The War Scarred Hero of 1863: Civil War Soldier Survives Being Shot in the Head

Those who haven’t served active duty in the military during wartime cannot even begin to understand the horrors and stresses soldiers experience during battle. The physical and emotional scars remain long after a vet returns home, that is, if they’re lucky enough to survive.

The impact of war can haunt veterans long after combat.

For war veteran Jacob Miller, of the 9th Indiana Infantry during the Civil War, surviving meant living with a wound that would never truly heal.

On September 19, 1863, he was shot in the forehead at Brock Field at Chickmauga, a battle that had the second highest number of casualties following the Battle of Gettysburg.

He was left for dead when his company fell back from their position, but somehow he survived.

In his own words:

I was left for dead when my company fell back from that position. I got up with the help of my gun as a staff, then went back some distance, then started parallel with the line of battle. […] I made up my mind as long as I could drag one foot after another I would not allow myself to be taken prisoner. I got a nurse to fill my canteen with water so I could make an effort in getting near safety as possible.

After the war, he lived with an open bullet wound in his head for years, a constant reminder of that fateful day.

“The whole scene is imprinted on my brain as with a steel engraving.”

It took about 31 years for the last remaining pieces of lead to be rejected by his body.