Friday, May 31, 2013

A Case of Feigned Insanity

By J. Theodore Calhoun, Assistant Surgeon in the United States Army, And Surgeon in Chief, 2d Division, 3d Army Corps

A most remarkable case of feigned insanity occurred in a regiment under the charge of a friend of mine. A supposed insane man was kept in the regiment for several months and his every action carefully and closely watched.

He would sit for hours together on the color line or in the neighborhood of camp, with a pole, and imagine himself fishing. He was at length discharged, and when leaving his camp, one of his old company said to him: "Bill, what did you make such a d-d fool of yourself as to sit out in the sun all day pretending to be fishing." Pulling out his discharge papers he replied, with a quiet smile, "I was fishing for these papers."

Excerpted from: The Medical and Surgical Reporter, August 15, 1863

IMAGE: "My Civil War Obsession": Patriotic Cover: Uncle Sam Goes Fishing


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