From Life Explores "The Civil War in the Front Lines: From Fort Sumter to Appomattox." One of hose magazine/books you see so often these days in the magazine section of stores.
In 1865, 18-year-old Robley Evans, a Northern seaman, was shot through both knees at the Battle of Fort Fisher while making a ground assault with a brigade of naval volunteers.
Days later, the young ensign found himself in a federal military hospital facing a drunken surgeon who insisted Evans undergo a double amputation of his legs.
After being told he had no choice, the young sailor reached under his pillow and produced a loaded Colt revolver, :I told him that there were six loads in it," Evans recalled, " and that if he or anyone else entered my door with anything that looked like a case of instruments, I mean to begin shooting."
Evans kept his legs and later recovered. His case was unique.
Most soldiers who faced amputation died soon afterward. The state of medical care during the war was enough to make wounded men like Evans resort to desperate measures.