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Civil War Soldier's Wooden Leg

$540.00 $350.00
(You save $190.00)

Product Description

This is truly a fantastic piece being offered, it is a Civil War soldier’s wooden leg. The overall measurement is approximately 40” x 4” x 6”. It has brass and iron hardware for the straps and a leather padded section where the stump would rest upon.

With only a surgeon or two assigned to a regiment, there was a good chance the wounded would severely overwhelm the medical personnel. The problem was compounded by the type of injuries suffered on the battlefield – often gunshot and explosive wounds. These type wounds carried many types of injuries with them, none more severe than, comminuted fractures, compound fractures, and wounds of the joints. The goal of the surgeon in all cases of amputation was to leave as much of the limb intact as possible while giving the patient the best chance of survival.

Comminuted fractures are those fractures where the bone is broken, splintered, or crushed into a number of different pieces. It does not take long to understand how a projectile, such as the minie ball, could produce such an injury, The minie ball, and other related projectiles that were fired from a rifle, were relatively slow moving and large. When the human body was struck at the bone the velocity of the projectile did not allow a clean exit. This produced a shattering effect at the point of impact. In general when a comminuted fracture occurred with rupturing of the principal artery or nerve of a large limb it demanded amputation.

Wounds to the joints almost always needed amputation during the Civil War. Those wounds include injuries sustained to the knee joint, elbow joint, shoulder joint, wrist, ankle, and hip joint. Amputation at the knee joint was normally carried out rather than at the thigh. Usually the preference of most surgeons was to amputate in the knee joint rather than below the joint or the thigh.

Like I said, this is truly a great piece. In my recent book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I have a very similar example included (see pictures). In the book I write “Although artificial limbs were available, many veterans felt that instead of hiding their injury with prosthesis, they would make their sacrifice visible [basic wooden leg]. The display of an ‘honorable scar’, especially during and immediately after the war, helped amputees to assert their contribution to the cause”.

This leg was obviously used for many years. At several spots the wood is worn smooth from use – the soldier added a couple of old wood screws to reinforce an area of the wood. At the base of the leg there was probably was some kind of attachment to protect the wood, now long gone. The one I have pictured has just a piece of old rubber nailed to it.

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