 



After the storm was over the post was broken 
up — we were then in the enemy's Hnes — and I 
was left there (at Covington), in charge of a lot 
of bad cases that couldn't be moved. Old man 
Giles, who had a little drug store, which, like 
everything else, was rifled, gutted — robbed, came 
to me and said : 

''Doctor, the Yankees in plundering my store 
overlooked twenty bottles of chloroform. It 
was in the bottom of a box, with a false bottom 
over it. They took everything else that was in 
the box, and thought they had gotten to the bot- 
tom, when they hadn't. Let me sell it to you for 
the Southern Confederacy." 

"What will you take for it, Mr. Giles?'* I said. 
"You know I have nothing but Confederate 
money." 

"That's good enough for me," said the loyal 
old fellow. "I reckon it's worth fifteen dollars a 
bottle, ain't it ? And as the bottles are only about 
two-thirds full, we'll call the twenty bottles fif- 
teen." (The fact is, there was a pound of chlo- 
roform in each bottle ; but I didn't know it till I 
went to dispose of it in Augusta later.) So, I 

142 



SMUGGLES CONTRABAND SUPPLIES. 

paid him for fifteen bottles at $15 a bottle, $225 
Confed. 

I took my twenty bottles of chloroform to my 
room, and by filling each one reduced them to 
fifteen, thus saving space in packing. I hid them 
securely in the bottom of a small trunk, and tak- 
ing the hint from Mr. Giles' experience, I put a 
bottom over them, a false bottom, for, being in 
the enemy's lines, I didn't know, if overhauled by 
a picket at any time on my way to Augusta, when 
I should be ready to go, but that the precious 
chloroform would be taken from me, which it 
surely would have been ; it was contraband, and 
much needed by our people. Well, sirs, I finally 
got away the last of my sick and wounded, all 
who didn't die, poor fellows, and with my wife 
and young baby, and my cook and nurse, I went 
to the nearest place where the railroad was not 
torn up, and took a train for Augusta, which 
place we reached without accident or incident 
worth mentioning. 

The very first person I met whom I knew was 
Peterson, of the medical purveyor's department, 
out looking for — chloroform ! Said he : 

"Fm on track of a lot of chloroform that I was 
told a blockade-runner has brought in. I want to 
see what else she has." 

I said: "What are you paying for chloro- 
form?" 



143 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

"We need it dreadfully, and Dr. Young sent me 
out to look for some, and if I came across any, 
to get it, at whatever price," said Peterson. 

"Perhaps I can put you onto a lot, say, fifteen 
or twenty pounds ; — what shall I say to the party 
it is worth?" I said. 

"That ain't the question; can I get it?" in- 
sisted Peterson excitedly. 

"I'll see the party by 4 p. m. and let you know ; 
but a price will have to be fixed, some time," 
said I. 

"Ofifer her" (the most fearless and successful 
smugglers thro' the lines were "shes"), "offer 
her two hundred dollars a pound," said Peterson, 
getting more excited, "and if she says that is not 
enough, make it three hundred. Anything to get 
the chloroform." 

I then told him that I had fifteen bottles, and 
stated that I had bought it in twenty bottles, but 
that they were not full, and that I had consolidat- 
ed it to reduce bulk. I told him that I had 
brought it purposely to turn over to the Confeder- 
ate authorities, knowing how much it was needed, 
and that I would not accept any such price for it 
as he was recklessly offering ; that I had only paid 
$15 per bottle, and called it fifteen bottles, and 
that the government should have it for what it 
cost me. 

He wouldn't hear to the proposition. 

144 



SMUGGLES CONTRABAND SUPPLIES. 

"Why," said he, "I would have to pay anybody 
else a big price for it, and would be glad to get 
it. You had all the trouble and risk of smuggling 
it in, and if you had been caught you would have 
been sent to prison at Johnson's Island, or else- 
where, and I ain't a going to rob you in any such 
way." 

And in spite of my protests he made out du- 
plicate papers at $150 per pound, and informed 
me that there were full twenty pounds in the lot, 
— just ten times as much per pound as I had paid 
for it, and I got a pound and a quarter to the 
pound. He paid me $3000. My stars, Dan'els, 
if such speculations were possible now. wouldn't 
a feller get rich? 

"No, Doctor; not your sort of 'fellers' and 
mine. It would be a case like the man who, at 
one time in his life, he said, could have bought a 
league of land in Texas for a pair of boots — ^but 

he didn't have the boots," I answered. 

* * * * 

At that time you could buy anything at any 
price asked for it, with the absolute certainty of 
doubling your money on it next day, perhaps, in 
a short time, at least, things rose so fast, or, 
rather, Confed. script declined so fast. Why, an 
officer couldn't live on his pay, and but for specu- 
lations, opportunities for which were frequent, 
he would have been confined to the army ration of 

145 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

beef and hard tack; couldn't afford sweetnin' and 
coffee ; I mean, real, shonuff coff'ee, or anything. 
I recollect, my pay and commutation for quarters 
and fuel and horse feed amounted to $365 a 
month. Think of that, and coffee scarce at $50 
to $75 a pound. 

I remember one day I bought a wagon-load of 
home-tanned leather from a countryman, and' 
without unloading it from the wagon, sold it to 
the town storekeeper at $1200 profit; and made 
$2000 on a barrel of peach brandy after drinking 
off of it a week. Fact. (And the Old Doctor 
smacked his lips at the bare recollection of the de- 
licious aroma of the Georgia home-made peach 
brandy.) 

I believe, said he, that what Homer called the 
"Nectar of the Gods" was Georgia peach brandy. 

When left at Covington, as stated, in charge of 
the few bad cases after the raid, I found on hand 
at the hospital quite a supply of New Orleans 
molasses, and a deficit of nearly everything else. 
I sent four barrels to Augusta and sold it, and 
with the money bought chickens and such things 
as the men needed. They couldn't live on mo- 
lasses, you know, tho' I, myself, am pretty fond 
of sweet things. I can show you fellers today, the 
account of sales of that molasses at $37.50 per 
gallon. 



THE HOSPITAL SOLDIER. 



THE HOSPITAL SOLDIER. 



Said our ever welcome visitor on this occasion : 
The hospital soldier — the "convalescents," they 
were generally called — tho' many of them had 
convalesced so long ago that they had forgotten 
they were ever sick — were omnipresent and all- 
pervading. About towns and villages they were 
simply everywhere. They invaded premises on 
any and all and no pretexts ; loafed, stole fruit — 
well, as they say now, the woods were full of 
them. Go where you would, there you would see 
more or less gaunt, gray-clad figures, usually 
very dirty. Of course this was a class of soldiers, 
mostly conscripts, who would resort to almost 
anything to escape duty in the field. The better 
element were true Southerners, and as soon as 
able to leave the hospital would hasten back to 
their commands. It was not uncommon to see 
a soldier twice or thrice wounded. But there 
were a host of pretenders, called, in war times, 
"malingerers." I do not know the etymology of 
the word. It often required much watching and 
some ingenuity on the part of the surgeon to de- 
tect these fellows. 

I remember one fellow who pretended to have 
a stiff knee. He played it on the surgeons for 
nearly a year. We were deceived by the fact that 

147 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

this party was an educated man and of good fam- 
ily. He should have been too proud to shirk 
duty and play off, but he wasn't. I say, should 
have been too proud. It is pride, pride of charac- 
ter, self-respect, regard for the opinions of others, 
that makes a man brave. But for this element 
in the soldier's make-up, there are few who would 
face a charge. There would be no Hobsons, no 
Cushings. 

This man had a soft position as bookkeeper in 
one of the hospitals. By-and-by we began to 
suspect that that knee was not quite as stiff as he 
made believe, and we proposed to put him under 
chloroform to break up the adhesions, we told 
him ; not intimating, of course, that we suspected 
him. He had said it was the result of rheuma 
tism, and adhesions were supposed to exist. He 
expressed himself as being very anxious to have 
his leg restored to usefulness, and he could not 
very well do otherwise than consent to the propo- 
sition. Some of the hospital attendants had told 
us that this fellow was a fraud, and that they had 
seen him when off his guard, skipping along as 
brisk as a mink ; but when he was hailed, the leg 
immediately got stiff, and he went to limping. 

Three of the surgeons had an understanding 
that they would get everything ready to operate, 
and at the last moment remember that something 
was forgotten, so as to create a delay while the 

148 



THE HOSPITAL SOLDIER. 

patient was in position, in order to test the powers 
of the voluntary muscles of the leg. 

The man was accordingly put upon the table, 
the leg laid bare, and everything gotten ready for 
the chloroform. He was lying on his back, with 
the legs just far enough down to bring the edge 
of the table under the knee. Just then I said : 

"Here — this is not the bottle of chloroform I 
want ; there is a better sort on my desk I got out 
for this case; go and bring it quick." 

(The messenger, however, had his cue that he 
was not to bring it quick.) 

The stiff leg held out manfully; but it must 
have looked to the poor fellow that the man 
would never come with that chloroform. Pres- 
ently the leg couldn't stand the strain any longer. 
It began to weaken and droop. As quick as a 
flash he would jerk it up, — but d-o-w-n it would 
go again, until the extensors just became paral- 
yzed ; human nature couldn't stand it, and the leg 
and foot just slowly went down, down, till that 
leg was as limber as the other. The game was 
up. He saw he was caught. He just got up, and 
putting a bold front on said : 

"Well, gentlemen, you have beat me. I reckon 
I had better go back to my command." 

"Yes," said I, "I think you had." 

And he went. 




RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



THE HOSPITAL DIETARY. 



NICE DISTINCTIONS WITH LITTLE DIFFERENCE. 



As might be expected from the character of 
the food, the cooking, which was of the most 
primitive sort, the irregular Hfe and the exposure 
— the vicissitudes of the soldier's life, diarrhea 
was the prevalent, the almost universal disease, 
both in camp and in hospital. No matter what 
else a patient had, he had diarrhea. 

The Medical Director of Hospitals arranged a 
diet table, and all the hospital medical officers 
were required to prescribe what was theoretically 
supposed to be appropriate diet for each patient. 
There was 'Tull Diet," "Half Diet," and "Low 
Diet," but the victualing range was so limited 
that there was more of a distinction than a dif- 
ference between them. Full diet was beef and 
cawn bread, and whatever else could be had, such 
as vegetables. Half diet was soup and toast, and 
such like; while low diet was rice and milk, — if 
you could get the milk. The poor fellows got 
awfully tired of rice. I remember one poor fel- 
low, a delicate, thin boy, convalescent from a long 
spell of typhoid fever, the curse of camp and hos- 
pital. He needed nothing so much as wholesome, 

150 



THE HOSPITAL DIETARY. 

nourishing food. Rice and milk was his portion 
day in and day out. At last he revolted : 

"Take it away," he said; "I had just as soon 
lie down and let the moon shine in my mouth as 
to eat rice." 

And I am much of his way of thinking. 

*»* ^ *** T* 

On the surgeon's rounds every convalescent 
was expected and required to be at or on his 
bunk. We would go to each one and ask about 
his bowels, and prescribe ''low diet." In a half 
hour after, if one should go out behind the barn 
or elsewhere, those convalescents would be found 
with haversacks full of green peaches, or green 
apples, or cucumbers, or whatever else they could 
get, devouring them ravenously. Of course, they 
never got well. Diarrhea got to be second na- 
ture with many of them. 

Speaking of malingerers, there was a class of 
older men, for the most part conscripts of the 
farmer, or tramp class, who did hate the very 
sight of a gun, and many of them would manage 
to get sent to the hospital on some pretext or an- 
other, and as said, they made a protracted visit 
in most cases. A specimen of this class was an 
old ignorant fellow named Dusenberry. I found 
him amongst some new arrivals one morning, sit- 
ting on the side of a bunk, all drawn up. Of 
course, his name and regiment had been entered, 

151 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

and the diagnosis, ''diarrhea" recorded by the 
clerk, — diarrhea, if nothing else. It was always 
a safe refuge: "Di-ur-ree," most of them called 
it. 

When I got to him on my rounds, I said : 
''Well, my friend, what is the matter with 



you 



"Well, Doc,"— they would call all of the med- 




THE WORST YOU EVER SEE'D. 

ical officers "Doc," the familiarity of the style, 
it seems, was intended as a manifestation of a 
friendly regard and to propitiate ; I need not say 
it was not always appreciated, nor accepted in 
the spirit in which it was offered. "Well, Doc," 
he answered, "I mostly don't know 'zackly what 
ails me. I've got a misery in my chist, a sore- 
ness in my jints, a-a-kinder stiffness in my back, 
and a hurtin' a-1-1 over!" 



152 



THE HOSPITAL DIETARY. 

"Got the 'di-ur-reer said I recognizing a 
make-believe at once. 

"Yes, yes, Doc," he eagerly assented, "got it 
purty bad." 

"Got the hypochondriasis ?" said I, with a show 
of concern. 

"The worst you ever see'd, Doc," replied the 
man. 

"Put this man on low diet," I said to the nurse, 
and later, I told him to "watch him." 

I found at another bunk a burly Irishman, who 
was real sick. I will say here, I never found an 
Irishman "malingering" — playing off. They 
made the best soldiers, as a rule, of any class, 
and you bet I am a friend to the whole race! 
God bless them, and give them "Ould Ireland," 
a free country, as a rightful inheritance ! I said 
to him, with a view of finding out what was the 
matter, and what had been done for him before 
he came to me: 

"What treatment have you had, my friend?" 

(meaning medical.) 

"Dom'd bad. Doc," said he. 
* * * * 

One night there was an arrival of a large num- 
ber of sick and wounded, and every bunk was 
filled. All hands (but one, I learned later) went 
to work to relieve their necessities. I was busy 
with them when one of the young assistant sur- 

153 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

geons who had lately been sent to report to me, 
came and said that a lot of new patients had been 
sent to his ward, and asked me if I ''wanted him 
to attend to them tonight?" 

I just looked at him, a straight look, full of 
meaning, but said not a word. He attended to 
them. I mention this to show that there were 
doctors and doctors, then as now, and that the 
''beats" were not all conscripts and privates. 




154 



A MEDICAL ''high DADDY.' 



A MEDICAL "HIGH DADDY/' 



When I took charge of one of the hospitals 
at Marietta, said the genial Old Doctor, I found 
a great many soldiers there, apparently well and 
able to do duty in the field. There seemed to be 
as many attendants as patients. So, I had a 
cleaning up, a sifting out, and thus recruited the 
ranks in the field, considerably. Every man capa- 
ble of bearing and shooting a gun was needed at 
the front. 

I had noticed a very officious chap acting as 
ward-master or nurse in one of the wards; a 
big, strong, country fellow, strapping and hale. 
He is the fellow Dr. West told me of afterwards, 
who, on being instructed to give a certain patient 
a pill every two hours during the night, counted 
up that there would be six times to give medicine, 
and, I suppose, he reasoned that if one pill is 
good, six are better ; he just gave the patient all 
six at one dose, and laid down to sweet repose. 

When I got to this fellow— they were all stand- 
ing in a row, the attendants and supernumeraries, 
and I would question them and dispose of them 
"on their merits," as the saying is— I said : 
"Well, sir, what command do you belong to?" 
He was the most impudent looking fellow im- 
aginable. He had a supercilious look, and when 

155 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



he spoke he turned his head on one side, after 
the manner of Mr. Pecksniff ; he evidently had a 
good opinion of himself. He had been sent to 
hospital for some sickness (probably), but had 
been well so long he had forgotten it. He had 
probably gone from one hospital to another down 
the road as the sick were shifted lower down. 




WHAT COMMAND DO YOU BELONG TO? 

It was a great trick for convalescents, his sort, to 
get to accompany the sick to hospital, and they 
managed to make a good long stay, on one pre- 
text and another. 

"What command do you belong to?" I said. 

"Me?" said he. 

"Yes, you." 

156 



A MEDICAL HIGH DADDY/' 

"1 belong to the 42nd," he replied. 
"The 42nd whatr said I. 
He looked at me in pity and surprise, and said : 
"The 42nd regimenf (with accent on "ment"). 
"Yes, I know," I said, "but what State? The 
42nd regiment of what State troops?" 

His surprise increased, and with astonishment 
depicted on his countenance, not unmixed with 
commiseration for my ignorance, he said: 

"Why— the 42nd GEORGIA, of course," as if 
there were no other troops in the field that he 
had ever heard of. 

"Well," I said, — "what are you doing here? 
You are not sick now?" 
"ME?" he said. 
"Yes ; you." 

"Wh}^— I'm— er -er —I'm the chief— head— 
medical, ^r-tv -medical medicine-giver of ward 
three !" in tones of surprise, that I should not be 
aware of a fact of such stupendous importance. 
He gave it to me slowly, for fear, evidently, of 
collapse. As it was, it had a most prostrating 
effect on me. 

"Well," I said, "I think you ought to be pro- 
moted. Go back to the 42nd 'v\g\ment' and tell 
your colonel to make you head chief, medical or 
otherwise, bullet-arrester; you'll be good to stop 
a bullet from some less important person." 



^S7 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



HIS IDEA OF HAPPINESS. 



I REMEMBER once I was standing at the gate 
of the hospital talking to Dr. Pringle, the village 
doctor, who had by some means escaped conscrip - 
tion, or was exempt in some way from military 
service, for you must know that before the war 
was ended everybody had to go ; everything that 
could shoot a gun had to go to the front. Oh, war 
is just hell, as Sherman said, and no mincing it, if 
you'll excuse an emphatic remark by way of 
parenthesis. At first the best men volunteered. 
As they were killed or died their places had to be 
filled, and if there were not volunteers — and later 
there were not many — the conscript officers got 
what was left. The first conscription took all 
men between 20 and 45 ; then between 45 and 60 ; 
then between 16 and 20. "Robbing both the cra- 
dle and the grave," one fellow expressed it. 
Hence, to' see a man at home and in citizen's 
clothes was indeed a rare sight. 

Dr. Pringle was a handsome, dapper little fel- 
low of the band-box sort. He was about forty, 
very dressy and smelt of sweet soap. His shirt 
front was starchy and stiff, and his black cloth 
suit was neatly brushed. He was real pretty to 
look at ; such a contrast to his surroundings. 

While we were in conversation, some half 

158 



HIS IDEA OF HAPPINESS. 

dozen or more ''hospital soldiers," "convales- 
cents," had gathered around, and with mouths 
agape were listening to our conversation. Pres- 
ently one cadaverous looking cuss, the very pic- 
ture of diarrhea and the effects of diarrhea, 
drawled out : 

"Doctor, you ought to be a mighty happy 
m-a-n" (with rising inflection on "man."). 

"Why so, my friend?" said the doctor. 

"'Cause you've got on a biled shirt, and your 
bowels ain't outen order," replied the poor fel- 
low. 



159 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



WHY HE WAS WEARY. 



That reminds me of a good one, said the Old 
Doctor, when he could get his breath after laugh- 
ing over the recollection of the fellow and his 
notion of perfect happiness. 

There was a dandified little chap, a sweet- 
scented chap, literally, for he was always per- 
fumed with Lubin's extract, who was on duty, 
detailed as clerk in the commissary department. 
He claimed to be a nephew of General Joseph E. 
Johnston, and was generally known as, and called 
by the officers at that post, "Uncle Joseph's 
Nephew." He was a pretty blonde ; parted his 
hair in the middle. It was curly and pretty, and 
he had the loveliest little blonde mustache. His 
name was Mitchell, but he called it "Meshelle." 
He was immensely fond of ladies — the young 
ones — who petted him and made him^ a bigger 
fool than he was naturally. He was great on the 
sing ; had a . little creaky falsetto voice, and he 
trummed a little on the guitar. He wrote 
'"poetry" ; quoted sentimental pieces, particularly 
from Tom Moore. In brief, he was a pretty good 
specimen of Hotspur's "fop." 

One summer afternoon, lolling in an easy chair, 
surrounded by a bevy of pretty girls, I saw him 
on the little gallery or porch of the residence of 

i6o 



WHY HE WAS WEARY. 



one of Covington's best families. The girls, half 
dozen of them, perhaps, were fanning him and 
petting him as he leaned back with the most af- 
fected air, and they were importuning him to 
sing. The balcony extended out to, and was 
flush with the sidewalk. Of course, a lot of 




"WHY— HE WAS WEAK AND WEARY." 

''convalescents" had assembled to listen ; they 
were everywhere where there was a prospect of 
anything whatever going on, or happening, or 
likely to happen. They would seem to spring out 
of the ground. One of the girls was saying: 

"Now, Captain Meshelle (with accent on 
'shelle'), you must sing some for us." (Captain, 

i6i 



fc ECOLLEC'i IONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

nothin'; he was just a private. The only thing 
''Captain" about him was the trimmin's on his 
coat.) 

"Oh, Miss Sue, — I cawn't sing, you know; 
only a little for my own amusement," said this 
swell, with an air that, as Sut Lovingood would 
say, made my big toe itch; I felt like kicking 
him. 

"No, Captain, but we know you can sing, and 
do sing. Maggie says you sing just too lovely 
for anything, and we will take no denial," urged 
one of the girls. 

"Do sing some for us. Captain," said another, 
— a pretty little black-eyed miss ; "Puss has come 
over to-night just especially to hear you sing, 
and it will be such a disappointment if you don't." 

"What then, shall I sing?" said the "Captain." 

"Oh, — just an^z-thing; anything you like," said 
all of the girls in chorus ; "We'll leave it to you." 

Thus encouraged and urged, our little dude 
straightened up, and with a finicky air, his eyes 
turned up like a dying goose, in a little falsetto 
voice he began : 

"W-h-y — am / so w-e-a-k and w-^-a-r-y — " 
(with a heavy prolonged accent on "we"). 

At that interesting point one of the graybacks 
who had been peeking through the ballusters of 
the little gallery, sang out : 

"Hits 'cause you've got the di-ur-r^^, you Sun- 
day galoot!" 

162 



HOSPITAL EXPERIENCES. 



HOSPITAL EXPERIENCES. 



On one occasion while serving in the hospi- 
tals in Georgia— it was at Marietta, and we had 
"Officer of the Day" there, too, and it was my 
day on, and I had to sleep at the hospital — on 
entering my ward one morning — there had been 
an arrival of sick and wounded early that morn- 
ing, and the wards were all filled up — the most 
pathetic, the most doleful, yet the most ludi- 
crous sight met my eyes. In the central tier of 
the bunks was a young boy seated on, or rather 
sitting propped up in bed on one of the bunks, 
who had been shot through the mouth while in 
the act of hollerin' (began the Old Doctor on this 
visit to the Journal office). The ball had passed 
clear through both cheeks, cutting the dorsum or 
upper part of the tongue pretty bad. There he 
sat, bolt upright, his face swollen till his eyes 
looked ready to pop out ; the skin drawn tight, the 
tongue swollen to tremendous size, and hanging 
out about three inches, with ropes of saliva drip- 
pin' off; his face framed in by a handkerchief 
passed under the chin and tied on top of his head. 
It gave him the most distressed and the most dis- 
tressing, the most awful appearance imaginable. 
Well, sirs, he had an old screechy fiddle to his 

163 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

shoulder and was just making ''Arkansaw Trav- 
eler" howl. 

That's the spirit, Dan'els, that made the "Rebs" 
almost invincible. But, excuse me, I should ad 
dress such remarks to Hudson and Bennett and 

the boy ; Dan'els knows. 

* * * * 

Amongst the new arrivals of sick and wounded 
on another occasion, whom I found in my ward, 
was a small dark-skinned man, apparently twen 
ty-eight or thirty years old, who couldn't speak 
a word of English. I never did find out what 
nationality he belonged to. He had fine white 
teeth, coal-black hair, scant beard and small mus- 
tache, also very black. He had small sharp black 
eyes that twinkled. I think he was a Syrian, or 
Egyptian, or belonged to some of those eastern 
tribes ; and his eyes had the look, and he had the 
general aspect of a hunted animal. 

As I entered he was lying on a bunk near the 
door, and he was watching the door narrowly as 
if expecting something or somebody, with fear 
and dread. When I approached him and spoke 
to him, he made no answer, as he could neither 
understand nor speak United States, but his eyes 
showed some concern ; he appeared to be anxious 
to know what I was going to do to or with him. 
I had no means of finding out what ailed him, 
as I was not up in Syrian nor Sanscrit nor Egyp- 

164 



HOSPITAL EXPERIENCES. 

tian, nor yet any other language except my own 
mother tongue ; so, physical examination was my 
only recourse for making a diagnosis. By signs 
I made him understand that I wanted to look at 
his tongue. When that dawned upon him he 
poked out his tongue, readily, eagerly, it seemed 
to me, watching my every movement narrowly. 
But horrors! I couldn't get him to take his 
tongue in any more; he kept it out as long as I 
remained in the ward, following me with his eyes 
everywhere I went; and not till some time after 
I had finished my visit and left the room, the 
nurse told me, did he venture to draw in his 
tongue. 

The next visit, as soon as I entered — he was 
watching for me — out went the tongue, and noth- 
ing could induce him to retract it as long as I was 
in sight. 

I sat on the edge of his bunk, and in my efforts 
to find out what was the matter with him, for I 
had as yet no clew except that he had a rise of 
temperature, and I suspected typhoid fever, the 
most common form of fever those times — doctors 
will readily understand why I palpated his in- 
guinal region, and I'm a'talkin' to doctors now — 
I stripped up his shirt over the abdomen, and 
placing my left hand over the suspected region I 
palpated, tapped the fingers with the other hand 

i6s 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

— you all know — to ascertain if there was tym- 
panites there, or "dullness." 

Well, sirs ; with tongue still protruding, a look 
as dark as his own Egypt (his or somebody 
else's) came on his face, and he just hauled ofif 
and struck me just as hard as ever he could ; re- 




HAUI^ED OFF AND STRUCK ME. 

sented it as an indignity, or an undue familiarity 
with his "in'ards." 



Ah, the surgeons saw many things never 
dreamed of by other people. I could talk for 
hours on unusual things, even in surgery, wit- 
nessed by them in times of war. 

I found in my ward one afternoon at my usual 

1 66 



HOSPITAL EXPERIENCES. 

evening visit, a young man sitting on the side of 
his bunk eating his supper of rice, beefsteak and 
tea (the tea made of sassafras, most Hkely, for 
"store" tea was not to be had). I asked him 
where he was wounded. He had just arrived on 
the train from the front with a large number of 
others ; they had all received their first dressings. 
He had a handkerchief tied under his jaws and 
over his head, covering the ears. With his finger 
he touched one ear then the other. 

I took the handkerchief off ; the bullet had 
gone in at one ear and come out at the other, 
literally. Of course nothing could be done for 
him. 

In an hour afterwards the nurse came for me ; 
the young man was dying from internal hemor- 
rhage. 

3(C 5Ji 2)C *fC 

A large shipment of wounded arrived at the 
Marietta hospitals about noon one day and were 
immediately distributed to the wards, and we 
went at once to work on them, of course. The 
first one I saw and went to on entering my ward 
was a young man from Swett's battery, who was 
shot through the right lung with a minie ball. 
I knew him well. We had gone to school to- 
gether in Vicksburg when we were boys. His 
name was Walter Fountain. He was sufiFering 
great pain, and I placed a full dose of morphine 

167 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

on his tongue, and remarking, "You will be easy 
presently, Walter," proceeded to examine, wash 
and dress his wound. (You know we had no hy- 
podermic syringes then ; that was before their 
day.) 

"Yes, I'll be easy presently," he said. 

When I got through with him I had occasion 
to leave the room for a few minutes, and hardlv 
had the door closed behind me when I was star- 
tled by the report of a pistol, I hastened back. 
Fountain had blown his brains out. The poor 
fellow was "easy" now. I reprimanded the nurse 
for not taking away his arms on entering the 
ward, as was the rule. He said that he had con- 
cealed one pistol, giving up the other. He said: 

"I was standing at the table with my back to 
him, rolling a bandage. When you went out T 
heard him say : 

" 'Farewell, father and mother,' and before I 
could look around, he had shot himself.' 




i68 



ENCHANTED AND DISENCHANTED. 



ENCHANTED AND DISENCHANTED. 



Ah — my recollections of Chattanooga are ever 
fresh and green; they are delightful. In the 
springtime of life everything looks rosy; the 
prospect opens up hefore the vision most in- 
vitingly. The blood is warm, the fancy free, 
and oh, what possibilities occur to one who, hav- 
ing health and strength, properly directs his en- 
ergies ! To many of us, however, it is the story 
in the end, of Dead Sea apples; ashes on the 
lips. We don't pan out always, remarked the 
Old Doctor with a sigh. 

I had much leisure and you bet I enjoyed it. 
Oh, the rides with the girls in the beautiful 
woods. The horseback trips to the summit of old 
Lookout Mountain, the fish frys, the picnics. Of 
course, a good-looking young officer, with hand- 
some uniform and apparently plenty of money, 
plenty of spare time, a fondness for young ladies' 
society, and a liberal share of impudence, was 
necessarily popular. It seems to me now, to look 
back upon those days and scenes, that the girls 
were prettier than they are now. In their "home- 
spun" dresses, and often home-made hats, they 
were as pretty as pictures. It may be that 'tis 
distance (of time) that "lends enchantment to 

169 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

the view," but I know distance couldn't "robe" 
those girls in homespun dresses. 

There was one in particular whose image 
dwells with me to this day. Her name was Van- 
nie Vogle. She was ''the daintiest little darling of 




f'&mM 



•^ 



A STANDING DARE TO KISS HER. 

them all." She had the brownest hair, the fairest 
skin, the reddest lips, the most laughing, love-lit 
eyes, the lightest figure, the smallest foot, the 
highest, most aristocratic instep, the softest touch 
— oh, she was just too sweet for anything in this 
world except to roll into strips of peppermint 



170 



ENCHANTED AND DISENCHANTED. 

candy. An anchorite could not have been in- 
different to the charm of her presence. It looked 
to me that on her lips and in her eyes there was 
a standing dare to kiss her ; it was audible in ev- 
ery glance of her gazelle-like eyes, every gleam 
of her rosebud mouth, every smile ; and it was as 
much as I could do to keep my hands off of her. 

One afternoon I called and found her sitting 
alone on the little sofa in her parlor, the scene 
of many pleasant tete-a-tetes with her. 

I went in on her unexpectedly — unannounced. 
She smiled sweetly but said nothing, and did not 
rise. Her eyes twinkled mischievously — she kept 
her lips closed, and to any remark or question she 
made not a spoken reply. I was puzzled. I said : 

"What's the matter with you, you little witch?" 

She smiled, but said not a word. I said : 

"I'll make you speak" — and with that I threw 
my arms around her; I could stand the dare no 
longer — and tried to kiss her. 

She jumped up and throwing me off, managed 
to evade me — and running out on the little gal- 
lery or porch, spat out a mouthful of brown juice. 
Looking reproachfully at me as she wiped heu 
mouth on the back of her hand, she said : 

"You fool — didn't you see I had snuff in my 
mouth ?" 

A FRIEND IN DTTRANCE VILE. 

The guard-house was on the main street of the 

171 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

town. It was a two-story brick store which had 
been converted into a prison by putting bars 
across the windows. Vannie and I often rode 
by there. I had a lovely racking horse, the one 
I got at Munf ordsville ; 'member ? and she had a 
thoroughbred of her own. {She was a thorough- 
bred, you bet.) Back in my town where I had 
been raised, there was a particularly bad young 
fellow, almost a criminal, whom the young men 
would not associate with ; he was a low-down fel- 
low, but a company of his sort had been formed 
(conscripted no doubt) and brought out of Jack- 
son. Of course I knew the fellow and he knew 
me. His name was Dan Kerry. 

As Vannie and I rode down by the guard-house 
one afternoon in gay spirits, I brave in my fine 
uniform with oodles of gold lace on the sleeves 
and my cap covered with ditto ; stars on my collar 
— oh, I was gay ! As we passed the guard-house, 
old Dan Kerry, for it was he, looking through the 
bars, yelled : 

"Hello, Dickey, where the hell did you get them 
good clothes?" 

I felt like I could have crawled through a crack 
half-inch wide ; and Vannie, the little minx, said, 
with a sly look out of the comer of her pretty 
eyes: 

** Who's your friend, Doctor?" 



172 



ENCHANTED AND DISENCHANTED. 



A LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN SPRITE. 

But Vannie was not the only pretty girl there, 
by a jug-full; there were lots of them, said the 




ON THE BRINK OF A PRECIPICE. 

Doctor. Of course, the time I speak of was be- 
fore I got married, you goose, said he indignant- 
ly, in reply to a question from Hudson. 

173 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

There was one we called 'The Daughter of 
the Eagle's Nest," because she lived up on top 
of Lookout Mountain. She was a brilliant beauty, 
and the most dashing, fearless horsewoman I ever 
saw. I was riding up the mountain one after- 
noon, alone, and happening to look up overhead, 
away out on the very brink of a precipice five 
hundred feet above me there stood a magnificent 
horse, on whose back sat a lady with a scarlet 
jacket on, and her hair fallin' loosely down her 
back. It was she — "The Daughter of the Eagle's 
Nest." I thought it was the prettiest picture 
I ever saw ; the most romantic scene. She was 
the impersonation to my mind of Scott's Di Ver- 
non. 



174 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 



THE CLEVER aUARTERMASTER. 



A ROMANCE OF ARMY LIFE IN CHATTANOOGA. 

The Old Doctor entered the Journal office on 
this occasion looking unusually radiant. I saw 
at once that he was * 'loaded" ; so, giving him a 
good cigar, showing him courteously to his cus- 
tomary seat, while I in default occupied the nail- 
keg, I proceeded to draw him out. 

"Got something on your mind that pleases you, 
I see. Doctor," said I. "Let's have it." 

After a few preliminary puffs of the Havana, 
the curling smoke of which he regarded with the 
eye of a connoisseur as it circled in blue rings 
above his head, he said : 

I reckon, Dan'els, my being detailed by General 
Bragg at Chattanooga to serve on a general 
court-martial was an experience unique in the his- 
tory of wars; a surgeon, a non-combatant, serv- 
ing as prosecuting attorney of a military court. 
Fortunately for me I had acquired considerable 
knowledge of the law, having begun its study be- 
fore I studied medicine, and I was able to acquit 
myself with credit, so I was assured by the late 
Judge Jno. B. Sale, of Aberdeen, Miss., and later 
of Memphis. Judge Sale was one of the great 
lawyers of the South in that day, and why he 

175 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

was not then made Judge Advocate instead of me, 
is one of the unfindout-able things of the past. 
He was a captain of the Hne, having raised and 
brought out of Mississippi a splendid company of 
volunteers. He was at Chattanooga, convalescent 
from a wound, I think, at the time the court was 
organized. He was detailed as a member. Know- 
ing his ability and having a great admiration and 
friendship for him, of course I got points from 
him in making up my "briefs" or indictments, as 
the case may be. Later, Judge Sale was appoint- 
ed and commissioned Judge Advocate-General on 
Bragg's staflF. 

While serving on that court, of course I was 
relieved of all other duty, and it was a picnic. 
Court was called at lo a. m., and usually ad- 
journed at 2 p. m.. Why, I had more leisure 
than I could dispose of ; couldn't give it away. I 
tried everything; fishing, frolicking, flirting. 
That's how I saw so much of Vannie and the 
other girls. 

But boys it was too funny to see a big, six- 
foot Tennesseean, a soldier detailed as guard and 
stationed at the door of our court, salute me as T 
entered of mornings, with a bundle of papers 
under my arm for appearances ; I, a smooth-faced 
chap of 23, as unsoldierly a looking chap as one 
would expect to see in a day's march. He would 
make a grab at me as I entered, intending it for 

176 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 

a salute. The military salute of a soldier to a 
superior consists of raising the right hand rapidly 
to the visor of the cap, palm outwards, fingers 
erect, and lowering it to the side with a graceful 
sweep outward. This fellow had an idea of the 
salute, but he grabbed at me instead. He would 
raise his hand to about the chin, fingers half 
closed and pointing outward, and the manoeuvre 
looked more like he was trying to catch a fly "on 
the fly" than salute an officer. It was too funny 
especially as he would call me "Jedge." 

But I set out to tell you about the clever quar- 
termaster. He was my room-mate, and he was 
just the cleverest fellow that ever was. Hi? 
name was Riddle, Captain Riddle; and he was 
the post-quartermaster. He was universally called 
the "Clever Quartermaster," because he was so 
accommodating — especially to the ladies. His 
home was in New Orleans, and he was engaged 
to be married, should he live to return, to a young 
lady of that city, and he did live, and did return 
and did marry her, and, as they say in the story 
books, they "lived happily forever afterwards." 
He was fidelity itself. He was very fond of la- 
dies' society, and while he couldn't help flirting 
a little, for the same reason that the Irishman 
struck his daddy — because "it was such an illigant 
opportunity," he was true to his love. He car- 
ried her picture "over his heart," he said, but I 

1/7 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

saw him take it out of his coat tail pocket, and 
couldn't help reflecting that if one's heart can only 
"be aisy if it's in the right place," he must have 
had a troublesome time, if there was where he 
carried his heart. I used to catch him looking 
at the picture, often. He was about twenty-five 
years old, but everybody called him "Old Riddle" 
— I don't know why. I can see him now — his 
laughing face covered with a full, auburn beard, 
and his laughing blue eyes twinkling with merri- 
ment. One reason I liked him was because he 
would laugh at all my jokes ; he'd laugh at any- 
thing. A man who will do that for a feller gets 
mighty close to his affections, don't he, Dan'els? 
Riddle was a number-one business man, as well as 
a most genial and delightful companion ; still 
there was something about him suggestive of a 
pet cub bear. I was devoted to him. We roomed 
together, as I said, and my chief delight was to 
"rig" him ; tell jokes on him of which he was in- 
nocent. If I made any fmix pas, or got into any 
scrapes, which I often did, I'd make a "scape- 
goat" of Riddle and tell it as having happened to 
him and not to me; see? Oh, he was an ideal 
room-mate. In fact I was a young rascal. I kept 
his secret for him, but got out a report on him 
that he had addressed the young lady referred to 
in another place as the "Daughter of the Eagle's 
Nest," and that she had kicked him. 

178 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 

I told one of the girls that I had a good joke 
on the captain, and promised to make a romance 
out of it for her — for — don't laugh, Dan'els, you 
nor Hudson ; I know Bennett won't, for he's in 
love now, and all such matters are with him sorter 
"holy" you know — I used in the sappy days of my 
adolescence, the "'fuzzy" days of my green youth, 
to — to attempt poetry! Fact! 

Well, Riddle had a clerk named Bingham, 
who, somehow got the nickname of "Binging- 
ham," and another clerk, a spoony, wormy look- 
ing little fellow named Dent, who worked in the 
quartermaster's department. Dent affected the 
flute, and was sentimental as well as wormy, or 
because he ivas wormy, I don't know which, and 
I suppose it don't make any difference. 

I wrote out a rig-a-marole in doggerel about 
Riddle and his imaginary love-affair, and sent it 
to Miss Maggie Magee, who used to love to tease 
old Riddle ( I think, now, she was trying to catch 
him, herself ; oh, Bennett, the ways of girls are 
past finding out; you might as well surrender). 

On her way to church, Miss Maggie, who had 
it in her bosom and intended to show it to the 
other girls (in the choir), dropped the manu- 
script on the street. It was picked up and some- 
how it got into the papers. 

Well, sirs — I like to have gotten a duel on 
hand; not with Riddle, oh, no; he liked it; he 

179 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

thought it was just too good for anything and 
had Dent busy a month making copies of it — but 
with the young lady's father, bless you — and I 
had to do some tall lying to keep him from just 
frazzling me into small pieces; he threatened to 
"wear me out." 

It created no end of fun. One paper after an- 
other published it, till finally it got into the North- 
ern illustrated papers, and I saw a copy of it with 
the funniest Httle pictures imaginable, and an 
editorial about it. It was given in a sort of de- 
rision as an illustration of the efforts of "Secesh 
poets." 

Here is the plaguey thing now. You can have 
it if you want it. My wife came across it the 
other day, along with my "oath of allegiance to 
the United States," some assignments to duty — 
Provost Marshal's permits to walk about, etc. 
I had clipped it from the Chattanooga Rebel, then 
edited by Henry Watterson ; he hadn't gotten to 
be "a bigger man than Grant" then. My wife 
thinks it is real smart. Here it is ; read it, Dan- 
'els." 

THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER, OR THE FATE OF 
THE FLIRT. 

Chattanooga, Tenn., May 12, 1863. 
Miss Maggie: 
Let me tell you a good story 

180 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 

On my room-mate, Captain Riddle ; 

Captain Riddle, Quartermaster 

Of the Post of Chattanooga ; 

Riddle, with the auburn tresses 

All combed back so slick and shiney ; 

Riddle, with the whiskers auburn, — 

{He says auburn; / say sunburn [t]). 

Tell you of his many virtues, 

Tell you of his winning ways ; 

Of how he came, and how he tarried, 

How he courted — would have married 

Chattanooga's fairest daughter. 

But she thought he "hadn't ought to" 

"Shake" the "girl he left behind him." 

Now, how she knew that he was "mortgaged" ; 

How she knew that he was joking. 

When he told her of his feelings, 

Feelings of a tender passion, 

Which he told her, she had 'wakened, 

'Wakened by her smiling eyes, 

I know not ; nor do I reckon 

Anybody else can tell. 

It's not the province of us poets 

To sing of things unless we know it 

All "by heart." 

But who he is, and where he came from; 

How he came, and what he did; 

When he did it, and how he did it, 

What he said, and how he said it, 

i8i 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Be my theme, and you will know it 
Like a book, when you have read it. 

2fC ^ ^ >TC 

In a far-off Creole city, — 

In the land of milk and honey; 

Land of beauty rich and rare, — 

Beauty that's not bought by money ; 

(That just fits, and it's so funny 

That I'm bound to put it in) ; 

Where the sun forever shines 

(On this far-off Creole city) ; 

Shines so steady, shines so hot it 

Melts a fellow (what a pity 

That the Yankees ever got it) ; 

In this far-off Southland city, 

Where the cactus rears its head ; 

Where the groves of orange blossom ; 

Where the gentle South winds speak 

Nought but love. 

Where the magnolia's lily cheek, 

Fairer than the fairest maiden's. 

Is kissed by the gentle evening zephyrs ; 

In this land, and in this city — 

In Union street and near the city 

Livery stables — stables that do smell offensive, 

There lived a youth, not sad or pensive, 

But a gay and festive cuss ; 

Gayer than Old Will-the-weaver, 

Gayer than a gay deceiver, 

182 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 

Gayer than a peacock gaudy, 
Gayer than a speckled puppy 
With a ribbon 'round his neck. 

This the youth and this the hero 
Of the many deeds I sing; 
Hero of this song subHme ; 
Hero of my first attempt, 
In writing which I spend my time, 
Time more precious than is money ; 
Time more precious than are shin- 
Plasters of the bank of Chatta- 
Nooga, or the many-colored plasters 
Which are now so very plenty. 

This the youth and this the hero; 
This the Clever Quartermaster; 
This the favored of the ladies, 
This the favored of the press. 
Girls, to gain his good opinion 
All consult him as to dress, 
As to every little matter, 
Whether picnic, dance or soiree, 
Buggy ride or small tea-party; 
Whether fancy dances dizzy. 
With some fellow slightly boozy 
Are a la mode. 
If Riddle shakes his head, 
Big old head with whiskers shaggy, 

183 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

The fiat's made, and all the Misses 
Lift their hands in holy horror, 
And exclaim, "Oh, shocking taste 
To have an arm around one's waist." 

Shall I tell you how he met her? 
Where he met her ? What he said ? 
Met Chattanooga's fairest daughter, 
Daughter with the flowing tresses ? 
With a laugh like gushing waters. 
Making music in the air? 
With the eyes so soft and tender. 
Full of love and soft emotion? 
Eyes, beneath whose silken lashes 
Soft and warm the love-light dwells; 
And whose lips are so bewitching 
That a fellow's fairly itching 
To kiss from their cherry softness 
The fragrant nectar nestling there? 
Tell you all about the nonsense 
He had whispered in her ear, 
Ear forever lent to listen 
To the siren song of love? 

Yes; but all you girls have had experience 

In this pleasant sort of thing, 

And all of this you'll take for granted ; 

They were pretty well acquainted ; 

Had met at evening's twilight hour, 

184 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 

Had met beneath the vine-clad bower, 
Bower through whose vine-clad lattice 
Fell soft Luna's silv'ry rays. 
Had met at church, at choir, at tea ; 
Had met at tea at some kind neighbors ; 
Had met and mingled at their neighbors. 

'Twas in Tennessee, 

In Chattanooga, 

At Mrs. Blankse's 

In the parlor — 

Behind the door — 

In a chair. 
There he met this lovely maiden — 
Lovelier far than the most radiant 
Dream of love that ever flitted 
With a form, oh, light and airy, 
Flitted like a winsome fairy 
Thro' the poet's burning brain. 

T cannot now put in rhyme 

All that was said on that occasion. 

The fact is — I haven't time, 

Even to tell how the dancers 

Mingled in the mazy dances ; 

How they danced and how they chatted, ' 

How the music's 'livening strain 

Thrilled the dancers as they chatted, 

Chatted as they moved along ; 

i8s 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



Chatted like some young canaries, 

Chattered Hke a lot of squirrels ; 

Chatted like the very dickens. 

Nor to tell of how Mechelle — 

"Me-shelle''—"Unc\e Joseph's nephew" 

Put on the fancy licks and "did 

The thing up brown." 

How this beau with eyes so tender — 

How this beau with form so slender, 

Swayed his figure to and fro; 

How this heaviest "heavy coon-dog" 

Turned the ladies in the quadrille, 

Turned the ladies on the corners. 

Turned them while they gaily chatted, 

Chatted as they moved along ; 

While old Adam played and patted 

On the floor with even measure, 

Measure keeping to his song. 

* * * * 

In the dance they met each other ; 
Met — and turned — and moved along ; 
Moved through dance without emotion. 

* * * jf: 

Now the dance was done and over ; 
All the guests had now departed, 
Departed, sleepy, to their homes. 

But, alone, this happy couple 
Arm in arm moved gently 'long; 

i86 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 

Moved gently 'long the long piazza; 
Moved along in the silv'ry moonlight — 
Moonlight falling gently o'er them — 
Falling o'er them like a dream. 

Thus they walked, with hands entwining ; 
Thus she walked with head inclining — 
With her tresses gently resting — 
Resting on his manly breast. 
Thus he woo'd her — didn't win her, 
Woo'd her with this siren song: 

"Chattanooga's fairest daughter, 
'Daughter of the Eagle's Nest' ; 
Daughter of the fertile valleys ; 
Daughter of the laughing waters; 
This fond heart for thee is pining, 
This fond heart is yearning for thee — 
Yearning for thee as its mate. 
Thy loved image in it dwelling 
Rules supreme in every thought. 
The mistress of each kind emotion, 
Mistress of each rising joy, 
Mistress of each aspiration. 
In my room so sad and dreary. 
In my room so bleak and drear, 
Sit I, lonely, making abstracts, 
Abstracts of my daily 'issues.' 
There my sweetness daily wasting, 

187 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Wasting on the desert air. 

Come with me to my own country ; 

Come with me and be my mate. 

There old 'Bingingham' shall please thee 

With his songs of glories past. 

Songs of how he always used 

To "do" the vendors of produce, 

Produce offered in our markets, 

In our far-off Southland city. 

There old Dent, the funny fellow, 

Good old Dent, the story-teller 

(Tells them better when he's 'mellow'). 

Shall regale thy leisure moments 

With sweet music's softest strain. 

There with (f) lute so sad and plaintive, 

Plaintive as the cooing dove, 

Shall woo thee for me, sing to thee, 

And tell thee of my speechless love." 

Then this maid so meek and modest, 
Gently turned her head away; 
Turned her soft eyes from his face ; 
Turned her fairy form around; 
Turned her back upon old Riddle. 
Raised she then her fairy hand, 
Raised her hand with tiny 'kerchief, 
Raised it to her ruby lips. 
Raised it to her eyes so meek, 
Gentle eyes, suffused with tears; 

i88 



THE CLEVER QUARTERMASTER. 

Ope'd her lips — and after sneezing, 
Thus replied : 

"Go away, you gay deceiver, 
Gayer than is speckled puppy; 




"GO AWAY, YOU GAY DECEIVER." 

Go away you heartless wretch! 
Leave the maiden whose affections 
You have won, to die alone. 
Your soft words have waked the passion 
Slumb'ring in her maiden breast — 
The infant passion struggling there. 

189 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Chattanooga's lonely daughter 

Will not go to your distant country, 

Will not believe a word you've told her; 

Let her ('pine'), 

You've got a girl in Lou' siana," 

5ji >fC >fC y^ 

Old Riddle shook his shaggy head, 
And scratched it, too ; was sore perplexed 
To know by what means she discovered 
His faith and love already plighted 
To "the girl he left behind him." 

He tarried not. but straight he left her ; 
Left her to her thoughts alone; 
Left her, without another word, 
And straight way home he toddled ; 
Saying, as he moved along, 
Moved along with pace unsteady: 
"I wonder who the thunder told her? 
It must have been that frisky doctor.'* 




190 



LOVERS STRATAGEM. 



LOVE'S STRATAGEM. 



THE DOCTOR PUTS UP A JOB ON THE MAJOR. 

I ALWAYS had a mighty sharp eye for pretty 
girls, said the Old Doctor, as he seated himself 
in our office chair. If there was one in the neigh- 
borhood I'd find her. A regular "butterfly- 
lover," I flitted from flower to flower, always 
deepest in love with the last girl I met. 

There was one in the neighborhood when we 
were camped near Chattanooga, some two weeks 
before Bragg invaded Kentucky. I found her of 
course, and "had it pretty bad." She lived down 
the valley some three miles below our camp. Her 
name was Mary CoflFey. Her father was a rich, 
pompous old fellow named "General" CoflFey. 
Why "General," I don't know; militia general 
once, I reckon, away back in the forties. In the 
South in those days, everybody who was anybody 
in particular had a military title, and the titles 
were graded according to one's importance in his 
vicinity, and ranged all the way from "Cap," 
bestowed on the postmaster and the city mar- 
shal, through "Major," the title of the editor, 
"Colonel," the title of the town lawyer and poli- 
tician, to "General" for the fat, old rich fellows. 
Hence "General" Coflfey, I suppose. He had the 

191 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

gout — one foot all swelled up and bandaged, and 
he hobbled about, when he hobbled at all, on a 
stick and a crutch. He was a typical old-school 
gentleman of the South, hospitable, fond of com- 
pany, a great talker and a great reader; had 
nothing else to do but talk and read, when he 
could get anybody to sit still and listen to him. His 
"overseer" attended to business — the general was 
a planter — and the general staid indoors mostly, 
taking his toddy, smoking his pipe and reading 
He was a widower and lived alone with his one 
child, this pretty daughter. Well, I became very 
fond of Miss Mary and went to see her every 
night ; but, confound it, the old general would 
hobble in the parlor and anchor himself and stay 
till I left. He had a yam about some seven or 
eight foolish virgins who didn't keep their lamps 
trimmed, and got out of oil on a critical occasion 
(see the Bible). He drew an analogy between 
these negligent virgins and the Confederate gov- 
ernment, applying it in some way that I never did 
understand, altho' he told it to me every evening 
for a week. It took him about an hour to tell it, 
and he would tell it with as much gusto and relish 
as if it were the first time. So Mary and I could 
do nothing but grin and bear it, casting loving 
looks at each other whenever the old man would 
stoop over to spit ; or "play hands" on the sly. 
That would never do in this world. I'd get out 

192 



LOVE S STRATAGEM. 



of practice making shonuff love, and I was just 
dying to get Mary by herself. Love laughs at 
locks, they say. I set to work a scheme, and 
finally put up a job on the major. The major 
was a fat fellow named Robison, a bachelor, 
about forty years old. He was an aide, or some- 
thing, on the general's staff; our general, not 
General Coffey. He was as vain as a peacock, 
a regular "masher," and prided himself on his, 
(to him) good looks and his "conversational pow- 
ers." Next day I said: 

"Major, don't you want to call on a pretty 
young lady to-night?" 

"Yes," said the major, as he glanced at himself 
in the little pewter-rimmed mirror hanging on 
the tent-pole, and stroking his mustache lovingly, 
"who is she?" 

"It's Miss Coffey, only daughter of General 
Coffey, a rich old Southern planter down the 
valley a little way. He's a fine old gentleman, a 
fine scholar, a great reader, and you will enjoy 
his society, I am sure, as only one of your literary 
attainments can," said I. 

The major swelled with pride, and took another 
side glance at himself. "All right," said he; 
we'll go tonight. The nights are lovely now; 
moon about full, and if there is anything I do 
love it is to talk to a pretty girl by moonlight. 

I didn't say anything to this sentiment, tho' I 

193 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

could have said with Piatt, "me, too," and added 
— "yes, I see you at it now; something I have 
been trying to do for a week, but the general — ." 
Instead, I said: 

"Major, I ought to warn you now, that the 
general will talk you to death if you let him." 

The major drew himself up proudly, and with 
a scornful look and a most conceited smirk, said : 

"You forget, my son, that I'm a lady's man and 
something of a talker myself." 

"All right," said L 

So, we went, that very night. The major got 
himself up in his best shape, dress-parade uni- 
form, epaulets, plumed hat and all ; coat but- 
toned up to the chin, which must have been very 
uncomfortable, as it was September and pretty 
hot. He was so fat the buttons were on the 
strain, and he looked like a stuffed frog. I wore 
a "fatigue" coat — loose and easy-like. The major 
had a horse he called "Flop." I rode my little 
bay. 

Entering the parlor on invitation of a servant, 
we found the general and Miss Mary both there. 

"General Coffey, this is my distinguished 
friend, the gallant Major Robison, of the gen- 
eral's staff; Miss Coffey, Major Robison." 

After a cordial welcome, the general and the 
major were soon engaged in an animated run- 
ning talk, the major getting in his licks with 

194 



love's stratagem. 

commendable and encouraging skill, and he was 
in fine spirits. I gave Miss Mary my arm, and 
excusing ourselves we went out on the long front 
galler} in the moonlight. We staid out till eleven. 
Oh, it was a lovely night, indeed; full moon, 
cloudltss sky, clear Southern atmosphere, and so 
still I could hear myself think what a good joke 
I was having on the major. The lovely valley, 
of which the gallery commanded a fine view, lay 
peacefully spread out before us, and there was 
nothing to suggest that "grim-visaged war" was 
snoring all along the banks of the Tennessee, in 
about two miles of us, and that to-morrow we 
should see him shake himself and put on the 
Byronic "magnificently stern array." In fact., 
the stillness was unbroken, except by the barking 
of a little dog away over yonder, who, hearing 
the echo of his voice, would bark at it, and thus 
keep up the endless chain all night, I reckon. But 
I wasn't thinking of the night, nor the army, nor 
war, nor the valley, nor the little dog, just then. 
I was in better business. Ever been there, Dan- 
'els? 

Byme-by Mary said: 

"I reckon we'd better go in and see how father 
and the major are making it. It won't look right 
if we stay out all evening." 

So, we went in. As we entered the light of 
the hall, she dexterously flipped oflF a little face- 

195 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

powder which had somehow gotten on the left 
breast of my coat, and picked off a long yellow 
hair, which somehow had got tangled on a but- 
ton. We entered the parlor. The general had 
gotten the bulge on him and was doing all the 
talking, long since. The major whose face was 
red, eyes ditto, jumped up quick and swallowing 
a yawn, said : 

"Well, Doctor, it's about time we were going" ; 
and was about to be off. 

Miss Mary said : "Oh, it's early yet, and such 
a lovely night." (I could have hugged her, then 
and there, or anywhere else). I took out my 
watch. It was eleven o'clock. I didn't announce 
the fact, however, but said : 

"Major, has the general told you his beautiful 
allegory of the seven virgins, yet?" 

"No," said the old general, quickly; "I'm glad 
you reminded me of it. Sit down, major, and 
let me tell it to you." 

And the major had to sit down, but he did it 
with a bad grace, and with a glance at me as 
dark as Erebus. 

I again gave Miss Mary my arm, and asking 
them to excuse us, as we had had the pleasure of 
hearing it, we went out on the gallery again, and 
had another picnic. (More face-powder and yel- 
low hairs to brush off.) 

I said it took the general an hour to tell the 

196 



LOVES STRATAGEM. 

yarn. I knew just how to time our stay on the 
gallery, and made hay, figuratively, while the 
(moon) sun shone. Presently a rooster away 
over yonder waked up and gave the midnight sig- 
nal. Another took it up and passed it down the 
line our way, till the general's chickens caught it, 










i^^. 







HE EVEN SNORTED. 

and repeated it about a thousand times, seemed 
to me ; crowing for midnight. We went in. The 
general was nearing the climax, and was as wide 
awake as a mink. But the major. My stars ! He 
was mad ; mad as a wet hen. He was so mad he 



197 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

looked, as big as he was, to be actually swelled. 
His eyes were red; he was sleepy shonuff, and 
couldn't swallow the yawns, but had to let them 
come out. He jumped up, cutting off the gen- 
eral about at "lastly," and was hardly civil in 
leave-taking, notwithstanding the old gentle- 
man's courteous invitation to call again, which 
was repeated so sweetly by Mary. He bolted 
out of the door and made for "Flop," muttering 
between his clenched teeth : "Yes, I'll call again." 
He was so mad he blowed like a porpoise; he 
even snorted. I didn't say a word ; dasn't. Neither 
did he. We mounted in silence and rode away, 
I keeping just a little behind the major, and as 
mum as an oyster. We rode out of the lawn — 
rode across the peaceful valley, up the slope of a 
hill, from the summit of which could be had a 
fine view of the old colonial manor house of the 
general's we had just left. Arrived at the sum- 
mit the major turned his horse around, reined in ; 
"Whoa, Flop," he said, and then, slowly and de- 
liberately and for about a minute, shook his fist 
in the direction of the house, and said, with great 
deliberation : 

"General Coffey ; G — d d — n you and your sev- 
en virgins and their oil !" 

I fell off my horse and just rolled on the ground 
and hollered. I didn't go near the major for a 
week, and when I did he threw a rock at me. 



WHAT PUZZLED THE DOCTOR. 



WHAT PUZZLED THE DOCTOR. 



Dan'els, said the genial old gentleman, the 
next time he favored the Journal office with a 
visit, continuing his remarks anent ''commuta- 
tion," touched upon in a former recital; Dan'els, 
speaking of commutation for quarters, fuel, ra- 
tions, horse-feed, etc., durin' the war, I know you 
fellers don't understand what it was. I'll ex- 
plain it to you, as well as I can, for there is one 
thing connected with it that I can't get thro' my 
head, and never did : 

A colonel (of whatever arm or staff) is when 
on post-duty entitled, in addition to his pay, to be 
furnished with four rooms or tents for "quar- 
ters" ; feed for four horses, and four cords of 
wood a month; a major to three, and a captain 
to two of each item mentioned ; while a lieutenant 
is entitled to only one room, feed for one horse 
and one cord of wood a month. Or, if they pre- 
fer, they could procure these things on their own 
hook, and the government would allow them pay 
in lieu of furnishing them. Most all of the of- 
ficers preferred to draw the pay and provide for 
themselves ; there was money in it. 

Now, I never could understand the discrimina- 
tion. It surely doesn't take any more room for 
a colonel to sleep in than it does for a captain, 

199 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

and no more wood to keep a major warm than it 
does a lieutenant. There was I, a ''Major," en- 
titled to my three cords of wood, and old Doctor 
Barker, as big as two of me, but only a "Captain" 
and assistant surgeon — he had to keep warm as 
best he could on two measly little cords of wood. 
See? It ain't fair. And bless your soul, he had 
to sleep in two rooms, while little / could spread 
myself around loose all over three rooms and 
warm myself by three fires at once. 

And the Philosopher shook with merriment 
at his alleged wit. 



200 



THE STORY OF A STUMP. 



THE STOEY OF A STUMP. 



When the Old Doctor was last in Austin and 
honored the Journal office with a visit, I said to 
him : 

"Doctor, did you ever notice that old crippled 
Confederate soldier sitting on the steps at the 
capitol ?" 

Yes, said he, — I know him well. I amputated 
his leg at Atlanta. 

It is a very common thing these days, and has 
been for many years, to see a stump, continued 
the Doctor, to see some ex-Confederate stump- 
ing his weary way through life on crutches or a 
wooden leg ; so common that it does not challenge 
a remark, or hardly a notice ; we do not give it a 
thought. 

But, oh, how eloquent is that stump, or that 
empty sleeve ! What a tale it could tell — if any- 
body had time to listen to it. See that old fellow, 
now, pegging along there on his wooden stump, 
too poor to buy even an artificial limb. Old, 
gray and grizzled. Time was when he was 
young. Time was when he too was fired with 
patriotism — shall we say? — or misdirected zeal? 
— to take up arms against his flag, and thought 
it was a religious duty. Time was when the hot 
blood of youth coursed through his veins, and he 

20I 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

throbbed with the exhilaration of love, and hope, 
and ambition, perhaps; when the light of love 
shone in his eyes, as he pressed Mary to his 
bosom ; when, knapsack on back and gun in hand, 
he hurried from home to join the boys going to 
the front — or stole a kiss, perhaps, from timid, 
trusting little Lucy — a meek-eyed maiden who al- 
ready saw in her soldier lover a hero, and to 
whom he had pledged his undying faith. 

Time was when with recollections of Mary, or 
Lucy — perhaps with the fragrance of that last 
kiss lingering still in his memory, he joined the 
terrible charge, to "seek the bubble reputation at 
the cannon's mouth" — to prove himself worthy 
of her; and like "Brunswick's fated chieftain, 
foremost fighting, fell." 

Time was when fainting from the loss of blood, 
he was carried to the field hospital, where the first 
dressing was put on his wounds and the blood 
stanched; when, delirious with fever and pain, 
later, at the general hospital, the bearded and the 
beardless surgeons consult, and decide that the 
loss of a leg is necessary to save life ; when con- 
sciousness is restored and the alternative is told 
him — quick as a flash he sees the long years 
ahead, when lame and old, and perhaps friend- 
less, he shall drag out a miserable old age in 
some "Home" or asylum; or die of hunger and 
neglect on the roadside. But he loves life; he 

202 




'Ml 



FOREMOST FIGHTING FEtL. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



clings to delusive hope. "Cut her off, Doctor,'*' 
he says stoutly, but with a suppressed sigh. 

The fumes of chloroform are suggested to me 
by every stump. I see a strong man stretched 
prone on the table. I see the aproned surgeons 



■•Ts« 




"^^v^.> 



CARRIED BLEEDING TO THE REAR, 

— stem of visage — kind and gentle of heart; I 
see the gleam of a long knife; I see the warm 
life-blood spurt out as it cleaves the quivering 
white flesh. I hear the grating of the saw as it cuts 
its way thro' the bleeding bone. I see the ghastly 

204 



THE STORY OF A STUMP. 

wound, gaping, gory; its flabby flap weeping 
crimson tears. The thirsty sponge drinks them 
eagerly; they are quickly dried, closed, stitched; 
and a roller bandage is turned around the stump. 
The form is transferred to a cool cot beneath the 
shade of a wide-spreading oak, and a nurse sits 
by to fan him and keep off the flies. 

He rallies from the sleep of the merciful anes- 
thetic. He slept all through the ordeal. A min- 
ute seems not to have elapsed since the first whiff 
of the chloroform ; he felt nothing, knew noth- 
ing. He wakes to find his leg gone. He brushes 
away a tear, and a big lump comes in his throat, 
as he thinks of Mary, in the little house on the 
hill ; or of Lucy, may be — if it be she — the meek- 
eyed maiden to whom he is promised; who sees 
in the army but one figure, in the list of wounded 
but one name, and it is burned into her very soul 
as she reads opposite that name in the paper, 
"desperately wounded." 

Then the long, long days of fever and pus ; 
for in those days, you know, Dan'els, we knew 
nothing of "germs" and "antiseptics," nor how 
to prevent suppuration ; we believed it necessary 
to healing. Oh, the suffering, the days of agony 
and the nights of torture, as the wound became 
dry and hot, and the temperature rose. 

By-and-by he is convalescent. He can sit up 
on the side of his bunk and scrawl a repetition 

205 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



of his oft-told taie of love to her at home; but 
hope is dead in him. He is of no use in the army 




POOR OLD CONFED. DESPISED OLD REBEL. 

now; he is discharged; turned loose on a cold 
world, maimed and broken in health and spirit, 
to shift for himself as best he can. 

206 



THE STORY OF A STUMP. 

He survives the war. He is buffeted about 
here and there, living God knows how, as best 
he can. Now he sells lead-pencils on the granite 
steps of the Texas capitol. 

"Buy a pencil, Doctor?" 

*'Yes, my boy, a dozen of them. Here, give 
me two dozen ; I'm clean out of pencils at home," 
I say (pardonable lie, God knows). Neglected— 
despised — alone. Had he been on the other side, 
where his brother was, he would now be draw- 
ing a pension from the government. Poor old 
Confed. Despised old "rebel." They told you a 
wound would be an honor — and you a hero. Cruel 
mockery. Bitter deception. Your life-blood shed, 
your youth wasted ; all in vain. The "Lost Cause" 
is a memory. So is Lucy. She married the 
butcher, who staid at home and got rich. 

Now you are waiting — only waiting — the time 
when you may join your comrades in arms and 
misfortune on the other side. You see already 
the "bivouac on the shores of eternity" ; you hear 
the ripple of the waves as they dash upon its 
banks. You hear the bugle call to arms no more ; 
you hear the "tattoo" and "lights out" — and long 
for the time when your tired old bones may 

" softly lie and sweetly sleep. 

Low in the ground; when 

The soul — God's glorious image, freed from clay, 

In heaven's eternal spheres shall shine, 

A star of day." 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



OLD SISTER NICK. 



PIES AND PIETY. 



When I was stationed at Lauderdale Springs, 
Miss., in the extreme eastern part of the State, 
in the piney woods region, where I had charge 
of a ward in one of the general hospitals, said 
our Genial Visitor on another occasion, there 
was amongst the refugees, quite a number of 
whom had flocked there out of the way of the 
Yankees after Vicksburg fell, the most comical 
old lady you ever saw. She was generally called, 
by everybody, "Sister Nick," or "Old Sister 
Nick." She was "a lone widder woman," she 
used to say, and she had several slaves. 

Her piety was something awful. It was 
simply overwhelming. She had a son, an only 
child, whom she affectionately called "my little 
Jimmie," who having been slightly wounded 
once, by pure accident no doubt, for he was not 
of the kind to go where people get hurt — "not if 1 
can help it," he used to say — was now on detail 
service, doing hospital guard duty. Jimmie was a 
great big six-footer, strong as an ox, and had 
great shocks of fiery red hair, heavy eyebrows, 
white eyelashes, and keeping his mouth open con- 
stantly he had a startled, idiotic appearance; 

208 



OLD SISTER NICK. 



looked more like an astonished hog than anything 
I can think of. He had freckles on his face the 
size of a dime, and great warts on his hands that 
rattled like castanets. 

"Oh, Doctor, don't make fun of your friend 
that wav," I said. 




THE I^ORD WILL PURVIDE. 

It's a fact, said the Old Doctor, and he shook 
with good-natured mirth at the recollection. 

But Jimmie was "a good boy," as his mother 
often declared. 

"The Lord will purvide,'' she used to say, as 
she sat knitting socks for Jimmie — she was eter- 

209 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

nally knitting — and I reckon Jimmie had as many 
socks as Bud Zuntz had undershirts, and like 
Bud's shirts they were, as Ruth McEnery Stew- 
ard says of them, ''all Ma-knit." ''Ef He will 
only spare me my little Jimmie, I will always 
bless and sarve Him." 

Jimmie and I used to go fishing together ; 
good fishing about Lauderdale; tell you a good 
one about it some day, if you will remind me. 

Sister Nick was a little pudgy old lady with 
small gray watery eyes, a little dab of a nose 
that looked like it had been stuck on after she 
was built, as an afterthought; thin brown hair, 
turning gray, parted in the middle, and wound 
into a little dab at the back of her head not big- 
ger than a hickory nut; a watery mouth sugges- 
tive of a kind of a juiciness not very appetizing 
to look at, especially so because of its being al- 
ways the amber hue of snuff, which she was 
never without. She wore a faded calico wrap 
per — apparently an orphan — the only skirt she 
had on — looked so, anyhow — run-down slippers 
— and she had the general appearance of a bolster 
with a string tied around it in the middle. 

"Talking of good eatin', Sister Partrick," she 
said one day to Mrs. Patrick, my good mother- 
in-law — heaven rest her — she always pronounced 
it "Partrick"— "talkin' of good eatin', Sister Par- 

2IO 



OLD SISTER NICK. 



trick, jest set me down all by myself to a good 
biled hen, and I'm satisfied." 

Ellen, her colored slave, was her mainstay and 
support. She was a famous "pieist," if not so 
famous for piety — for Ellen would cuss some- 




SOLD PIES TO THE SICK SOLDIERS. 

times — and I don't blame her. Ellen made and 
sold pies to the sick soldiers, — and they had a 
perfect mania for pies. We forbade the sale of 
them at the hospitals ; they — her kind — being the 
most indigestible things imaginable ; but the men 



211 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

would have them, and would get them all the 
same. Rain or shine, frost, snow or blizzard, 
Ellen had to be at every train that came in, early 
or late, to sell pies to the soldiers. "The Lord 
will purvide," Sister Nick would say. "As long 
as my little Jimmie is spared to me, and Ellen 
holds out to make pies for the poor sick soldiers, 
I hope we won't starve, Sister Partrick," and she 
would spit out about a pint of snuff-juice. 

"I puts my trust in Him, Sister Partrick," she 
said often. She was so pious she would cry; her 
little watery eyes — always watery — would slop 
over every time she mentioned the Lord's name; 
and she was so famous for the quantity and 
quality of her piety and for Ellen's dyspeptic pies, 
that the boys used to say she had Ellen to sell pies 
at the morning trains to encourage "early piety." 

"Oh, pshaw. Doctor, that's the very worst pun 
I ever did hear in my life. I do believe you 
made up that whole yarn to get off that out- 
rageous pun ; go ahead with your story," said L 
And Hudson and Bennett did not crack a smile. 

Humph, said the Doctor; it's finished. You 
don't know a good thing when you hear it — and 
he gave me and B. and H. a look of ineffable 
disgust. 




212 



WHEN THE DOGWOODS WERE IN BLOOM. 



WHEN THE DOGWOODS WERE IN BLOOM. 



A FISH STORY. 



Lauderdale was a big hospital post, there be- 
ing four large hospitals there, built out on the 
lovely pine-clad hills, and built of rough pine 
lumber. There were assembled there quite a lot 
of congenial doctors and others, and of evenings, 
around the stove in the office of some one of the 
hospitals they would assemble more or less, and 
talk. 

The druggist at the hospital where I was on 
duty was named Armstead. By his accounts he 
was a tremendous fisherman. Oh, the trout he 
had caught, and the tales he could tell of wonder- 
ful exploits with rod and fly, to say nothing of 
"wurrums," as he called them. Well, all winter 
he was talking of going fishing as soon as the 
dogwood trees put out; "a. sure sign," he would 
say, that "the fish are biting." There was a pretty 
considerable-size creek running through these 
hills near the hospitals, and in the swamps or bot- 
toms as they were called were myriads of squir- 
rels, wild ducks, 'possums, coons, pigeons and 
even wild turkeys; and further oflf, deer. Fine 
sport I used to have with the gun. Some other 
time I will tell you of our make-shift for ammu- 

213 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

nition, if you will remind me. You must recollect 
that every Southern port was blockaded, trade 
and commerce with the outside world was cut off, 
and manufactured goods of every kind soon 
played out throughout the South. We were 
thrown on our own resources. The native cotton 
was spun and woven, and plain or striped cotton 
cloth, — "homespun," was the almost universal ar- 
ticle of feminine wear. Of course, we could not 
buy powder and shot. Not a piece of calico was 
to be seen or had except perhaps in the larger 
cities. Even home-made hats, home-made shoes, 
the ladies had to come to. And. I tell you now, 
some of those pretty "homespun" dresses, the cot- 
ton dyed with the walnut bark or some other in- 
digenous dye, were not to be laughed at. A 
calf-skin would bring a big price — and even cat- 
skins, if nicely tanned, were in demand. I had 
some satisfaction in wearing a vest made of the 
untanned, hair-on, pelt of a certain predatory 
tom-cat that kept up a famine of frying-size 
chickens on my premises. I remember that I 
gave $600 for a pair of home-tanned cow-leather 
boots ; and the last sugar I had before the break- 
up cost $80 a pound. 

But I am away off; I started to tell you fel- 
lers a fish-story, and promised to tell you how we 
made shot. 

"Now, look here, Doctor," said Hudson and 

214 



WHEN THE DOGWOODS WERE IN BLOOM. 

Bennett at once; *'we want you to understand, 
we beg to gently intimate that there is a Umit to 
our creduHty. Making shot — you know ." 

But, boys, I'm teUing you the gospel truth, said 
the Old Doctor, with a hurt look. Confederate 
money, based on nothing whatever on this earth, 
nor in heaven either as to that, got to be so worth- 
less that it hardly had any value, tho' you could 
buy anything that was for sale if you had enough 
of it; but there was no powder and shot, nor 
"store-cloze" for sale, I tell you. Why, I'll show 
you bills I have to this day, bills that I have kept 
as heirlooms and curiosities, where I paid $io 
per pound for butter, for instance, late in the 
war; and as early as '63 I saw a soldier draw a 
month's pay and immediately give it for a dozen 
apples. I have bills for bacon at $5 per pound, 
and lard ditto. In Covington, Ga., in 1863 (I 
forgot to tell you about it while I was telling you 
other Covington experiences), I had occasion to 
amputate the leg for a lad in the country, the 
son of a wealthy flour-mill man. He asked my 
bill, and I told him that in peace times it would 
be $50. A calculation based on that, at the then 
rate of discount, would make it $2500 in Con- 
federate money; but that I would be glad if he 
would let me have its equivalent in bacon. I have 
the bill for that bacon to-day ; it was $5 a pound. 

But, my stars — I'll never get to the fish-story 

215 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

at this rate, said the Old Doctor; I'm worse at 
straggling than I was in the ranks. To resume 
where I broke off, tho' I've got another pretty 
good one about Confederate prices if you will 
just say ''Meridian" some day: 

One day Armstead said: 

"Doctor, spring is here; the dogwoods are in 
bloom, the fish are biting, sure." 

"Reckon they are," said I. 

"Wish I could get off one day to try 'em," said 
he. 

"I think I'll try them to-morrow," said I. 

"Oh, the trout, the trout I used to catch," said 
he. "Why, Doctor ." 

"Oh, dry up, Armstead ; you've been telling me 
trout yams all winter. I'll show you something 
to-morrow," I said ; and Armstead drew a deep 
sigh at the recollection, I reckon, of the fish he 
didn't "used to catch." 

There is a big mill-pond up the creek some dis- 
tance above the hospitals, and I was sure there 
were good large trout in it. In fact, I had been 
told so by the owner of the mill. So Jimmie Nick, 
as we called him (Nicholas was his name, really), 
and I went up there next day. Below the mill 
there was a small but deep hole, into which the 
water fell from the "sheet" or shed, which laid on 
a level with the surface. We had no bait but red 
worms — first rate perch bait, — but we fished dili- 

216 



WHEN THE DOGWOODS WERE IN BLOOM. 



gently up the creek all the way to this hole under 
the mill, without getting a nibble. 

While standing there we noticed a bream (a 
black, striped perch, the size of your hand ; very 




NOTICED A BREAM. 



plentiful about Jackson where Jimmie and I were 
raised, and their favorite bait is crickets — those 
little black-winged crickets — you know what 

217 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEGI^. 

crickets are, surely?). The bream had "shot" 
the Uttle fall, and was floundering on the planks 
on which there was not an inch of water. 

I knew a bream was a bream, at Lauderdale 
as at Jackson, and we knew they would bite at 
crickets. So, Jimmie and I dropped our poles, 
and went out into a corn-field near by, and caught 
us a lot of crickets, and returning, rigged our 
lines for bream. To catch bream you have to be 
very careful of your tackle. The)^ are a wary 
fish, easily scared away. They won't bite if they 
see a line, so you have to have a line that is very 
slim, a small hook, fastened to a snood, or piece 
of "catgut," it is called — but it is not catgut. It 
is invisible in water, and that is the secret of suc- 
cess in fishing for them. Remember that ; there- 
by hangs a tale. 

In a little while Jimmie and I had rigged our 
lines, and soon had caught a long string of beau- 
tiful bream. Then we thought we'd try the trout. 
We call them trout in Mississippi, but it is the 
black bass as we see him in Texas, and they at- 
tain a weight from six to eight pounds ; the usual 
size is from one to three pounds ; three pounds is 
a large one in that section. 

We got a boat from the mill-man, got a net 
also, and going on the pond above the mill, we 
soon had a lot of fine minnows or "roaches" for 
bait; and the best luck you ever did see we had 

218 



WHEN THE DOGWOODS WERE IN BLOOM. 

that day. I got a three-pounder, a shonuff big 
fellow, and a lot of smaller ones, none under a 
pound and a half. We were proud. 

"Jimmie," I said, "we'll make Armstead go 
off and grieve, won't we? We'll make him bust 




'GEE WHILLIKENS 



wide open with envy — for he's a fisherman, he 



IS. 



Returning to the hospital I walked proudly into 
the drug-room where Armstead was putting up 
prescriptions behind the counter, with my hand 
behind me, and without a word I just flopped my 
big trout upon the counter right under his nose, 

219 



IvECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

the fish still alive and kicking. Oh, he was a 
beauty. 

Armstead's eyes nearly popped out of his head. 
He sprang back in surprise, and exclaimed : 

"Gee whillikens !— what a b— i— g sil— ver- 

side!" 

I was too disgusted for utterance. I just walked 
out without a word. The fool didn't know a trout 
when he saw it, after all his blowing and brag- 
ging. Silversides are those little roaches — look 
like sardines — that we use as bait, to catch trout 

with. 

* * * * 

Next day every man, woman and child, negro 
and dog in Lauderdale was out there at that hole 
fishing. Our strings of bream and trout had set 
the village wild. Every vehicle and "animule" 
available was pressed into service, and such an 
exodus to Moore's mill you never saw. The 
commandant of the post, Colonel Nuckles (one 
leg off), and his wife were there; Captain Catlin, 
the provost marshal (crippled, of course, or he 
wouldn't have been on post duty — such was the 
exigency of the service, every man able to bear 
arms had to be at the front, I tell you) — he was 
there with his wife ; Surgeon Kennedy, the post- 
surgeon and his wife ; oh, everybody and his wife, 
and sister, and sweetheart was there. "Sister 
Nick?" Yes, she was there, too, of course; and 

220 



WHEN THE DOGWOODS WERE IN BLOOM. 

all the young ladies — and that being a refugee 
town there were lots of them; pretty, too. 

Well, as Reel Kerr used to say, they chunked 
the fish with buckshot. They had every imagin- 
able kind of rig ; — fish-poles, corn-stalks, limbs of 
trees, for rods ; fish-lines, cotton twine, spool 
thread, carpenter's chalk-line, and even clothes- 
lines for lines ; and corks, and even quinine-bot- 
tle stoppers for floats ; and buckshot, nut-screws, 
nails, for sinkers; liver, raw beef, grubworms, 
toads — everything for bait but the right kind — 
enough to scare every fish out of the creek. 

Jimmie and I couldn't get off to go with the 
caravan, but we told them where to fish — ^below 
the mill ; that 'twa'nt no use wasting time any- 
where else; that at that season bream were run- 
ning up stream to spawn, and not being able to 
get past the mill — why, of course, that hole was 
full of them. 

About ten o'clock Jimmie and I went out. The 
party had surrounded the hole, literally. They 
were sitting in almost elbow touch all around 
the hole, and poles and lines innumerable were 
dangling over the water, but — na-a-rry a fish. 

"Why, what's the matter, Colonel? I thought 
you'd have the frying pans going by the time 
we got here ; you said you would, and wouldn't 
leave a fish in the creek for me and Jimmie to 
catch if we didn't hurry up?" said I. 

221 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

"Ah, Doctor, you fooled us. Ain't no fish in 
this hole — else you caught 'em all yesterday," 
said the colonel, unmindful of the paradox. 

Jimmie and I soon got our rigs ready, and 
were in the act of putting a cricket on the hooks 
when some one exclaimed excitedly : 

"The Colonel's got a bite !" 

"Pull him out, Colonel !" 

"Give him line, Colonel !" 

"Don't let him get the slack on you. Colonel !'' 

"Play him awhile. Colonel!" was the advice 
given the colonel all at once. Every one dropped 
his pole and gathered around the colonel to see 
the sport ; the colonel had been doing some brag- 
ging as well as Armstead, and had the reputation 
of being a tremendous fisherman. There was 
great excitement. 

The colonel was cool and collected, and he 
"let him play"— that is, he didn't pull "him" out 
right away ; that, he said, wasn't "science." When 
he thought it would be "science" to pull him out, 
he said: 

"Now, then, watch me land him. Get the net 
ready, quick, and be careful — for he's a whop- 
per !" And bracing himself he gave a pull — and 
out came — a miserable little skillipot terrapin 
about as big as your fist. 

Jimmie and I put on our crickets, and in a few 
minutes had bream enough to start the frying 

222 



WHEN THE DOGWOODS WERE IN BLOOM. 

pan. After dinner we cleared away a place on 
the grass, and such a ''swing corners," and such 
sparking and flirting we did have, to be sure; 
while old Dan, the colonel's colored carriage- 
driver, played his fiddle with uncommon unction. 




223 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

CONFEDERATE STATES SHOT-FACTORY 
(LIMITED—VERY.) 



Oh, yes, said the Doctor, so I did ; I promised 
to tell you how we got ammunition for shooting 
squirrels, etc. 

We would get a lot of minie balls, or cart- 
ridges, if we just had to have it— which was gen- 
erally the case, the squirrels were so bad that it 
was dangerous to be without powder and shot; 
I knew one to bite a feller once, who was out of 
powder and shot. It was by some thought to 
be sinful to so waste cartridges — they were to 
kill Yankees, you know. So loose balls or bul- 
lets, that was different, were the main source of 
supply. 

One would take a piece of the native pine, a 
piece of plank about four inches wide and sixteen 
inches long — but it was not necessary to be ex- 
act in these measurements — "any old'' piece of 
pine would do — and cut grooves in it length- 
wise, some five or six grooves. Then, tilting this 
plank against the inside of a vessel of water so as 
to make an inclined plane, the lead was placed on 
the upper end of the wood, and fire set to the 
wood. A piece of "fat" pine was selected — that 
is, a piece rich in turpentine, as it would bum 
readily. Why, sirs, "fat light'ood" (lightwood), 

224 



CONFEDERATE STATES SHOT FACTORY. 

as it is generally called in the South, was the 
main source or resource rather, for light, after 
''store" candles gave out, and especially far in 
the interior. True, many families made "tallow 
candles," but many persons also used lightwood ; 
in fact some old ladies I knew said they "pre- 
ferred" it when they couldn't get the tallow to 
make "dips," as they were called. 

The bullets would melt gradually, and the 
molten lead would run down the grooves and 
drop in the water in the kettle. Well, now, they 
were not round — that's a fact ; but they were 
more or less — generally less — round, and as the 
Johnny Reb, who was laughed at for riding a 
calf on the march, said, it beat walkin' — so these 
fragments of lead beat no shot at all ; and by 
rolling them under a flatiron we managed to 
make pretty good shot of them ; good enough to 
kill a turkey with, even. By-the-bye, Dan 'els, re- 
mind me to tell you about one I did kill at Lau- 
derdale ; its' a good one, as Dr. Billy Yandell, the 
State Quarantine Officer at El Paso, Texas, will 
testify; he helped eat it. 

No — we didn't get a patent on the process of 
making shot. We gave the public the benefit of 
the invention, and the process came into general 
use wherever the blessing of fat light'ood was 
known. 



225 



RECOLLFXTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



DR. YANDELL AND THE TURKEY. 



Tell you about the turkey, now ? said the Doc- 
tor. After a short breathing-spell he said: As 
well now as any other time. All right. 

Back of Dr. Yandell's hospital — that was Dr. 
Henry Yandell of Yazoo county, Mississippi, a 
cousin of Dr. Bill Yandell, who, by-the-by, was 
only a big ''kid" at that time, an undergraduate 
in medicine, and was a sorter hospital steward 
or something at his cousin's hospital — there was 
a swamp, of which I told you, through which 
the creek runs and where there was such good 
hunting. One afternoon I took my gun, and pass- 
ing through Yandell's yard one of the men said : 

"Doc, I seen turkeys down by the bridge yis- 
tiddy." 

"I'll go look for them," said I. "Thanks." 

I hadn't gotten more than a mile from the 
hospital before I heard a turkey, "put" — "put." 
The woods were very thick. Looking cautiously 
thro' the underbrush I saw two turkeys on the 
ground, with their necks stretched, looking 
scared, and as if about to fly. Trembling with ex- 
citement (I had what is known amongst hunters 
as a "mild buck-agre" — ague), I let drive with 
one barrel and knocked over one of the turkeys, 
the other one running off yelping. 

226 



DR. YANDELL AND THE TURKEY. 



I ran to my turkey, terribly excited and all over 
of a tremble. The turkey was fluttering on the 




I Iff 



ONE WING WAS CLIPPED. 



ground, and I caught it and holding it up, dis- 

22^ 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

covered — oh, holy horrors! — that one wing was 
dipped! The truth flashed on me in an instant. 
They were Dr. Yandell's turkeys, strayed off 
from the hospital. I could understand, now, why 
the other fellow didn't fly, but ran off yelpin' — 
something no well-bred wild turkey was ever 
known to do. 

I had no idea of throwing it away. I was 
ashamed to take it to the hospital and own up 
like a little man. No Sir — ree! In fact, I was 
turkey-hungry, and wanted the meat. Turkey 
was turkey in those days. So I just plucked out 
the cut quills and bviried them. The head of a 
''tame" turkey is much redder, of lighter color 
than that of a wild turkey. This one fortunately 
for me was a black one, and looked very much 
like a wild turkey. I took my knife out of my 
pocket, and cut gashes on the head — on the "wat- 
tles," as the children call the nodulated growths 
on a turkey's head — to let out some of the blood 
so as to make it look sorter blue — like a wild 
turkey's head, you know. I picked her up by the 
head, squeezing it so as to aid the bluing process, 
and marched boldly through Dr. Yandell's hos- 
pital yard. 

"Hello!" said the doctor and young Yandell 
(now "Old" Yandell). "You got one, shonuff, 
Doctor?" 

"Yes," I said; "There were about twenty (that 

228 



DR. YANDELL AND THE TURKEY. 

was a whopper), but I only got one shot; they 
were so wild." 

Yandell didn't notice the quills being pulled 
out; if any one had said anything about that, I 
had a lie ready to explain it : I was "going to 
make pens out of 'em (for you boys must know 
that even the steel pens gave out, and we had to 
fall back on the primitive quill pens of the daddys. 
I was taught to write with one, and I'm not a 
Methuseleh, however). 

I invited Dr. Yandell, Dr. Seymour and young 
Yandell to dine with me next day and help me 
eat the turkey. It was brown and savory, and 
quite fat. It was served with "fixin's," and was 
a real treat. Dr. Yandell in particular was in 
ecstasies. Said he: 

"Anybody v/ho ever tasted wild turkey can 
recognize the superiority, the sweetness of the 
flesh over that of a domestic, yard-raised, hand- 
fed turkey. This one, now, has a most delicious 
aroma of beech nuts — a "nutty" taste, which is 
characteristic of the wild bird. This is delicious. 
Doctor ; you may help me to another piece of the 
dark meat, please. We have turkey at the hos- 
pital, frequently, of course," continued the doc- 
tor between mouthfuls, "but I never eat it; tame 
turkey ain't -fit to eat, in fact." 

I was just ready to burst with amusement, and 
could with great difficulty keep my face straight ; 

229 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

but I did it — looked as solemn as a judge, or as 
Hudson there does, when the bill-collector comes 
around. I hadn't even told my wife, or I couldn't 
for the life of me have kept from laughing^ it was 
such a good joke. 

To this day Dr. Yandell does not know the 
trick I played on him, nor does Dr. Billy. Sey- 
mour? Dead I reckon; haven't heard of him 
since. Yandell, while one of the jolliest fellows 
in the world, was still somewhat touchy — would 
shoot as quick as a wink, and to tell you the truth 
I was always afraid to let him know that he had 
made such an ass of himself — doing all that blow- 
ing while eating one of his own old hospital tur- 
key-hens. It's safe, now ; he's in Mississippi. 



230 



WISDOM IN A MULTITUDE OF COUNSEL. 

WISDOM IN A MULTITUDE OF COUNSEL 

(NIT.) 



Among the medical officers at Lauderdale at 
the time I am speaking of, continued the Old 
Doctor, the winter preceding the general smash- 
up of the Confederate States in April, 1865, there 
was a Dr. Thombus of Kentucky, a surgeon. He 
knew it all. He was my senior by about fifteen 
years, say about forty years old. To tell you the 
truth he reminded me more of ''Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse" (Ten Thousand a Year) than any one I 
ever knew. Like Tittlebat T., he used to address 
the young ladies as "gals," and say "how you 
was?" He had charge of a hospital, and I had 
only a ward in his hospital. In my ward the head 
nurse, or ward-master, was a young man named 
Newt Swain (I wonder what ever became of 
him? I'd like to know). Newt was reading med- 
icine under my instruction, and he swore by me 
both as a diagnostician and as an operator. 

In our ward was a man who had had a heavy 
fall some years previously, striking on the right 
shoulder. It gave him no trouble for a while, 
but then the shoulder began to swell and pain 
him some at times, and he came to that hospital 
for treatment. Before coming he had received 
another fall, striking on the same shoulder. The 

231 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

shoulder was greatly swollen, the swelling ex- 
tending up the neck till it began to oppress his 
breathing; impinging on the phrenic nerve. 

This man had been in this hospital a long time, 
the swelling being treated empirically, with iodine 
and blisters, without any one ever having made a 
diagnosis. No one knew just what the trouble 
was. 




PROVING IT. 

One day I noticed that the swelling was grow- 
ing faster, and it was beginning to interfere seri- 
ously with the man's breathing ; he had to take to 
bed. I called a consultation of all hands at the 
post, some fifteen doctors, big and little, and 
asked for an opinion on the case as to diagnosis, 
and what ought to be done. 

After all of them had examined the patient Dr. 
Thombus said: 



232 



WISDOM IN A MULTITUDE OF COUNSEL. 

"It's a fatty tumor and ought to be cut out," 
giving his reasons for his diagnosis, and "proving 
it," he said, by Gross' Surgery, a copy of which 
he produced and showed us. Furthermore Gross 
said it ought to be cut out. All the others agreed 
with him until it came my turn ; it being my pa- 
tient and I being the youngest of the party, I was 
last. 

"What do you think, Doctor?" said Thombus 
to me. 

"I have no definite opinion as to diagnosis," 
said I. "I'm rather puzzled over the case; that's 
why I called you all. But from the man's his- 
tory I very much suspect that it is a diffused 
aneurism, and that capillary hemorrhage going on 
in there now accounts for the gradual swelling. 
I feel quite sure it's not a fatty tumor and I dis- 
sent from the proposition to cut it. If you cut 
down there (over the scapula) you'll get into a 
bleeding cavity, and not be able to reach the sub- 
scapular artery to tie it." 

Thombus gave a horse-guffaw. He said : 

"By the time you've cut as much as me and 
Yandell and Henson (naming nearly all the 
others), you won't be so scarey of the knife, 
young man," attributing my dissent to timidity 
on my part, confound him, when at that mo- 
ment I had probably already done more "cuttin' " 
than he had. 

233 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

''Well," I said, "If you will open it I'll get 
everything ready for you, as it is my ward and 
my patient, and I'll turn him over to the surgeon 
in charge (T.), but you must ^^--cuse me if you 
please. As Pontius Pilate said on a certain oc- 
casion I need not more specifically refer to, 'this 
man's blood be upon your heads' (or hands, I've 
forgotten P. P's exact expression) ; I'm going 
fishing." And after clearing the deck for action, 
as we would say now ; war phrases are on again ; 
that is, after making every preparation for the 
operation, I lit out. 

Late that afternoon as I came up the road to 
the hospital, my string of perch swinging by my 
side, I caught sight of Swain, my ward-master 
and student, away down at the big gate, waiting 
for me. As soon as I came in sight he waved his 
hand and hollered : 

"Aneurism, by Jo ! Man's dead !" 



234 



A NIGHT IN MERIDIAN. 



A NIGHT IN MERIDIAN. 



While stationed at Lauderdale, Miss., of 
which I have been teUing you boys some things, 
I had occasion to run down to Meridian, which, 
as everybody knows, is on the M. & O. Railroad, 
some thirty miles below Lauderdale, and is the 
junction of the Southern and some other roads. 
Every Confederate soldier, if not everybody in 
the United States, knows Meridian. It had the 
hardest name during the war of any place, un- 
less it be Andersonville, Ga., the memorable 
prison. By-the-bye, let me digress here long 
enough to say that at one time I was ordered to 
Andersonville to take charge of that ill-fated 
prison hospital ; and had I gone I should have 
suffered martyrdom instead of Dr. Mudd. It 
was perhaps, nay, no doubt, the most fortunate 
escape I ever made, not excepting that at Cov- 
ington. I got off somehow, I do not now re- 
member on what pretext. 

I had heard enough of the hotel at Meridian 
to know that it was the best place in the world 
to not stop at. Where is the Confederate now 
living who had not either been a victim of "Room 
40," or heard tell of its horrors by surviving suf- 
ferers ?" 

The only alternative to going to that hotel of 

235 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

such notoriety was to go to a little so-called hotel 
kept by an old man named Dr. Johnson. It was a 
little log house of two rooms and a passageway 
between them, to the back of which had been 
added two "shed" rooms, which including the; 
space corresponding to the passageway, made two 
longer rooms, one of which was used for the 
"dining room." There was a front gallery, as it 
is called in some places, "porch" in others, ex- 
tending the length of the building in front, and 
on each end of this gallery after the demand for 
accomodation set in, a little room was boarded off 
with rough lumber. These rooms — if they can 
be called rooms were the width of the porch, say, 
eight feet, and were eight feet in length ; 8x8 
feet "bed-rooms." One of these cells was my 
bed-room that night. There was no ceiling or 
plastering; nothing between me and the outside 
world — the winter blasts — except the "weather- 
boarding," the studding or uprights to which it 
was nailed being visible on the inside. It was a 
mere shell ; there was no ceiling overhead. As I 
lay in, or rather on, my bunk, I could see the star* 
in the sky through the chinks and crannies of the 
roof. 

It was a dreadful cold night, during the winter 
that preceded the general break-up, the winter of 
1864-5 i the surrender took place the following 
April. By that time Confederate money had 

236 



A NIGHT IN MERIDIAN. 

gotten to be almost worthless, but it was the only 
currency — circulating medium — we had. We 
were less fortunate than our friends in North 
Carolina, who, it was said, used herrings for 
small change, and it was a common thing to hear 
a chap at a "store" say: "Mister, gimme a her- 
rin's worth o' snuff." So Confederate scrip had 
to go — at some valuation. ^^ 

I had to choose between this lay-out and that 
"hotel" down town of which so many tough 
stories were told. This "Retreat," as the propri- 
etor called it (mind you, in dead sober earnest, 
he was), was about half a mile from the business 
center — "far from the world's ignoble strife," 
and from the "madding crowd" — for there was 
most assuredly a mad crowd there at least, al- 
ways ; and the maddest of the crowd was a fellow 
who having spent the night before in "Room 
forty" declared that he had had his socks stolen 
off his feet, notwithstanding he had gone to bed 
with his boots on. 

Tell you about room forty? You never heard 
of it ? Well, that's a fact ; you belong to the new. 
issue; Dan'els has been there. 

It was called "room forty" because there were 
forty bunks in it, and it was made to lodge forty 
graybacks. Soldiers were arriving at all times of 
the night, and after the other rooms were filled 
the overflow — and there was always an overflow 

237 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

— were sent to room forty. The hotel was right 
at the depot, and was a two-story and attic plank 
building in a lamentable state of incompleteness 
— was never finished. Room forty was the space 
up under the roof, between the floor and which 
there was nothing except the rafters, which "came 
handy," the proprietor said, ''to hang things 
from." As an illustration of its utility there were 
hung from the center joist an old smoky lantern, 
and some forgotten or abandoned canteens. The 
floor space to the uprights or studding on each 
side, and not including the unavailable space un- 
der the eaves of the roof, unavailable except as a 
repository of odds and ends of rubbish, and as a 
den for rats, cats and other varmints, was about 
40x60 feet, and on each side of the room and 
down the center were rough deal bunks, each 
with its feather bed of straw and two gray horse- 
blankets. That they were occupied by represen- 
tatives of the Cimex L. family as well as by nu- 
merous pedicnli is to be understood as a matter 
of course. Soldiers have told me that some fel- 
lers knowing this, yet being compelled to sleep, 
would swig enough Meridian whisky to stupefy 
themselves, and would snore through the night 
in defiance of the first settlers. Others who could 
not sleep would play cards, smoke and cuss all 
night, and hence the aisles between the rows of 
bunks were often filled with a rowdy crowd of 

238 



A NIGHT IN MERIDIAN. 

soldiers. You can readily understand the de- 
lights of a night in room forty. Your slumbers 
would be accompanied by a chorus of snores, 
snatches of ribald songs, coarse jests and coarser 
oaths, all seasoned and scented with the fumes of 
villainous tobacco smoked in old stinkin' pipes, 
to say nothing of the rumbling, the whistling, the 
lettin' off steam of numerous locomotives just be- 
neath your bunk. "Which is why I remark," 
that hotel was the very best place in the world to 
not stop at; and that is why I sought Dr. John- 
son's "Retreat." 

The "Retreat was situated on a hill west of 
town and just at the edge of the almost inter- 
minable pine forest that stretched away for miles 
in every direction. I registered — there being 
some two or three other unfortunates there, and 
they had just finished supper — finished it in a 
literal sense, as I will presently show. It was 
the invariable rule at that and all other "hotels," 
those times, to require payment in advance. I 
stated that it was my wish to have supper, lodg- 
ing for the night, and breakfast. I was told 
that my bill would be $300, which I paid of 
course. It would have been the same at "room 
forty," and the alternative was — pay or spend 
the night outdoors. 

I was shown into supper. The table was there, 
and some crumbs of cawn bread the others had 

239 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

not eaten and in a large blue-edged dish was a 
piece of very fat bacon about as large as an egg, 
swimming in an ocean of clear grease — simply 
lard in a liquid state. There was a bottle of 
alleged molasses — it was home-made sorghum 
syrup. These dainties, with a cup of ''coffee" 
made of parched cawn meal and sweetened with 
the sorghum syrup, was the ''menu." (Between 
me'n you I didn't eat a whole lot. There was 
nothing to eat.) 

So, like Jack in the story, I retired supper- 
less to — I had nearly told a lie; I was going to 
say "bed." I retired to my room. It was lighted, 
or it would be more proper to say the darkness 
was intensified by a solitary tallow candle (home- 
made, of course), about two inches long, stuck 
in the neck of an empty whisky bottle. This 
the "landlord," as all proprietors of "hotels" in 
the South are called — I don't know why — set up 
on a little shelf nailed to the wall. I seated my- 
self after having received the well-meaning old 
gentleman's "good night," on the stool-chair, 
the sole representative of the chair family 
present, and it without a back, and calmly sur- 
veyed my quarters; "viewed the prospect o'er." 
It wasn't "pleasing"; and "man" was not the 
only thing that was "vile" thereabouts. 

The bed, which with this stool constituted the 
entire equipment, was a bunk two and one-half 

240 



A NIGHT IN MERIDIAN. 

feet wide, built in one corner of the room, of 
rough scantHng. On this was a coarse cotton 
sack filled with straw, and a pillow of the same 
soothing materials. There were the inevitable 
two gray horse-blankets for covering — no sheets 
— and so help me Moses, this was the lay-out in 
which I was expected to get $300 worth of the 
* 'balmy." It was the longest night that ever 
was. I did not undress but just laid down on 
the bunk with clothing, boots, overcoat and all on, 
and drew the blankets over me. 

By that time my candle was burned out. They 
say "men love darkness because their deeds are 
evil." "There are others" who like darkness, or 
rather (as do certain of the genus homo) take 
advantage of it to get in their work. In Meridian 
at that time sand-bagging, garroting and similar 
pastimes were of nightly occurrence. I soon 
discovered that there were "others" claiming this 
luxurious couch ; it had been pre-empted and 
was held by a large colony of the cimex lectular- 
ius family; they were there in force, and assert- 
ing their rights I had to vacate — give possession. 
I did so with alacrity on the first "notice to quit." 
They began work on the tenderest parts of my 
anatomy the moment the candle went out. 

Having before going up to the "Retreat" trans- 
acted the little business I had to attend to, and 
which brought me to Meridian, it was my inten- 

241 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

tion to return home on the morning passenger 
train which passed up usually at 8 o'clock. What 
to do with myself meantime was the problem 
that confronted me. Sleep was out of the ques- 
tion. No fire, no light, as dark as Erebus and as 
cold as church charity. I had to exist in some 
way thro' the tedious hours of that long cheerless 
night. The very stillness of the small hours 
was oppressive. It was broken at intervals by 
the snort of some lodger more thick-skinned than 
I, and who was evidently defying the cimex 
family, a sharp snort, with which his constant 
snoring was punctuated. The room was too 
small to permit any exercise, and I thought I 
would freeze. 

Finally I became so drowsy, so overcome with 
the cold, that I concluded that as the the least of 
two evils I would try the bunk again, more for 
the warmth of the blankets than in any hope 
of sleep. I laid down again flat on my back, and 
pulled the blankets up to my chin. 

In a short time I was in that strange condition 
known as sleep-waking, in which the body is 
asleep but the mind is awake, though the co- 
ordination of thought is interrupted. There was 
no fastening to the door — the only aperture to 
the room — and I went to sleep watching that 
door. 

Presently it seemed that something, something 

242 



A NIGHT IN MERIDIAN. 

horrible and undefined and undefinable — entered 
that door and came and tried to smother me with 
a black blanket, or something, and sat all over 
me, literally. I didn't know what it was ; it was 
something black, and you know in dreams we 
are never surprised at any incongruity, at any- 
thing, because it always seems quite natural. I 
could not get my breath. I tried to holler out 




TRIED TO HOLLER OUT. 

but I couldn't. I felt that I would be smothered 
before I could cry out. It seemed tho' that I 
slid from the bunk and got to the door, tho' the 
bed-covers tangled my legs, and they felt like 
they weighed a thousand pounds, and I finally 
got out of the door and ran, with the black thing 
pursuing me like an overgrown and very ugly 
Xemesis. I suddenly found myself going head- 
foremost over the precipice of an iceberg, that 

243 



RECOLLECTIOKS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

black thing right after me. The sensation of 
falHng, which no doubt you fellers have ex- 
perienced in sleep, aroused me, broke the spell, 
and with a start I sat up, throwing off of me 
a great gaunt gray cat. It had entered my 
boudoir from overhead, crept in on the rafters 
with which the overhead was ornamented, and 
dropping down noiselessly on my bunk, was 
calmly sitting on my chest looking at me. Ugh ! 
As I threw him, her or it off, I don't know 
which was the worst scared, the cat or yours 
truly. As he, she or it crouched in the corner 
its eyes shone like the headlights of two loco- 
motives. I opened the door, and striking a match, 
ran the cat out. 

The prisoner of Chillon turned gray in a single 
night — no, I believe he said ''my hair is gray, 
but not with years, 7ior turned it white in a single 
night." However, be that as it may, I think I 
turned blue, black, green, gray and yellow by 
turns that night. It's horrors will live in my 
memory as long as memory lasts. 

I still couldn't get my breath, notwithstand- 
ing the nightmare was gone. The blood all 
seemed to be centered at my heart and I was 
nearly frozen. I swung my arms, stamped my 
feet and beat my chest to see if I couldn't start 
the sluggish blood. I was afraid to go out-doors 
and run; even if there had not been the danger 

244 



A NIGHT IN MERIDIAN. 

of my freezing, and as said, inside the room there 
was not space enough to even walk about. 
"Eagerly I wished the morrow ; 

Vainly I sought to borrow 

From my (pipe) surcease from sorrow." 
Narry morrow — narry borrow. Luckily I had 
a supply of smoking tobacco and some matches, 
and I just sat bolt upright on that backless chair 
all night and smoked my pipe. I thought of 
everything mean I had ever done, and wondered if 
hell wasn't something like this — cold, instead of 
hot, and where you have nightmare with cats 
perched on your thorax. If not, I should have 
liked to make the exchange then and there. 

Byme-by, away long yonder when Orion had 
dipped below the horizon, and the Little Dipper 
was getting ready to dip; when the stars gen- 
erally, preparatory to going off duty, were ex- 
tinguishing their little lamps and had suspended 
the twinklin' business — realizing that the sun was 
coming, and that they couldn't *'hold a light" 
to him ; when the first streaks of gray made their 
appearance in the east I heard a lonesome rooster 
crow — away over yonder. I heard the big 
shanghai next door answer his challenge, going 
him considerable "better" on the final syllable of 
his remarks. I heard a belated owl hoot from, 
the bosom of the adjacent thicket. I heard the 
frantic scream of the coming engine, coming as 

245 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

if it were in a hurry to get in out of the cold. 
I could almost in the mind's eye — see it blow on 
its hands to keep them warm, as you have seen 
schoolboys do on a frosty morning. It was an 
up-train ; going my way. 

Ah, to the frozen, famished Greeley party on 
their monopoly of ice, the sound of the steam 
whistle of the rescue ship was not more welcome 
than was that screamin' locomotive, running like 
a scared wolf, to my anxious ears. Not to the 
besieged at Lucknow was the "pibroch's shrill 
note," announcing the coming of Campbell with 
the camels, more welcome than was that same 
screamer, screaming as she approached Meridian, 
to yours truly. It was to carry me away from 
Meridian, from the scenes of that dreadful night. 

By the time the train had arrived at the station 
I was there, and was soon snugly seated by the 
stove in the conductor's caboose (it was a freight 
train), thawing and thinking. In an hour I was 
telling my wife the adventures over a cup of sho- 
nufif coffee, and smoking waffles weltering in 
fresh butter. 

I shall never forget Dr. Johnson's "Retreat," 
nor the hotel-bill. I have no doubt it is the 
champion hotel-bill of all creation, the biggest 
one on record for a night's lodging (alleged). 
I arrived after supper, sat up all night, left be- 
fore breakfast, and paid $300. 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 



Surgery during the war was a very different 
thing from what it is now, said the Old Doctor, 
leaning back in my editorial chair, with his 
thumbs in the armholes of his vest, and with a 
dignified expression on his usually jolly, coun- 
tenance, as if to say, "I'm going to talk sense 
now." For even at the best, with the best appli- 
ances, you know that it was practiced upon an 
entirely different theory. It was before anything 
whatever was known of the "germ-pathology." 
It was believed that suppuration was necessary 
to healing by second intention, and as healing 
by first intention could not be hoped for in larger 
wounds, and rarely in gunshot wounds at all, 
the aim of the surgeon was to promote suppura- 
tion as rapidly as possible; and the appearance 
on the third or fourth day of a creamy pus was 
hailed with satisfaction. It was called "laudable 
pus" (which clearly enough indicates what was 
thought of it). To that end hot cloths were 
applied, hot cloths wet in hot water and even in 
some instances poultices. 

I should state, however, that notwithstanding 
what I have said, it was routine practice after an 
operation, large or small, to put on "wet com- 
presses," cold dressings, and to fix a tin cup over 

247 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

the wound, filled with cold water, and a cotton 
thread led the water to fall drop by drop on the 
wound. It was only in the larger cities that ice 
could be had. I suppose the theory was that cold 
would keep down excessive inflammation. When 
suppuration began the dressings were changed to 
warm applications to promote it. 

In light of our present knowledge does it not 
look ridiculous? The intentional though uncon- 
scious propagation of millions of pathogenic 
"germs," the prevention of which is the great 
object now and constitutes the greatest triumph 
of surgical art in the century! Think of the 
thousands of precious lives that could have been 
saved if Lister's great work had come fifty years 
sooner. 

Experience soon demonstrated that a gunshot 
wound of any joint was almost invariably fatal, 
and even a gunshot fracture of the femur by the 
methods of treatment was so nearly always at- 
tended with fatal results, that it became early in 
the war the rule to amputate for both, and that 
primary operation gave the best chances for re- 
covery; that is, amputation as soon after the 
wound was made as possible. Think of the 
thousands of limbs that were sacrificed that 
could, under modem methods, have been easily 
saved. And as to bruised, "contused" or lacer- 
ated fractures, not a moment was wasted but am- 

248 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 

putation was at once done. How many thousand 
lives were lost through ignorance, want of ex- 
perience, want of skill, want of suitable appli- 
ances, will of course never be known. I myself 
once performed an amputation with a pocket-knife 
and a common saw. But for the most part the 
Confederate surgeons had instruments, such as 
they were ; and it was a work of love with the 
women of the South to make bandages and lint. 
They often stripped their families and their 
household of sheets, spreads, and even skirts in 
order to supply bandages and lint to the hos- 
pitals. For the most part the women regarded 
the cause as holy, or next to holy, and they stop- 
ped at no sacrifice of personal possessions or 
comfort. 

Hospital gangrene and erysipelas were the 
great scourges of the hospitals, and carried off 
more soldiers, I dare say, than Yankee bullets 
did. We knew nothing, as I told you, of germ 
causation, and therefore nothing of germicides 
and antiseptics. The treatment was altogether 
empirical. I remember somebody said that sul- 
phide of lead was a sovereign application for 
hospital gangrene. It was not stated upon what 
principle it was supposed to act; but was just 
"good for" gangrene. I can recall now the zeal 
with which most surgeons took hold of the new 
treatment, and we had to extemporize the 

249 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

remedy. I can see now the crude iron pot In 
which a lot of minie balls are being melted. 
When melted, flour of sulphur was industriously 
stirred in until the mixture became of the proper 
consistency, and when cool it was a gray-black 
powder. This was liberally sprinkled on th^ 
wound ; more often the wound was filled with 
it. I do not remember that I ever knew it to 
do any good. In this connection I recall an ex- 
perience that I shall never forget. 

As officer of the day I had to sleep at the hos- 
pital a certain night. Gangrene was amongst the 
wounded. There was a boy whose wound, in 
the center of the left hand, of course making a 
compound fracture of the metacarpal bones, was 
attacked with gangrene. It was being treated by 
the method in vogue, when that night an artery, 
the palmar arch, sprang a leak; that is, hemor- 
rhage set in. The nurse called me, and by the light 
of a single smoky coal-oil lamp, and with the as- 
sistance of a very stupid and sleepy nurse, one of 
the convalescent soldiers, I had to amputate the 
hand. What is worse, for some reason not now 
recalled the instruments were either out of place 
or locked up, or at any rate were not available, 
and I did the operation with the contents of a 
small pocket-case and the saw that belonged to 
the carpenter, while my assistant held the lamp. 

Think of the situation, ye up-to-date surgeons. 

250 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 

I administered the chloroform and had one eye 
on his respiration, while with the other eye I 
directed as best I could the cutting process and 
ligating of the arteries. The boy recovered; but 
the surgeon in charge — it was Dr. Charles E. 
Michelle, still living I believe in St. Louis, gave 
me hail Columbia for not saving that boy's hand, 
or at least the little finger and the thumb; and 




HAD TO AMPUTATE THE HAND. 



he demonstrated to me ( I was but a kid in years, 
remember, tho' a surgeon of rank with him and 
the best of them ; I was 24), and to the assembled 
wisdom of the hospital, how nicely the little 
finger and thumb might have been saved, and 
what a comfort they would have been to the 
boy in after years in picking cotton, for instance. 
(He did not say ''picking cotton"; that's a 

251 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

'Voluntary.") I had kept the hand for his in- 
spection, and *'hail Columbia" was what I got. 

RECOLLECTION OF HAWTHORN. 

You all knew Professor Frank Hawthorn of 
the University of Louisana, of course, continued 
the Doctor, after resting a little from the above 
recitation. Speaking of that case reminds me 
of an experience of his. He had a case with 
hemorrhage adjuncts. His man had been shot 
through the flesh in the bend of the elbow, but 
the artery had not been cut. Secondary hemor- 
rhage set in, however, and as a lot of the big 
surgeons (he vvasn't a very big one then, but he 
got to be later) were at that post, inspecting and 
operating, Hawthorn put on a tourniquet and 
controlled the bleeding till he could have them 
see the case and advise what was best to do. 
There were Dr. Ford, medical director of the 
army ; Dr. Stout, medical director of hospitals ; 
Dr. Pim, Dr. Saunders (now of Memphis) and 
others. Hawthorn showed the case and said : 
"What is the best to do?" turning to Medical 
Director Ford. 

"Well, I don't know, er — rer; what say, 
Stout?" 

"Well, I don't know, er — rer; what say, 
Saunders ?" 

"Well, I don't know; what say, Pim?" 

252 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 

Hawthorn got impatient, and picking up a 
bistoury said : 

''Here's what / say do"; suiting the action to 
the word, laying the wound wide open at one 
sweep, and taking up the ends of the artery 
had a Hgature around it quicker than a wink. 

This party of big surgeons came to the hos- 
pital where I was stationed. All the wounded 
tiiat were thought subjects for operation were 
brought out one at a time, under the shade of 
the trees in the beautiful yard of the Hill hospital 
at Covington, for examination and operation or 
otherwise, as decided by this tribunal. 

Amongst those brought out on this occasion was 
a large Swede who had received a gunshot frac- 
ture of the radius near the wrist. The ques- 
tion was, to resect (it was called "resect," tho' 
*'exsect" seems to me would be more proper), 
that is, cut out the jagged ends of the bone, or to 
let it alone. It was decided to saw off the ends 
of the bone, of course. 

The man was put on the table, but before 
chloroform v/as given he said: 

''Gentlemen, have I any say-so about this 
operation ?" 

"Why, certainly," replied several of the boss 
surgeons. 

The man looked around at each face in turn, 
then pointing to me, the only beardless one in 

253 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



the lot, and looking like a kid, he said: 
"There's the man I want to do the cutting on 

my arm." 

I did the operation like a little man, and my 

grateful Swede made a splendid recovery. 
But I have digressed; I was telling you of 

Hawthorn. 




THAT'S THE MAN. 

Hawthorn went out as a private soldier in the 
loth Alabama infantry when he was a fresh 
graduate of medicine. His regiment was at Pen- 
sacola. One of his company got shot through 
the foot, and all the surgeons were absent fish- 
ing, it was said. Some one said : ''Hawthoi;n in 
this man's company is a doctor — get him !" They 
got him. He cut down and tied the posterior 

254 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 

tibial artery — the correct thing to do — and when 
the surgeon returned — it was Dr. Ford — a Httle 
later, the medical director I have been speaking 
of, he asked who had done that operation; say- 
ing it was a neat operation and a creditable job. 
He was told that the operator was Private Haw- 
thorn of the loth Alabama. Dr. Ford immedi- 
ately appointed him assistant surgeon, and a little 
later he passed examination and was made sur- 
geon, and soon became known throughout the 
army as one of the ablest surgeons we had. 

I want to record here, while I think of it, what 
has always seemed a very remarkable fact; it is 
this: The Confederate surgeons were handi 
capped in many ways. We were short on chloro- 
form and had to use it as economically as pos- 
sible — we had none to waste. We had to use 
such as we could get and could not be choice as 
to quality. We couldn't specify that it was to 
be "Squibb's." Some that we used I know was 
adulterated. I remember a lot that smelled like 
turpentine. Well, sirs, I want to tell you now 
that I administered chloroform and had it ad- 
ministered for me many scores of times, for all 
manner of operations and on all sizes and ages 
and conditions of men, and I never had a serious 
accident, never a death from chloroform, nor 
had a man to die on the table during my whole 
experience as a surgeon during the war. I do 

255 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

think it remarkable when I recall the perfect 
abandon, the almost reckless manner in which 
it was given to every patient put on the table, 
almost without examination of lungs or heart 
and without inquiry. I can only attribute it in 
part to the fact that it was given freely, boldly 
pushed to surgical anesthesia, and no attempt was 
made to cut till the patient was limber. 

Nathan Smith's wire splint was a blessing to 
the Confederate surgeons, a refuge and a tower 
of strength. It is so simple, so easily and quickly 
made, so cheap, and so easily adapted to almost 
every fracture, that it was generally used. We 
had no ready-made splints, such as are now on 
sale everywhere. We made our own splints. 

Before the war pneumonia was, in the South, 
nearly always of the sthenic type, and the lancet 
and antimony were the sheet-anchors of treat- 
ment ; followed by quinine, as the disease was 
most rife in malarial sections. The disease not 
only stood depleting, but demanded it. Natur- 
ally, when we first encountered pneumonia in 
the hospitals the customary treatment was in- 
stituted. It was exceedingly fatal, and it was 
soon seen that from the inception a sustaining 
treatment was demanded, and was found to be 
successful. That is, brandy (or whisky if brandy 
could not be had) and opium and quinine became 
the standard. The disease seemed to have en- 

256 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 

tirely changed its form; became asthenic, and 
the Surgeon-General, Dr. S. P. Moore, actually 
issued orders prohibiting the use of antimony or 
the lancet, and I am not sure it did not include 
veratrum. 

Well, sirs, wlien we returned to civil practice, 
naturally we followed the stimulating plan, 
brandy and opium, only to find that in many 
cases it was disappointing, and hence there was 
a revival in the South of the lancet to quite 
a considerable extent, and that the disease in 
private life was again of the robust or sthenic 
form. I remember following the stimulating 
treatment and seeing others do it, and I can look 
back now and realize that many patients were 
actually killed by whisky pushed too far. 

You can readily understand that drugs and 
medicines, being what was called ''contraband of 
war," soon became scarce and high priced. We 
were very soon thrown on our native resources, 
and had to make use of the valuable indigenous 
plants with which the South abounds. Practis- 
ing medicine in the army was not like it is now ; 
now, it is almost a luxury. A Dr. Porcher, of 
South Carolina, issued a book of the medicinal 
plants of the South, and it became a text-book. 
The surgeons would send the convalescents to 
the woods to get willow bark, oak bark, black- 
berry root, dewberry root, sassafras bark, skull- 

257 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

cap root, etc., and the bark of the sHppery-ehii 
tree was a blessing ; we made poultices of it. Oh, 
the poor soldiers hadn't much of a chance in 
the hospitals, compared to those of the Federal 
army, whose surgeons had every necessary ad- 
junct for the skillful practice of medicine and 
surgery. Think of treating the long fevers and 
the amputations in the long hot summer months 
without ice. The mortality was fearful at best. 

But, boys, I have violated my principles and 
the principles of my Retroscope in indulging in 
the gloomy reflections of the last hour — but [ 
promise you I will not do it again. I did it be- 
cause I have been telling you fellows so many 
funny and ridiculous recollections that I fear 
I have conveyed but a feeble idea of what a 
hospital surgeon's life was during those terrible 
times. 

Moreover we lived under the most absolute 
tyranny that ever existed. The conscript officers 
were everywhere, and guards on the lookout for 
stragglers and deserters, and even an officer on 
leave of absence had to be very securely armed 
with the proper kind of papers to go anywhere. 
I was on a train once and saw the conscript offi- 
cers take off to camp a man who was beyond the 
then conscript age, because he did not have satis- 
factory papers ; and a man without them was 
arrested wherever found, and had to give a good 

258 



A CHAPTER FOR DOCTORS. 

account of himself, else a gun was put into his 
hands and he was sent off to camp, even if he 
had come to town to sell a load of wood to get 
bread for his family. I saw such an arrest made 
once, and the poor devil's wagon and team and 
load of wood were left standing in the street. 

I procured leave of absence once, and went 
home. The first thing on arrival was to get a 
permit to pass unmolested throughout the 
county. If I went out of town a mile on any 
road I was halted and made to show my papers 
at every forks of the road. 

But, upon the whole, I am glad I lived in war- 
times. I trust to God that I may not live to see 
another war— but I am glad to have been 
through that one, and to have seen and ex- 
perienced what I did. First, I had a taste of a 
private's hardships, and I tell you it was play 
then, to what it became later ; and I shall never 
cease to wonder how the boys stood it, and what 
it was that kept up their courage to such a won- 
derful degree, for it is admitted that seldom in 
the history of the world, since the days of Sparta 
and Troy, perhaps, has such undaunted courage 
been seen in the face of untold dangers and hard- 
ships. But, boys, I'm done. Good bye. 




RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



IN THE LAND OF THE BLUE DOG. 



A LONESOME RIDE. 



Said the Old Doctor, taking his usual seat: 
Just after the war, when I was practising medi- 
cine at Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, the 
home of my earlier days, I was requested by 
letter to go to one of the extreme eastern coun- 
ties to see a case with a view to a surgical 
operation. 

The eastern counties are, as I once told you, 
for the most part piney woods, heavy sandy 
lands, no soil to speak of, except here and there 
where a creek or ''branch" meanders through. 
These little creek bottoms, as they are called, 
afford at intervals little patches of tillable soil, 
and at long intervals you will come across a 
cabin, with its household of white-headed child- 
ren, and a yellov/ dog — or a blue one most 
likely — and near by a small clearing, fenced in 
by brush interwoven so as to even turn a rabbit, 
in which enclosure you will see a little crop of 
stunted yellow corn, or a patch of bumble-bee 
cotton . 

"What is 'bumble-bee' cotton, Doctor?" said 
Hudson. 

You are a greeny, shonuff. Dan 'els knows. 

260 



IN THE LAND OF THE BLUE DOG. 

It's cotton that a bumble-bee can suck the top 
blossoms standing flat footed on the ground, said 
the Old Doctor, nearly strangling, he laughed so 
hard at Hudson's unsophistication, and presently 
resumed his narrative. 

The country is of course very sparsely settled 
off of the line of railroad, and mostly by the 
poorer classes — "tackeys," "po' white trash," the 
negroes call them. Now and then there is a more 
pretentious farm and a fairly well-to-do-family; 
such an one as I was now on my way to visit. 
The stretches of pine trees and sand are inter- 
minable, and sometimes in a day's ride you will 
not see a living soul nor a sign of habitation; 
and they do say that when a jay bird or a crow 
has occasion to fly over, say Jasper county, for 
instance, if he is an experienced traveler or a 
close observor of events, or if he takes the 
papers, he always carries along a little sack of 
shelled corn. 

In that section of country they have two or 
three names for a postoffice settlement; for in- 
stance, Damascus the natives call "Sebastopol" ; 
Fairfield is "Bucksnort," etc. This I learned on 
the trip, as I will presently tell you. 

Arriving at the nearest railroad station, I hired 
a double team, and getting my directions to Mr. 
Garrett's, near Damascus, I lit out for a thirty- 
mile ride, all by my lonesome. It was early fall, 

261 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

a gloomy day, the skies were overcast and the 
pines were soughing, as they do at the approach 
of rain. Oh ! it's the lonesomest f eehng im - 
aginable. I rode and rode, mile after mile, 
through an unbroken monotony of those stately 
columns of long-leaf pine and sand. Not a liv- 
ing thing did I see except a buzzard, and he had 
evidently neglected to carry the essential bag of 
corn, and had fallen exhausted by the roadside 
before he had crossed the desert. 

By-and-bye, away towards sunset, my eyes 
were gladdened by the sight of a clearing. 
There was the little patch of stunted yellow corn, 
burnt up by the drought and the sun, and a little 
patch of bumble-bee cotton, and a rank growth 
of gourd vines on the fence of what had 
evidently been attempted for a vegetable garden 
and abandoned in despair. There had been a 
rail fence around the house once, but it was down 
and scattered; the yard was littered with paper 
and trash, and the house, which was a one- 
room log cabin, with a dirt-and-stick chimney, 
was closed and looked deserted. The lethean 
stillness, stirred — ^not broken — by the funereal 
soughing and sighing of the pines, dying away 
in the bosom of the interminable forest, like the 
wail of some lost spirit, was only accentuated by 
the rapping of a red-headed woodpecker on the 
sonorous boards of the gable. My heart sank 

262 



IN THE LAND OF THE BLUE DOG. 

within me. I thought I would make one effort 
anyway, so I hailed : 

"Hello !" 

No reply. 

''Hello ! !" said I, louder. 

Thereupon a blue and white hound dog, of the 
flop-eared species, crawled out from under the 




WH-I-C-H. 

cabin, and putting all four feet together humped 
his back, gaped, protruding a long, pointed 
tongue, turned up at the end like a hook, yawned, 
thus giving himself a good stretch, lazily re- 
marked : 

"Brew-er-er-er-erh !" — something between a 



26z 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

howl and a bark, curling it up at the end with a 
rising inflection on the last syllable. 

"Hello! !" said I again, louder. 

The door opened and a strapping girl of about 
sixteen, perhaps, bare-legged to the knees, bare- 
footed, with a dirty homespun dress on, came 
out on the porch, her yellow hair, cut off square 
all around, falling loosely on her neck. 

''Can you tell me how far it is to Damascus, 
please?" said I. 

'Wh-wh-i-c-hr said she. 

*'How far is it to Damascus, please?" 

"I kin tell you how far it is to the p-o-o-o-1?" 
she said, turning the "pool" up at the far end. 

"What pool is it you are speaking of, Miss?" 
said I. 

"They call it the scT/o^terpool," said she. 

"Well, how far is it to Sebastopol, then ?" said 
I, jumping at the conclusion that Sebastopol was 
the home name of Damascus, my place of desti- 
nation. 

"Hits about /o'-miles," said the girl. "You jes 
git inter ther road again, and keep on twell you 
git to the top of ther hill, and then you jes keep 
on twell you git to ther bottom of ther hill, and 
then you cross ther creek, and then you keep ther 
straight pool road twell you git thar." 

"Thank you. Miss," said I, and I drove on. 

"Bre-w-er-er-erh !" howled the blue dog, and 

264 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

crawled back under the cabin grumbling at hav- 
ing had his nap interrupted. 

I had gone not over three quarters of a mile, 
I think when I came to a log blacksmith shop 
on the side of the road, and a plank cabin about 
10x12 feet — a country "store" — closed. The 
smith was sitting in his door smoking a corn-cob 
pipe, and looking very lonely, and well he might, 
for of all the God-forsaken, desolate wildernesses 
I ever saw that was the worst. It was near night, 
and a white hen and a red rooster had already 
retired for the night on the bed of a broken 
wagon, while two lean shoats were quarreling 
over the warm side of a litter pile against the 
end of the store. I said: 

''My friend, can you tell me how much farther 
it is to Sebastopol?" 

''This is hit," said the man, without rising or 
taking his pipe from his mouth, 

''Which is 'it'?" said L 

"This," he said. 

"Meaning ?" I said, glancing around. 

"Yes ; this shop and that store ; that Ratlifif's ; 
he's got the chillunfever ; hits the posto^c^, too," 
said the man, with, I thought, a show of local 
pride. 

Rejoiced that I was so near the end of my 
journey, I dismounted, stretched my legs, and 
made inquiry how to reach Mr. Garratt's, and 

266 



IN THE LAND OF THE BLUE DOG. 

in a little while was safely beneath that gentle- 
man's hospitable roof. 



On another occasion Dr. Bob Homer, a class- 
mate of mine, practising at one of the railroad 
stations in east Mississippi, sent for me to meet 
him at his place and go with him in consultation 
to see a surgical case in the interior. You know 
I had come out of the war with a considerable 
reputation with the home folks of Mississippi as 
a surgeon, and Bob thought a good deal of 
my attainments, anyhow. Arrived at the station 
at an early hour I was met by Dr. Bob with his 
spanking double team, and everything in readi- 
ness for the trip and the proposed operation. 

We had to go about thirty miles, an all-day 
ride. Driving is tedious in that heavy white 
sand, and there are the same monotonous, in- 
terminable stretches of long-leaf pine. We had 
talked out, having kept up a pretty lively chatter 
up to and including our noon rest and lunch. 
The lunch consisted of two cans of cove oysters, 
two bottles of ale and some crackers. 

At noon we unhitched our team by a clear 
little stream that crossed the road, gave the 
horses some feed and let them drink. Before 
opening up our lunch Dr. Bob said : 

"Hold on a moment. Doctor; there's white 

267 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

perch in this creek and I'll catch some for our 
dinner." 

I didn't argue the question with him; I sup- 
posed he knew what he was talking about. So 
Bob rigged up a hne and hook which he took 
out of his clothes somewhere, and turning over 
a log secured some beetles or other bugs for 
bait, and going a little way up the creek was soon 
angling for perch, while I was making a fire 
as he had requested me to do. 

He was not gone over fifteen minutes I should 
say, when he returned holding up for my inspec- 
tion four beautiful speckled perch, each about 
ten inches long. They were the prettiest fish I 
ever saw, tho' I was accustomed to what they 
call white perch at Jackson. These were silver 
white, mottled with purplish blotches, and as 
the little stream was as clear as crystal and as 
cold as ice, you may imagine they were a delicate 
morsel. I said : 

"How are you going to cook them. Bob?" 

''Watch me," he said. 

Raking away the sand in a clear nice place, 
he put some coals in the opening. Killing the fish 
by a blow on the back of the head, and opening 
them, removing the gills and entrails, and sprink- 
ling on them some salt which he produced from a 
paper taken from his vest pocket, he wrapped the 
fish in several thicknesses of newspaper and thor- 

268 




"DOIN'NOTHIN- BUT LOOKIN- SORRY." 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

oughly soaked tlie paper in the creek; then he 
laid them on the coals and covered them with hot 
ashes and coals on top of that. "When the paper 
bums they are done," said Bob. 

Meantime he had taken out the lunch, and 
spreading the lap-robe on the ground for a table- 
cloth, we spread our feast ; and I tell you now I 
never in my life tasted anything that met my 
demands better than those white perch Bob 
roasted in the ashes. 

We resumed our journey and by four o'clock 
the horses were much jaded, and we had to take 
it slowly. We soon relapsed into silence, each 
one busy with his own thoughts ; it was awfully 
*'bore-ous." 

Presently, at the bottom of one of those long 
red hills that characterize a portion of that sec- 
tion, though for the most part the land is level, we 
came upon a covered wagon drawn by two lean 
ponies, and filled with white-headed children. 
Under the wagon a tar bucket hung loosely, and 
by it was tied a blue dog of the genus ''hound." 
Out by the roadside lay a larger, yellow and 
white dog — dead. An old man with long gray 
beard was standing by, doing nothin' but lookin' 
sorry; a typical specimen of the "mover" class, 
or, as Dr. Willis King in "Stories of a Country 
Doctor," calls them, "branch water men." The 
old man had evidently just dragged the dog 

270 



IN THE LAND OF THE BLUE DOG. 

there and left him. By the man stood a tow- 
headed boy in butternut-dyed jeans pants, a 
coarse cotton shirt, and gallusses of striped bed- 
ticking, with his hands stuck in his pockets up 
to his elbows, for it was a little coolish. 

The scene was so desolate, the old man looked 
so sad, I thought to say a cheering word and 
perhaps get him into conversation ; I didn't of 
course, know what killed the dog; so in the ab- 
sence of anything better to begin with I sung out 
cheerily : 

"My friend, did your dog die?" 
He looked at me sorter sideways for about a 
minit:— 'T reckin so, by G — d— he's dead," said 
he with a scowl and a look as if he'd like to 
cut my throat for a darned fool. 

Dr. Bob knocked me on the back and just 
"ha — ha'd." "A good one on you, Doctor," he 
said; "Now don't you wish you hadn't said 
anything?" 

"I do indeed," I said, much disgusted. 
Bob said that class resent anything of the 
kind, and that it is best to speak to them when 
spoken to. I told him that I had just been told 
as much by the "other fellow." 

Bob called my attention to the fact — he says it 
is a fact — that this class is as much characterized 
by the blue dog as the negro is by the "yaller" 
dog ; and that the blue dog is found nowhere else 

271 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

than in the piney woods among the "poor folks," 
as they are universally called by the darkies. 

But Dr. Bob's time came soon, said the Old 
Doctor. Just before dark — the chickens were 
flying up— we came in front of a nice white 
house, a Mr. Gregory's, a pretty well-to-do 
farmer. The house sits back from the road some 
little distance in a pretty lawn, surrounded by a 
neat white fence — evidences everywhere of thrift, 
contrasting strikingly with the absence of it 
almost everywhere else, and with the desolate- 
ness of the surroundings generally. Bob said: 

"Here Doctor, hold the reins ; I've got to give 
these horses some water ; they looked fagged out 
and we have eight miles to go yet." 

Just then a great big black dog, a fierce look- 
ing fellow, got up and gave a low growl. 

"I'm awfully afraid to go in there ; that's a ter- 
rible dog. I knovv^ this country from one end to 
the other and I've heard of Dave Gregory's dog." 

"Here boy," said the doctor to a lad standing 
near the dog. "If you'll hold that dog till I get 
two buckets of water I'll give you a quarter." 

"All right," said the boy, and he seized the 
dog around the neck. "Come ahead," said he, 
"I'll hold him," and he pushed the dog to the 
ground, and with his arm around him laid down 
on top of him. 

The doctor, taking the bucket from the foot 

272 



IN THE LAND OF THE BLUE DOG. 

of the buggy in one hand, and the heavy driving 
whip in the other, holding it by the small end, 
ready to use it as a club if necessary for de- 
fense, went cautionsly in, circling around the 
dog and keeping a sharp eye on him. 

He got the water and watered both horses; 
and just before getting into the buggy said : 

"Boy — don't turn that dog loose till we g^t 
started — and here's your quarter on the gate- 
post." 

"All right," said the boy; "down, sir" (to the 
dog.) 

As Bob got into the buggy and took hold of 
the reins he said : 

"That's a pretty savage dog,ain't he Bud?" 

"He uster be," said the boy. 

"Use to be?" said the doctor; "ain't he bad 
now ? Won't he bite ?" 

"Bite nothin'," said the boy, pocketing the 
quarter. "He's b-b-b-blind, and so old his teefs 
is all dropped out." 

"One on you now. Doc," said I. "Don't you 
wish you had your quarter back ?" 




^7Z 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



JIMMIE WAS ALL RIGHT. 



In my neighborhood, said the Old Doctor, 
lazily throwing one leg over the other and bor- 
rowing a chew of tobacco from Hudson, the 
only one of the Journal staff that uses it that 
way, there was a nasty little cock-eyed 
bricklayer named Lynch. He was a "Hinglish- 
man," he said, from "'Arrowgate." His wife 
was a pretty decent sort of a feller; but he was 
too mean to eat enough. 

He had a way of coming over to the drug-store 
— I had a drug-store then — and asking Bob, the 
clerk, what was "good for" so and so. He 
never sent for me in his life, and never bought 
over ten cents worth of anything in the drug- 
store. His big *'holt," as he said, was "Seen-na" 
and salts. Jimmie, his son, was down with chill 
and fever, and he was giving him calomel and 
about three grains of quinine a day — he was too 
mean to buy enough ; and Jimmie got no better 
fast. About the fourth chill Jimmie had they 
gave in, and sent for me. I prescribed enough 
quinine and prevented the paroxysm. At my 
next visit I found him well and I accordingly 
said: 

"Jimmie's all right now ; he can get up to- 
morrow." 

274 



JIMMY WAS ALL RIGHT. 

"Yes, Jimmies all right," said his mother; ''1 
knowed that last doste of calamy I gi' him would 
set Jimmie all right." 

I went out and kicked myself, said the Old 
Doctor. 

^ 2{C ^ 2fC 

Lynch had a dog and wouldn't feed him. The 
dog, thrown on his own resources for a living, 
used to go hunting for young rabbits, which in 
summer were plentiful even on the outskirts of 
town. Lynch saw him with a rabbit one day, 
and took it azi'ay from him. Fact ! Talk about 
mean men — and the Doctor looked just too dis- 
gusted for anything. 



275 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES. 



ANY PORT IN A STORM. 

After the surrender, you know, the South 
was garrisoned with negro troops, said Our Fat 
Philosopher, seating himself, and with a reminis- 
cent, far-away expression on his usually jolly 
phiz. It was exceedingly offensive and humiliat- 
ing to the people, and was very bad judgment 
on the part of the authorities — if it was their de- 
sire to have peace and kindly feeling; for it 
often provoked clashes that should have been 
avoided. 

At Jackson, my boyhood home, the negro sol- 
diers of the garrison committed many depreda- 
tions ; stole fruit, hogs, poultry, anything they 
took a fancy to or needed, and it was winked at 
by the officers, white men tho' they were. Thev 
were very insolent also, to the "conquered rebels," 
as they contemptuously stigmatized the whites. 
No use to appeal to the commandant, there was 
no redress. So citizens now and then got into 
very serious trouble by taking matters in their 
own hands. You all may remember that Colonel 
Ed Yerger of Jackson, was so outraged because 
the commandant at that post in his absence sent 
and seized Mrs. Yerger's piano, because the 

276 









(^/ 







DRAGGING HIM THROUGH THE STREETS. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

colonel had not paid his share of the tax levied 
by the commandant for street improvement or 
something, that on meeting him on the street 
Yerger stabbed him to death. It was Colonel 
Crane I think his name was. 

But, well, I'm off; Colonel Fleet Cooper, the 
editor of the Jackson paper at that time — ^no, he 
wasn't a shonuff "colonel," you know. In the 
South all editors are "Colonels," you know — saw 
some negro soldiers in his orchard and shot at 
them, but without injury. I think it was bird 
shot, and it was only done to scare them. 

He was roughly seized and hurried into town, 
(he lived in the suburbs), and taken to the lock- 
up. He was roughly handled ; unnecessarily so, 
for he made no resistance — and was even beaten 
over the head. They were in such a hurry to get 
him locked up that they would'nt even give him 
time to get his hat. I can see the crowd now, 
rushing, almost dragging him through the streets 
approaching the center of town, bare-headed, in 
the broiling hot July sun, his poor old bald head 
glistening in the sun like burnished brass as they 
hurried him along to the jail. It created a good 
deal of excitement. But what could the people 
do? Disarmed, subjugated, had taken the oath — 
entirely at the disposal of a provost marshal. 
Nothing. But they talked. They could express 

278 



CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES. 

their indignation in impotent cuss-words; that 
was all. 

That night in the lobby of the hotel there was 
quite a crowd collected and they were discussing 
the outrage. On the outskirts of the crowd there 
was a stranger — a man in a long linen duster and 
a black slouch hat pulled well over his eyes. He 
had the appearance of having been riding, and 
had just arrived, dusty and untidy. His presence 
did not attract attention, because at that time 
there was a great deal of traveling and there 
were a great many strangers coming and going. 

In the crowd was an old citizen-farmer, an old 
toothless feller, well known thereabout, named 
Major Lanier — why ''Major," I don't know. He 
was too old to have been in the army or to have 
taken any part in the war. His nose and chin 
were about to meet over the remains of a mouth 
now shrunken and flabby. He was particularly 
indignant. 

"Served 'em right ! Served 'em right ! — the 
black scoundrels," said the major, emphasizing 
his words with a thump on the floor with his 
big stick. "No business stealin' Colonel Cooper's 
apples. I wish he'd killed all of 'em. Served 
'em right, says I." 

The stranger, whom no one had noticed par- 
ticularly before, stepped up to him, and open- 

279 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

ing his dust-coat and throwing it back revealed 
the chevrons on his collar — it was the colonel 
commanding the garrison of negro soldiers — 
said: 

"You damned old rebel scoundrel — you say it 
is right to shoot a union soldier for taking a few 
green apples?" 

"Was they green? Was they green?" quickly 
exclaimed the old major, who was terribly fright- 
ened and began to tremble and apologize. "Oh, 
no ; not if they was green. I wouldn't shoot a sol- 
dier for taking a few green apples. No, / thought 
they was ripe. No, not if they wasn't ripe. No ; 
I wouldn't if they was green — ." And he backed 
out of the crowd still mumbling his disclaimer 
amidst shouts of laughter. A close call, but the 
major thought, "any port in a storm." 




280 



UNCLE HARDY MULLINS. 



UNCLE HARDY MULLINS OR THE WAYS OF 
PROVIDENCE. 



Uncle Hardy Mullins? Did I promise to 
tell you about him? said our ever welcome Fat 
Philosopher this bright morning. So I did. 

''Reverend Hardy Mullins," or "Uncle Hardy 
Mullins/' as he was universally called, had been 
raised in the piney woods of Mississippi, the be- 
nighted section of sand, blue dogs, white-headed 
children and ''po' folks," as the negroes called the 
whites of that section. He had been ''called to. 
preach," a sort of superstitious belief still held by 
certain people. You all know how it is — "called," 
well, "by a voice in the air," — or somewhere, 
or as Dr. Willis King says of Joe's excuse to the 
teacher, "hit moughter been a boss a 'nickerin,." 

Uncle Hardy was about 75 years old, totally 
illiterate, but he had been preaching so long he 
knew the Bible almost by heart, but was not able 
to locate any quotation. He used to say : "You'll 
find my text betwixt the leds of the book." He 
looked like one of the Patriarchs mentioned in the 
"book," his long white beard reaching nearly to 
his waistband ; of course he was itinerant ; hadn't 
charge of any fixed "work" or congregation, 
hence he preached mostly in the country, amongst 

281 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEI, SURGEON. 



people for the most part as untaught as himself. 

Just after the war, preaching in the little log 
schoolhouse to the neighbors over in Rankin 
county, across the river from Jackson, he said on 
the occasion when I had the privilege of hearing 
him: 

"My brethren, all things happen for the best. 
That's been my doctrin' and my belief all my life. 



x3;=S^ 




UNCLE HARDY MULLLSS. 



Hits recorded in the scripters that to him as has 
faith, all things happens for the best in God's 
good time. I have faith. I b'l'eve everything 
happens for the best; I zvill b'l'eve it; I must 
b'l'eve it, because the good book says so. But, 
my Christian friends, we has our trials and our 
temptations, our hours of unbelief, and I has 
mine, and I pray, ''Oh, Lord, help my unbelief," 

282 



UNCLE HARDY MULLINS. 

and he hears me. Sometimes hits mighty hard 
to b'l'eve. When we loses a child, or a friend, 
for instance, hits mighty hard fur to b'l'eve that 
hits for the best, 'spec'ly when hits a man he 
leaves a pore lone widder 'ooman and six little 
orphan children, but God knows best, and we 
must bow to His will. 

"Now, I come home from the army after the 
break-up, and my little house was burnt ; all the 
fences burnt ; my two mules stolen' and nothin' on 
this green yerth left me 'cept a blue sow — and 
hy the grace of the Lord she pigged in the spring. 
— givin' me a show for my meat in the fall, and 
the mule I rid all endurin' of the war where I 
was chapling to Captain Carr's comp'ny. 

"But I took heart. I got the nabers to jine in, 
and we put up a little log house. I horrid a plow, 
and with that one pore so' back mule, I broke up 
a little patch for cawn. The cawn was up and in 
the tassel, and needed one more plowin' to lay it 
by. Hit was promisin' ; and with my growin' 
shoats I thought to stave off starvation for a 
while longer, and I was puttin' my trust in Provi- 
dence, when what should happen but some of 
them nigger sogers from the garrison over thar 
(pointing with his thumb over his shoulder in the 
direction of Jackson), jes' stole my mule, and 
killed and carried ofl^ the l-a-s-t one of my shoats, 
not even sparin's the old blue sow." 

283 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Here the old fellow paused and "wiped away a 
tear" ; and leaning over the pulpit, said with emo- 
tion: 

"Now, brethren and sistern : That may have 
all been for the best — but I'll jest be everlastin'ly 
durned my old buttons if I can see it!" 



284 



THE LITTLE HU-GAG. 



THE LITTLE HU-GAG, AND THE GREAT 
AMERICAN PHIL-LI-LIETJ. 



Amongst the renters on my place just after 
the war, said the Old Doctor, for you must know 
that at the break-up when we came home from 
the war we were all dead broke; and those who 
had once owned cotton plantations and slaves and 
mules, etc., found themselves possessed of noth- 
ing on this earth but barren land. Houses 
burned, slaves freed, fences destroyed, mules 
stolen or taken for the army, by one side or the 
other. Well, we had to do something or starve. 
I put up a dozen or more log cabins and rented 
twenty or more acres to small white farmers (not 
that the farmers were small, but they farmed on a 
small scale). They were of the class of people 
w^ho before the war lived in the poor, piney v/oods 
portion of the State; a class who never owned 
any slaves, and for whom the negroes, slaves as 
they were, entertained a cordial contempt. "Poor 
white trash," they called them. Well, as I started 
to say : Amongst those who rented from me and 
occupied my tenant houses was a family named 
Parsons. The family consisted of the father, 
mother and two cubs — boys about 14 and 16 
years of age. No use trying to describe them; 

28s 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

you fellers must be familiar with the ''cracker" 
or "tackey" type of Southren people, especially 
common in Georgia. 

The two boys were good workers, and were in 
the field soon and late, and made good crops. But 
their daddy — the "old man" — he was not old — 
but do you know the women of that class always 
call their husband ''old man," even tho' he may 
be 20, and vice versa, he calls her "old 'ooman" 
— he was the apotheosis of laziness. He was too 
lazy to stop eating when once under good head- 
way (provided the grub didn't give out). He 
rarely ever got to the field till near knocking-off 
time for dinner at noon, on one excuse and an- 
other. 

I remember one spring morning when corn was 
growing, and then was the time, or never, to 
work it to insure a crop, Tom and Bill were in 
the field and had been since daylight. Parsons 
hung around the steps of our back porch, where 
Robert and I and some others were sitting smok- 
ing and talking, telling of what he had seen and 
done in Georgia, an inexhaustible subject with 
him. There was nothing anywhere, and never 
had been, except in Georgia — "Jawjie," he pro 
nounced it. Why, sirs, he even declared that in 
"Jawjie" postage stamps were larger, "purtier," 
would last longer and carry a letter farther than 

286 



THE LITTLE HU-GAG. 

elsewhere on earth, and that moreover they didn't 
cost over half as much as they did in Mississippi. 
He yawned, and looking up at the sun — by now 
nearly overhead — said : 

''Gee — I didn't know it was so late. I have 
made arrangements to borry some meal for din- 
ner, and I guess I'll be gettin' to the field." 

He was the most intolerable brag. Nothing 
you could relate but he could cap it with some- 
thing he had seen in "Jawjie." 

One afternoon in summer, after crops had been 
"laid by," and the men had some leisure. Par- 
sons and several others of the tenants were gatli- 
ered around the back steps of my house talking to 
Robert and John, when I came up with my gun 
from a ride to see a neighbor's sick child. I 
cfidn't take my gun to see the sick child, you un- 
derstand — I see you smirking — but thinking I 
might shoot some squirrels on the road, as it lay 
through some hickory and oak timber, and nuts 
were getting big enough for them to sample. As 
I dismounted and approached the group Parsons 
said: 

"Didn't see nothin' to shoot at, eh. Doc?" 
"No," said I— "nothing but a miserable little 

hu-gag and I wouldn't shoot him"— looking at 

John and Robert with a wink. 

"A hu-gag?" said Parsons ; "I reckin' we call it 

287 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

by a different name in Jawgie; what sort of a 
thing was it you saw ?" 

"Why," said I, "don't you know what a hu-gag 
is? You must have seen many a one." 

"Of course I have," said Parsons, "but I don't 
know it by that name." 

"It's a small gray animal — ." 

Parsons nodded his head : 

"Just so," he said. 

"with sharp ears like a fox," continued I, 

he interrupting me, giving assent to each item as 
I progressed; "Oomph-hno" (a very common 
form of assent in the South, unspellable, but you 
all know what it means, said the Old Doctor 
aside), "Oomph-hno," said Parsons, "the same 
thing exactly." 

" — "Hind legs a little longer than front legs," 
said I, "and—." 

"Exactly," said Parsons, "same thing; plenty 
of them in Jawgie, only larger " 

" dark stripe running down his back to his 

tail," said I. 

"Same thing," said Parsons, — "we call em 

" short stump tail," I continued, Parsons 

nodding assent to everything and much inter- 
ested. 

" with a little brass knob on the end," said 

I, with perfect gravity. 

"Eh? eh?" said Parsons, caught in the act of 

288 



THE LITTLE HU-GAG. 



nodding assent ; and you ought to have seen how 
cheap and sheepish he looked, and how he slunk 
off while the boys just hollered. 

And here the Old Doctor laughed his good 
natured chuckle. 



Another time, said the Old Doctor, Parsons 
and a lot of the farm hands, tenants, were lying 
on the grass late one afternoon in summer as I 
came up again with my gun, for, understand, I 
was a scandalous rifle-shot, as the niggers say, 
and always toted my squirrel rifle when I went to 
see patients in the immediate neighborhood. I 
glanced at Robert, who knew that something was 
coming. I said: 

"Robert, over there back of Waller's corn field, 
in that ravine, you know, where the niggers say 
"sperits" live, I saw the darndest animal I ever 
saw in my life. (I wouldn't look at Parsons, for 
fear of a "give-away.") "I described it to old 
Dixon, and he knows it all, you know, to hear him 
tell it. He said he had never seen one, did not 
know there were any in this country ; thought 
they belonged to a mountainous country ; but 
from my description, he said, he had no doubt 
that it was the Great American Phil-/t-lieu." 

"What sort of a looking thing was it?" asked 
one of the men. 

289 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

( Parsons was lying on his side, propped up on 
one elbow, chewing the end of a straw and try- 
ing to look indifferent.) 

"It was just the queerest looking thing imagi- 
nable," said L ''It had a great thick-set head like 
a boar, bristles on its back, was a dark brown 
color and about the size of a rabbit; and the 
strangest part of it was, that it had two short legs 
on one side and two long legs on the other, 'espe- 
cially adapted,' Mr. Dixon said, 'for running 
around the side of a hill' ; and Dixon says the only 
way it can be caught, being very fleet of foot, is 
to head him off, turn him back, thus causing his 
long legs to be up-hill, and his short legs down- 
hill, when, unable to run, he just rolls down to 
the bottom of the hill and is easily caught." 

"Ever see one. Parsons ?" said one of the men. 
"Got any of 'em in Jawgie?" 

Parsons yawtfed and stretched himself, and 
with as much unconcern as he could assume said : 

"Never seen but one, and hit was a young one." 




290 



THE DOCTOR SEES A LADY HOME. 



THE DOCTOR SEES A LADY HOME. 



A DOCTOx^ has a heap of funny experiences, 
said the Old Doctor, but some doctors are so 
solemn that they have no sense of fun, and some 
are so darned pious — or stupid — which ? that they 
cannot see the point of a joke. The best of them 
don't always appreciate a joke on themselves; it 
requires something of a philosopher to do that; 
eh, Dan'els ? 

I was thinking of a good joke on myself that 
occurred in my dandy days, when I was a con- 
siderable of a "s'ciety man" ; when I used to put 
grease on my hair, and wear kid gloves and pretty 
neckties with a pin stuck in 'em, and visit the 
girls. Why, I used to dance even — the round 
dances — . 

Now, look a'here, you feller^; I see it on your 
faces that you don't believe it. Because I am so 
fat now you needn't think I was always clumsy. 
Why, once I was nearly as skinny as Dan'els — 
and here the Doctor shook all over with merri- 
ment at the contemplation of such an absurd pos- 
sibility — and they do say, he continued, that 
Dan'els was so slim that at the San Antonio 
meeting of the State Medical Society a dog fol- 
lowed him around all day, thinking he was a 
bone. And here the old fellow just made the 

291 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

furniture rattle, he shook so, and his face was so 
red I thought he was going to have apoplexy. 

At that meeting, he resumed (the fellers told 
it on him), a country man asked Dan'els if he 
had ever had the dropsy? Dan'els was indignant 
and said : 

"No; what on earth makes you ask such a 
question ?" 

"I didn't know," said the feller, "and I was 
jest a reflectin' that if you had, you was the best 
cured case I ever sazv; and I've got a sister what's 
got the dropsy, and I was a'goin' to ask you to 
recommend me your doctor." 

You bet he lit out when he saw that Dan'els 
was mad. But I've got off the track again ; where 
was I at? 

Oh, yes. I was a very considerable of a beau 
at that period. I attended receptions, and went 
with "the best society" ; went everywhere — pic- 
nics, boat-sailing, etc. ; even took buggy rides 
with the girls. I was a young widower — and 
they do say that a widower in love is just the 
biggest fool on earth. Now, I wasn't in love, I 
want you to understand; but I was just sorter 
"lookin' around," as Tim Crane said to Mrs. Be- 
dott. I went to church — always ; the fashionable 
church. It was in Galveston, directly after the 
war. Coming out of church one bright sunny 
Sunday morning, with a sharp eye on the alert 

292 



THE DOCTOR SEES A LADY HOME. 

for pretty girls, I saw a pair of bright black eyes 
looking through the most provoking veil, as 
presently a neat figure, clad in nice silk dress with 
all the trimmin's — parasol, gloves — stepped up 
by my side and said : 

"Good morning. Doctor." 

I said : ''Good morning, Miss er — rer," not 
recognizing her, but I didn't of course want her 
to see that I didn't ; so I pretended to know her. 
My first impression was that it was Miss Fannie 
Blank, whom I had met at a dance the night be- 
fore, and who had impressed me so favorably that 
I had mentally determined to cultivate her ac- 
quaintance. So I thought, what a lucky chance 
to make a beginning ! I said : 

*'Allow me to see you home." (That was the 
''conventionality," the correct thing, at that day.) 

"Certainly," she said, and seemed much pleased 
at the prospect. All the while I had been trying 
to get a good look at her face, but on account of 
that confounded veil I couldn't see anything but 
a pair of very black eyes ; couldn't, as the doctors 
say, make a diagnosis. 

We chatted along indiflferently, I keeping on 
safe ground and feeling for light, till we had 
reached the corner where I knew Miss Fannie 
should turn ofif ; but this one didn't turn oflf ; she 
kept straight ahead. By-and-bye talk ran out. I 
was gettin' mighty scarce of something to say. I 

293 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

said to myself : "Well, now, here's a pretty situa- 
tion. A practising physician, a college professor 
at that (I was at that time professor of anatomy 
in the Texas Medical College), and a lady's man, 
a society high-flyer, walking home from church 
with a black-eyed woman whom he can't diag- 
nose." But I had to keep up appearances that I 
knew her and was perfectly at home, you under- 
stand. (I wished I had been literally at home.) 
But I was nevertheless hard up for something to 
say. Observing for the first time that she was 
accompanied by a little girl of about 12 years of 
age, rather cheaply but cleanly dressed it is true, 
I said : 

"Bye-the-bye, who is this little girl with you? 
I really do not recognize her?" (I thought her 
answer would perhaps give me a cue.) 

"Why, that's Maggie," said the black-eyed un- 
known ; "don't you know Maggie ?" 

"Why, bless my soul," said I. "So it is Mag- 
gie. How de do, Maggie? You have groimi 
so, I didn't know you." 

"Why," said the woman, "you saw her yes- 
terday." 

Thus trapped I didn't know what to say, so 
said nothing, but kept up a mighty sight of think- 
in' ; reflecting what a good joke was then goin' 
on on a stuck-up feller about my size. 

Presently she said something about her hus- 

294 



THE DOCTOR SEES A LADY HOME. 

band. ''Heaven and earth," I mentally ejacu- 
lated ; "worse and worse. Walking home from 
church with a Strang? woman married at that, 
whose husband, when I get there, may not be 
fond of jokes; may not like it a little bit"; but 
catching at anything to relieve me of the Maggie 
faux pas, I said cheerily : 

''By-the-bye, where is your good husband? I 
have not seen him for some time?" 

*'Oh, he's dead, you know," reproachfully re- 
sponded the unknown. 

"No!" said I; "surely not deadf I hadn't 
heard of it; I'm very sorry — ." 

"Why, Doctor, you attended him; don't you 
remember ? Only a short while ago. He died of 
yellow fever on his lumber schooner," replied she. 

"My stars," I said to myself." "Here am I, a 
fashionable high-stepping society swell, a tony 
physician, and a college professor (for I zvas 
a stuck-up fool, sure enough), walking home 
with a black-eyed woman, a zvidozv at that, whose 
husband was in the lumber trade and died on a 
schooner ! My ! what a joke if Miss Fanny and 
Miss Bessie and my runnin' mates amongst the 
society fellers should ever get hold of it." 

But I was determined to see it out. 

By this time we had arrived at a part of the 
city rather disreputable; straggling shanties and 
poor folks, down towards the bay shore, and I 

295 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

was utterly bewildered, so much so that I didn't 
recognize her even then. So, opening a dilapi- 
dated gate and kicking a yellow dog out of the 
path, the woman said: 

*' Won't you come in. Doctor?" 

''Come in?" Why, of course, I'd come in. I 
wanted to see her take that confounded veil off. 
Bless your souls, boys, it was my washerwoman ! 
Fact. And Maggie was the little bare-legged gal 
that brought my shirts home of a Saturday even- 
ing. I collapsed. She had to fan me ten minutes 
before I could speak and she thought it was the 
heat. 

You bet I was the worst crestfallen dude in that 
town, as I slunk home the back way. 

But it was too good to keep, even if it zvas 
on me, and I told it. How they did rig me, to be 
sure. 




296 



FINE rOINTS IN DIAGNOSIS. 



FINE POINTS IN DIAGNOSIS. 



The Journal's genial philosopher, who occa- 
sionally illumines the hard-worked editor's dreary 
office with his glowing countenance and drives 
away the blue-devils, dropped in one day lately, 
as fat and jolly as ever. He is kind enough to 
say he has to come in once a month to "load up" 
— on what, he does not say; like the cars that 
carry the storage battery have to go to the dy- 
namo for their supply of lighting, we suppose. 
My private opinion is, he comes to unload, and 
we are always glad to receive the discharge. At 
any rate there is a kind of mutual admiration ex- 
isting between the office and the Philosopher. 

Without any ceremony the Doctor sat down 
and began, in medias res. 

Hudson, he said (Hudson was closely engaged 
in footing up expense account, to see if he could 
m_ake it come inside of receipts — I was laboring 
on a manuscript that would have discounted 
Horace Greeley's worst specimen — Bennett was 
writing a love-letter — while the office-boy was 
whistling ''Henrietta, have you met her," keeping 
time by a tattoo with both hands and both feet) ; 
Hudson, said the Doctor, I've got a good one on 
Dan'els — and here he chuckled till the shovel and 
tongs and the other costly office furniture rattled. 

297 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

You know Dan'els is a great dermatologist (I 
don't think) — got a big reputation for skin dis- 
eases — down at the Wallow, anyway. I've got a 
case of skin trouble down there that's pestering 
me, and after I had done for him everything 
/ knew, I brought him up here to consult Dan'els. 
I thought it was eczema, and treated it as such; 
told Dan els I thought so. Well, the patient — his 
name is Skaggs — he is a sorry^ lookin' cuss — said 
he had scratched till he was paralyzed in both 
arms. He rolled up his sleeves and his britches 
legs, and Dan'els put on his specs and examined 
it carefully, asking him some questions. Then he 
raised up and removing his eye-glasses, said, im- 
pressively, and in that grand oracular manner he 
has — emphasizing with his forefinger : 

"It's psoriasis, doctor; psoriasis gyrafa — a well 
marked case; a heaiitiful case. You see, doctor, 
the distinguishing features are, the uniform ele- 
vated areas of infiltrated tissue, and the enclosed 
areas of sound skin, and the uniform redness, 
and the persistent dryness; but more than all, 
its occurrence only on the extensor surfaces. 
Now you see, doctor, this man has it on the ex- 
tensors of arms and legs, and on his back — the 
absence of it on the breast and abdomen — ." 

"Here, you," turning to Skaggs, "Never had it 
on your belly, did you, Skaggs?" 

"Belly nothin'," said that individual; "Why, 

298 



FINE POINTS IN DIAGNOSIS. 

Doc, hits all over me; wuss in front than any 
place else." 

And here the jolly doctor laughed till the tears 
ran down his cheeks in streams a foot deep. 



299 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



ONE ON THOMPSON. 



Reminds me, said the Doctor, when he could 
quit shaking, reminds me of my old partner, 
Thompson, when we were practising together 
down at Hog- Wallow. He had a case of chill 
and fever that gave him a lot of trouble. He had 
done for it about all that could be done, but the 
chills wouldn't stay broke more'n about three 
v/eeks. One day we were sitting in the office 
criticising Dan'els' last editorial in the ''Red 
Back," Texas Medical Journal, and Thompson 
was telling about a case he had cured after every- 
body else had given it up, when in comes his ague 
case. 

''Well, Doc," says he, with a most woe-begone 
expression; "I had another one of them shakin' 
agers yistiddy." 

"Well, Lorenzo," said Thompson, throwing 
himself back with an air, and sticking his thumbs 
in the armholes of his vest, "I'll tell you what you 
do: You know that big spring down back of 
your house? The run, you know, always keeps 
up a big damp place there; that's the cause of 
your chills ; it's malaria, you know. Now, you 
plant sunflozvers all down that spring branch; 
sunflowers absorb all the malaria, you know ; that 

300 



ONE ON THOMPSON. 

will break 'em up sure pop; never knew it to 

fail." 

"Lor, shucks, Doc," said Lorenzo, with a ca- 
daverous smile, "that spring run's been growed 




"THEN CUT 'EM DOWN." 

Up with them sunflowers for four years and more 
acres of um." 

"Damn it," said Thompson, "then cut 'em 

down." 



301 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



HALCYON DAYS. 



I SEE by the papers, said our Genial Visitor, 
that to-day is Commencement Day at the Texas 
Medical College. Dan'els, do you ever think of 
the time when you got your sheepskin? To me 
it was one of the most trying ordeals of my life, 
except, perhaps, that time when the Yankees killed 
me, and I reckon it's the same with most boys. 
'Tn the spring the young man's fancy lightly 
turns to thoughts of love," says Tennyson; but 
the average medical student crams on Smith's 
Compend, and prepares for examination. With 
hesitation, trepidation and perspiration, he ap- 
proaches that green baize door which, veiling his 
future, conceals a terror in the shape of a bald- 
headed professor, in whose hands hangs the des- 
tiny of many fellers, each not by a thread but by 
a string — of hard questions. ''Happy they, the 
happiest of their kind," to whom Pat, the janitor, 
hands a long round tin box next day, while with 
a grin he suggestively protrudes his left hand for 
the expected fee, never less than a V. 

Who so proud, then, as they, the fledghngs, 
the new-born medicos? as when next they meet, 
the old familiar 'Tom" and "Harry" are dropped, 
and it's "Good morning. Doctor; accept my con- 

■ 302 



HALCYON DAYS. 

grats. Didn't old Blimber make a fellow sweat?" 

"Oh, pshaw, Doctor, he was nothing to old 
Bones when he got me on the ligaments. I was 
up-to-date, tho', you bet; crammed. So long, 
Doctor." 

(Another two) : 

"Ah, good morning, Doctor; got through, I 
hear. Yes, it zvas tough. Be on hand to-night, 
of course, with your swallow-tail." (Exit.) 

The palpitating part of it had only begun, how- 
ever, in the greenroom. (How provokingly old 
Bones did grin when he asked them to "give him 
the ligaments of the neck.") All those young 
M. D.'s have to stand the battery of bright eyes 
to-night at the Opera House; and in that large 
and fashionable audience, all a-flutter with fans 
and furbelows, every young feller has a bright 
particular pair of eyes that to him look like the 
rising sun, as he steps out in response to his name 
to get his sheep-skin ; while to the owner of said 
pair of rising-sun orbs, that particular name on 
the program, it may even be "Grubs," blazes with 
a holy light, quite eclipsing all the others. (And 
the band played Annie Laurie.) 

Then, the first time she calls Harry "Doctor" 
— oh, not for the crown of an Indian prince would 
he exchange that proud title. (We've been there, 
tho' it was in the long, long ago, memory brings 
back the days that are no more.) 

303 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

And at the ball ; and after the ball ; what "med- 
icine" (heart-excitants mostly, I fear) is talked, 
as arm in arm each happy couple promenades be- 
neath the vine-clad trellis, or drop the cur- 
tain here; the ''sweetness" of that "faithful 
watch-dog's honest bark," that Byron tells us 
about, "baying deep-mouthed welcome," as in 
after years we "draw near home" — any rainy 
dark night after a ten-mile ride for a bare 
"thankee," is just only brown sugar to double dis- 
tilled saccharine, compared to the bliss of those 
moments spent with Dulcinea the first evening he 
wore his title and his pigeon-tailed coat ; as they 
told and listened 'neath the umbrageous shades of 
those grand old oaks, to the old, old tale; it is 
always the same ; told with variations often, per- 
haps, but always the same old tale — and ever 
new ; told with the eyes, for "the heart doth speak 
when the lips move not" — so that when flashed 
from a woman's eyes even a savage can compre- 
hend "two souls with but a single thought," etc. 
Ah me ; would I were a boy again — or rather a 
young doctor sprouting his first mustache. How 
much medicine we did know at that time, good 
gracious ! "The wonder grew," sure enough with 
me, that "one small head could carry" it. 

Now, I'm going to tell you a joke about that 
same head. I haven't got a small head ; I've got 
a big head. 

304 



HALCYON DAYS. 

About six years subsequent to the events I'm 
telling about (that is, the occasion on which I 
received my diploma), I was myself a professor, 
and had to ask the boys hard questions; I was 
*'01d Bones" myself. One day coming out of the 
hospital where I had just been lecturing — I had 
on a new spring style hat. One of the students 
admired it and asked to look at it. I took it off 
and handed it to him. He tried it on and it came 
down over his ears. The boys laughed at him 
and he remarked : 

''Doctor, you have a very large head." 

I said : "Yes, larger than the average I be- 
lieve." 

One young scamp looked roguishly out the cor- 
ners of his eyes at me and said slyly: 

"It's a little swelled, ain't it, Doctor?" 

Well, yes; I believe now that it was swelled. 
I can look back at that period of my life — In fact 
at most of it, and realize what a fool I was. I 
do think now that it was a mercy that the fool- 
killer never got me, and sometimes I think it's 
a pity he didn't. 

But I've digressed. I was saying that in our 
young days we are very conceited and think we 
know a great deal of medicine. It takes an aver- 
age lifetime to find out that we don't know any- 
thing worth mentioning, as Dickens said of Mr. 
Bailey's nose ; he had none "worth speaking of." 

305 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

Somehow one's head seems to leak medicinal 
knowledge as the bones harden and the sutures 
close up. Just the reverse of what we would ex- 
pect, but it is a fact. I think most doctors of my 
age will admit it — the older we get the less we 
know. Crowded out, p'raps, to make room for a 
recollection of our uncollected bills (or unpaid 
ones), or by family cares and calculations how 
we are to make a $2 fee buy shoes and stockings 
for the baby, and a new bonnet for the dear wife, 
— her of the sunrise eyes of long ago. 

Ah yes ; springtime is "commencement" time ; 
and the output of the new issue of — I like to have 
said "greenbacks," or "government bonds," so 
absorbed was I in studying out the above financial 
sphynx — the output of the new generation of 
doctors is large. I have not kept a memorandum 
of the total ; each college is making them by the 
score, out of raw material (very raw, some of it), 
that beyond a doubt will make the future Sir 
Andrew Clark, the S. D. Gross, the Austin Flint 
and the Marion Sims of the next generation. 

To them all, to those who are properly im- 
bued with the love of science, who have chosen 
medicine not as a money-getter alone, I say — 
"aim high.'* What was possible to the poor 
Southern boy, Sims, Wyeth, Nott; or to the la- 
mented Quimby, or Jno. B. Hamilton — a far- 
mer's boy^s possible to you. Do not put away 

306 



HALCYON DAYS. 

your books now that you have your diploma; 
you have only graduated — you have not finished 
— you have only begun, prepared yourself to 
study and learn. To-day is truly your ''com- 
mencement" day. ''Drink deep, or touch not the 
Pierian spring." Let not alone the sunrise eyes 
of your beloved inspire you; determine to win 
for her a place where in after years she may not 
be ashamed of her young doctor. "The hill 
whereon Fame's proud temple shines afar" is 
hard to climb; but it has been climbed. What 
others can do, you can do; so my dear boys — I 
beg your pardon — dear young doctors — aim 
high! 

But after the new has rubbed off, after a life of 
toil, too often thankless, most often unremunera- 
tive, things look a little different to the doctor, 
don't they, Dan'els? You know; you've been 

through the mill; so've I. 

* * * * 

Now, by contrast (I've just given you fellers a 
glimpse of the panorama as she spread out at the 
start), I'll give you a picture drawn later in life. 
I'm reminded of it by the foregoing reminis- 
cences of commencement day. This thing I'm 
a giving you now — here, Hudson, read this — 
was written by yours truly for a young lady 
whom I thought a heap of, one time. She jok- 
ingly said that doctors "put on" a good deal ; that 

307 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

it was all stuff about their having a hard time, etc. 
Just for fun I wrote this for her and my wife got 
hold of it, and like everything else I ever wrote 
she^ kind, trusting soul, thought it was "smart." 
(Hudson reads) : 

THE DOCTOR'S LAMENT. 

(to his LADY LOVE.) 

That's what I called it, said the Old Doctor, 
before Hudson began to read, but it might appro- 
priately be called "Days that weren't quite so 
halcyon" — eh, Dan'els? (Hudson reads) : 

"Your life leads down by peaceful, tranquil rivers 
Whose shady bank the cool sea-breeze invites ; 

While mine — alas ! is spent 'midst torpid livers, 
And similar sad and melancholy sights. 

To you the perfumed air is rich with sounds 
As sweet as when first Seppho's harp was strung; 

While I in sun and dust must take my weary rounds 
To feel a pulse or view a coated tongue. 

The choicest books beguile your leisure hours, 
And sooth to sleep, or wake to sympathetic tears; 

But woe is me, I spend my feeble powers 
'Midst fever's fervid heat, or checking diarrheas. 

You sleep in peace on soft and downy beds, 
And dream, perhaps, of flowers in sunlit lands ; 

While I, no doubt, am soothing aching heads. 
Or humbly giving aid by pulling hands. 

Your lovers kneel before you in rapturous adoration, 
And tales of love in mellifluous measures pour ; 

Creditors besiege me — they are my abomination, 
And moneyless patients daily throng my office door. 

308 



HALCYON DAYS. 

Thy gentle pen, anon, the choicest thoughts indite, 
That dwell within thy gentle breast, or tender mem'ry 
fosters ; 

Prescriptions I, with stubby pencil write: — 
'Recipe : misce et Hat haustus.' 

Alas ! alas ! my lady love ! I tire indeed of these 

Old scaly scalps of seborrhea and eczematous hands; 

Let's trim our sails to catch an outward breeze, 
And endosmose in pleasant foreign lands — 

Away beyond the seas, on some peaceful, starlit isle, 
Where rhythmic wavelets break on coral strands; 

There, there'll be no fever, pus nor bile. 
And a'down the happy years we'll pull each other's 
hands." 




309 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 



THE DOCTOR SEEKS COMFORT IN THE BIBLE. 
WHAT HE FOUND. 



Dan''els, said our jolly, fat friend, as he 
dropped lazily into our easy chair this sultry 
afternoon, and wheeled himself in front of the 
electric fan, do you ever read the Bible? 

"Cert," said I, too much overcome by the heat 
of the weather and the coolness of our visitor, 
acting alternately on our sensibilities, to even 
finish the sentence ; but added mentally, ''what do 
you take us for?"— ''Why, Doctor?" 

Oh, nothing, said the Doctor, as he touched the 
button of our electric "hand-em-around," which 
we had recently put in, and helped himself to a 
twenty-five cent Havana, which we keep on hand 
only for paying subscribers ; only I was thinkin.' 
I have heard the dear, good, old people say there 
is a deal of comfort in the Bible, and recently I 
was feeling very uncomfortable, in fact I was 
sick and thought I was going to die ; I was scared 
I reckon, and I got down the Bible and began to 
look for comfort; but — here the Doctor sighed, 
and shutting his eyes evidently was deriving com- 
fort from the fragrant weed. 

"Didn't you find it?" I inquired. 

Find nothin'. There was mostly "begittin's" 
and "begots" in the part I read ; and there ain't 

310 



fEFKS COMFORT IN THE BIBLE. 

much comfort in that — to the other feller — is 
there, Dan'els? and he chuckled a good-natured 
chuckle and went on : 

But I found something there that set me to 
thinking, Dan'els, what are mandrakes? 

''Podophyllum peltatum, commonly called May- 
apple; purgative — plenty of 'em in Mississippi 
where you and I came from; ask us something 
hard," said I, holding up from proof-reading a 
moment; "why, Doctor?" 

You are away off about your podophyllum, 
Dan'els, said he. Mandrakes, in Bible days at 
least, were something valued very highly, espe- 
cially by the women folks. 

Well, I'll tell you the story and then you'll see 
what I'm driving at. 

It's the 30th chapter of Genesis. You know 
Jacob got stuck on his uncle's little daughter, 
Rachel — Miss Rachel Laban was her name — and 
made it all right with her, but the old man was 
close at a bargain and he made Jake serve him, 
'tending cattle, etc., seven years, before he would 
agree to the marriage; and then put up a job on 
him. When the seven years were out the old man 
shoved the oldest daughter off on him. Miss Leah. 
Of course Jacob kicked, but the old man says, 
says he: 

"Why, Jake, you soft head — didn't you know 
'twas unlawful to give the youngest daugltter in 

311 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

marriage before the older sister has stepped off? 
Go to." 

So Jake took him at his word and zvent the 
two, as we will see presently, as it was agreed if 
he would serve another seven years he could have 
Rachel also, and it came to pass ; in seven years 
more he got the one he was after and shook Miss 
Leah. 

Meantime, however, Leah had a nice little boy 
named Reuben, and by-and-by, when Jacob and 
Rachel were dwelling together in bliss and har- 
mony (and a tent I suppose), and poor Leah, the 
cast-off, was scuffling for a living, with no one 
to help her but little Reube — something hap- 
pened with mandrakes in it. The Bible records it 
and it must be so, and it must be very important ; 
that's what's puzzling me. 

In the 14th verse, chapter 30, of Genesis, it 
says: 

"And at harvest time, in the wheat-fields, 
Reuben found some mandrakes and took them to 
his mother." Rachel says : "Give me of thy son's 
mandrakes." Leah says : "Is it no small matter 
that thou hast taken away my husband, that thou 
wouldst take away also now my son's man- 
drakes?" "Therefore" (there/or, I suppose), "he 
shall lie with you to-night," says Rachel. "Done," 
says Leah. So, late that evening, when Leah saw 

312 



SEEKS COMFORT IN THE BIBLE. 

Jacob returning from the field she ran out to meet 
him, and says, says she : 

"See here ; you have to stay with me to-night, 
for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes/' 

'Tut, tut, Doctor; hold up there. What are 
vou giving us?" said Bennett, Hudson and I, all 
in chorus — while the office-boy went into a parox- 
ysm of dry grins. 

Fact, says the jolly doctor. Now, what are 
mandrakes? What did Rachel want with them 
so bad that she was willing to lend her husband to 
a rival woman for just a few of them? 

As showing they were not the May-apple, as 
you say, which ripens in May — Reuben found 
them in harvest-time, which must have been in 
AugUbt or September; and as illustrating the 
valwe of them, in addition to the fact of hiring out 
her husband for them— Leah rated them of value 
next to her husband — she says : 

"You have taken my husband ; now would you 
take away also my son's mandrakes?" 

As a man would say: "You have taken my 
houses and lands, now will you take also my cat- 
tle and horses and money?" He wouldn't say: 
"You have taken my land and houses, now would 
you take away also my cat?" If mandrakes had 
been some trifle Rachel would have offered some 
trifle for them, and not the very first pop offered 

313 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A REBEL SURGEON. 

that which was dearest to her — it usually is to 
most women — her husband's caresses. 

Now I've got an idea, continued the fat Old 
Doctor, as he touched the other electric button 
and poured himself out a sherry cobbler with ice 
in it and a straw, from our other patent electric 
automatic dumb-waiter, which the Journal, like 
all other truly wealthy people, keeps for the con- 
venience of callers at our sanctum. I'm of the 
opinion that it was a ''yarb" of some kind — good 
for female complaints, and that Rachel was the 
original Lydia E. Pinkham, the concocter of the 
celebrated "vegetable compound." 

I can imagine now with my eyes shut her ad- 
vertisement in the Judah Herald, or the Canaan 
Evening News, something like this : 

"Mrs. Rachel Jacobs {nee Laban) announces 
to her suffering female friends and the world at 
large, that she has at an enormous sacrifice ob- 
tained a supply of fresh mandrakes, which she 
has put into her justly celebrated vegetable com- 
pound, and now offers it at a dollar a bottle (6 
bottles for $5 ) ; warranted to cure all female com- 
plaints, etc., etc. Get the genuine." 

If not, Dan'els, what are mandrakes, and what 
do you think of the incident recorded in Genesis ? 

With that the good doctor unlimbered, and tak- 
ing his feet off of the desk slowly got up to leave, 
and looking back over his shoulder said : 

314 



SEEKS COMFORT IN THE BIBLE. 

"If you find out about those mandrakes let me 
know. I'm going to search the Scriptures again; 
there's no telHng what I may find. Ta-ta, Dan- 
'els ; so long, boys ; see you again." 

And the sunshine went out with him. 




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