A Manual of Military Surgery, Confederate States of America, Surgeon General’s Office, 1863-National Library of Medicine
25,000 Southerners returned from the Civil War permanently disfigured from the amputation of a limb. There are relatively few historical works that address the meaning of amputation following the Civil War. When veterans returned home from the war, they faced a new set of challenges, especially for those who returned home physically and emotionally scarred. Chiefly, although the war became a venue wherein Confederate men could find new definitions of individual and societal worth based on their performance in battle, it also produced new challenges to the older definitions.
It is reasonable to assume that Southerners would view the actions of their soldiers as honorable. Circumstances required that Southern men and women incorporated the imperfect Southern male body within their traditional notions of manhood. They did so by blending traditional gender models with their celebrations of veterans’ sacrifices in remembering the Civil War as an honorable defeat.