Topic: Cold Steel
Wound Statistics 1883
"Military Matters," The Toronto Daily Mail, 2 June 1883
One of the most valuable contributions to the progress of medical science is undoubtedly the series of volumes recording "The Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion, Part III., volume II," which was partially compiled under the direction of the surgeon general by the late Surgeon G.A. Otis, U.S. Army, and completed by Surgeon D.L. Huntington, U.S.A., contains some very interesting statistical tables.
From this it appears that during the Crimean War out of a total of 7,660 British wounded, 2,396, or 31.2 per cent., received their wounds in the lower extremities. Among the French troops the ratio was a little higher. The percentage in the Franco-German war was 30.5, or 7,360 wounds of the lower extremities out of a total of 24,788 wounded.
The following record of wounds received in foreign battle is given: —
- July, 1830, days in Paris and Lyon, Serrier's table784 wounded, 185 wounds lower extremities; ratio, 23.5.
- Crimean war, Matthew's return, 7,660 wounded, 2,396 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 31.2. Chenu's return, 34,306 wounded, 11,873 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 34.6.
- Italian war of 1859, Chenu's return, 19,672 wounded, 7,704 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 39.1. Demme's estimate, 17,095 wounded, 5,248 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 30.6.
- Danish war of 1864 (Heine), 1,907 wounded, 553 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 28.9.
- Franco-German war, consolidated returns, 24,788 wounded, 7,550 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 30.5.
This shows a ratio of 33.4, or 35,519 wounds of the lower extremities in a total of 106,202 wounded. The conclusion is "that the relative frequency of shot wounds of the lower extremities does not exceed that of wounds of the upper limbs to the extent that might be anticipated from the greater size of the lower limbs. This is doubtless due to the fact that, in all fighting in entranched positions, the lower part of the person is partially screened from injury."
The following interesting table is given showing the frequency of sabre and bayonet wounds: —
|Occasions||Injuries||Percentage of Sabre and Bayonet Wounds|
|Sabre and Bayonet||Shot|
|English in Crimean War, 1854-57 (Matthew)||158||9,971||1.5|
|French in Crimean War, 1854-57 (Chenu)||818||25,993||3.0|
|French in Italian War, 1859 (Chenu)||565||15,401||3.5|
|Austrians at Verona, 1859 (Richter)||543||17,978||2.9|
|Austrians at Montebello, 1859 (Richter)||54||227||19.2|
|Germans in Schleswig-Holstein, 1864 (Loeffler)||61||3,171||1.8|
|French in Mexico, 1864 (Bintot)||19||66||22.3|
|Six Weeks' War in Germany, 1866, Bavarians (Richter)||56||1,641||3.3|
|Six Weeks' War, 1866, Italians (Cortese)||92||2,811||3.1|
|Six Weeks' War in Germany, 1866, Prussians and Austrians (Richter)||333||8,194||3.9|
|Franco-Prussian War, 1870-71, Germans (Fischer)||786||53,482||1.4|
Accompanying this table we have this comment: —
"In comparison with the large number of shot wounds, the number of sabre and bayonet wounds seems insignificant, offering a striking commentary upon the advance of modern military science, and showing that, with the general adoption of long-range repeating firearms, the sabre and bayonet are rapidly falling into disuse, and that the time is coming, if it has not already arrived, when these old and honoured weapons will become obsolete, and when such wounds from these sources will be regarded rather as incidents of battle rather than as the results of regular tactical manoeuvres."