Jackson’s Amputation J-37

Historical Marker Text
Near here stood the hospital tent to which the wounded “Stonewall” Jackson was brought during the Battle of Chancellorsville. In that tent his left arm was amputated on May 3, 1863. He died seven days later at Guinea. [1983]

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Jackson’s left arm was amputated in a makeshift field hospital of the 2nd Corps, not far from the skirmishes still brewing during the Battle of Chancellorsville. Modern medicine of the day included chloroform, whiskey, and morphine, so Jackson, as well as other injured soldiers, had to endure large amounts of pain (Bowers 347). On Monday, May 4, 1863, Jackson was deemed in stable condition, and was moved to the private home of the Chandler family, not far from Guinea (Bowers 351). Accompanying him to the Chandler residence was a colleague and Jackson’s artillery captain, Colonel Stapleton Crutchfield, who had suffered a bullet wound that shattered his leg (Davis 429). It wasn’t the loss of blood, the amputation, or even infection of the wound that ended Jackson’s life prematurely. Unfortunately, Stonewall Jackson had a taste for strange methods to calm his fevers, nausea, and pains (Bowers 352). He requested damp towels to be draped over him. These same damp towels that Jackson felt were helping to heal him were in fact a key reason of how he got pneumonia (Davis 442). Jackson suffered an injury to his right side during the fall he took in the stretcher, and this also may have led to his illness (Chambers 428). On May 6, Jackson woke early in the morning with a strong bout of nausea. This time, his method of damp towels did not help.

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Jackson was a man of the church. He was deeply religious and required daily prayers, grace at all meals, and time to read his Bible. When Mrs. Anna Jackson learned of his injury she arrived and stayed at his side as much as she could. Jackson did not want to see his young daughter, Julia, who had been with Mrs. Jackson in Richmond (Chambers 437). Jackson seemed to know that his time was coming. Jackson is quoted saying “I see from the number of physicians that you think my condition is dangerous, but thank I thank God, if it is His will, that I am ready to go”(Bowers 353). His condition worsened and no one knew it was pneumonia until it was too late. Jackson died on May 19, 1863.

Photo Credits
National Park Service, “Jackson’s Arm Grave,” http://www.nps.gov/archive/frsp/ellwood.htm (accessed April 10, 2008).

National Park Service, “Memory of Stonewall Jackson,” http://www.nps.gov/archive/frsp/ellwood.htm (accessed April 10, 2008).

For Further Reference
Bearss, Edwin C. Fields of Honor. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2006.

Bowers, John. Stonewall Jackson: Portrait of a Soldier. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1989.

Chambers, Lenoir. Stonewall Jackson: Volume Two, Seven Days I to The Last March. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1959.

Davis, Burke. They Called Him Stonewall: A Life of Lt. General T. J. Jackson, C.S.A. New York: Rinehart and Company, Inc., 1954.

Hamlin, Augustus C. The Attack of Stonewall Jackson At Chancellorsville. Virginia: Sergeant Kirkland’s Museum and Historical Society, Inc., 1997.

Robertson Jr., James I. Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend. New York: Macmillan Publishing USA, 1997.

Department of Historic Resources map and directions

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