Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/16
Southern Historical Society Papers.
table-fork, bend the point of the other prong, and with it elevate the bone in depressed fracture of the skull and save life. Long before he knew the use of the porcelain-tipped probe for finding bullets, I have seen him use a piece of soft pine wood and bring it out of the wound marked by the leaden ball. Years before we were formally told of Nélaton's method of inverting the body in chloroform narcosis, I have seen it practiced by the Confederate Surgeon. Many a time I have seen the foot of the operating-table raised to let the blood go, by gravitation, to the patient's head, when death from chloroform was imminent, and I will add that, in the corps to which I was attached, chloroform was given over 28,000 times, and no death was ever ascribed to its use. Many of the medical officers of this corps were wounded or killed on the field. One, I saw fall at Strasburg, amid the cheers of soldiers at the evidence he gave of devotion to duty. Another, at Sharpsburg, facing an assault before which even veterans quailed and fled, and a third I found upon the bloody field of Cold Harbor dying with a shell-wound through his side. As I knelt down beside him and told him his wound was mortal, he answered, "I am no more afraid to die than I was afraid to do my duty." They were splendid specimens of a noble race—a race whose achievements astonished the world and wrung from the foe himself a full measure of praise. During the terrible six days which followed the retreat of our army from Richmond, the medical men, by their unswerving devotion to duty and cheerful support, contributed no little to inspire the heroism which turned our defeat into honor, and made Appomattox one of the proudest memories of the war.
The social condition of the South, while it offered unusual and rare advantages to her sons generally, denied to the medical men, save in exceptional instances, the opportunities which were conducive to the progress and development of medicine. This peculiar Society gave to them, however, boldness of thought, independence in investigation, and they possessed the courage of their convictions; they thought well and they thought clearly; they fought their way into position at every leading medical centre in the country. Many of them started life in small towns or rural districts; and after testing their strength and gaining the confidence born of experience, they generally moved to the larger cities, North or South. Is it more than necessary to mention Frick, Goodman and Smith, of Maryland; Hartshorne, Chapman, Horner, Mitchell, Mutter, and J. L. Cabell, of Virginia; Jones, Chas. Caldwell and Dickson, of North.