Granma and Granpa are sharing stories of Granpa's Pa and his experiences of the Civil War. Back then, he fought alongside the Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan.
Raiders like Morgan would often conduct guerrilla operations against Union army positions, carrying out lightning raids before melting into the surrounding countryside. It was a risky business, and although Granpa's Pa survived the war, he nonetheless sustained some serious injuries that caused him considerable pain in later years.
One such injury was caused by the saber slash that cut through his left arm. Apparently, the steel of the saber hit his bone “like a meat axe,” which meant that long after his flesh healed, his bone marrow still “thumped with pain.”
The old warrior also sustained a serious injury to his ankle. It had been hit by a bullet fired by a musket rifle. He didn't notice it at first, as he was caught up in the excitement of a cavalry charge. It was only later, when he saw the blood sloshing around in his boot like a bucket full of water that he realized how badly mangled his ankle was.
But the worst injury Granpa's Pa sustained in the war was that in his side, near the hip, caused by a bullet fired into his gut. Eventually, many years later, the old man would die from his injuries. But for a full forty years after he was first shot, he had to endure the pain gnawing away at him like “a rat chewing at a corn crib.”