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  • Civil War Wooden Leg Splint / SOLD

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    Civil War Wooden Leg Splint – Inventory Number: MED 180 / SOLD

    Civil War wooden leg splint made by "A. Goodwin Ashfield", used to position a soldier's injured limb. Inscribed with maker's name, "H.S. Smith / Ashfield, Massachusetts."  Stencil is very clear and legible. 

    Rare double inclined leg splint with hinged area near the top and the bottom has two wooden adjusting screws for adjustable footrest.  It had three linen straps to secure to the leg and another to secure the foot.  They worked as period suspenders would.  Pull the strap through and the clasp would lock it in place.  Due to use and age only remnants of the straps remain. 

    For many soldiers wounded by a projectile, there would usually be a bone fracture.  The bones were pushed back into place, set, and held immobile until the fracture healed together.  A rigid splint of wood or leather was tied in place by linen bandages.  Civil War surgeons would have to determine how serious the fracture was, if shattered into many pieces, the limb would have to be amputated to avoid gangrene setting in. 

    These splints are well documented, they are on exhibit in both the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum and The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA. The example at Gettysburg was found in a Confederate hospital site in Fredericksburg, VA, and was from the Rosensteel collection. Another known example exists with a maker mark stamped “A. Goodwin, Ashfield, Mississippi”. There are other examples, such as in the collection of Colonel Jacob Ludlow, a surgeon with the First Pennsylvania Infantry and that of Dr. John Frissell, Medical Superintendent to care for the sick and wounded soldiers being brought to Wheeling Hospital in West Virginia, as well as military prisoners

    The most widely used Civil War medical splint for healing fractures were invented by Dr. Almiron M. Day of Bennington, Vermont.  An original maple wood medical splint for lower leg and heel, marked "A.M. Day" and denoting "Outside Left".  Similar examples are illustrated in Dr. Gordon'  Dammann's book "Civil War Medical Instruments & Equipment", Volume 2 page 76.

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    Inventory Number: MED 180  / SOLD