Dr. Edwin C. Bidwell — Remarkable Case of Capt. N. F. Bond

Remarkable Case of Capt. N. F. Bond


Dr. Edwin C. Bidwell, Surgeon (Image courtesy of Lyon Camp #10, (Vineland, NJ) Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.)

In the assault on the defences [sic] of Port Hudson, June 14, 1863, our regiment suffered several severe casualties. The wounded were taken to the rear, to an open space perhaps one hundred feet in diameter, partly surrounded by trees, which was the field hospital of the day. My men, as they were brought in, were laid side by side along one border of the enclosed space. I was proceeding in regular order from the point at which I happened to commence, with such speed as I could make. When I reached Capt. W. I. Allen, who had received a bad wound from a fragment of shell, he said in substance, “I think Capt. Bond’s case may be more urgent than mine. I can wait.”

Capt. Bond’s injury was indeed serious. A ball weighing _________ entered the chest between, the ___th and ____th ribs, about _____inches to the right of the sternum. On searching for its exit, I found that it had barely reached the surface and lay beneath the skin _____inches to the right of the spinal column. One cut of the scalpel released it, and I think the Captain has carried it since in his pocket instead of his body.

Nelson F. Bond

Nelson F. Bond

There can be no doubt whatever that the ball went through the body and not around it. I ascertained definitely by careful examination of the wound in front, that it went straight in, and was certainly deeper than the surface of the ribs. The gravity of the case was such that I hesitated to send him to Baton Rouge. Our wounded were taken by ambulance to Springfield Landing some twelve miles over a road by no means of the best, thence by boat the remaining distance. The land transportation was a severe trial to the very feeble. I felt that in this case, it might deprive him of his last slender chance of recovery. After consultation, therefore, with his brother Capt. Bond, who offered to constitute himself a nurse for the occasion, I decided to keep him in camp under my own observation. Accordingly, a bunk or cot was constructed of such materials as we could command, a tent made of a few shelter tents, and the ordeal inaugurated with but a trembling hope of ultimate success. Fortunately, in most respects other than the matter of his housing, our resources were sufficient and, as I recall the situation after many years, he had, for a badly wounded man, a pretty comfortable time. At all events, he made a good recovery, and for many years has enjoyed robust health.


Gunshot Wound of the Skull

The Battle of Ft. Bisland on the [Bayou] Teche in April, 1863, was I think the first in which our regiment as a whole was engaged. (Some companies on detached duty had previously been under fire and had suffered loss.) One of the first, perhaps quite the first, gunshot wound at the beginning of the action was a peculiar one. A large round ball had struck on the upper edge of the deltoid bone, and had been evenly split through two-thirds of its thickness. The two smooth faces of the cut stood exactly at a right angle, one-half protruding and the other being hooked on to the deltoid. This condition of the ball, of course, did not appear, as it rested in the wound, and was only revealed after some unsuccessful efforts to remove it by simple traction on the exposed portion. He was sent to Gen. Hospital and I never saw him again. But I heard afterwards that he became epileptic and that subsequently he was trephined at the seat of the injury and a depressed fragment of bone removed, resulting in the complete recovery.


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