Prosthetic Arm
Original Author: Unknown; photographed by Alan Thompson
Created: ca. 1864
Medium: Prosthetic arm

Prosthetic Arm for Civil War Amputee

A hinged and movable prosthetic arm used by a Confederate amputee still exhibits some of the flesh-toned paint that once covered it. Created out of molded rawhide with a wooden core, and brass for the elbow and other moving parts, this model was patented in 1855. This particular prosthetic arm was believed to have been used by a soldier named Andrew Porter Scott of Smyth County, Virginia. Scott enlisted in the army as a private on March 13, 1862, at the age of thirty-three, and was a member of the 29th Virginia Infantry, Corse's Brigade. In the muster rolls he is described as having been five feet six inches tall, with dark hair, gray eyes, and a sallow complexion. He was wounded at Cold Harbor on June 7, 1864, and admitted to Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, where his left arm was amputated below the shoulder. He was officially discharged from active service and assigned to light duty in the Invalid Corps on February 22, 1865, a matter of weeks before Confederate general Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox. After the war Scott returned to Smyth County. He died in November 1916 at the age of eighty-seven.