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to the arm which lay on the floor: with thus intensifying the momentary " There is the pain, and here am I. image then before my eyes. How queer!” Then I slept, — slept the When I awakened, I was lying under sleep of the just, or, better, of the pain- a tree somewhere at the rear. The less. From this time forward, I was ground was covered with wounded, and free from neuralgia ; but at a subse- the doctors were busy at an operating. quent period I saw a number of cases table, improvised from two barrels and similar to mine in a hospital in Phila- a plank. At length two of them who delphia.
were examining the wounded about me It is no part of my plan to detail my came up to where I lay. A hospital weary months of monotonous prison steward raised my head, and poured life in the South. In the early part of down some brandy and water, while August, 1863, I was exchanged, and, another cut loose my pantaloons. The after the usual thirty days' furlough, re- doctors exchanged looks, and walked turned to my regiment a captain. away. I asked the steward where I
On the 19th of September, 1863, was hit. occurred the battle of Chickamauga, in “Both thighs,” said he ; " the Doc's which my regiment took a conspicuous won't do nothing." part. The close of our own share in “No use?” said I. this contest is, as it were, burnt into “Not much," said he. my memory with every least detail. It “Not much means none at all," I was about six P. M., when we found our answered. selves in line, under cover of a long, thin When he had gone, I set myself to row of scrubby trees, beyond which lay thinking about a good many things a gentle slope, from which, again, rose which I had better have thought of bea hill rather more abrupt, and crowned fore, but which in no way concern with an earth work. We received orders the history of my case. A half-hour to cross this space, and take the fort in went by. I had no pain, and did not front, while a brigade on our right was get weaker. At last, I cannot explain to make a like movement on its flank. why, I began to look about me. At
Just before we emerged into the open first, things appeared a little bazy ; but ground, we noticed what, I think, was I remember one which thrilled me a common in many fights, – that the en- little, even then. emy had begun to bowl round-shot at A tall, blond-bearded major walked us, probably from failure of shell. We up to a doctor near me, saying, “ When passed across the valley in good order, you ’ve a little leisure, just take a look although the men fell rapidly all along at my side.” the line. As we climbed the hill, our “Do it now,” said the doctor. pace slackened, and the fire grew The officer exposed his left hip. heavier. At this moment a battery “Ball went in here, and out here." opened on our left, — the shots crossing The Doctor looked up at him with a our heads obliquely. It is this moment curious air, — half pity, half amazement. which is so printed on my recollection. “If you 've got any message, you'd I can see now, as if through a window, best send it by me.” the gray smoke, lit with red flashes, – “Why, you don't say its serious ? ” the long, wavering line, — the sky blue was the reply. above, – the trodden furrows, blotted “Serious! Why, you 're shot through with blue blouses. Then it was as if the stomach. You won't live over the the window closed, and I knew and saw day.” no more. No other scene in my life is Then the man did what struck me thus scarred, if I may say so, into my as a very odd thing. “Anybody got a memory. I have a fancy that the hor- pipe ?” Some one gave him a pipe.
shock which suddenly fell upon He filled it deliberately, struck a light nust have had something to do with a flint, and sat down against a tree
near to me. Presently the doctor came three days it attacked twenty persons. over to him, and asked what he could Then an inspector came out, and we do for him.
were transferred at once to the open “Send me a drink of Bourbon." air, and placed in tents. Strangely * Anything else ?"
enough, the wound in my remaining "No."
arm, which still suppurated, was seized As the doctor left him, he called him with gangrene. The usual remedy, back. “It's a little rough, Doc, is n't bromine, was used locally, but the
main artery opened, was tied, bled No more passed, and I saw this man again and again, and at last, as a final no longer, for another set of doctors resort, the remaining arm was ampuwere handling my legs, for the first tated at the shoulder-joint. Against time causing pain. A moment after, a 'all chances I recovered, to find myself a steward put a towel over my mouth, useless torso, more like some strange and I smelt the familiar odor of chloro- 'larval creature than anything of human form, which I was glad enough to shape. Of my anguish and horror of breathe. In a moment the trees began myself I dare not speak. I have dicto move around from left to right, — tated these pages, not to shock my then faster and faster; then a universal readers, but to possess them with facts grayness came before me, and I recall in regard to the relation of the mind to nothing further until I awoke to con- the body; and I hasten, therefore, to sciousness in a hospital-tent. I got such portions of my case as best illushold of my own identity in a moment trate these views. or two, and was suddenly aware of a In January, 1864, I was forwarded sharp cramp in my left leg. I tried to to Philadelphia, in order to enter what get at it to rub it with my single arm, was then known as the Stump Hosbut, finding myself too weak, hailed an pital, South Street. This favor was attendant.“ Just rub my left calf,” said obtained through the influence of my 1, "if you please.”
father's friend, the late Governor An"Calf?” said he, "you ain't none, derson, who has always manifested pardner. It's took off.”
an interest in my case, for which I "I know better," said I. “I have am deeply grateful. It was thought, pain in both legs."
at the time, that Mr. Palmer, the leg"Wall, I never !" said he. “You maker, might be able to adapt some ain't got nary leg."
form of arm to my left shoulder, as As I did not believe him, he threw on that side there remained five inches off the covers, and, to my horror, showed of the arm bone, which I could move to me that I had suffered amputation of a moderate extent. The hope proved both thighs, very high up.
illusory, as the stump was always too # That will do," said I, faintly. tender to bear any pressure. The hos
A month later, to the amazement of pital referred to was in charge of sevevery one, I was so well as to be moved eral surgeons while I was an inmate, from the crowded hospital at Chatta- and was at all times a clean and pleasnooga to Nashville, where I filled one ant home. It was filled with men of the ten thousand beds of that vast who had lost one arm or leg, or one of metropolis of hospitals. Of the suffer- each, as happened now and then. I ings which then began I shall presently saw one man who had lost both legs, speak. It will be best just now to de- and one who had parted with both tail the final misfortune which here fell arms; but none, like myself, stripped of upon me. Hospital No. 2, in which I every limb. There were collected in lay, was inconveniently crowded with this place hundreds of these cases, severely wounded officers. After my which gave to it, with reason enough, third week, an epidemic of hospital the not very pleasing title of Stumpgangrene broke out in my ward. In Hospital.
I spent here three and a half months, any case, the intelligent servant will before my transfer to the United States refer the publ to the front door, and Army Hospital for nervous diseases. obey it accordingly. The impressions Every morning I was carried out in made on the cut ends of the nerve, or an arm-chair, and placed in the libra- on its sides, are due often to the changes ry, where some one was always ready in the stump during healing, and conto write or read for me, or to fill my sequently cease as it heals, so that pipe. The doctors lent me medical finally, in a very healthy stump, no such books; the ladies brought me luxu- impressions arise; the brain ceases to ries, and fed me; and, save that I was correspond with the lost leg, and, as helpless to a degree which was humili- les absents ont toujours tort, it is no ating, I was as comfortable as kind longer remembered or recognized. But ness could make me.
in some cases, such as mine proved at I amused myself, at this time, by not last to my sorrow, the ends of the ing in my mind all that I could learn from nerves undergo a curious alteration, other limbless folk, and from myself, as and get to be enlarged and altered. to the peculiar feelings which were This change, as I have seen in my noticed in regard to lost members. I practice of medicine, passes up the found that the great mass of men who nerves towards the centres, and occahad undergone amputations, for many sions a more or less constant irritation months felt the usual consciousness of the nerve-fibres, producing neuralgia, that they still had the lost limb. It which is usually referred to that part itched or pained, or was cramped, but of the lost limb to which the affected never felt hot or cold. If they had nerve belongs. This pain keeps the painful sensations referred to it, the brain ever mindful of the missing part, conviction of its existence continued and, imperfectly at least, preserves to unaltered for long periods; but where the man a consciousness of possessing no pain was felt in it, then, by degrees, that which he has not. the sense of having that limb faded Where the pains come and go, as away entirely. I think we may to some they do in certain cases, the subjective extent explain this. The knowledge sensations thus occasioned are very we possess of any part is made up of curious, since in such cases the man the numberless impressions from with loses and gains, and loses and regains, out which affect its sensitive surfaces, the consciousness of the presence of and which are transmitted through its lost parts, so that he will tell you, nerves to the spinal nerve-cells, and “Now I feel my thumb, — now I feel my through them, again, to the brain. We little finger.” I should also add, that are thus kept endlessly informed as to nearly every person who has lost an the existence of parts, because the im- arm above the elbow feels as though pressions which reach the brain are, by the lost member were bent at the ela law of our being, referred by us to bow, and at times is vividly impressed the part from which they came. Now, with the notion that his fingers are when the part is cut off, the nerve- strongly flexed. trunks which led to it and from it, re- Another set of cases present a pecumaining capable of being impressed liarity which I am at a loss to account by irritations, are made to convey to for. Where the leg, for instance, has the brain from the stump impressions been lost, they feel as if the foot was which are as usual referred by the present, but as though the leg were brain to the lost parts, to which these shortened. If the thigh has been taken nerve - threads belonged. In other off, there seems to them to be a foot at words, the nerve is like a bell-wire. You the knee; if the arm, a hand seems to may pull it at any part of its course, be at the elbow, or attached to the stump and thus ring the bell as well as if you itself. pulled at the end of the wire ; but, in As I have said, I was next sent to the United States Army Hospital for themselves, were strong enough. When, Injuries and Diseases of the Nervous however, he lifted these members, the System. Before leaving Nashville, I shoulder - blades stood out from the had begun to suffer the most acute back like wings, and got him the soupain in my left hand, especially the lit- briquet of the Angel. In my ward tle finger; and so perfect was the idea were also the cases of fits, which very which was thus kept up of the real much annoyed me, as upon any great presence of these missing parts, that I change in the weather it was common found it hard at times to believe them to have a dozen convulsions in view at absent. Often, at night, I would try once. Dr. Neek, one of our physicians, with one lost hand to grope for the told me that on one occasion a hunother. As, however, I had no pain in dred and fifty fits took place within the right arm, the sense of the existence thirty-six hours. On my complaining of that limb gradually disappeared, as of these sights, whence I alone could did that of my legs also.
not fly, I was placed in the paralytic Everything was done for my neurals and wound ward, which I found much gia which the doctors could think of; more pleasant. and at length, at my suggestion, I was A month of skilful treatment eased removed to the above-named hospital. me entirely of my aches, and I then It was a pleasant, suburban, old-fash- began to experience certain curious ioned country - seat, its gardens sur feelings, upon which, having nothing to rounded by a circle of wooden, one do and nothing to do anything with, I story wards, shaded by fine trees. reflected a good deal. It was a good There were some three hundred cases while before I could correctly explain of epilepsy, paralysis, St. Vitus's dance, to my own satisfaction the phenomena and wounds of nerves. On one side of which at this time I was called upon me lay a poor fellow, a Dane, who had to observe. By the various operathe same burning neuralgia with which tions already described, I had lost about I once suffered, and which I now learned four fifths of my weight. As a consewas only too common. This man had quence of this, I ate much less than become hysterical from pain. He car usual, and could scarcely have conried a sponge in his pocket, and a bot- sumed the ration of a soldier. I slept te of water in one hand, with which he also but little ; for, as sleep is the reconstantly wetted the burning hand. pose of the brain, made necessary by Every sound increased his torture, and the waste of its tissues during thought be even poured water into his boots to and voluntary movement, and as this keep himself from feeling too sensibly latter did not exist in my case, I needthe rough friction of his soles when ed only that rest which was necessawalking. Like him, I was greatly eased ry to repair such exhaustion of the by having small doses of morphia inject- nerve-centres as was induced by thinked under the skin of my shoulder, with ing and the automatic movements of a hollow needle, fitted to a syringe. the viscera.
As I improved under the morphia I observed at this time also, that my treatment, I began to be disturbed by heart, in place of beating as it once did the horrible variety of suffering about seventy-eight in the minute, pulsated me. One man walked sideways; there only forty-five times in this interval, -- a was one who could not smell; another fact to be easily explained by the perwas dumb from an explosion. In fact, fect quiescence to which I was reduced, every one had his own grotesquely pain and the consequent absence of that fal peculiarity. Near me was a strange healthy and constant stimulus to the case of palsy of the muscles called rhom- muscles of the heart which exercise boids, whose office it is to hold down occasions. the shoulder-blades flat on the back dur- Notwithstanding these drawbacks, ing the motions of the arms, which, in my physical health was good, which I confess surprised me, for this among are a few small ganglia. Were the rest other reasons. It is said that a burn absent or inactive, we should have a of two thirds of the surface destroys man reduced, as it were, to the lowest life, because then all the excretory mat- terms, and leading an almost vegetaters which this portion of the glands tive existence. Would such a being, I of the skin evolved are thrown upon asked myself, possess the sense of inthe blood, and poison the man, just as dividuality in its usual completeness, happens in an animal whose skin the even if his organs of sensation no. physiologist has yarnished, so as in mained, and he were capable of conthis way to destroy its function. Yet sciousness ? Of course, without them, here was I, having lost at least a third he could not have it any more than a of my skin, and apparently none the dahlia, or a tulip. But with it - how worse for it.
then ? I concluded that it would be at Still more remarkable, however, were a minimum, and that, if utter loss of rethe physical changes which I now be- lation to the outer world were capable gan to perceive. I found to my horror of destroying a man's consciousness of that at times I was less conscious of himself, the destruction of half of his myself, of my own existence, than used sensitive surfaces might well occasion, to be the case. This sensation was so in a less degree, a like result, and so novel, that at first it quite bewildered diminish his sense of individual exist. me. I felt like asking some one con- ence. stantly if I were really George Dedlow I thus reached the conclusion that a or not; but, well aware how absurd I man is not his brain, or any one part should seem after such a question, I re- of it, but all of his economy, and that frained from speaking of my case, and to lose any part must lessen this sense strove more keenly to analyze my feel- of his own existence. I found but one ings. At times the conviction of my person who properly appreciated this want of being myself was overwhelm- great truth. She was a New England ing, and most painful. It was, as well lady, from Hartford, — an agent, I think, as I can describe it, a deficiency in for some commission, perhaps the Santhe egoistic sentiment of individuality. itary. After I had told her my views About one half of the sensitive surface and feelings, she said : “ Yes, I compreof my skin was gone, and thus much of hend. The fractional entities of vitalirelation to the outer world destroyed. ty are embraced in the oneness of the As a consequence, a large part of the unitary Ego. Life," she added, “is receptive central organs must be out of the garnered condensation of objective employ, and, like other idle things, de- impressions; and, as the objective is generating rapidly. Moreover, all the the remote father of the subjective, so great central ganglia, which give rise to must individuality, which is but fo movements in the limbs, were also eter- cused subjectivity, suffer and fade when nally at rest. Thus one half of me was the sensation lenses, by which the rays absent or functionally dead. This set of impression are condensed, become me to thinking how much a man might destroyed.” I am not quite clear that lose and yet live. If I were unhappy I fully understood her, but I think she enough to survive, I might part with appreciated my ideas, and I felt gratemy spleen at least, as many a dog has ful for her kindly interest. done, and grown fat afterwards. The T he strange want I have spoken of other organs, with which we breathe now haunted and perplexed me so and circulate the blood, would be es- constantly, that I became moody and sential ; so also would the liver ; but wretched. While in this state, a man at least half of the intestines might be from a neighboring ward fell one morndispensed with, and of course all of the ing into conversation with the chaplain, limbs. And as to the nervous system, within ear-shot of my chair. Some of
only parts really necessary to life their words arrested my attention, and