From the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (MSHWR, Volume 2, Part 3, page 293), a list of 676 cases of Intermediary Amputations in the Lower Third of the Femur for Shot Fracture performed by Army surgeons during the war. Intermediary meaning the amputations were done some days or weeks after the injury was received. Of the 676, 217 soldiers recovered but 459 died of their wounds or from the surgery.

One of these soldiers was James Kelly of the 2nd United States Infantry. From County Roscommon in Ireland, he’d enlisted in St. Louis in 1858 at age 22, and was a Corporal by 1862.

In action at Antietam on 17 September 1862 he was shot in his lower left leg, the bullet grazing his tibia. He was initially treated on or near the battlefield and was in a hospital in Frederick, MD by the 27th, but infection apparently traveled up his leg past the knee, and his leg was amputated at the lower thigh on 16 October. The surgery didn’t save him and he died on 21 October 1862.


All 6 books of the MSHWR are online thanks to NIH’s National Library of Medicine.

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