What does 'casualty' mean?
Find out what casualty means. Casualty is explained by J D R Hawkins - author of A Beautiful Glittering Lie
casualtyAnyone who is killed, injured, or missing.
In my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the word "casualty" is used in the following ways:
The men were requested to return to the field and gather the fallen. It wasn’t long before Hiram wished he had been assigned to a less gruesome task. All across the field, swarming flies swirled about strewn body parts, broken soldiers cried out in pain, and the wounded, both men and horses alike, writhed in agony as gathering buzzards slowly circled overhead. A white clapboard house that had been at the center of the commotion was now splattered with bullet holes, the wooden sideboards shattered from gunfire. Hiram passed his canteen from one thirsty casualty to the next until it was drained, and still they cried out for more. Finally, an ambulance arrived. Litter bearers carried off the wounded. Colonel Jones was discovered where he had fallen, and was transported to a nearby hospital at Orange Court House.
Noticing another young casualty, he drew closer, recognizing him to be George Anderson, the young diarist. All the horror of what had happened started sinking in. Unable to contain his emotions, sobs escaped him while he walked off to join his surviving comrades.
In the morning, it was expected that the battle would resume. Word spread through camp that General Johnston had been replaced by General Smith, who hesitated in bringing on an advancing attack. The men wondered about this proxy, because it was known that General Smith was in ill health. Talk of the wounded reached the North Alabamians, who were saddened to learn that one of the casualties was Gus Mastin, the color bearer for the Huntsville Guards. The same silk flag that had been given to him during the presentation ceremony, featuring the name of the Huntsville Female College, had been taken from his lifeless body by a Union soldier.
In the morning, it was discovered that the Federals had run off, leaving their casualties behind, as well as a few artillery pieces and some small arms. The sounds of thousands of wounded men could be heard wailing, but once the fog lifted, the sight that beheld the Alabamians was nothing less than heartrending. They could see at least five thousand dead or wounded soldiers. A third of the victims lay still in death, but the rest were alive, crawling over the battlefield like maggots on a carcass. Only two men of the 4th Alabama were killed, but thirteen were wounded.
It was learned the next morning that the combined armies lost five times more men than they had a year ago at the First Battle of Manassas and the most of any battle thus far. Over the course of two days’ fighting, the Alabamians lost twenty, with forty-three wounded. One of the casualties was Matthew Curry, the farmer from Lawrence County, whom Bud and Hiram met before their enlistment. When Hiram learned of his demise, he felt heartsick, and struggled to hold back emotion. His exhaustion played a part in his reaction, he knew, but the loss still seemed more personal than some of the others.
During the following days, reports came in that the battle was declared a draw, although General Lee pulled his troops back onto Confederate soil. The cornfield that the Alabamians had marched across was mowed down by bullets, as though cut with a scythe. The 4th Alabama came out better than most, with only eight dead, and thirty-six wounded. Hood’s Texans lost nearly eighty percent of their troops, as well as their colors. The battle was the bloodiest single day since the war’s start, the casualties so excessive that both sides called a truce at one point to clear the field of dead. One of those killed was Union General Phil Kearny, who had been close friends with A.P. Hill. Another was Bernie Kelton, the man who volunteered to enlist in place of his brother. Hiram wondered how the brother would take hearing the news, once he learned that Bernie sacrificed his life for him. He felt a wave of pity for the new father who lost his brother, and who most certainly felt responsible. Dozier Downs had simply disappeared.
Coming across a recent copy of Harpers Weekly at the mercantile, David opened the publication to discover contents within it that alarmed, yet intrigued him. Inside the pages were engravings, copies of photographs that had been taken near Sharpsburg by a photographer named Alexander Gardner. Even though they were drawings, the pictures were disturbing regardless, depicting crumpled corpses slumped together like potato sacks, laid out in front of a small white building, along with broken caissons, dead mules, overturned limbers, and more pictures of Confederate bodies. It seemed to him that there were no deceased Union soldiers lying about in any of the pictures. Although he knew his father wasn’t among the casualties, he was still appalled by the drawings. He had seen photos of corpses post mortem before, but nothing as horrendous as the mangled bodies of slain soldiers left rotting on the ground with dead horses. Setting the newspaper down, he come to the conclusion that his mother had to somehow be prevented from seeing them. It was apparent that the distant battles in Virginia were getting closer all the time, which he found somewhat distressing.
Three million fought, and 620,000,
Or 2% of the male population, died in the
War Between the States. One-fourth of all Southern men were killed.
Search result for 'casualty' in A Beautiful Glittering Lie
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"...and the wounded, both men and horses alike, writhed in agony as gathering buzzards slowly circled overhead. A white clapboard house that had been at the center of the commotion was now splattered with bullet holes, the wooden sideboards shattered from gunfire. Hiram passed his canteen from one thirsty casualty to the next until it was drained, and still they cried out for more. Finally, an ambulance arrived. Litter-bearers carried off the wounded. Colonel Jones was discovered where he had fallen, and was transported to a nearby hospital at Orange Court House. ..."148.
"... Noticing another young casualty, he drew closer, and recognized him to be George Anderson, the young diarist. All the horror of what had happened started sinking in. Unable to contain his emotions, sobs escaped him. He turned away, and ambled off to join his surviving comrades. Later ..."