During the Civil War (Battle of Raymond, Union doctor Captain L. G. Capers was acting as a field surgeon at a skirmish in a small Virginia village on May 12, 1863. Some distance to the rear of the captain's regiment, a mother and her two daughters stood on the steps of their large country home watching the engagement, prepared to act as nurses if necessary.
Just as Captain Capers saw a young soldier fall to the ground nearby, he heard a sharp cry of pain from the steps of the house. When the surgeon examined the infantryman, he found that a bullet (a “minnie ball”) had broken the fellow's leg and then ricocheted up, passing through his scrotum. As he was administering first aid to the soldier, Captain Capers has been approached by the mother from the house to the rear. Apparently, one of her daughters also had been wounded.
Upon examining the young woman, Capers found a jagged wound in her abdomen, but he was unable to tell where the object had lodged. He administered what aid he could for such a serious wound, and he was quite pleased to see that she did recover from the injury.
As Capers was stationed with the army nearby, he was able to check on the wounded girl several times over the next few months. Around 6 months later, he found that the girl was pregnant and a few months after that, she gave birth to a baby boy who weighed in at 9 lbs.
Remember, it was 1874, and the girl’s family was extremely embarrassed by the fact that their unmarried daughter had had a child, even though she declared that she had never had sex. Doctor Capers duly examined the girl and was able to confirm that she was indeed a virgin.
Shortly after his birth, the baby boy was taken ill and he had a large amount of swelling around his groin. When the doctor operated, he pulled out a bullet!
From that, he deduced that the bullet must have acquired an amount of semen from the soldier’s testicle, which had then managed to impregnate the girl when it buried itself inside of her stomach.
The story then continues to say that the girl wound up marrying the soldier and that they went on to have another three children.
How common it is now-a-days, and how natural, too, for men to tell wonderful stories about "the war"; their desperate charges; hair-breadth escapes; numbers who have fallen victims to their feats of personal valor, etc., etc. Then every surgeon has performed any number of wonderful operations before unheard of in the annals of surgery!
Until the present moment, I have refrained from bringing before the public, and more particularly the Profession, any of my daring exploits or remarkable surgical procedures; and even now I feel a delicacy in offering the remarkable case, the relation of which is prompted only by a sense of duty to my professional brethren. Doubtless many will pronounce the facts to be presently related as unusual or impossible; to such I need only say, if not, why not?
Here are the proofs:
On the 12th day of May, 1863, the battle of R. was fought. Gen. G.'s brigade met the advance of Grant's army, under Gen. L., about one mile from the village of R. About three hundred yards in rear of my regiment was situated a fine residence, the occupants being a matron, her two daughters, and servants (the host being absent in another army). About 3 o'clock P.M., when the battle was raging most furiously, the above-mentioned lady and her two daughters (aged respectively fifteen and seventeen), filled with interest and enthusiasm, stood bravely in front of their homestead, ready and eager to minister to their wounded countrymen whould they fall in the dreadful fray.
Our men were fighting nobly, but pressed by superior numbers, had gradually fallen back to within one hundred and fifty yards of the house. My position being near my regiment, suddenly I beheld a noble, gallant young friend staggering closer, and then fall to the earth. In the same moment a piercing scream from the house reached my ear! I was soon by the side of the young man, and, upon examination, found a compound fracture, with extensive comminution of the left tibia; the ball having ricochetted from these parts, and, in its onward flight, passed through the scrotum, carrying away the left testicle. Scarcely had I finished dressing the wounds of this poor fellow, when the estimable matron came running to me in the greatest distress, begging me to go to one of her daughters, who, she informed me, had been badly wounded a few minutes before. Hastening to the house, I found that the eldest of the young ladies had indeed received a most serious wound. A minnie ball had penetrated the left abdominal parietes, about midway between the umbilicus and anterior spinal process of the ilium, and was lost in the abdominal cavity, leaving a ragged wound behind. Believing there was little or no hope of her recovery, I had only time to prescribe an anodyne, when our army fell back, leaving both field and village in the hands of the enemy.
Having remained with my wounded at the village of R., I had the opportunity of visiting the young lady the next day, and, interruptedly, for a period of nearly two months, at the end of which time she had entirely recovered, with no untoward symptoms during treatment; save a severe peritonitis, she seemed as well as ever!
About six months after her recovery, the movements of our army brought me again to the village of R., and I was again sent for to see the young lady. She appeared in excellent health and spirits, but her abdomen had become enormously enlarged, so much so as to resemble pregnancy at the seventh or eighth month. Indeed, had I not known the family and the facts of the abdominal wound, I should have so pronounced the case. Under the above circumstances, I failed to give a positive diagnosis, determining to keep the case under surveillance. This I did.
Just two hundred and seventy-eight days from the date of the receipt of the wound by the minnie ball, I delivered this same young lady of a fine boy, weighing eight pounds. I was not very much surprised; but imagine the surprise and mortification of the young lady herself, her entire family. This can be better imagined than described. Although I found the hymen intact in my examination before delivery, I gave no credence to the earnest and oft-repeated assertions of the young lady of her innocence and virgin purity.
About three weeks from the date of this remarkable birth, I was called to see the child, the grandmother insisting there was "something wrong about the genitals." Examination revealed an enlarged, swollen, sensitive scrotum, containing on the right side a hard, roughened substance, evidently foreign. I decided upon operating for its removal at once, and in so doing, extracted from the scrotum a minnie ball, mashed and battered as if it had met in its flight some hard, unyielding substance.
To attempt to picture my astonishment would be impossible! What may already seem very plain to my readers, as they glance over this paper, was, to me, at the time, mysterious. It was only after several days and nights of sleepless reflection that a solution flashed before me, and ever since has appeared as clear as the noon-day sun!
"What is it?" The ball I took from the scrotum of the babe was the identical one which, on the 12th of May, shattered the tibia of my young friend, and in its mutilated condition, plunged through his testicle, carrying with it particles of semen and spermatozoa into the abdomen of the young lady, then through her left ovary, and into the uterus, in this manner impregnating her! There can be no other solution of the phenomenon! These convictions I expressed to the family, and, at their solicitations, visited my young soldier friend, laying the case before him in its proper light. At first, most naturally, he appeared skeptical, but concluded to visit the young mother. Whether convinced or not, he soon married her, ere the little boy had attained his fourth month.
As a matter of additional interest, I may mention having received a letter during the past year, reporting a happy married state and three children, but neither resembling, to the same marked degree, as the first -- our hero -- Pater familias!
The only problem was that the doctor openly admitted to the editor that had totally invented the whole story in order to mock the ridiculous stories that were coming out of the battlefield, so the editor's note in a subsequent issue of the journal revealed the case to be a joke.
However, it was taken as fact by many, and was even reprinted in 1959 in the New York State Journal of Medicine.
The crew of the Discovery Channel program Mythbusters eventually declared it impossible due to the physics and biological aspects of the million to one shot.
Still, the Old Courthouse Museum in downtown Vicksburg Mississippi has an exhibit of the Son of a Gun story complete with a minnie ball, a picture of Confederate Surgeon Capers, and a copy of the article penned by Dr Capers that started everything. The exhibit states plainly “We don’t ask you to believe the story, just enjoy it!”
Son of a Gun
In spite several researchers, claiming the story being a source of the famous expression “son of a gun”, that appeared to be a myth as well. The truth is that the term "Son of a Gun", while dating to the same era, actually referred to a child conceived on the gun deck of a British Man of War, as the gun deck was where the sailors lived.
Not the End…
Just recently another similar case was reported by media, claiming that this is a second known case, when woman was impregnated by a bullet, pointing out on the Minnie ball case as the original one.
In November 1999, Leslie Corbide – a nurse in the United Nations contingent deployed in Bosnia – gave birth to a baby girl weighing 5 pounds. As it turned out later, the girl was born thanks to a bullet. In February 28, 1998, the nurse was wounded in a shootout between the military police and a group of villains, and a bullet hit her in the lower stomach. The wound healed successfully, and the girl was discharged.
Six weeks later, however, she came back to the doctor complaining of lack of menstruation and that she had morning sickness. A gynecologist examined her, discovering that she is a virgin, so she refused to undergo a pregnancy test. When Leslie insisted, she took the test, which indicated that the woman was pregnant. Doctors could not explain it until they have looked carefully on other medical records. One of the police officers was wounded in a same day as Leslie. He was close enough to Leslie when he was shot, and doctors have assumed that the bullet hit the man’s testicles, taking a small quantity of sperm to reach the uterus and Leslie was inseminated. An analysis of the child and the father’s genes demonstrated that physician’s assumption was correct.
Russian Scientist Commentary
Doctor of medical sciences, Professor Igor Moiseyev commented upon the fantastic fact with Leslie Corbide pregnancy: "It is astonishing but incidents of the kind have been already registered in the history of medicine. A "bullet conception" of the same kind was registered in Wiksburg (Mississippi, the US) during the civil war between the South and the North in 1863. The incident is mentioned in the American Weekly Medicine Journal in 1864. A bullet went through a testicle of a man and got into a woman's stomach; as a result, the woman delivered a boy. A doctor who described the mysterious phenomenon 140 years ago said it was the evidence of the might of the human reproduction system.
How did it happen that the bullet impregnation was a success in the case of Leslie? Igor Moiseyev says that it happened thanks to a unique combination of conditions. Leslie was wounded in the middle of her menstruation cycle. Her ovule was ready to receive sperm. The temperature of the spent bullet that went through the soldier's testicle could not damage spermatozoa and seized some of them. Then it delivered viable spermatozoa to the uterus, and they fertilized the ovule".
And this guy is not joking… he is damn serious…
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