To truly see civil war medicine in all its glory you must look at the faces and the souls of the surgeons. One of the most famous surgeons was Surgeon R.R. McMeens. He was born in Lycoming county Pennsylvania and his father was a prosperous farmer. He showed great interest in medicine and soon joined the Pennsylvania School of Medicine and three years later he had a degree. The reason why he is such a hero is because he could have left the service at any time. He was signed on for a three month contract and could have left any time after that but he decided to stay and help fight for the North, even though he had a wife and children at home. R.R. McMeens died of a heart attack the way he loved to live, in the service.
Another heroin of a surgeon was John Whiley. Twice his horse was shot from underneath him nearly killing him yet leaving him unharmed.
He participated in every battle that his regiment fought in and after the battles he would tend to the wounded. He soon received a commendation from President Lincoln.
The empty sleeve was a term often used during the civil war. It was referring to the fact that most soldiers that returned home from the war had an empty sleeve. In other words this meant that they had an amputation. Amputation is a process in which a limb is removed because of permanent damage to muscle or bone. Amputees often used a Fork with a knife edge on it. This device became very popular after the war was over.
Amputation kits were often very primitive and very unsanitary. They usually contained a saw with tweezers, scalpels, snipping devices for arteries, and if the patient was lucky a...