Pvt. Samuel H. Decker, Company I, 4th US artillery. Double amputation of the forearms for injury caused by the premature explosion of a gun on 8 October 1862, at the Battle of Perryville, KY. Shown with self-designed prosthetics
More men died fighting in the Civil War than in any other U.S. war: an estimated 600,000 to 750,000. Many more soldiers were left with permanent, physical reminders of the battles they fought. Amputations were frequent, estimated to account for more than 3/4 of wartime operations. Sterile environments for such a medical procedure were usually impossible. Some amputations were performed without anesthesia. Often the procedure left the amputee with terrible pain from the severed nerves.
The pictures included here are from the Flickr page of the National Museum of Health and Medicine. As the referring article warns, this archive is "not for the faint of heart." Yet it's one way to see photos of the brave and often incredibly young (an estimated 100,000 Union soldiers were boys under 15) soldiers who fought in such horrifically bloody Civil War battles.
-Via Dangerous Minds | Images: National Museum of Health and Medicine
Robert Fryer. Amputation of third, fourth, and fifth metacarpals. PVT, Company G, 52nd New York Volunteers. Wounded March 25, 1865 at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Virginia
Jason W. Joslyn. Excision of head & 4 inches of shaft femur, prosthesis in place. PVT, Company I, 7th New York Heavy Artillery. Injured at 1864 Battle of Cold Harbor