Private George Washington Pancoast of the 9th New York State Militia (83rd Volunteers) was wounded by two bullets at Antietam in September 1862 but survived to have a long and productive life afterward.

This fine post-war photograph was kindly provided by his great-great-grandson Scott McGurk.

What you can’t see in the picture, though, is that George lost his left arm at the elbow to amputation due to one of those Antietam bullets. Here’s a clinical summary of his ordeal, from the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (Pt. II, Vol. II, pg. 856; 1877), online from the National Library of Medicine (click to enlarge).

I was surprised to learn just how many arms Army surgeons amputated during the war due to gunshot wounds: at least 5,456. I’ve seen a large number of cases, but had no idea. Here’s a table from the same volume of the MSHWR with some survival statistics.

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