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Maj. H.A. Barnum (SP 93), National Museum of Health and Medicine | by medicalmuseum
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Maj. H.A. Barnum (SP 93), National Museum of Health and Medicine

Maj. H.A. Barnum (SP 93), National Museum of Health and Medicine


Description: Image of Major H.A. Barnum, 12th New York Volunteers, who recovered after a penetrating gunshot wound of the abdomen, with perforation of the left ilium. He was wounded at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862. Photograph taken at the Army Medical Museum.


Caption reads: “War Department, Surgeon General’s Office, Army Medical Museum. Surgical Photograph, No 93. Recovery after a Penetrating Gunshot Wound of the Abdomen, with Performation of the Left Ilium. Major H.A. Barnum, 12th New York, was wounded at Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862, by a conoidal musket ball, which entered midway between the umbilicus and the anterior superior spinous process of the left ilium, passed through the middle of the ilium, and emerged posteriorly. The wound was regarded as fatal, and the patient was left in a field hospital. On July 2d, he was captured and was taken to Libby Prison, a distance of eighteen miles, in an express wagon. On July 17th, he was taken to Aikin’s Landing in an ambulance, a distance of seventeen miles, and exchanged. He was conveyed by water to Albany, and thence by rail to Syracuse, New York. At no time were any symptoms of peritonitis manifested. On October 1st, Major Barnum went to Albany, where Dr. March dilated the anterior wound by an incision, and extracted several fragments of the ilium, and directed that a tent should be worn. Promoted to the command of the 149th New York, Colonel Barnum took the field in January, 1863. He wore the tent about a month, when the anterior wound healed. About the middle of March, a large abscess formed and evacuated itself at the site of the anterior wound. In April, Dr. March again cut down to the ilium, and introduced a tent. No loose fragments of bone were found. The Colonel resumed his duties, and commanded his regiment at Gettysburg. In January, 1864, another large abscess formed and discharged posteriorly. The orifice was enlarged by Dr. L.D. Sayre of New York, and a seton of oakum was passed from before backwards through the entire track of the ball. This was worn for several weeks, when Surgeon M.K. Hogan, U.S.V., substituted a seton of candle-wick, which was gradually reduced in size, and finally replaced by a single linen thread. The photograph was taken at the Army Medical Museum in August, 1865. The wound still discharged slightly, and the thread seton was still worn. Promoted to be a brigade commander, General Barnum had been almost continually in the field for the past two years. He participated in the campaigns of Atlanta, Georgia, and Carolina, was shot through the right forearm at Kenesaw Mountain, and received a shell wound of the side at Peach Tree Creek. The further history of this case is given in the Second Surgical Volume of the Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion, p. 213, Case 619. Prepared under the supervision of Assistant Surgeon George A. Otis, U.S.A. by order of the Surgeon General. ”


History is on reverse: "Surgeon General’s Office, Army Medical Museum. Photograph, No. 93. Photographed at the Army Medical Museum. By order of the Surgeon General: George A. Otis, Assistant Surgeon, U.S. A., Curator A.M.M.”


Date: August 1865


Photo ID: SP 93


Source Collection: OHA 82: Surgical Photographs


Repository: National Museum of Health and Medicine, Otis Historical Archives


Rights: No known restrictions upon publication, physical copy retained by National Museum of Health and Medicine. Publication and high resolution image requests should be directed to NMHM (

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Taken on December 27, 2010