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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Spotsylvania Courthouse in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A Midnight Amputation

The Complications of Civil War Surgery

 
 
A Midnight Amputation Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel, April 22, 2022
1. A Midnight Amputation Marker
photo caption

Tools used by McGuire that evening.
1. Scalpels for tissue incisions
2. Locking forceps to hold skin
3. Artery forceps
4. Bone brush
5. Capital bone saw
6. Catlin (amputation knives
7. Tenacilum for holding arteries
8. Tourniquet

The surgical set McGuire used to amputate Jackson's arm.
Courtesy Joseph E. Grove II Family, photo by Kitt Creative, Fredericksburg, Va.
Inscription.  Shortly after 2 A.M. on May 3, 1863, in a hospital tent on the knoll in front of you, 27-year-old surgeon Hunter Holmes McGuire and his team prepared their patient for emergency surgery. The patient's aide, James P. Smith, held a lantern. Assisting surgeons Robert T. Coleman administered chloroform, Harvey Black monitored the pulse, and J. William Walls controlled the bleeding with a tourniquet. McGuire sliced through the skin and muscle to the bone, then sawed through the bone and severed the arm. He left enough skin to close the wound. The amputation was completed within the hour.

The patient, Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall” Jackson, was returning from a nighttime reconnaissance four miles east of here when North Carolina troops fired and wounded him. A bullet had shattered the bone in Jackson's upper left arm, and an artery was damaged when a litter-bearer fell in the darkness and dropped Jackson onto his broken arm. McGuire had let Jackson rest to recover some strength after he arrived here at the hospital, then had examined him and found that the arm was too damaged to save. Jackson appeared to improve after the amputation
A Midnight Amputation Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel, April 22, 2022
2. A Midnight Amputation Marker
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(three out of four such patients typically survived). He suffered pain in the left part of his chest, which he attributed to the fall from the litter, but it soon vanished, and he was moved to Guinea Station on May 4. There his condition worsened, and he died on May 10. McGuire reported pneumonia as the cause of Jackson's death.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Science & MedicineWar, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is May 3, 1863.
 
Location. 38° 19.606′ N, 77° 43.1′ W. Marker is near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Plank Road. Located on the grounds of 1781 Brewing Company. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11109 Plank Road, Locust Grove VA 22508, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jackson’s Amputation (approx. 0.2 miles away); Landmark in the Wilderness (approx. 0.3 miles away); Old Wilderness Tavern (approx. 0.3 miles away); Orange County / Spotsylvania County (approx. half a mile away); The Campaign of 1781 (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Yard: A Busy Place (approx. 0.9 miles away); A Busy Place (approx. 0.9 miles away); A Military Scene (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spotsylvania Courthouse.
 
Also see . . .
1. Surgical Kit Believed To Have Been Used To Amputate Stonewall Jackson's Arm To Be Displayed
Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Nathaniel Routzahn (1822 - 1908), Winchester, Virginia, November 1862
3. Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
Valentine Richmond History Center, Cook Collection
. (Submitted on April 25, 2022, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Curious Fate Of Stonewall Jackson's Arm. NPR.com (Submitted on April 25, 2022, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.) 

3. Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (arm) at FindAGrave.com. (Submitted on April 25, 2022, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
4. Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson at FindAGrave.com. (Submitted on April 25, 2022, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
 
Grave of Stonewall Jackson's Arm image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bradley Owen
4. Grave of Stonewall Jackson's Arm
Located on the property of Ellwood, a short distance from the marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 26, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 25, 2022, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 25, 2022, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   4. submitted on April 25, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia.

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Mar. 22, 2023