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Original Article
March 2000

The Cervical Wound of General James Longstreet

Author Affiliations

From Medical City Dallas, Dallas, Tex.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(3):353-359. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.3.353

Background  Lieutenant General James Longstreet was arguably the finest corps commander on either side during the Civil War. He was severely wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia on May 6, 1864, after a successful flank attack that nearly routed the Union army.

Design  A thorough review of the firsthand accounts of the events leading up to and following Longstreet's wounding was made. In addition, all articles listed in the medical literature describing Longstreet's care and numerous recent texts and articles about Longstreet have been researched.

Results  After being wounded on May 6, Longstreet received appropriate care by John Syng Dorsey Cullen, MD. Cullen controlled the hemorrhage from Longstreet's wound, helped evacuate him from the battlefield, and diligently cared for him during his convalescence.

Conclusions  Longstreet was wounded by "friendly fire." The bullet's trajectory and the location of the gunshot wound suggest a posterior wound of entry rather than an anterior one as has been previously assumed.