Civil War Field Surgeon’s Kit, 6th N.Y. Infantry
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Field kit used by G. L. Taneyhill, M.D. From Baltimore, Taneyhill was a surgeon with the 6th N.Y. Infantry, 1862 - 1863. His kit, in a mahogany box, contains a syringe, scalpel, forceps for extracting bullets, bone saw, and other surgical items. [CIVIL WAR MEDICINE].
10-piece Field Surgeon’s Kit (ca. 1862-1863).
The 6th, recruited in New York City and known as Wilson’s Zouaves, was mustered into service in April, 1861, and saw combat later that year at Fort Barrancas outside Pensacola, Florida. It was ordered to New Orleans in Nov., 1862, and it was active in Louisiana until June 25, 1863, when the regiment returned to New York City and was mustered out. The original members numbered 770, of whom 14 were killed or died of wounds, and 32 died from other causes.
The tasks of a field surgeon, including amputation and bullet extraction, could be quite grisly. General Carl Schurz observed the surgeons, after the Battle of Gettysburg, and wrote these memorable lines: “There stood the surgeons, their sleeves rolled up to the elbows, their bare arms as well as their linen aprons smeared with blood, their knives not seldom held between their teeth … around them pools of blood and amputated arms or legs in heaps, sometimes more than man-high … a surgeon, having been long at work, would put down his knife, exclaiming that his hand had grown unsteady, and that this was too much for human endurance – not seldom hysterical tears streaming down his face…”