Title: Benson, Stephen D.
Source text: Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes, United States Army, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861–65.), Part 1, Volume 2 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1870), 117.
Civil War Washington ID: med.d1e8026
BENSON, STEPHEN D., Sergeant, Co. A, 31st Maine Volunteers, aged 20 years, was wounded at the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 12th, 1864, by a conoidal ball, which entered the left side of the head, one inch behind the meatus auditorius externus, on a line with its opening, and emerged close to the acromion process of the right scapula. He was entirely unconscious for several hours, but had some realization of pain in the evening, when he made an ineffectual effort to get on his feet. He was admitted to the hospital of the 2d division of the Ninth Corps, and, on May 24th, was sent to the Harewood Hospital, Washington. For about three weeks there was much mental aberration, especially at night. Assistant Surgeon Sumner A. Patten, who reports the case, examined the patient on June 20th, 1864. The wounds of entrance and of exit discharged freely. There was numbness of the left side of the head, and deafness of the left ear. The scalp in the vicinity of the wound was much swollen. On rising to his feet, he was so dizzy that he was compelled to lay hold of something to avoid falling. Occasionally small pieces of necrosed bone were discharged from the left ear. Sergeant Benson, commissioned as lieutenant, on August 1st, returned to his regiment, but, on December 5th, 1864, resigned. On April 2d, 1866, Doctor Patten wrote that this officer had not been able to labor since the reception of the injury; that there was a constant feeling of weakness, although his appetite was generally good. Confusion of thought and impairment of memory were also well-marked effects of the injury. His general health was deteriorated, and he weighed but 144 pounds, having weighed 163 when he enlisted. In September, 1868, Examining Surgeon E. F. Sanger reported that this pensioner, residing in Bangor, Maine, had total deafness of the left ear, and that his general health was very poor, and his disabilities total. In a previous communication, Pension Examiner J. C. Weston reported that frequent abscesses formed about the mastoid process, due probably to caries.