Artist: Reed Brockway Bontecou (American, 1824–1907)
Date: April–May 1865
Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions: Image: 18.9 × 13.1 cm (7 7/16 × 5 3/16 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Stanley B. Burns, M.D. and The Burns Archive, 1992
Accession Number: 1992.5134
The last great battle of the Civil War was the siege of Petersburg, Virginia—a 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 on the first day of the campaign (March 25) and was evacuated to Harewood Hospital in Washington, D.C. His leg was amputated by Dr. Reed Brockway Bontecou, surgeon in charge, who also made this clinical photograph. It was intended, in part, to serve as a tool for teaching fellow army surgeons and is an extremely rare example of the early professional use of photography in America.