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  Stonewall Jackson, a hypochondriac?
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Author Topic: Stonewall Jackson, a hypochondriac?  (Read 9816 times)
PBrunsel
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« on: June 30, 2004, 08:09:50 pm »

General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was one of the most gifted commanders in U.S. History. But he has a dubious distinction that had haunted his legacy since the 1850’s; Jackson has been accused of being a hypochondriac.

Jackson had some strange distinctions:

1 He thought he was “out of balance” in battle if he didn’t raise one arm while on his horse. He said he wanted to, “Keep the blood balanced.”

2.He refused to have pepper on his food, stating it made his left leg weak.

3.Despite wartime shortage, Jackson would constantly suck on lemons because he felt it helped his “dyspepsia.”

4.His staff noticed his strange diet, some of his meals consisted of only raspberries, bread, and milk.

5.Jackson was only comfortable when he was in an upright position, and I mean standing straight up. He felt it helped his organs stand “naturally” one atop each other. For this reason he had no chairs in his study at Lexington, Virginia. He spent long hours reading the Bible or memorizing Virginia’s laws.

6.While on honeymoon with his second wife (seeing how his first wife had died) he took her to Eastern America so he could bath in the mineral spas to “improve my sagging bad health.”

7.Even while he was a plebe West Point, first classman Ulysses S. Grant called him a “fanatic” whose “delusions took strange forms- hypochondria, fancies that evil spirits had taken possession of him.”

8.Jackson offered some dietary advice to his sister Laura, “If you commence on this diet, remember it is like a man joining a temperance society, if he afterwards tastes liquor he is gone.”

9.His complaints listed almost endlessly through his young manhood: rheumatism, chilblains, poor eyesight (witch he treated by dipping his head in a vat of cold water, eyes open, for as long as he could hold his breath), cold feet, nervousness, neuralgia, impaired hearing, tonsillitis (which required surgery), biliousness and “slight distortion of the spine” as Jackson stated in the late 1840’s.

Because of these things it is now said Jackson was a hypochondriac. But modern physicians have stated that Jackson may have suffered from the fairly common and most uncomfortable diaphragmatic hernia. This is the theory of Dr. E.R. MacLennan of Opp, Alabama. He states that this hernia caused Jackson to suffer from his many body ailments.

Ironically Jackson’s habit of draping his abdomen with cold towels to heal his “dyspepsia” may have caused his death. Soon after the amputation of his left arm at Chancellorsville, cold towels were laid on his abdomen as Jackson did everyday. This may have led to his contraction of pneumonia that killed him.  
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texasgurl
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2004, 08:33:36 pm »

From the biography i read i was under the impression that he really was sickly.
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PBrunsel
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2004, 08:34:09 pm »
« Edited: June 30, 2004, 08:34:15 pm by PBrunsel »

From the biography i read i was under the impression that he really was sickly.

Yes. He always complained o headaches, colds, and aches.
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StatesRights
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2004, 06:52:06 pm »

From the biography i read i was under the impression that he really was sickly.

Yes. He always complained o headaches, colds, and aches.

Not uncommon in those days. Jefferson Davis was the same way. AP Hill suffered from veneral disease for 30 years straight. I saw something on tv talking about how by 25 most of the young soldiers were already in misery due to the fact their teeth were so bad from tobacco usage and just general deteroiration.
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PBrunsel
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2004, 02:18:17 pm »

When Jackson was told he was too die soon after Chancellorsville he said, "Good, i've always wanted to die on a Sunday."

His last words took him back to the battlefield, "Let us cross over and rest beneath the shade of the trees."
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ijohn57s
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2004, 10:03:47 am »

You've got to remember, medical science wasn't at its best in the 19th century. All that sort of stuff would have been very common, especially since they didn't know how to treat it.

In fact, I know a man who does demonstrations of how they did medical procedures back then. If it wasn't so tragic, a lot of it would be hillarious.
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PBrunsel
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2004, 12:32:33 pm »

You know medical marijuana was first used durring the Civil War. It was used durring amputations.
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