Civil War Institute
In early 1861, a Confederate soldier named James Edward Hanger waited on the ground to die. Minutes before, his left leg had been shot off above the knee while he was sitting with his comrades in the loft of a barn in Philipi, Virginia. As soon as the cannonball burst through the barn, the rest of the men fled, leaving Hanger behind. He was found by enemy troops and brought to a doctor, who amputated his leg. Hanger became the first person to have a limb amputated during the Civil War. When one thinks of Civil War injuries, amputations often come to mind, and, to be sure, there was an unprecedented number of amputations performed during the Civil War. Surgeons on both sides performed at least 60,000 amputations during the war and 45,000 patients survived the surgery. [excerpt]
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Labbe, Savannah A., "Inspirations of War: Innovations in Prosthetics after the Civil War" (2018). The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History. 255.