The People of the State of Illinois vs. August Spies et al.
Transcript of witness testimony: Theodore J. Bluthardt, Physician
Witness for the State, July 30, 1886



a witness called and sworn on behalf of the People; was examined in chief by Mr. Grinnell and testified as follows:

Q What is your name?

A Theodore J. Bluthardt.

Q You are a physician and surgeon?

A Yes, sir.

Q You occupy some official position with reference to the county?

A I am county physician.

Q Did you attend the post morten examination upon the body of Matthias J. Degan?

A I made a post mortem examination upon his body on the 5th day of May.

Q It was brfore the coroner's inquest?

A It was before the coroner's inquest. I think it was in the forenoon.

Q Where?

A At the Cook County Hospital.

Q That is in Cook County State of Illinois?

A Yes sir.

Q You may state what you found?

A I found a cut upon his foreheard. Another cut over the right eye, and another deep cut about two inches in length on the left thigh. I found a large, apparently a gunshot wound, a hole in the middle of the left thigh. I found seven explosive marks on his right leg, and two other explosive marks on the left leg. The large hole in the middle of the left thigh was the mortal wound. It was caused by an explosive, a missile, a piece of lead, in the form of a piece of lead, that had penetrated the skin, and destroyed the inside muscles of the left thigh to a large extent, lacerated also the femeral artery which caused the man to bleed to death. Besides that he had a wound on the dorsum of the left foot, which was also caused by a piece of lead that forced its way through the bones of the ankle joint. I found it lodged behind the internal malleolus or inside ankle of the left foot. Both pieces of that missile I preserved and gave to the State's Attorney.

Q You gave them to Mr. Furthman?

A Yes, sir. (The witness here produced an envelope containing two pieces of metal.) This larger piece-- there is a piece that was cut off since-- is the one that destroyed the femeral artery; The other piece I don't recognize. The other piece was nearly the size of this one.

Q It has been cut a good deal?

A There is only a small piece here. That large piece is gone. I don't see that here. There was a piece about two thirds of the size of this one that I took out of the foot; but this is the one I found in the upper part of the thigh which had destroyed the muscles of the thigh, cut the femoral artery.

Q Describe their size and appearance?

A The external apparance of that wound on the left thigh as stated before, was that of a rifle ball. It was round and not very ragged. edges. It was clean cut through the skin. The piece of skin was clean taken out; but the muscles of the thigh of the inside were all contused and torn, and formed a kind of pulpy cavity as large as a goose egg on the inside. That missile which had passed through the muscles was lodged in the upper part of the thigh about four inches above from where it entered.

Q It was not a bullet wound?

A No sir, it was not a bullet wound.

Q What caused the death of Mathias J. Degan in your opinion?

A. He died from hemorrhage of the femoral artery caused by this wound that I described.

Q Did you attend the post mortem examination of any of the other policemen who died from the effects of wounds the 4th of May last?

A I did. I made five more post mortem examinations personally.

Q Give me a description of them?

A I will have to refer to my notes to get the correct statments. On the 7th day of May I made a post mortem examination upon the body of John Barret at an undertakers establishment at 171 East Chicago Avenue. There was a large wound on the right elbow which entered into the elbow joint, and fractured the internal condyle, or the bone you feel at the elbow joint on the inside of the arm, belonging to the bone of the upper arm called the humerus. That was shattered. Then he had a wound in the right foot extending three quarters of an inch in to the astragalus, that is the bone of the heel a very large thick bone, and it entered into it to the depth of about three quarters of an inch just the same as if an augur had taken out a piece of that bone. Then there was a large hole in the right side of the chest. A missile had passed through the eleventh rib through the diaphragm and into the upper part of the liver, about three inches deep.

There I found a piece of lead similar to this, and a piece of blue cloth with the lining in, which was a piece of the uniform of this blue cloth the police officers wear. The right lung was collapsed. From the opening into the diaphragm the air rushed into the cavity of the chest, and compressed the lung. In consequence of the wound in the liver, there was a good deal of hemorrhage into the chest as well as into the abdomen; and the cause of his death was this wound by this explosive piece of material that entered his chest and diaphragm and wounding the liver.

Q What was the date of Barret's post mortem?

A On the 7th. The same day I had another one. On the same day I made a post mortem examination of the body of George F. Miller. This was at the Cook County Hospital. He had a large wound in the right side of the chest which had been sewed up by a surgeon. A pistol ball had passed through the external attachments of the tenth and eleventh ribs about a little over the stomach, had passed downwards.

MR. BLACK: Q Right or left side?

A About the middle. The ball had passed downward behind the stomach through the mesentery attachments of the intestines, and passed through this mesentery through some of the smaller intestines. It was lodged above the crest of the illium on the left side. The crest of the illium is the hip bone, and the ball was lodged just above that in the muscles of the back. The abdomen was filled with blood and puss and serum. The intestines were inflamed and adhered; and this man died in my opinion from the effects of that missile which wounded the small intestines and caused the inflamation of the bowels and death.

On the 8th day of May I made a post mortem examination on an officer by the name of Tim Flavin. He had a small wound in the back four inches to the left of the spine. The missile passed into the abdomen below the 12th rib, and upward through the diaphragm into the lower lobe of the left lung. I found much blood in both cavities, and this was the cause of death by internal hemorrhage.

MR. BLACK: Q Have you the missiles?

A Yes, I have that in my pocket.

Q It is not a pistol ball?

A No, sir. On the 10th day of May I made a post mortem examination at 163 Barber street upon the body of Michael Sheean. I found a contused wound on the right leg, midway between the knee and ankle; a pistol shot on the left side of the back, four inches to the left of the spine under the tenth rib; another wound upon the right side of the abdomen three inches to the right of the median line and four inches above the umbillicus. That was the external appearance. The internal appearance was, the ball passed through the pelvis, passed through the mesentery and lower part of the liver into the muscles of the abdomen. That was a large wound I found on the outside which had also been sewn up.

MR. GRINNELL: Q You don't know what that missile was?

A I do not. This was a pistol shot wound. It was very straight and well marked. There was considerable blood in the abdomen and the liver, and the surroundings were very much inflamed, and covered with pus. The man died from exhaustion caused by this pistol shot wound.

On the 17th day of May I made a post mortem examination on the body of Thomas Redden, at the Cook County Hospital. On him I found an abrasion over the right eye, and considerable ecchymosis, that is, he had a black eye, a slight lacerated wound upon the lower part of the left hip, a large lacerated wound perforating the right forearm three inches above the wrist joint; and a compound fracture of the left tibia; a large lacerated wound upon the posterior part of the left leg, a circular wound upon the right leg two inches below the knee joint, extending to the bone; and another wound upon the right leg about seven inches above the internal maleolus or ankle; a large lacerated wound upon the left side of the back above the crest of the illium. Its course was upward and to the right, with another opening about two inches from the middle of the spine near the second lunbar vertebrae I found the lungs badly inflamed, and the blood valves enlarged above the kidneys, and the liver somewhat inflamed, with co-called cloudy swelling. In my opinion he died from the effects of these wounds bringing about septic fever or blood poisoning. These are all the post mortems I have made.

Cross examination by
Mr. Black.

Q When you speak of the contusions upon the limb or the body of Mr. Degan, I suppose you refer to contusions where there was no laceration of the flesh?

A Contusions-- little black contused spots.