CASE 359.—Private O. C. Higgins, Co. D, 31st Maine, aged 24 years, was wounded before Petersburg, June 23, 1864. Surgeon J. Harris, 7th Rhode Island, reported his admission into the field hospital of the 2d division, Ninth Corps, with a "shot wound of thigh caused by a musket ball." From the field hospital the wounded man passed to the Depot Hospital at City Point, and thence, on July 3d, to the Third Division Hospital at Alexandria. Surgeon E. Bentley, U. S. V., in charge of the latter, reported the following description of the injury and its result: "A conical explosive ball entered the external aspect of the middle third of the right thigh anteriorly, and, exploding, scattered fragments of lead through the thigh and partially fractured the femur, not, however, preventing the patient from using his leg at will. Water dressings were applied. When admitted the patient was not in good condition, having been suffering from diarrhœa for some time, for which astringents were given. On July 6th, he was somewhat improved. The cold-water dressings were changed to warm. By July 10th the diarrhœal discharges had ceased, but the wound was very much inflamed. On July 15th, a slight discharge of dark and unhealthy pus set in, and flaxseed poultices were applied. Tonics and stimulants were administered. On July 21st, the patient felt better, and his treatment was continued. Two days later there were dark and unhealthy discharges from the wound, but the patient looked bright and his tongue was cleaning. Death occurred suddenly at 4 A. M., on July 24, 1864, the patient having been given water to drink about an hour previously by the nurse, and no signs of rapid exhaustion being then apparent. The post-mortem examination, made nine hours after death, showed the thigh filled with fragments of the bullet, and a partial fracture of the femur; there was profuse suppuration above and around the bone, and great emaciation. The viscera were found to be perfectly healthy." The upper two-thirds of the injured femur were contributed to the Army Medical Museum by Dr. Bentley, and are represented in the wood-cut (FIG. 131). The specimen shows the existence of local necrosis, with trivial osseous deposit near by, and the traces of profuse suppuration following the fragments of lead are seen in the roughening of the shaft.

FIG. 131.—Partial shot fracture of right femur. Spec. 3339.