A diagnostic distinction between those who died howling like dogs and those who died screaming

Others died accidentally. Ralph Hopton was severely wounded when a casually placed tobacco pipe ignited barrels of gunpowder and two other soldiers in his army died from the accidental discharge of muskets. Edward Morton was blown up, along with his four children and his house, while mixing gunpowder for the royal army. His wife’s escape was said to be providential, since she had tried to dissuade him from doing this work for the royalists. Another judgement was visited on Captain Starker, inspecting the loot taken from the capture of Houghton Tower in Lancashire. One of the company lit a pipe, which ignited the powder, killing himself, his captain and sixty of his comrades. The consequent burn and shatter wounds were horrifying.


Many of the fallen died of their wounds, often in pain and some time after the battle. John Hampden took six days to die of wounds received at the battle of Chalgrove Field, six agonizing days. Care of the wounded was taken seriously but was limited by both resources and expertise. Wiseman, seeking to learn from his battlefield experiences, seems to have made a diagnostic distinction between those who died howling like dogs and those who died screaming. [..] Shattered bones and the threat of infection were the principal dangers. As Wiseman noted, an undressed wound was within days full of maggots. Amputation was often done immediately, while the wounded men were still in shock, since their courage might fail them later.

– Michael Braddick, God’s Fury, England’s Fire

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