The Live Corpse

Transcribed by Larry Stevens

Reminiscences Of H.P. Chapman 103rd O.V.I.

Edward C. Kelly, of Company E, was one of those spare looking fellows that seldom smiled. To a stranger he looked liked a man who had been in poor health a long time. When in Lexington, Ky., Ed was not as well as usual and he was sent to the hospital at this place. The surgeons and those who carried the stretchers seemed to have their art down very fine. The surgeon making his rounds would see some poor fellow gasping for a few more breaths. He would step up to the couch, press the man's eyes together, bring his jaws up with a snap, and when expostulated with for so doing, said he was as good as dead. Soon men with the stretcher would come along, lay it on the floor besides the soldier's bed, take hold of the blanket, give it a pull, raising one side at the same time so that the dead or dying soldier would roll onto the stretcher, landing on his back and the poor body was soon hustled out of sight.
One day in winter the surgeon came along to Kelly's bunk, put his hand on his head then over his heart. Kelly was cold. Soon the artists with the stretcher came in, rolled Kelly onto it and took him to the dead room. Along towards morning these same fellows carried in another body, tumbling it up against poor emaciated Kelly with a bang. It was noticed that Kelly moved and soon he sat up straight; his shoulders shivered a little and said: "By God, can't you give a fellow another blanket?" Ed beat those stretcher experts that time and lived many years after the war closed.

From: Personal Reminiscences and Experiences By Members Of The One Hundred and Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry. News Printing Company Oberlin Ohio 1900

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Last updated September 1 1995