James William Allen's career as a Confederate soldier lasted only six months; he doubled over with a hernia and was discharged on the last day of 1861.2 His reaction to this medical condition is unknown since Allen left no letters,journal, or public pronouncement. Did he have dreams of military glory that were squashed by his rather inglorious medical condition? After all, Allen's unit, the St. Augustine Blues, had moved only 60 miles up the road to Fernandina.3 He had not left his home state nor, we assume, had he fired a weapon except to practice his marksmanship. However, judging by Allen's active role as a prominent Unionist during the remaining three years of the war, perhaps he saw his hernia as the equivalent of the "million dollar wound," a minor medical complication that earned him a discharge from the Confederate army and allowed him to return home.
Upchurch, T. W.
"Perfectly Still No More: Unionists in Confederate Northeast Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 93:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol93/iss1/3