American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection


As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, and various TV programs, Antiques & Collecting publications

Illustrated use of Surgical Instruments During the Civil War

By Dr. Michael Echols

Illustrations below are from the Civil War Hand-book of Surgical Operations, 279 pages, 1862, by Stephen Smith (1823-1922)  More on Civil War surgery manuals.

Stephen Smith's Hand-book was the most widely used surgical manual among the Union forces (The History of Surgery in the United States, Ira M. Rutkow, M.D.).

Additional photos of amputation instruments

An 1870 Gemrig catalog with diagrams of instruments.

The entire article on amputation procedures in general by Stephen Smith

Click on images to enlarge

c. 1863 surgical set by Wade and Ford, New York City, which belonged  to a documented Civil War Federal Naval Surgeon.  The case is engraved with his name and the 1863 date of its purchase.  This is the type of personal set a surgeon could have brought to war and was specified as 'Dr. Wood's Cased' by Dr. Stephen Smith.

See additional details and EXPANDED photos of this set

mvc-333s.jpg (40543 bytes)


A surgical set by Wade and Ford, typical of those used in the field during the Civil War.  Above is an excellent example of  this Civil War set in this collection.
Various bullet forceps, extractors, and locaters.
  • 1. forceps as found in most surgical sets
  • 2. an expanding wire tip to grab mini ball bullet
  • 3. screw tip to bore into bullet (not very effective)
  • 4. ceramic tip for location of ball by feel and marking
  • 5. scoop type tip to acquire and remove a bullet
  • 6. forceps with ball held in tip
dbulletextractors.JPG (42032 bytes)

dbulletforceps.JPG (23242 bytes)

Chain saw, needle with thread for threading the chain, and a needle director for going around the bone and pulling back the end of the chain saw.

The handle on one end of the chain is removed and then is attached to the thread and pulled around the bone.

dchainsawneedle.JPG (34122 bytes)
Tourniquet used to apply pressure on the artery to stop or limit bleeding.  The knob is turned to increase the pressure and the strap is released with the locking buckle on top of the arm. dtourniquet.JPG (35783 bytes)
The chain, shown on the right, is attached to a thread or 'ligature', which is then threaded from the right to the left.  The ligature end is picked up with tweezers on the left and pulled through with the chain.  The handle is then re-attached to the chain and the bone sawed (resected) in half. dchainsawpassing.JPG (59893 bytes)
Hand-hold used to quickly cut the muscle into flaps which will be turned over the end of the bone. dcuttingleg.JPG (63640 bytes)

dhandholdofknife.JPG (51035 bytes)

The muscle is hand retracted and an amputation knife is being used to trim down to the bone prior to cutting the bone with a saw. damputation.JPG (30148 bytes)
A small amputation knife being used to cut between the joints during amputation of the fingers. dfingerampution.JPG (50419 bytes)
Lower leg cutting pattern to include flaps which will be turned over the bone stump. dlowerlegamputation.JPG (55507 bytes)
Use of large forceps for removing bone from hand.   dronguer.jpg (48969 bytes)
Ligature needle with handle used to pass a ligature (thread) through the muscle or around an artery during suturing after the amputation. dsutureneedle.JPG (26046 bytes)


Various kinds of bullet removing instruments from the Tiemann catalog 1870's

Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols



Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Students doing reports or projects are welcome to use the content of this site without permission, but credits would be appreciated.


Please note: information on this site may not be normally referenced as this is an active and long-term educational research project.  Personal notes may not be properly cited for publication.  Various articles are digitally reproduced under the 'fair-use act' of the copyright laws and are intended for educational purposes only.  Many citations are from Google digital 'books' and can be traced backwards via a search of a unique string in the citation.


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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016