A Confederate field hospital in 1862. Library of Congress photo, LC-DIG-cwpb-00207 DLC.

Francis Marion Poore, the oldest of the three Poore brothers in the Civil War, suffered at least one combat wound and perhaps more.

According to his military records, Francis received a gunshot wound to his hand at the Battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg, in September 1862. This landed him in Chimborazo Hospital No. 2 in Richmond until January 1863.

The stories of his other wounds come from family tradition.

After the war, Francis often told a story about being wound while carrying the rebel flag. Flag bearers wore a harness with a metal base or cup where the base of the flagstaff rested. A Yankee bullet hit this base a glancing below and then the bullet went into Francis’ side.

He also told stories of being shot in the foot. It never flexed after that and he always wore the sole off the toe of one shoe. After the war Francis also carried a big lump on one shoulder, the result of another wound, he said.

Perhaps because of Hollywood movie depictions, some people have come to believe that surgeons often operated on wounded soldiers without benefit of anesthetics. In fact, there was plenty of anesthesia available on both sides.

George Wunderlich, executive director of the Museum of Civil War Medicine, discusses this and other myths about medicine during the Civil War in this video.

Avoid Holloywood’s mistakes about what it was like for the men who fought in the war. Check with the museum for any questions you may have about your ancestor and medicine at the time.

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