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Ozzy

Another reporter's story

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In Chicago today, students attend the Frank W. Reilly Elementary School, named in honour of a gifted doctor; a talented writer; and a Shiloh veteran. Dr. Reilly's story intersects with the proud history of the 45th Illinois Infantry, also known as "the Galena Regiment," and the "Washburne Leadmine Regiment."

When that unit finally mobilized sufficient numbers to muster into service in December 1861, the designated regimental surgeon, Francis Weaver, succumbed to illness: the 45th Illinois was left without a surgeon when it was sent to participate in the Operation against Fort Henry. And although heavily engaged as part of WHL Wallace's Brigade at Fort Donelson, the unit was fortunate to suffer only a handful of casualties (that were absorbed by existing medical staff.)

Dr. Frank Reilly, twenty-five year old immigrant from Lancashire, England, volunteered for duty in his new home of Chicago in March 1862; was sent to Cairo before the end of the month; and reported for duty in Savannah Tennessee on April 1st, where he received assignment to the Leadmine Regiment (commanded by Colonel John Smith.) Ferried by steamer up the Tennessee River and put ashore at Pittsburg Landing, Surgeon Reilly rode out the final two miles and joined his unit April 2nd ...and immediately got to work treating the still-persisting cases acquired at Fort Donelson (mostly severe diarrhea and camp fever.)

On the morning of Sunday, April 6th, there came the sound of gunfire from the direction of Sherman's Fifth Division; but because of not-infrequent eruptions of gunfire (including the discomforting sounds associated with the Picket Skirmish of April 4th) the crackling and popping was not deemed unusual: so breakfast was taken. At about 7:30 the first straggling, limping men appeared in the camp of the 45th Illinois: the sick, making their way best they could for the landing, having been turned out from Sherman's Division Hospital. Immediately after, the long roll trilled through the camps of C. Carroll Marsh's Brigade: the fighters moved forward; and support staff (including Surgeon Reilly) remained close, but in a gully to their rear (where surgical procedures commenced on the steady stream of arriving gunshot wounds.) Musicians-cum-stretcher bearers; ambulances; nurses and surgeons operated their gully-based hospital system as efficiently as possible... and relocated slightly north and east as that requirement arose. 

It was during one of the relocations of the surgical team, early in the afternoon, that Dr. Reilly was shot; the minie ball passed clear through the calf of his leg, grazing the bone. After stopping the bleeding, Surgeon Reilly joined the stream of men straggling towards Pittsburg Landing; after three hours of shuffling along on foot, he gained the waterfront and was taken aboard a paddle steamer; and that steamer evacuated its human cargo north. And Dr. Frank Reilly's experience with the 45th Illinois Infantry came to an end.

Cheers

Ozzy

 

[References provided on request.]

 

 

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Quite a guy... Extensive Bio in Bulletin of the Society of Medical History of Chicago, Vol 1, No 2, August 1912, p113. It is free in Google Books. (Also contains a nice Bio of another Army Surgeon, William Beaumont, by Dr. Jesse Myer, who wrote a full length book on Beaumont.) Dr. Reilly returned to the service after his recovery and resigned in May 1865 , returned to Chicago and set up a practice in Bridgeport (home to Chicago's Mayors Daley). He arguably saved more lives in Chicago than anyone else.

Reilly Frank MD.JPG

Reilly Frank MD pic.JPG

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Rbn3

Thanks for providing "the rest of the story" to Surgeon Frank Reilly. I recently posted links to "The Battle of Pittsburg Landing" written by Ned Spencer of the Cincinnati Times (his article was published in the April 14th 1862 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, page 2 column 3 (top) and the first paragraph provides the justification for the title of this topic.)

I had considered introducing this topic: "Previously ignored role of card game in the Picket Skirmish of April 4 at Pittsburg Landing," but decided to introduce the "story of the reporter, Dr. Frank Reilly," instead.  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84031490/1862-04-14/ed-1/seq-2/  

Regards

Ozzy

 

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I had heard of this "family connection" but only just worked it through: Dr. Frank W. Reilly was father of Frank Kennicott Reilly (who together with Sumner Charles Britton founded Reilly & Britton Publishing Company of Chicago.) Reilly & Britton introduced the world to the works of L. Frank Baum -- "Wizard of OZ."

Always more to the story...

Ozzy

 

References:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reilly_%26_Britton   Reilly & Britton

http://oz.wikia.com/wiki/Frank_Kennicott_Reilly  Reilly family connection

 

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Another Shiloh connection of Dr. Reilly. He was a surgeon in the Marine Marine Hospital Service, the forerunner of the United States Public Health Service. The Marine Hospital Service was in disarray in 1850 and Congress commissioned a study. Two men visited all the Marine Hospitals and issued a report to Congress in 1851. ("Loring-Edwards  Report,"  Senate   Executive   Document   No.  14,  Thirty­ first  Congress,   Second  Session,  Jan.  20,  1851.) This report is credited by many as laying the groundwork for the USPHS. One of the authors was a former Congressman named Thomas O. Edwards. (see:  Furman B: A Profile of the United States Public Health Service, 1798-1850.  Washington, 1950.)  Dr. T.O. Edwards, the sometimes maligned Surgeon of the 3rd Iowa, suffered from a scrotal inguinal hernia during his time at Shiloh but managed to continue with his duties several days after April 7th. His disability was attested to by the Brigade Surgeon N. R. Derby on April 15th. A few days later the eminent Charles A Pope, M.D. also provided an affidavit, citing both a hernia and Edwards' "protracted over-exertion."

Reilly Marine Hospital.JPG

15 April 1862 Darby confirms right inguinal hernia.JPG

Affidavite of Hernia Charles A Pope MD April 25 1862.JPG

Charles A Pope.JPG

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How a Card Game resulted in a Skirmish

Recently, the Shiloh Report of Ned Spencer was presented for review [see SDG topic "Just another Reporter" of 13 JAN 2018.] But perhaps the most significant, un-examined Shiloh report is the one created (and published) by Surgeon Frank W. Reilly, which appears in the same April 14th 1862 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune ...but on Page One, Column 2 (and includes two detailed maps)  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84031490/1862-04-14/ed-1/seq-1/  

Having already provided personal details of then-25 year old Frank William Reilly, here is what makes Dr. Reilly's report so compelling:

  • he arrived at Pittsburg Landing on April 2nd (and faithfully reported "the state of affairs" as he found them)
  • he was aware of the approach of Buell (and contact with lead elements belonging to Buell about March 31st)
  • Reilly describes "almost daily rain, rain in torrents"
  • he provides solid descriptions of Pittsburg Landing, its camp placements, and significant commanders;
  • Reilly was aware of the "assignment of WHL Wallace to CF Smith's Division" (as well as the "other daily changes of unit assignments")
  • he describes "the mood of the soldiers" in the lead-up to April 6th
  • the game of Euchre and its role in the Picket Skirmish of April 4th
  • "Do nothing to bring on an engagement" (and Sherman's reaction to that directive)
  • Surgeon Reilly details a different sort of personal experience on Sunday morning, April 6th.

Of course, all first-hand reports contain flaws: here are the most significant errors to be found in Surgeon Reilly's report:

  • incorrect regiment numbers (of two of the infantry regiments on garrison duty at Savannah on April 1st)
  • over-emphasis of Chicago-based units of cavalry and artillery in affairs at Savannah/Pittsburg Landing;
  • estimates of troop numbers in error, by as much as double;
  • maps (the two included maps contain their own peculiar errors).

In summary, Dr. Frank Reilly spent a brief period of service with the 45th Illinois Infantry... parachuted into the uneasy, anxious holding pattern that Pittsburg Landing had become, and managed to identify many of the idiosyncrasies associated with build-up to the Battle of Shiloh; was able to accurately record many of the causes of near-failure of the Union struggle in that contest.

Read for yourself, and decide

Ozzy

 

 

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Thanks for the Tribune article!  Reilly was a newspaperman of sorts and dabbled in other periodicals.  

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