Reed Brockway Bontecou (American, 18241907)
Albumen silver print from glass negative; 7 7/16 x 5 3/8 in. (13.1 x 18.9 cm)
Gift of Stanley B. Burns, M.D. and The Burns Archive, 1992 (1992.5134)
The last great battle of the Civil War was the siege of Petersburg, Virginiaa brutal campaign that led to Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865. Samuel Shoop, a twenty-five-year-old private in Company F of the 200th Pennsylvania Volunteers, received a gunshot wound in the thigh at Fort Steadman, Virginia, on the first day of the campaign (March 25) and was evacuated to Harewood U.S. Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. His leg was amputated by Dr. Bontecou, surgeon in charge, who also made this clinical photograph intended to serve as a tool for teaching fellow army surgeons. An extremely rare example of the early professional use of photography in America, it is another aspect of the extensive photographic documentation of the Civil War most commonly seen in photographs by or attributed to Mathew B. Brady and his corps of field photographers.