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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

August 22, 1864

Georgia Soldier Wrote of Losing Leg

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote to his brother about the tribulations of losing a leg in battle - and the multiple surgeries afterwards.

“I received your letter making inquiry whether I could come home with the assistance of one man. You have doubtless received my letter to you stating that my leg was to be cut off and one to Anne that it had been amputated. Well, that settles the question about my coming home at all at present. After amputating my leg that night, one of the arteries broke out to bleeding but the surgeon being loose by, stopped the blood by placing his thumb over the artery. The sewing had to be torn loose and taken up and tied, which was very painful to me. A few days after another artery came loose, and the surgeon was unable to take it up until putting me under the effects of chloroform and sawing off a piece of the bone and cutting up higher in the flesh, before he could get hold of the artery, which was almost equal to a second amputation. The surgeon says that the wound is doing well now… .” Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 331.