Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/178

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Returning to the question of persistent aggressiveness in severely wounded men, two instances remarkable in a special way are worthy of note. There was no warlike anger, but simply sudden excitement, for a cause. In one instance two soldiers were practicing at bayonet exercise and became very much warmed up, as men do in a boxing match. Finally, when one of them made a lunge at the breast of the other, the muzzle was knocked down slightly by the opposing piece and a discharge followed, the bullet going through the groin. With this frightful wound, given at a couple of feet at most, the unfortunate victim kept a tight grip on his piece, staggered forward, and made fitful lunges at his opponent, who dropped his gun and ran, terrified by the unearthly stare and grimace and the frenzied actions of the other. It was supposed that the balls had been drawn, and the man whose piece went off did not know at once that the charge was fatal. The injured man gave chase for a few paces and then fell dead.[1] A case where there was even less external incitement to extraordinary endurance is recorded by Captain J. F. J. Caldwell, in a history of Gregg and McGowan's South Carolina Brigade. During the engagement at Sutherland's Station, below Petersburg, April 22, 1865, Captain Caldwell, while riding over the field on staff duty, met two Union soldiers who had broken through the Confederate lines with a charging column that had been repulsed, and become separated from their comrades. Resistance was useless, and they dropped their guns and followed the captain toward the Confederate rear. One of the prisoners lagged on the march, and, on being told to step lively, he held up one arm and showed such a bloody and distressing wound that the captain allowed him his own gait. All the time both prisoners chatted briskly about the Union tactics, and boasted that the tables would soon be turned upon the Confederates. When the party came to a fence the wounded man helped to let down rails for the captain's horse, and in every way showed good spirits and fair condition. At the first medical bivouac Captain Caldwell turned his charge over to a surgeon, who found a second wound in the patient's breast, and in a few minutes after halting death ended his captivity. The man had borne up under a mortal wound, with the spur of personal enthusiasm and expectation. He had hoped for a recapture by the advance of the Union lines.

The conduct of wounded men after an interval I do not purpose to describe. So soon as the mind gets settled down to the

  1. Pare, the French surgeon, recorded the case of a duelist who received a sword-thrust through the heart, large enough to admit a finger, and who followed up his fleeing antagonist, thrusting repeatedly, for two hundred yards before he fell.