Civil War veteran Michael J. Hogarty had a colorful past. He was a well-known pioneer in Greeley, Colorado, and other residents found his highly visible battle wound fascinating.
Hogarty fought at Resaca, Georgia, on May 15, 1864. He received a head wound when an ounce bullet passed through his left eye and cheekbone, and he was left untreated on a hay bed for over twenty-four hours. Hogarty returned to battle four months later and advanced to First Lieutenant for “good conduct on the field” by the personal request of his friend Colonel A. J. McNett.
In April of 1871, Hogarty moved to Greeley, living an active life on the farm until his health declined.
Twenty-seven years after the battle, he began experiencing a variety of symptoms, from vertigo and fevers to mental troubles, and sought help from popular Greeley doctor Jesse Hawes. In 1890, Hawes performed surgery through the palate of the mouth to remove what he thought was a stone; it was the bullet, still lodged in Hogarty’s skull.
Seeking to comfort his increasing aches and pains, Hogarty moved out to sunny California. Oddly enough, in 1914, a fragment of the bullet, unknowingly left behind, was discharged through his nose after a sneezing fit.
Originally printed in the Greeley Tribune, August 10, 2015
Written by Dyani Johnson, former Archives and Collections Assistant