The following story is a true account, taken from an old, out-of-print book called “Touching Incidents And Remarkable Answers To Prayer”. It was complied by S. B. Shaw and published in 1894 “I was a surgeon in the United States Army during the civil war. After the battle of Gettysburg, there were hundreds of wounded soldiers in my hospital. Many were wounded so severely that a leg or an arm, or sometimes both, needed to be amputated. One of these was a boy who had only been in the service for three months. Since he was too young to be a soldier, he had enlisted as a drummer. When my assistants came to give him chloroform before the amputation he turned his head and refused it. When they told him that it was the doctor’s orders, he said, ‘send the doctor to me’. I came to his bedside and said ‘young man, why do you refuse chloroform? When I found you on the battlefield, you were so far gone that I almost didn’t bother to pick you up.
But when you opened those large blue eyes, it occurred to me that you had a mother somewhere who might be thinking of you at that very moment. I didn’t want you to die on the field, so I had you brought here. But you’ve lost so much blood that you’re just too weak to live through an operation without chloroform. You’d better let me give you some.’ He laid his hand on mine, looked me in the face and said, ‘Doctor, one Sunday afternoon, when I was nine and a half years old I gave my heart to Christ. I learned to trust Him then, and I’ve been trusting Him ever since. I know I can trust Him now. He is my strength. He will support me while you amputate my arm and leg’. I asked him if he would at least let me give him a little brandy. Again he looked at me and said, ‘Doctor, when I was about five years old, my mother knelt by my side with her arms around me and said: “Charlie, I am praying to Jesus that you will never take even one drink of alcohol. Your father died a drunkard, and I’ve asked God to use you to warn people against the dangers of drinking, and to encourage them to love and serve the Lord”. I am now 17 years old and I have never had anything stronger than tea or coffee. There is a very good chance that I am about to die and to go into the presence of my God. Would you send me there with brandy on my breath?’ I will never forget the look that boy gave me. At that time I hated Jesus, but I respected that boy’s loyalty to his Saviour. And when I saw how he loved and trusted Him to the very end, something deeply touched my heart. I did for that boy what I had never done for any other soldier – I asked him if he wanted to see his chaplain. Chaplain R. knew the boy well from having seen him frequently at the tent of payer meetings. Taking his hand, he said, ‘Charlie, I’m really sorry to see you like this’. ‘Oh, I’m all right, Sir,’ Charlie answered. ‘The doctor offered me chloroform, but I told him I didn’t want any.
Then he wanted to give me brandy, which I didn’t want either. So now, if my Saviour calls me, I can go to Him in my right mind.’ ‘You might not die Charlie,’ said the chaplain, ‘but if the Lord does call you home, is there anything I can do for you after you’re gone?’ ‘Chaplain, please reach under my pillow and take my little Bible. My mother’s address is inside. Please send it to her, and write a letter for me. Tell her that since I left home,
I have never let a single day pass – no matter if we were on the march, or the battle-field, or in the hospital without reading a portion of God’s word, and daily praying the He would bless her.’ ‘Is there anything else I can do for you, my lad?’ asked the Chaplain. ‘Yes – please write a letter to the Sunday school teacher of the Sands Street Church in Brooklyn, New York.
Tell him that I’ve never forgotten his encouragement, good advice, and many prayers for me. They have helped and comforted me through all the dangers of battle. And now, in my dying hour, I thank the Lord for my dear old teacher, and ask Him to bless and strengthen him. That is all’. Then turning to me, he said, ‘I’m ready, doctor. I promise I won’t even groan while you take off my arm and leg, if you don’t offer me chloroform’. I promised, but didn’t have the courage to take the knife in my hand without first going into the next room and taking a little brandy myself. While cutting through the flesh, Charlie Coulson never groaned.
But when I took the saw to separate the bone, the lad took the corner of his pillow in his mouth, and all I could hear him whisper was, ‘O Jesus, blessed Jesus! Stand by me now.’ He kept his promise. He never groaned. I could not sleep that night. Whichever way I tossed and turned, I saw those soft blue eyes, and when I closed my own eyes the words ‘Blessed Jesus, stand by me now,’ kept ringing in my ears. A little after midnight, I finally left my bed and visited the hospital – a thing I had never done before unless there was an emergency. I had such a strange and strong desire to see that boy. When I got there, an orderly told me that 16 of the badly wounded soldiers had died. “Was Charlie Coulson one of them?’ I asked. ‘No sir,’ he answered, ‘He’s sleeping as sweetly as a babe.’ When I came to his bed, one of the nurses said that at about nine O’clock, two members of the Y.M.C.A came through the hospital to read and sing a hymn. Chaplain R. was with them, and he knelt by Charlie’s bed and offered up a fervent and soul’s stirring prayer. Then, while still on their knees, they sang one of the sweetest of all hymns, ‘Jesus lover of my soul’. Charlie sang along with them, too. I couldn’t understand how that boy, who was in such horrible pain, could sing.
Five days after I performed the operation Charlie sent for me, and it was from him t hat I heard my first Gospel sermon. ‘Doctor’, he said, ‘my time has come. I don’t expect to see another sunrise. I want to thank you with all my heart for your kindness to me. I know you are Jewish, and that you don’t believe in Jesus, but I want you t o stay with me, and see me die trusting my Saviour to the last moment of my life.’ I tried to stay, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the courage to stand by and see a Christian boy die rejoicing in the love of that Jesus who I hated. So, I hurriedly left the room. About 20 minutes later an orderly came and found me sitting in my office with my hands covering my face. He told me that Charlie wanted to see me. ‘I’ve just seen him’, I answered, ‘and I can’t see him again’. ‘But, Doctor, he says he must see you once more before he dies.’ So I made up my mind to go and see Charlie, say an endearing word, and let him die. However, I was determined that nothing he could say would influence me in the least bit, so far as his Jesus was concerned. When I entered the hospital I saw he was inking fast so I sat down by his bed. Asking me to take his hand, he said,