The Medical Case of Thomas Cooper, Co. C, 4th Pennsylvania Reserves


There were five examples of tenotomy for the relief of deformities resulting from shot wounds of the lower extremities.

The fifth case in which tenotomy was practiced has been already noted as 27 of TABLE VI, on page 54, amputation being resorted to twelve years after the reception of the injury on account of the uselessness of the limb.

CASE 131. Private T. Cooper, Co. C, 4th Pennsylvania Reserves, aged 18 years, was wounded near White Sulphur Springs, June 22, 1864. He was admitted to the Post Hospital at Beverly, and, on August 8th, transferred to the Grafton Hospital. Surgeon S. N. Sherman reported:

“Gunshot wound of left thigh; ball entered two inches above knee, on outer side, exit near tuberosity of the ischium; also flesh wound of middle of leg. December 31st, leg flexed at nearly right angle to the thigh, caused principally by contraction of the semimembranosuss and seminembranosus ; motion of knee joint perfect; considerable talipes varus, though without anchylosis. Subcutaneous division of the hamstring tendons performed by Surgeon S. N. Sherman, U. S. V.; chloroform used. Patient reacted promptly, being in good health, though of rather delicate constitution. After division of the tendons the leg was forcibly extended and secured to a straight splint, extending from nates to heel. Twenty-four hours after operation patient rested quite easy and entirely free from pain.”

The patient was furloughed on April 11, 1865, and admitted to the Emory Hospital, Washington, several weeks afterwards. On June 23, 1865, he was discharged by reason of “paralysis and deformity of the left leg caused by the wound,” and pensioned. The man subsequently removed to Birmingham, England, where, in December, 1870, he was seen by Mr. J. B. Gould, the U. S. Consul, who described his condition as follows:

“His left leg and foot are withered, the foot icy cold and curled up like a bird s claw, and the leg withered and dead to the hip joint,” etc.

About this time the pensioner was also examined by Surgeon Jos. Morris, M. R. C. S., who certified:

“I find him suffering from the effects of a gunshot wound of the left thigh. The sciatic nerve has been injured, and the entire limb rendered permanently and entirely useless. He suffers great pain in the injured limb,” etc.

This certificate was corroborated by Surgeon Jordan, F. R. C. S., and Professor of Surgery at Queen’s College, at a subsequent examination on March 4, 1871 . Surgeon Oliver Pemberton, F. R. C. S., in charge of the General Hospital at Birmingham, certified, on June 6, 1876:

“On the third day of May, 1876, I amputated the left leg of Thomas Cooper above the knee, the said limb having become useless on account of a gunshot wound,” etc.

The pensioner was paid June 4, 1876.1

City Letter Carrier at USPS | | Website | + posts

Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.

  1. The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, (1861-1865), Volume 3, Chapter X, pg. 59 & 60.