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May 1963

What Was the Cause of Stonewall Jackson's Death?Was It Pleuropneumonia, Pulmonary Embolism, or Fat Embolism?

Author Affiliations


Research Associate, Department of Pathology, New York Hospital—Cornell Medical Center.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(5):540-544. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620290006002

Although several excellent articles have been published regarding the wounding and death of Stonewall Jackson, all authors, when describing the medical facts connected with this tragic event, refer to one remarkable paper by Hunter McGuire.1 After quoting freely from it, the writers accept McGuire's diagnosis of pleuropneumonia without dissent.

McGuire's paper therefore seems, at first glance, to be the only available source material which deals with the medical aspects of Jackson's death. It appeared in the Richmond Medical Journal of May, 1866. Here Hunter McGuire, Professor of Surgery at the Medical College of Virginia and Medical Director of Jackson's Command, contributes an article entitled "Last Wound of the Late General Jackson (Stonewall)—The Amputation of the Arm—His Last Moments and Death." The author gives a vivid, stirring account of Stonewall's remarkable personality and courage and states that he died of pleuropneumonia attributable to a fall. In a footnote one finds