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

Medical Miracle

“A Chance in Twenty”

Medical Miracle Marker image. Click for full size.
April 14, 2013
1. Medical Miracle Marker
This building housed the medical office of Dr. William Amiss, whose brother Dr. Thomas Amiss practiced in Slate Mills and later in Page County. Together, the two men accomplished a medical achievement virtually unheard of during the Civil War.

Maj. Richard Snowden Andrews commanded Gen. Charles S. Winder’s artillery during the Battle of Cedar Mountain a few miles south of Culpeper on August 9, 1862. An exploding Federal shell slashed through Andrew’s right side, almost disemboweling him. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s surgeon, Dr. Hunter H. McGuire, declared Andrew’s condition hopeless.

That evening, Drs. Thomas and William Amiss (31st and 50th Georgia Infantry, respectively) examined Andrews in a field hospital and concurred that the wound was mortal. Andrews retorted that “if you damned doctors would do something for me, I’d get well.” Thomas Amiss joked that Andrews was – literally and figuratively – “full of all kinds of grit.” The doctors washed the wound, reinserted Andrew’s bowels into his abdominal cavity, and sewed up the enormous gash. Amazingly, peritonitis
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did not set in, and seven weeks later the “mortally wounded” Andrews hobbled about on crutches. He returned to duty but was again wounded during the Second Battle of Winchester on June 15, 1863. After he recovered, he was reassigned as an advisor to the German army. After the war, he resumed his career as an architect in Baltimore. For the remainder of his life (he died in 1903), he reveled in telling of his brush with death and exhibiting the huge scar left from the Amiss brothers’ stitching. His recovery was so remarkable that his case is still sometimes mentioned in medical texts.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Science & MedicineWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1835.
Location. 38° 39.475′ N, 78° 13.662′ W. Marker is in Sperryville, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is on Main Street (Virginia Route 1001), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 42 Main Street, Sperryville VA 22740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 33 Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Hopkins Ordinary (within shouting distance of this marker); 31 Main Street
Medical Miracle Marker image. Click for full size.
April 14, 2013
2. Medical Miracle Marker
(within shouting distance of this marker); 48 Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); John Kiger's Second Lot (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); John B. Kiger (about 400 feet away); Sister Caroline (about 500 feet away); A Hint of Total War (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sperryville.
More about this marker. The marker displays two sketches: on the lower left captioned Cedar Mountain, night at hospital, Edwin Forbes Courtesy Library of Congress, on the lower right captioned Civil War surgeons, Harper's Weekly, June 12, 1862. The marker has three portraits: in the center captioned Maj. Snowden Andrews from Tunstall Smith, ed., Richard Snowden Andrews (1910), on the upper right captioned Dr. Thomas Amiss and Dr. William Amiss Courtesy Rappahannock Historical Society. The center of the marker displays a photo of Dr. William Amiss House Courtesy Rappahannock Historical Society.
Also see . . .
1. Richard Snowden Andrews.
National Register of Historic Places plaque on the house image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 17, 2021
3. National Register of Historic Places plaque on the house
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Submitted on May 4, 2013.) 

2. Richard Snowden Andrews. From Find A (Submitted on May 4, 2013.) 

3. Sperryville Historic District. National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form (Submitted on May 4, 2013.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 4, 2013. This page has been viewed 815 times since then and 92 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 4, 2013.   3. submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 5, 2023