Title: Cottrell, George T.

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), 424.

Keywords:wounds and injuries of the neckgunshot wounds of the neckoperations on the neckhæmorrhage and ligationsrelief of paralysis by removal of ballgeneral anesthesia, chloroformclonic muscular contraction, drawing head to one side

Civil War Washington ID: med.d1e18565

TEI/XML: med.d1e18565.xml

CASE.—Private George T. Cottrell, Co. G, 1st United States Sharp-shooters, aged 21 years, was wounded, while in the act of firing, at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 2d, 1863, by a conoidal ball entering about one-half an inch above left clavicle, and about an inch from its sternal extremity, and passing behind the trachea, lodged just under the right clavicle where the subclavian emerges. He was conveyed to Washington, D. C., and admitted into St. Aloysius Hospital, May 7th, 1863. There was but little blood lost. A numb pain ensued, which lasted six months, referred particularly to the elbow-joint and fingers, the fingers remaining semi-flexed three months. He was unable to speak aloud for two weeks, and nourishment could only be taken in liquid form. The limb was carried at right angles, and, by the middle of July, the wound had perfectly healed and never re-opened. At this date, the joint, which had become firmly fixed at right angles, from inaction, was straightened while the patient was under the influence of chloroform, and frequent flexion and extension subsequently fully restored the use of the joint. He was returned to duty in 2d battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps, October 31st, 1863, and discharged from the service on September 14th, 1864. The hand and fingers continued to be very sensitive to cold and heat, and, at times, were very painful. One morning, in the fall of 1865, he found that the power of supporting the head was lost to such an extent, that he was unable to rise from his bed; and clonic muscular contraction, drawing the head to the right shoulder, lasted four days, but did not recur. Late in December, 1869, the pain at the point of lodgement began to increase; and on January 31st, 1870, Prof. N. S. Lincoln, M. D., having placed the patient under the influence of chloroform, cut down and removed the ball, which was found thrust in between the subclavian and a branch of the brachial plexus, the missile resting on the artery just where it emerges from beneath the clavicle, and the nerve drawn tightly across the ball in front. On pushing aside this nerve from the missile, vigorous contraction of the limb was produced. The wound closed readily by granulation. The limb is now equal to its fellow in size and strength, and, with the exception of a very slight sensitiveness of the fingers to cold and heat, which is improving, the patient is entirely relieved. He is unwilling to present the ball to the Museum. Mr. Cottrell is a clerk in the Treasury Department. In May, 1872, there was a dull pain from the shoulder, along the course of the nerve of the arm, during cold and damp weather. Case reported by Dr. H. W. Sawtelle of the Treasury Department.