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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Incompetent Doctor Hides from Bullets

On May 3, 1863, near Chancellorsville, Virginia, the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry is troubled by a new assistant surgeon with questionable skills.

An incident occurred here which is a story worth relating. The Second had a new second assistant surgeon. This battle was the first of his experience. On the fourth several of the men were complaining, and he was the doctor detailed to remain with the command.

Search was made for him; after some time he was found, having burroughed a hole at a safe distance and thrown up breast-works to be safe from the storm of small shot dropping promiscuously about the vicinity of the command.

He was urged out from a safe retreat, and trembling appeared before the company with his German silver bottle full of sugar-coated pills. As he passed along he cried out, "Any sick here?" and the men would step out. When coming up to one he said: "What's the matter of you?"

"Cut my hand, sir, and want a piece of court plaster, if you please."

"Here, hold out your hand; three pills, take one morning, noon and night."

To the next man said the doctor, "What's the matter with you?"

"Arm badly chafed, foot sore."

"Here, hold out your hand; three pills; take one morning, noon and night."

And so that new and untried doctor passed along among the men. No matter what the ailment, the remedy was all the same, three pills, one morning, noon and night. It is unnecessary to state that the doctor's services were soon after dispensed with.

Source: Aubery, Cullen B. "Echoes from the marches of the famous Iron Brigade : unwritten stories of that famous organization," page 34.

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Camp of the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry.
Camp of the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry.

WHI 33489
Map of the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863.
Map of the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863 (10:00 am).

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