If the evidence of apparently amputated bone stumps and saws made of stone are anything to go by, amputations have been practiced since Neolithic times. It is during periods of war, however, that the greatest leaps in this surgical procedure have taken place – simply because of the sheer numbers of amputations required in wartime.
During the American Civil War (1861–1865) – a conflict in which over 70 percent of recorded wounds were to the extremities – an astonishing 50,000 amputations were performed. It was largely down to the use of a new bullet called the Minié ball – a slug which tore through tissue like no equivalent ammunition seen before – that three quarters of all surgeries carried out on the Civil War battlefield were amputations.
Read more at http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-amputees-american-civil-war-or-history-amputations-american-civil-war?image=2#45OBprmjKw9l7wss.99 Source: http://www.vincentborrelli.com/cgi-bin/vbb/100911 Source: http://www.amazon.com/Masterpieces-Medical-Photography-Selections-Archive/dp/094264221X/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t