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Robert Wilson


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Harewood U.S.A. General Hospital, R.B. Bontecou, Surgeon U.S. Vols., In charge



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Historical Medical Photography Collection

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Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library. Historical Library

Local Title:
Reed B. Bontecou, Gunshot Wounds Illustrated (Binder's Title)


Private Robert Wilson, Co. D, 6th Conn. Vols., aged 24 years, wounded at battle of Pocotaligo, Oct. 22nd, and admitted to Hospital No. 1, Oct. 24th, 1862, with gunshot wound of left shoulder, the ball entering anteriorly, mid way between acromion and coracoid processes, and grazing the internal aspect of the head of humerus deeply at its junction with the neck of that bone. No other wound was made and the ball was not discernible through the wound. A considerable swelling under the pectorals, near the clavicle, with tenderness and green discoloration, rendered it possible that the ball was lodged there. Motion of the arm was painful; no crepitus, however. The swelling extended to the shoulder and arm, and some anasarca of the forearm; radial pulse good. Wet dressings were kept applied until the 28th inst., when ice bag and cerate dressings were substituted, and, Nov. 11th, swelling having considerably subsided, I resected the head of the humerus by a transverse incision of the deltoid, and a perpendicular one from it down the posterior part of the arm. The chain saw was applied after dissecting back the soft parts to a very small extent, and without dividing the attachment of any other muscle, the long head of biceps having been shot away; ice and cerate was continued, with oiled lint in the wound. When the joint was laid open, pus in considerable quantity came away. A track was discovered leading inwards under the clavicle, but the ball could not be found. The swelling has very much diminished, and he expresses himself very well. The case is doing well at this date, Nov. 5th. Nov. 6th. Some increase of pain, and evidently increased swelling in the infra and supra-scapular regions, with tenderness and indistinct fluctuation, but no discoloration. The clavicle is difficult to recognize, the parts are so tense and swollen. Ordered poultice to cover the whole shoulder and neck, and a laxative of ol. ricini. Half diet. Nov. 7th. Doing well; discharge considerable; and ordered full diet, with one-half pint of beer at noon and night. Nov. 8th, Doing well, but not having slept well last night, was ordered pulv. dover, grs. x. Nov. 10th. The abscess in the neck and underneath pectoral muscles, having discharged through the shoulder wound, the poultice was discontinued, and the surfaces of the deltoid, which had torn from the sutures and gaping were approximated with straps, and the whole enveloped in lint and dry tow. Nov. 18th. Doing well; discharge less and the abscess of the neck and breast showing less indication of suppuration. Nov. 25th. Suppuration quite free, and indistinct fluctuation above the clavicle, and also in the pectoral region, midway between nipples and clavicle, left side. Some wads of clothing were removed by the dresser to-day; they were projecting from the gunshot wound. The wound is drawn together gently by straps, and charpie applied. The patient is allowed his clothes and to walk about, which he does, and feeling better than when in bed. Dec. 1st, 1862. Opened the abscess above the clavicle and a considerable quantity of pus escaped. I was unable to discover the ball as I hoped. Poultice applied to this abscess. Dec. 10th. Abscess midway between nipples and clavicle was to-day opened, and considerable pus escaped; a probe could be passed under the clavicle and all through the Axilla, which is one abscess, I cannot discover the ball, however. The patient walks about and is on his feet the most of every day. Dec. 29th. Since last report this man has gained flesh, his wounds are nearly closed and with but little discharge. Sent north to-day per Steamer "Star of the South."