Friday, November 6, 2009

James Carroll turns up again

I think I wrote about James Carroll, who volunteered to be bitten by a mosquito carrying yellow fever. He contracted the disease which had long-term effects on his health and when he died, several years later, his widow was unsuccessful in securing a government pension.
His name turned up again just now. We got a request for some information on a soldier wounded at Little Big Horn, which led me to pull the accession file that includes an article written about skeletal remains at the battlefield. There's a photograph of a skull and the caption says it was discovered by hospital steward James Carroll of Fort Custer, in 1886. Could this be the same man?
Sure seems like it. The James Carroll who died of the effects of yellow fever was at Fort Custer during this time and was later assigned to be Walter Reed's assistant when Surgeon General George Sternberg chose Reed to teach Clinical and Military Microscopy at the US Army Medical School. Reed and Carroll served together again on the US Army Board which pursued scientific investigation of infectious diseases in Cuba.
I'm always amazed at these coincidences. Even today, those two places are huge distances apart and what are the odds, I wonder...

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