This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination


Site Search

Civil War Links


Civil War Art

Revolutionary War

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

[Return to Civil War Medicine]


(From "The Practice of Surgery", by Samuel Cooper, and notes by Dr. Alexander H. Stevens. This book served as the "How To" guide for Civil War surgeons)

AMPUTATION is performed either in the continuity of a member, or at one of its articulations, each of which modes, however, cannot always be practiced indifferently, the choice depending upon the situation, extent, and nature of the disease, or injury, for which the removal of the part becomes indispensable. In all amputations done at the joints, it is the general practice to make a flap of flesh for covering the end of the bone; but when the operation is performed at another part of the limb, it is frequently at the option of the


surgeon, whether the method adopted be amputation with a flap, or amputation by a circular incision. In all common instances, the latter practice receives the approbation of many of the best modern surgeons; but there are particular cases, in which a deviation from this mode, in favor of the flap operation, is commendable and useful, as I shall hereafter notice.

Before proceeding to the description of the methods of taking off limbs, let me just remind the reader of two lines, which convey a piece of general information of high value in this part of surgery, and constitute, as it were, one of the best fundamental rules for our guidance in the performance of amputation: "as little of the flesh should be cut away, as possible; but the more bone is removed, the better." (Hyperlinks below take you to that chapter of Cooper's book)

Amputation of the Leg

Amputation Below the Knee

Amputation of the Arm

Amputation of Fingers and Toes



site stats


Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection,


privacy policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.