Word and Image

Posts tagged “Patriot’s Day

Bayonets

Waiting around before the battle, weapons were stacked. I am told these British soldiers were elite. They were often chosen because they were tall and the headdress was more than 12 inches tall to make them seem more imposing. They were in the center of the formations and protected by the lesser ranks. Part of the uniform was designed to intimidate the enemy.

 


Cranial Trephine

The serrated T-handled instrument at the top is a trephine. These are battlefield surgical instruments. They are replicas which can be purchased for the historical demonstration here. Trephines were used in ancient Egypt for access to the brain. They were described by Kocher in a 1914 book in which he published techniques on how to use the device. The trephine is basically a circular drill bit the one could get at Home Depot today. We don’t use such devices in present day neurosurgery.

The center point is to drive through the skull to position the bit before you proceed to drill. If you look closely you will see the point is too long. It will pierce the brain long before the drill has made a hole in the skull. Crude and dangerous, but then again if you have to use this on a battlefield casualty, it’s probably not going to end well.

Another thought came to me as the demonstrator described how the other instruments were used to probe for and remove the lead balls in the wounded soldiers. Why? You don’t remove the lead. That’s not what is going to kill you. It’s damage to vital organs and the uncontrolled bleeding that will kill you. General anesthesia is not until the 1900’s, so bite the rawhide!

To this day though some things don’t change. It’s been a while since I had to remove a bullet. But I still ask for a metal kidney shaped basin. In today’s OR’s it’s all plastic. The nurses scramble around to get one from some back closet shelf. Then carefully holding the bullet fragment 12 inches above the basin, I release it to hear the satisfying clunk of bullet in the metal basin. For those of you who watched ‘Gunsmoke’ on television as a kid, you will understand.

 


Weapons Check

I like this graphic. I like the shadows on the ground. Before the battle re-enactment, safety is important. The ammunition is passed around carefully stored and distributed to all participating soldiers at the last moment. Each weapon is presented for inspection before ammo is issued. No one during the battle fires directly at one another or they are far enough away to avoid any proximity injury.


Cover Your Ears

Patriot’s Day, Lexington and Concord. It’s a series of events with re-enactments of the critical battles at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. This many centuries later, the British are the villains in this scenario and booed loudly throughout the day. The Irish artillery was positioned at the British staging area in the morning for a demonstration. Later they participated in the battle at Tower Park. The blast from the canon is very loud. No canon balls are fired but the black powder can tattoo your skin. Notice that the gunners have placed a finger in their ears. I just would have chosen the ear closest to the canon to cover up. But then covering either ear didn’t make a difference for me standing more than 100 feet away. Also, just a historical point of interest, the female gunner to the left of the canon was probably not accurate. Oh, and before they fired the canon, someone yelled, ‘Fire in the hole.’ You can then anticipate the moment. I bet they didn’t do that in 1776.