While it seems peculiar for a children’s magazine to print a description of how it feels to be shot, The Youth’s Companion didn’t shy from describing the grittier aspects of the American Civil War. The brief piece appeals to interests both intellectual and prurient; it may have provided young readers in 1861 with a deeper understanding of what soldiers were enduring in the Civil War.

“How a Man Feels When He is Shot” (from The Youth’s Companion, October 3, 1861; p. 168)

We take the following from a letter written by one of the gallant volunteers, who fought in the battle near Springfield, Missouri:

“I was standing, or rather kneeling, behind a little bush, re-loading my musket, just before the rebels engaged in this close work retreated. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in the shoulder, and fell to the ground. Jumping up, one of our boys asked me if I was hurt? I replied that I thought not, drew up my musket to fire, when he said: ‘Yes, you are shot right through the shoulder.’ I think it was this remark, more than the wound, which caused the field all at once, to commence whirling around me in a very strange manner. I started to leave it, with a half ounce musket ball in my shoulder, and once or twice fell down with dizziness; but in a short time recovered sufficiently to be unable to walk back to Springfield, nine miles where the ball was taken out.”

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