|(Contributed by Rich Perra from: "The Civil War Years: A Day by Day
Chronicle Of The Life Of A Nation", Edward E. Denney ; p. 214-219 Sterling Publishing
Co., New York, N. Y. Rich notes that Denny acknowledges the Eldon
"Josh" Billings Diary Collection, which is found in the Virginia Tech
library. Does anyone know where Jonathan Stowe is buried?)
Diary Entries Sept. 17, 1862 - Sept. 29, 1862
|Sept. 17 (Weds.)
Battle, Oh horrid battle. What sights I have seen. I am wounded! And am afraid shall be
again as shells fly past me every few seconds carrying away limbs from the trees...... Am
in severe pain. How the shells fly. I do sincerely hope I shall not be wounded again.
Sept. 18 (Thurs.)
Misery. Acute, painful misery. How I suffered last night. It was the most painful of
anything have experienced. My leg must be broken for I can not help myself scarcely any. I
remember talking and groaning all night. Many died in calling for help..... Sergt.
Johnson, who lies on the other side of the log is calling for water. Carried off the field
at 10 AM by the Rebs who show much kindness but devote much time to plundering the dead
bodies of our men..... Water very short. We suffer very much.
Sept. 19 (Fri.)
Rained only a little. I had a rubber blanket & overcoat. Rebs retreat. Another painful
night. Oh good God, a whole line of our skirmishers are coming.... There are lots of us
here lain out.... By and by our boys come along. What lots of the 15th. Captain comes down
to get the names and has coffee furnished us- Twas the best cup I ever tasted. Dr. looks
at my wound and calls it a doubtful case. Get me on ambulance at 3 PM but do not get to
the hospital till nearly dark. Plenty of water which gives us a chance to take down
inflammation. Nurses worn out by fatigue. Placed on straw near the barn.
Sept. 20th (Sat.)
Fearful it will rain. How cheerful the boys appear. Many must lose their arms or legs but
they do not murmur.... Leg amputated about noon. What sensations- used chloroform. Hope to
have no bad effects. There are some dozen or more stumps near me. Placed in barn beside J.
|Sept. 21st (Sun.)
Very weak and sore..... Hot weather by day cool at night. Hard to get nurses. Men come in
and stare at us but detailed men clear out & leave us. How pitiously do they beg for
water. People come in from all parts of the country. Stare at us but do not find time to
Sept. 22nd (Mon.)
Two men died last night..... How painful my stump is. I did not know (I) was capable of
enduring so much pain. How very meager are accommodations- no chamber pots & nobody to
find or rig up one. How ludicrous for 2 score amputated men to help themselves with
Sept 23rd (Tues.)
Oh what long fearful horrid nights. What difficulties we have to contend..... Relief can
hardly be found. I have at length got my limb dressed by volunteer surgeon. But never was
so nearly exhausted for want of refreshment.
Sept. 25th (Thurs.)
Such nights! Why they seem infinitely longer than days. The nervous pains are killing two
or three every night. All sorts of groans and pleadings..... Many patients are leaving
daily. Some have gone today to H. Ferry. I watch over J. Hughes nightly. Has had fever.
Very cold last night & we are very short for clothing. Sundown just rec'd blankets and
Very cold last night. J. Hughes had shakes again last night..... The cold weather may all
come for best, certainly maggots do not trouble so much and air is some purer. 4 PM, J.
Hughes died..... O there comes Mrs. Gray with refreshments. Such a treat..... I got
tomatoes..... just what I wanted. Have since forgotten my stump first hemorrage- it was
very copious and tho I had stoutly affirmed that I would not use Brandy, was now plainly
told that if not I should be dead in 3 days.
|Sept. 27th (Sat)
Commence taking Brandy none too soon. Dr. tells me I am dangerously ill and must take his
prescription in order to change condition of blood. He is earnest & too good a man.
Mr. L. Sloan a kind hearted chaplain telegraphs for me. Suffer continuously from position
in bed. Have to elevate my stump to prevent bleeding and be very still.
Sept. 28th (Sun.)
Oh what lengths to the nights. The horrid smell from mortifying limbs is nearly as bad as
the whole we have to contend. Mrs. Lee and another lady are here daily dispensing cooked
broths...... They seem to employ their whole time for us. Move outdoors in the PM.
Sept 29th (Mon.)
Slept little more comfortable last night. Got nice soups and nice light biscuit and tart
also nice butter from Mrs. Lee. Also she gets me milk again this morning. How the quinine
keeps me parched for water and so sleepy and foolish. Am much better off here than in
barn. 10 AM my comrade died from 18th Minn. Regt. I recd 4 letters from friends or home
but am so boozy it takes the whole AM to read them. Mr. Dr. Kelsey dressed my stump
admirably and am quite comfortable if the quinine does not choke me to death. It is far
more quiet here but begins to rain.
|At 7:54 that evening, Stowe sent a telegram
to J. W. Stowe as follows:
wounded at Hoffmans hospital near Sharpsburg. Come instantly."
It was too late. Jonathan Stowe died on October 1 from his
wound and amputation. He had lain on the battle field for a day without food or water and
was then taken to the Nicodemus farm by Confederates where he stayed another day without
medical treatment. The cumulative effects were too much. He was 30 years old.