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

Decking My Walls

20 09 2008

I’m hoping to get some stuff done this week, as work is very slow right now.  For one, I want to get that last eight foot shelf put up in my office, so I can get around to reorganizing my library.  I also need to make arrangements to frame a recently purchased print.  I may have mentioned this before, but I bought a copy of Don Troiani’s New York’s Bravest, which depicts the 69th New York State Militia and the 11th New York Infantry re-capturing the colors of the former regiment at Bull Run.  I’m not particularly fond of Troiani’s stuff: of the folks working in the ACW art arena these days I only really like Keith Rocco, and overall I find works from the late 19th & early 20th centuries far more appealing.  But the subject matter is what sold me.  Take a look (click on the picture for a larger image):

#43 – Col. Samuel P. Heintzelman

20 09 2008

Report of Col. Samuel P. Heintzelman, Seventeenth U.S. Infantry, Commanding Third Division

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 402-404


Washington, July 31, 1861

SIR: In obedience to instructions received on the 20th instant, the division under my command was under arms in light marching order, with two days’ cooked rations in their haversacks, and commenced the march at 2.30 a.m. on the 21st, the brigade of Colonel Franklin leading, followed by those of Colonels Willcox and Howard. At Centreville we found the road filled with troops, and were detained three hours to allow the divisions of General Tyler and Colonel Hunter to pass. I followed with my division immediately in rear of the latter. Between two and three miles beyond Centreville we left the Warrenton turnpike, turning into a country road on the right. Captain Wright, of the Engineers, accompanied the head of Colonel Hunter’s column, with directions to stop at a road which turned in to the left to a ford across Ball Run, about half way between the point where we turned off from the turnpike and Sudley Springs, at which latter point Colonel Hunter’s division was to cross. No such road was found to exist, and about 11 a.m. we found ourselves at Sudley Springs, about ten miles from Centreville, with one brigade of Colonel Hunter’s division still on our side of the run.

Before reaching this point the battle had commenced. We could see the smoke rising on our left from two points, a mile or more apart. Two clouds of dust were seen, showing the advance of troops from the direction of Manassas. At Sudley Springs, whilst waiting the passage of the troops of the division in our front, I ordered forward the First Brigade to fill their canteens. Before this was accomplished the leading regiments of Colonel Hunter’s division became engaged. General McDowell, who, accompanied by his staff, had passed us a short time before, sent back Captain Wright, of the Engineers, and Major McDowell, one of his aides, with orders to send forward two regiments to prevent the enemy from outflanking them. Captain Wright led forward the Minnesota regiment to the left of the road which crossed the run at this place. Major McDowell led the Eleventh Massachusetts Regiment up the road. I accompanied this regiment, leaving orders for the remainder of the division to follow, with the exception of Arnold’s battery, which, supported by the First Michigan, was posted a little below the crossing of the run as a reserve.

At a little more than a mile from the ford we came upon the battlefield. Ricketts’ battery was posted on a hill to the right of Hunter’s division and to the right of the road. After firing some twenty minutes at a battery of the enemy placed just beyond the crest of a hill on their extreme left, the distance being considered too great, it was moved forward to within about one thousand feet of the enemy’s battery. Here it was exposed to a heavy fire of musketry, which soon disabled the battery. Franklin’s brigade was posted on the right of a woods near the center of our line, and on ground rising towards the enemy’s position. In the mean time I sent orders for the zouaves to move forward, to support Ricketts’ battery on its right. As soon as they came up I led them forward against an Alabama regiment, partly concealed in a clump of small pines in an old field, At the first fire they broke, and the greater portion fled to the rear, keeping up a desultory firing over the heads of their comrades in front. At the same moment they were charged by a company of secession cavalry on their rear, who came by a road through two strips of woods on our extreme right. The fire of the zouaves killed four and wounded one, dispersing them. The discomfiture of this cavalry was completed by a fire from Captain Colburn’s company of U. S. cavalry, which killed and wounded several more. Colonel Farnham, with some of his officers and men, behaved gallantly, but the regiment, as a regiment, did not appear again on the field. Many of the men joined other regiments, and did good service as skirmishers.

I then led up the Minnesota regiment, which was also repulsed, but retired in tolerably good order. It did good service in the woods on our right flank, and was among the last to retire, coming off the field with the Third U.S. Infantry. Next was led forward the First Michigan, which was also repulsed, and retired in considerable confusion. They were rallied, and helped to hold the woods on our right. The Brooklyn Fourteenth then appeared on the ground, coming forward in gallant style. I led them forward to the left, where the Alabama regiment had been posted in the early part of the action, now disappeared. We soon came in sight of the line of the enemy, drawn up beyond the clump of trees. Soon after the firing commenced the regiment broke and ran. I considered it useless to attempt to rally them. The want of discipline in these regiments was so great, that the most of the men would run from fifty to several hundred yards to the rear and continue to fire – fortunately for the braver ones, very high in the air – compelling those in front to retreat. During this time Ricketts’ battery had been taken and retaken three times by us, but was finally lost, most of the horses having been killed; Captain Ricketts being wounded, and First Lieut. D. Ramsay killed. Lieutenant Kirby behaved with great gallantry, and succeeded in carrying off one caisson.

Before this time heavy re-enforcements were distinctly seen approaching by two roads, extending and outflanking us on the right. Colonel Howard’s brigade came on the field at this time, having been detained by the general as a reserve at the point where we left the turnpike. It took post on a hill on our right and rear, and for some time gallantly held the enemy in check. I had one company of cavalry attached to my division, which was joined during the engagement by the cavalry of Colonel Hunter’s division. Major Palmer, who commanded them, was anxious to engage the enemy. The ground being unfavorable, I ordered them back out of range of fire.

Finding it impossible to rally any of the regiments, we commenced our retreat about 4.30 p.m. There was a fine position a short distance in rear, where I hoped to make a stand with a section of Arnold’s battery and the U.S. cavalry, if I could rally a few regiments of infantry. In this I utterly failed, and we continued our retreat on the road we had before advanced in the morning. I sent forward my staff officers to rally some troops beyond the run, but not a company would form. I stopped back a few moments at the hospital, to see what arrangements could be made to save the wounded.  The few ambulances that were there were filled, and started to the rear. The church which was used as a hospital, with the wounded and some of the surgeons, soon after fell into the hands of the secession cavalry, who followed us closely. A company of cavalry crossed the run, and seized an ambulance full of wounded. Captain Arnold gave them a couple of rounds of canister from his section of artillery, which sent them scampering away, and kept them at a respectful distance during the remainder of our retreat. At this point most of the stragglers were in advance of us. Having every reason to fear a vigorous pursuit from the enemy’s fresh troops, I was desirous of forming a strong rear guard, but neither the efforts of the officers of the Regular Army nor the coolness of the regular troops with me could induce them to form a single company. We relied entirely for our protection on one section of artillery and a few companies of cavalry. Most of the road was favorable for infantry, but unfavorable for cavalry and artillery.

About dusk, as we approached the Warrenton turnpike, we heard a firing of rifled cannon on our right, and learned that the enemy had established a battery enfilading the road. Captain Arnold, with his section of artillery, attempted to run the gauntlet, and reached the bridge over Cub Run about two miles from Centreville, but found it obstructed with broken vehicles, and was compelled to abandon his pieces, as they were under the fire of those rifled cannon. The cavalry turned to the left, and, after passing through a strip of woods and some fields, struck a road which led them to some camps occupied by our troops in the morning, through which we regained the turnpike. About 8 p.m. we reached the camps we had occupied in the morning. Had a brigade from the reserve advanced a short distance beyond Cub Run near one-third of the artillery lost might have been saved, as it was abandoned at or near this crossing.

Such a rout I never witnessed before. No efforts could induce a single regiment to form after the retreat was commenced. Our artillery was served admirably, and did much execution. Some of the volunteer regiments behaved very well, and much excuse can be made for those who fled, as few of the enemy could at any time be seen. Raw troops cannot be expected to stand long against an unseen enemy. I have been unable to obtain any report from the zouaves, as Colonel Farnham was wounded, and is sick in the hospital. I have only the list of the killed and wounded. Since the retreat more than three-fourths of the zouaves have disappeared. The brigade and regimental reports, with the lists of the killed and wounded, are inclosed herewith.

I beg leave to express my obligations to the officers of my staff, viz: Capt. Horatio G. Wright, Lieut. G. W. Snyder, and Lieut. Francis U. Farquhar, of the Engineers; Capt. Chauncey McKeever, assistant adjutant-general; Lieut. John J. Sweet, Second Cavalry, and Lieut. John D. Fairbanks, First Michigan Regiment, for the able and fearless manner in which they performed their duties, and to recommend them to your favorable consideration.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Seventeenth Infantry, Commanding Division

Capt. JAS. B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, U.S. Army, Arlington, VA

Table – Return of casualties in the Third Division (Union) of Northeastern Virginia, at the Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861

John Clay Brown

20 09 2008

John Clay Brown of the 14th Brooklyn (NYSM) is the author of this letter describing the condition of corpses discovered on the battlefield of First Bull Run on his return there in March, 1862.  At the time of the battle he was a private in Company D.  Biographical information, the letter, and the photo below are courtesy of Dr. Thomas Clemens of Keedysville, MD.  When he enlisted in the 14th Brooklyn, he was 5′ 6″ tall, with blue eyes, auburn hair and light complexion.  Brown’s pension file includes various depositions, indicating he was a color bearer at the Battle of Groveton on August 18, 1862, where he suffered sunstroke which eventually forced him from the ranks and sent him to hospital in Washington.  He returned to his regiment, with the flag he had kept in his possession, in time to participate in the Battle of Antietam.  He remained with the regiment throughout the winter and spring, and was wounded and captured at Gettysburg.  After imprisonment at Libby Prison and Belle Isle in Richmond, he was exchanged in September 1863, after which he rejoined the 14th Brooklyn.  At the end of his three year enlistment, he signed on for another three year hitch, doing so in part for a $900 bonus.  In May 1864, the 14th Brooklyn was consolidated into the 5th New York Veteran Infantry.  On June 2, Brown was again captured, at Bethesda Church.  In South Carolina, he fell from a railroad car injuring his back.  He was released from the prison at Andersonville, GA on December 13, 1864, weighing just 85 pounds.  While recovering and awaiting exchange in Annapolis, MD, Brown learned he had been promoted to lieutenant in command of Company I of the 5th NY Veteran Infantry.  He rejoined the regiment and was present at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.

After the war, Brown suffered from the physical effects of his service and was unable to do heavy labor.  He suffered dizziness from his sunstroke and wore a truss for a hernia.  He had a light mercantile business for a time, and applied for a pension in 1884.  When the pension was granted in 1886, Brown was living in Newburgh, NY.  He moved west, with the last residence in the pension records being Talent, OR.  His date of death and place of burial are not known.

John Clay Brown: Born 10/4/1842; raised Brooklyn, NY; enlisted in 14th Booklyn (NY) State Militia (later desingated 84th NY Infantry) on 4/18/1861; mustered into Company D 5/23/1861; wounded and captured, 7/1/1863, Gettysburg, PA; POW Libby Prison and Belle Isle, Richmond, VA; returned to company, date unknown; re-enlisted 2/12/1864; transferred to Company A, 5th NY Veteran Infantry when 14th Brooklyn consolidated into that regiment in 5/1864; captured 6/2/1864 at Bethesda Church, VA; POW Andersonville, GA, 6/8/1864; paroled Charleston, SC 12/13/1864; mustered as 1st Lieutenant, 5th NY Veteran Infantry 5/17/1865; mustered out of service 8/21/1865 Hart’s Island, NY.  Date and place of death and interment unknown.

Sources: (9/20/2008); letter and biographical information provided by Dr. Thomas Clemens, copies in site owner’s collection.

Pvt. John Clay Brown, 14th Brooklyn, on his Return to the Battlefield

18 09 2008

This is an exerpt of a letter written by a member of Company D, 14th Brooklyn recounting his return to the First Bull Run battlefield in March of 1862, around the time of many of the photographs you can view here.  A transcription of this letter was provided to Bull Runnings by Dr. Thomas Clemens of Keedysville, MD.  This post includes a short biography and photograph of the author, John H. C. Brown.  Only the greeting, the first paragraph, part of the third paragraph, and closing are reproduced below.  The “Sister” to whom the letter is addressed is Brown’s friend Mary Emma Chalmers, Dr. Clemens’ great-great grandmother.  See the full letter here.

Virginia, March 24th, 1862

Dear Sister,

Having great confidence in you abilitys of endurance I even now dare to address you even at this late hour.  You wrote me long ago and although some time in coming, notwithstanding, I determined to answer it immediately.  But dear Sister you know, or at least believe me your well known brother?  That I had a good chance I would have wrote before, but enough of this, Nuff cid.  You are aware that we left our old camp last week and proceeded to Fair Fax, a distance of fourteen miles in a heavy rain and mud ankle-deep.  excuse me?  Well half way Enos and I fell out and after a rest of twenty minutes we again trudge on, soon however unable to walk further, I took my boots off and put on my shoes.  This was when I arrived in Fair Fax, at which place I rested a few minutes and as I gazed upon the [fifty?] earthworks erected by the rebels I though[t] Did they think the Army of the Potomac would halt before that [ ? ]  They could not have thought that, it was but a faint to keep us back to allow them to have more time.  Well we pressed on and halted three miles this side of Centreville, at which place we formed Brigade again, stacked arms (loaded), and then after having a cup of hot coffee I laid down, wet, tired and sick after offering a prayer to God to take care of my friends, the army and myself and slept [sweetly?] I might say.  Well next morning we awoke to find that the rebels had left and in their retreat had blown up both of the large bridges at Bull Run and also Cobb [Cub] run.  Well after being there the third day we all donned our red pants and marched to Centreville there we stacked arms and the Gen. gave us leave to visit the old Battle ground.  It was a long walk, eight miles, but as we want to see the old field where we fought and some of us fell, it did not seem so far.  Well we arrived there about one oclock, and a tear would come as I would notice not one, two, yes ten of [ ? ] our boys unburied, all not one had a head on, oh the rebels will feel the effect of our sorrow when we meet them again.  How soon that meeting will take place I do not know but we hope [ ? ] the sooner the better.  The next day we sent a squad of men to bury them and mark the spot also where they lay.

[Second paragraph]

Mary, I hope you are well and doing well.  I often think of you and all the folks and of my sabbath school.  I long to see them again and hear their voices singing prayers to God.  What a blessed work teaching those little minds the way to everlasting life.  They, the teachers are doing as great a work as I, they are training their minds for heaven and I one of the wandering flock, defending my country, defending them and their parents from harm and danger, for I am sure if the rebels could gain the day they would hesitate at nothing.  They would, as they have done already, break the laws of God and man but the race is nearly run, they have but a few short days to live and so have some of us, but if we are I feel [ ? ] it will be a glorious fate, but for them they will die in ignominity and shame, a disgrace to God and to their country.

[Fourth paragraph]

[Fifth paragraph]

Your affectionate friend,

John C. Brown