Title: Tucker, Morris D.
Source text: The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-65.), Part 2, Volume 2 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1876), 100-101.
Civil War Washington ID: med.d2e31680
CASE 299.—Corporal Morris D. Tucker, Co. I, 15th Massachusetts, aged 26 years, was wounded at Spottsylvania, May 12, 1864, being struck in rapid succession by several musket balls. He was taken to the hospital of the 2d division, Second Corps, where Surgeon J. F. Dyer, 19th Massachusetts, recorded the injuries as “gunshot flesh wounds of the left hip and leg.” On May 26th, the wounded man was taken to Lincoln Hospital, Washington. The hospital record is very meagre, and makes no reference to a lesion of the intestine. Subsequently, Examining Surgeon A. L. Lowell, of Wilmington, Vermont, April 17, 1871, gave the following detailed report of the case: “Weight 130; age 32; respiration abnormal, and pulse irregular. A musket ball entered the left thigh, just above the knee and external condyle, passing upward and inward through the muscles and tendons of the outer and also the anterior aspect of thigh; it inflicted a severe laceration of the soft parts, and made its exit through the rectus muscle, six inches above the knee, and entered the chest at the seventh rib of left side. The extensive laceration and great loss of muscular tissue, fasciæ, and integument, leaves the injured limb seriously disabled and inefficient; a deep, broad, irregular cicatrix, adherent to the femoral periosteum and restricting the functions of muscular structures of the thigh and leg, marks the site of the wound. The limb is affected with acute neuralgia, with formication, and impairment of nervo-motor function. Another ball entered the same thigh on its posterior aspect and upper third, passing upward, and injuring the sciatic nerve. It is still encysted near the sciatic foramen, where it evidently impinges upon the nerve and causes severe sciatic neuralgia and pain throughout the entire limb. He alleges that his sleep is much disturbed by these paroxysms of pain. The depressed temperature of the limb, and the evident deficiency of muscular tone, demonstrate that the innervation of the limb is seriously injured. The saphenous vein of the left thigh is affected throughout with varices. These two wounds of the same limb result in a degree of disability which is evidently total. Another, and by far the most serious injury, was inflicted by a musket ball, which penetrated the abdomen and intestines in the left inguinal region. This wound resulted in a fæcal fistula, which finally healed after several months treatment. The contents of the bowels were for several months voided at this traumatic opening. He alleges that the bullet was voided with the stools, four weeks after the injury was inflicted. The wound closed with a very thin and extremely sensitive cicatrix, in which is involved fascia, integument, and peritoneum, and the intestines. The movements of gas and the contents of the intestines are distinctly felt through this cicatrix, and it is alleged that every jolt or strain of the abdominal muscles causes acute pain at this point, and oftentimes nausea. This injury is slowly killing the man. His body is much emaciated. The complexion is sallow, and expression languid. The tongue is constantly coated. The pulse is irregular and thready, and the assimulative functions are seriously deranged. The nerve action irregular and shows functional disturbance and irritability. His standard weight in health was 190 pounds; he now weighs 130 pounds. The hepatic region is tender on pressure, and the abdominal walls are tumid. The prognosis in this case is very unfavorable. It is my opinion that the injury inflicted upon the viscera has resulted in serious derangement of the sympathetic nervous system, and that this disturbance is perpetuated by local chronic peritonitis. I have carefully inquired into the past history of this pensioner, and find that he is held by the best citizens of his town to be a man of sterling integrity and of excellent social standing. He is poor, and has a wife and small children to support. He has, since leaving the hospital, tried to earn something, for the support of his family, at various light occupations, but has been compelled by his physical distress to give up all active employment. Such I find, upon the most respectable authority, to have been this man’s history since he returned from the hospital. His condition is growing worse, and I question if he survives a year. His condition commands the real sympathy of the entire community where he resides. It is very evident that he has been hitherto very hastily examined and carelessly rated. He has, I am fully satisfied, been entitled to ’total second grade,’ act June 6, 1866 since its passage. I therefore recommend that he be rated at that grade from the passage of the act. Disability total, second grade, and permanent.” On November 15, 1871, Pension Examiner Thomas F. Smith, of New York, reports of this pensioner: “The ball entered above Poupart’s ligament, on the left side, and was passed through the anus. He has had an artificial anus, and is now suffering from chronic peritonitis. Another ball entered upon the external aspect of the right knee and emerged above the knee. This wound was followed by gangrene, causing a large loss of muscular tissue. Another ball entered just below the right trochanter major, and still remains embedded in the deep muscles. There is considerable atrophy of the limb, also neuralgic pains. Another ball entered the fifth intercostal space. Respiration is difficult.” This pensioner is still on the Roll.”