The Devastating Effects of Small Arms Fire

Photograph of Private Frederick A Bentley, Company A 185th New York Infantry, wounded at Petersburg, Virginia on March 29th, 1865. Bentley enlisted at age 15 in 1864, and survived his wounds, living until age 71. (National Museum of Health & Medicine) Students of Civil War history often recoil from the image of military surgeons who seemed all too eager to subject wounded soldiers to primitive medical techniques, such as amputation, during the war. Much of this modern criticism is based on hindsight. In reality, most Civil War surgeons did the best they could granted the limitations of the science of their time, and often under very difficult circumstances. The soft lead bullets used durin

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