« AnteriorContinuar »
stand. I dressed him, and made divers scarifications to evacuate the effused blood, which the wind of the said ball had made; and the rebounds that the ball made from the ground, killed four soldiers, which remained dead in the place. I was not far from this stroke, so that I felt, somewhat, the moved air, without doing me any more harm than a little fear, which made me stoop my head very low; but the bullet was already passed far beyond me. The soldiers marked me to be afraid of a bullet already gone. My little master, I think if you had been there, that I had not been afraid alone, and that you would · have had your share of it.”
In the above chapter, Parey's account of what is termed the wind of a cannon-ball is interesting. It is a singular fact, that a cannon-ball may produce most dreadful injury, and even death, without breaking the skin. The bones may be broken, and the texture of the muscles destroyed, and yet the skin remain without a wound. This injury was thought to arise from the violent motion of the air produced by the cannon-shot; an idea now exploded; for it has been well remarked, if this theory were correct, the effect in question would constantly happen whenever a ball passes near any part of the body. That this is not the case, however, we know from the fact that pieces of soldiers' and seamen's hats, of their feathers, clothes, and even hair, are often shot away without doing any injury. Professor Thomson, of Edinburgh, who visited the wounded after the battle of Waterloo, in his observations, made in the British Military Hospitals, has given the following information on this subject. “We saw, and were informed, of many instances in which cannon-balls had passed quite close to all parts of the body, and had removed portions of the clothes and accoutrements, without producing the slightest injury of any kind. In other instances, portions of the body itself were removed by cannonballs, without the contiguous parts having been much injured. In one case, the point of the nose was carried off by a cannonball, without respiration being at all affected; and in another very remarkable case, the external part of the ear was shot away, without even the power of hearing being sensibly impaired."*
:. * In the ` Eventful Life of a Soldier,' vol. ii. p. 24, an instance of this kind occurs.
“A French officer, while leading on his men, having been killed in our front, a bugler of the 83rd regiment, starting out between the fire of both parties, seized his gold watch ; but he had scarcely returned, when a cannon-shot from the enemy came whistling past him, and he fell lifeless on the spot. The blood started out of his nose and ears, but with the exception of this, there was neither wound nor bruise on his body."
While we are quoting from this curious work, which we recom
“ At the bombardment of the French fleet in the basin of Antwerp, in 1814,” says Mr. Samuel Cooper, “a cannon-shot shattered the legs of two officers so badly that the limbs were amputated. These gentlemen were walking at the moment of the accident in the village of Merksam, taking hold of the arm of my friend, Surgeon Stobo, who was in the middle. Now the ball, which produced the injury, did not the slightest harm to the latter gentleman, although it must have passed as close as possible to his lower extremities, and, most probably, between them. The mischief,” says this intelligent surgeon, “ which is imputed to the air, is occasioned by the ball itself. Its producing a violent contusion, without tearing the skin and entering the limb, is to be ascribed to the oblique direction in which it strikes the part, or, in other instances, to the feebleness with which the ball strikes the surface of the body, in consequence of its having lost the greater part of its momentum, and acting principally by its weight, being, in short, what is called a spent ball. Daily observation evinces that balls, which strike a surface obliquely, do not penetrate that surface, but are reflected; though they may be impelled with the greatest force, and the body struck may be as soft and yielding as water.”
We think the above facts and arguments are tolerably conclusive on this subject; and we must confess, we do not put much faith in what Parey tells us, of his feeling the wind. He is as remarkable for candour as for genius; but, in the above case, his imagination appears to have got the better of his judgment. . We shall not make any extracts from The Voyage of Germany, 1552, as it does not contain any thing very interesting. We now come to
mend to all our readers for its vivid pictures of war, and its interesting narratives of individual exploits, as well as for the apparently amiable and worthy character of its author, who, though a private soldier, is an excellent writer; we will add from it another remarkable surgical phenomenon.
“ A few of our lads, and some of the 79th, were standing together, where a poor fellow lay a few paces from them weltering in his blood. As he belonged to the 79th, they went over to see who he was: the ball had entered the centre of his forehead, and passed through his brain, and to all appearance he was completely dead; but when any of the flies which were buzzing about the wound, entered it, a convulsive tremour shook his whole body, and the muscles of his face became frightfully distorted; there could scarcely be imagined any thing more distressing or more appalling to the spectator.'
The Voyage of Dauvilliers. “At the return from the German camp, king Henry besieged Dauvilliers ; those within would not render. They were well beaten, and our powder failed us ; in the mean time, they shot much at our people. There was a shot passed the tent of Monsieur De Rohan, which hit a gentleman's leg, who was of his train, which I cut off without applying hot irons..
“ The king sent for powder to Sedan; which being come, they began a greater battery than before, in such sort, that they made a breach. Messieurs De Guise and the High Constable, being in the chamber, told him, that they concluded the next day to make assault, and that they were assured they should enter into it, and that they should keep it secret, lest the enemy were advertised. And all of them promised not to speak of it to any one. Now, there was a groom of the king's chamber, who lay under the king's bed, in the camp, to sleep; he, understanding that they resolved the next day to give an assault, presently revealed it to a certain captain, and told him, that for certain, the day following, assault would be given, and that he had heard it of the king, and prayed the said captain, that be would not speak a word of it to any body, which he promised; but his promise was not kept. So, at the same instant, he went and declared it unto a captain, and this captain unto another captain, and from the captains to some of the soldiers, saying always, say nothing. It was so well hid, that the next day, early in the morning, there was seen the greatest part of the soldiers, with their round hose and their breeches cut at the knee, for the better mounting of the breach. The king was advertized of the rumour which ran through the camp, that the assault must be given, whereof he much marvelled ; seeing there were but three of that advice, who had promised, one to another, not to tell it to any one.
“ The king sent for Monsieur De Guise, to know if he had not talked of this assault: he swore and affirmed to him, that he had not told it to any body. And Monsieur the Constable said as much; who said to the king, he must expressly know who had declared this secret counsel, seeing there were but three. Inquiry was made from captain to captain, -in the end, the truth was found; for one said, it was such an one told me; another said as much, till, at length, they came to the first, who declared he had learnt it of a groom of the king's chamber, named Guyard, born at Blois, the son of the barber of the late King Francis. The king sent for him into his tent, in the presence of Monsieur De Guise, and of Monsieur, the Constable, to understand from him whence he had it, and who told him that this assault was to be given. The king told him, that if he did not tell the truth, that he would cause him to be hanged; and then he declared, he lay down under his bed, thinking to sleep, and so having heard it, he declared it to a captain, a friend of his, to the end, that he might prepare himself, with his soldiers, the first for the assault. After the king knew the truth, he told him, that he should never serve him again, and that he deserved to be hanged, and forbade him ever to come to court again. My groom of the chamber went away with this sad news, and lay with one of the king's surgeons in ordinary, named Master Lewis; and in the night gave himself six wounds with a knife, and cut his throat; yet the said surgeon perceived nothing till morning-till he saw the bed bloody, and the dead body by him. He much marvelled at this spectacle, upon his waking, and was afraid lest they should say he was the cause of this murder; but he was soon freed, the cause being known to be from desperation, having lost the good amity which the king bore to him. The said Guyard was buried. And those of Dauvilliers, when they saw the breach large enough for them to enter in, and the soldiers prepared for the assault, yielded themselves to the mercy of the king. The chief of them were prisoners, and the soldiers sent away without arms.
“ The camp being broken up, I returned to Paris, with my gentleman, whose leg I had cut off. I dresssd him, and God cured him. I sent him to his house merry, with his wooden leg, and was content, saying, that he had escaped cheaply, not to have been miserably burnt, as you write in your book, my little master.”
We shall now proceed to give some extracts from Parey's account of the Siege of Metz, by the Emperor, Charles V.Charles's army, according to Dr. Robertson, amounted to sixty thousand men, forming one of the most numerous and best appointed armies, which had been brought into the field, in that age, in any of the wars among Christian princes. “ The Duke of Guise, Francis of Lorraine, was nominated to take the command of Metz, during the siege. Several princes of the blood, many nobleman of the highest rank, and all the young officers, who could obtain the king's permission, entered as volun
The Voyage of Mets. 1552.
The emperor having besieged Mets, and in the hardest time of winter, as each one knows of fresh memory, and that there was in the city five or six thousand men, and, amongst the rest, sever princes; that is to say, Monsieur the Duke of Guise, the king's lieutenant, Messieurs D’Anguien, De Conde, De Montpensier, De La Roch, upon Yon Monsieur De Nemours, and divers other gentlemen, with a number of old captains of war, who often made sallies forth upon the enemies, which was not without slaying many, as well on the one side as the other. For the most part, all our wounded people died ; and it was thought, the medicaments, wherewith they were dressed, were poisoned; which caused Monsieur De Guise, and other princes, to send to the king for me; and that he would send me, with drugs, to them, for they believed theirs were poisoned, seeing that, of their people, few escaped. I do not believe there was any poison ; but the great strokes of the cutlasses, musket-shot, and the extreme cold, were the cause. The king caused some one to write to Monsieur, the marshal St. Andrew, who was his lieutenant at Verdun, that he might find some means to make me enter into Mets. The said lord marshal got an Italian captain, who promised him to make me enter in, which he did, and for which he had fifteen hundred crowns.
“ The king having heard of the promise which the Italian captain had made, sent for me, and commanded me to take of his apothecary, named Daigue, such and as many drugs as I should think fit for the hurt who were besieged, which I did, as much as a post horse could carry. The king gave me charge to speak to Monsieur De Guise, and to the princes and captains who were at Mets. Being arrived at Verdun, a few days after Monsieur the marshal of St. Andrew caused horses to be given to me, and my man, and for the Italian, who spake very good high Dutch and Spanish.
“ When we were within eight or ten leagues of Mets, we went not but in the night; and being near the camp, I saw, a league and a half off, bright fires about the city, which seemed as if all the earth had been on fire, and I thought we could never pass through those fires without being discovered, and, by consequent, be hanged and strangled, or cut in pieces, or pay a great ransom. To speak truth, I wished myself at Paris, for the imminent danger which I foresaw. God guided so well our affairs, that we entered the city at midnight, with a certain token which the captain had with another captain of the company of Monsieur De Guise ; which lord I went to, and found him in bed, who received me with many thanks, being joyful at my coming. I did my message to him, of all that the king had commanded me to say to him: I told him I had a little letter to give to him, and that the next day I would not fail to deliver it to him. That done, he commanded me a good lodging, and that I should be well used; and bid me I should not fail to be the next day upon the breach, where I should meet with all the princes and divers captains, which I did; who received me with great joy, and did me the honour to embrace me, and tell me I was very welcome, adding, they did not think they should die if they should chance to be hurt. Monsieur de la Roch was the first that feasted me, and inquired of me what they said at the court concerning the city of Mets. I told him what I thought good. Then presently he desired me to go and see one of his gentlemen, named Monsieur De Magnane, lieutenant of his majesty's guard, who had his leg broken by a cannon-shot. I found him in his bed, his leg bended and crooked, and without any dressing upon it, because a gentleman had promised him a cure, having his name and his girdle with certain words. The poor gentleman wept and cried with the pain which he felt, not sleeping night nor day, for four days. Then I mocked at this imposture and false promise. Presently, I did so nimbly restore and dress his leg, that he was without pain, slept all night, and since (thanks be to God,) was cured, and is yet, at this present time, living, doing service to the king. The said lord sent me a tun of wine to my lodging, and bid tell me, when it was drunken, he would send me another. That done, Monsieur De Guise gave me a list of certain captains and Jords, and commanded me to tell them what the king had given me in charge ; which I did, which was to do