Private Lewis Francis, 14th Brooklyn

21 09 2008

Medical/Surgical History – Part III, Volume II, p.154

Chapter X – Wounds And Injuries Of The Lower Extremities

Section II – Wounds And Injuries Of The Hip Joint

Amputations At The Hip Joint

The next case is exceptional inasmuch as the amputation and reamputation followed a bayonet stab in the knee instead of shot injury.


Photo – Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries

FIG 113 – Cicatrix sixteen months after a reamputation at the right hip, succeeding amputation for a bayonet stab through the knee.

CASE 331.–Private Lewis Francis, Co. I, 14th New York Militia, aged 42 years, was wounded July 21, 1861, at the first battle of Bull Run, by a bayonet thrust, which opened the right knee joint. He received not less than fourteen other stabs in different parts of the body, none of them implicating the great cavities. He was taken prisoner, and conveyed to Richmond and placed in hospital. One of his wounds involved the left testis, which was removed on July 24th. On October 28, 1861, his right thigh was amputated at the middle, on account of disease of the knee with abscesses in the thigh. The double-flap method was employed. The stump became inflamed and the femur protruded. An inch of the bone was resected and the flaps were again brought together. In the spring of 1862 the patient was exchanged and sent to Fort Monroe. Thence he was transferred to a Washington hospital, and thence, in March, 1862, to his home in Brooklyn. There was necrosis of the femur, and in May, 1862, its extremity was again resected by a civil surgeon. On October 28, 1863, Francis was admitted to the Ladies’ Home Hospital, New York. Necrosis had apparently involved the remaining portion of the femur. On May 21, 1864, Surgeon A. B. Mott, U. S. V., laid open the flaps and exarticulated the bone. The patient recovered rapidly and had a sound stump. He was discharged August 12, 1864. On October 1, 1865, a photograph, from which the accompanying wood-cut (FIG. 113) was taken, was forwarded by Surgeon A. B. Mott to the Army Medical Museum. Dr. Mott reported that the pathological specimen of the exarticulated femur was stolen from his hospital. For some months after his discharge Francis enjoyed good health; but then the cicatrix became unhealthy, pus was discharged through several sinuses, and there was bleeding from the slightest irritation. In March, 1867, a messenger was sent to his residence, 54 Hamilton Street, Brooklyn, and found him in very poor health. He had been unable to leave the house since November, 1866. On April 12, 1867, he was visited by Dr. E. D. Hudson, who reported him as then confined to his bed. There was a large ulcer at the upper outer angle of the cicatrix, which communicated with extensive sinuses; there was a fistula-in-ano also. The pus from the different fistulous orifices was thin, oily, and ichorous. There could be little doubt that there was disease of some portion of the innomi-natum. The patient was much emaciated, and had a cough with muco-purulent expectoration. His pulse, however, was not frequent, and he had a good appetite. In May, 1867, it was reported that his general condition had somewhat improved. In March, 1868, Pension Examiner J. C. Burdick, of Brooklyn, reported that this pensioner was “permanently helpless and required the constant aid of a nurse.” On May 30, 1874 (Decoration Day), and the day prior, at a preparatory parade of the veterans of his regiment, he was particularly active. The day after this unusual exercise, May 31, 1874, he died suddenly while at table.(2) This statement from the Brooklyn Union, June 1, 1874, is corroborated by the records of the Pension Bureau.

(2) Circular No. 6, S. G. O., 1865, p. 49. Circular No. 7, S. G. O., 1867, pp. 52, 65. HAMILTON (F. H.), Treatise on Military Surgery, 1865, p. 629.

Official Reports

21 09 2008

I just noicted that there are about a half dozen reports by Bull Run officers in Volume 51, Part I of the Official Records.  I’ll get those posted once I finish with the reports from Volume 2.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a hard copy of Volume 51, Part I to check for errors.  I’m all done with the Confederate reports from Volume 2, but haven’t posted anything pertaining exclusively to Blackburn’s Ford.

By the way, I have about 90 of the ORs that I’m looking to unload, and will do so at a reasonable price per volume plus shipping. 

#44 – Col. William B. Franklin

21 09 2008

Report of Col. William. B. Franklin, Twelfth U. S. Infantry, Commanding First Brigade, Third Division

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp.405-407


Department Northeastern Virginia, July 28, 1861

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report on the operations of the brigade under my command in the action at Bull Run on the 21st instant:

The brigade consisted of Light Battery I, First Artillery, Capt. J. B. Ricketts; the Fifth Massachusetts Regiment, Colonel Lawrence; the Eleventh Massachusetts Regiment, Colonel Clark, and the First Minnesota Regiment, Colonel Gorman. The Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment had been attached to the brigade until the morning of the 21st instant, but as its term of service expired on that day it refused to go forward, and when the remainder of the brigade marched forward it marched to the rear. The brigade left camp near Centreville at 2.30 a.m., in the following order: 1st, Minnesota regiment; 2d, Ricketts battery; 3d, Fifth Massachusetts Regiment; and, 4th, Eleventh Massachusetts Regiment. The Minnesota regiment was arranged with the two front companies ready to act as skirmishers; the next three companies as the advanced guard, and the remainder of the regiment formed the head of the column. The men were furnished with three days’ provisions in their haversacks.

At Centreville a delay of more than two hours took place, to enable General Tyler’s and Colonel Hunter’s columns to pass Colonel Heintzelman’s. The march then recommenced, and continued without interruption until the brigade reached Bull Run, about 11 o’clock a.m., after a march of about twelve miles.

Colonel Hunter’s column had by this time become engaged with the enemy, and Ricketts’ battery was immediately ordered to cross the run and hold itself in readiness for action. The Minnesota regiment was ordered to cross to support the battery, and was, by a subsequent change in the order, placed in position on the left of the field. The Fifth and Eleventh Massachusetts Regiments were, for a very short time, held in reserve on the left bank of the run. Ricketts’ battery was directed to take position in a field towards the extreme right of our line, and commenced firing at a battery of the enemy placed just beyond the crest of a hill on our left. After firing for about twenty minutes at this point, the battery was moved to a point about one thousand feet from the enemy’s battery, where it was immediately subjected to an incessant fire of musketry, at short range, disabling it almost immediately. Here Captain Ricketts was severely wounded, and First Lieut. D. Ramsay was killed. The battery also lost, in the course of a few minutes, eleven non-commissioned officers and men killed, and fourteen wounded. Many horses were also killed, so that the battery was entirely crippled, and its remains were drawn off the field, all of the guns being left on the field.

While the battery was in its first position, the Fifth and Eleventh Massachusetts Regiments were brought to the field, and took position just behind the crest of a hill about the center of the position. Here they were slightly exposed to the fire of the enemy’s battery on the left, and were consequently thrown into some confusion. This was shown by the difficulty of forming the Eleventh Regiment, and by wild firing made by both regiments. They fired without command, and in one or two instances, while formed in column, closed in mass.

From this point both regiments were ordered to proceed to the vicinity of the point where Ricketts’ battery was disabled, to try to get back the guns. They went there, and, with the help of some other regiments on their right, the enemy was driven from the guns three times. It was impossible, however, to get the men to draw off the guns, and when one or two attempts were made, we were driven off by the appearance of the enemy in large force with heavy and well-aimed volleys of musketry.

The First Minnesota Regiment moved from its position on the left of the field to the support of Ricketts’ battery, and gallantly engaged the enemy at that point. It was so near the enemy’s lines that friends and foes were for a time confounded. The regiment behaved exceedingly well, and finally retired from the field in good order. The other two regiments of the brigade retired in confusion, and no efforts of myself or staff were successful in rallying them. I respectfully refer you to Colonel Gorman’s report(*) for the account of his regiment’s behavior and of the good conduct of his officers and men.

Colonel Hartranft, of the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment, whose regiment refused to march forward that morning, accompanied me to the field as aide-de-camp. His services were exceedingly valuable to me, and he distinguished himself in his attempts to rally the regiments which had been thrown into confusion.

I respectfully recommend to your favorable consideration the officers of my staff – Capt. Walworth Jenkins, First Artillery, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieut. J. P. Baker, First Dragoons, aide-de-camp, and Lieut., C. H. Gibson, Second Dragoons, acting quartermaster and commissary of the brigade. Their efforts were unremitting in carrying orders and in attempting to rally the dispersed troops.

I cannot refrain from paying a tribute to the gallantry of Captain Ricketts and Lieutenant Ramsay. The service has sustained a serious loss in the temporary removal of Captain Ricketts from duty, and the cool and determined bravery of Lieutenant Ramsay was admired by all who witnessed it. It may be a consolation to his friends to know that he unflinchingly died a soldier’s death, regretted by all.

I transmit with this a list of the killed, wounded, and missing of the brigades.(+)

It is my firm belief that a great deal of the misfortune of the day at Bull Run is due to the fact that the troops knew very little of the principles and practice of firing. In every case I believe that the firing of the rebels was better than ours. At any rate I am sure that ours was very bad, the rear files sometimes firing into and killing the front ones. It is to be hoped that practice and instruction will have corrected this evil by the time that we have another battle.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Twelfth Infantry, Comdg. First Brig., Third Div.

Capt. C. McKEEVER,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

* See Series I, Vol. 51, Part I, pp. 22-23

+ Embodied in division return, p. 405