Medical Histories of Union Generals, by Jack D. Welsh, 422 pp, $35, ISBN 0-87338-552-7, Kent, Ohio, Kent State University Press, 1996.
I had hoped that these volumes would provide in-depth medical histories of the most influential soldiers of the Civil War but was delighted when I found they make interesting and entertaining reading as well.
The books are not a simple chronology of Union and Confederate generals' injuries, illnesses, and treatment but rather are easy to follow and often detailed and graphic accounts. The description of the Union general Cassius Clay's assassination attempt illustrates: "In 1843, Clay was attacked by a paid assassin, Samuel M. Brown. Brown fired his pistol at Clay, who severely cut Brown's face with his bowie knife. A bullet was aimed at Clay's breast, but a knife scabbard, strapped to his chest with a silverlined point, was hit instead and his chest was