inlcuding a reenactment of what is claimed to be the Civil War's first amputation in Philippi, West Virginia (scroll down at that link to read about the unfortunate surgery). Philippi also boasts the Mummies of the Insane exhibit, which I'm guessing draws more visitors.
There's much more to the amputation, story, however. I chanced upon one of many news reports about American service personnel in Iraq who have been fitted with the latest in prosthetic devices. I don't recall where I read it now, but the article made mention of the Civil War amputation in Philippi, which caused me to dig a little deeper. Turns out that first patient, James Edward Hanger—a Confederate cavalryman wounded in the Battle of Philippi—later designed his own artificial leg [editor's note: see the comment below from Steve M., who says that Hanger did not enlist on either side, but wanted to join Union forces initially). Perhaps this story is more widely known than I realized, but it was the first I'd read of Mr. Hanger (pictured at top) in any detail.
According to a company history of the Hanger Orthopedic Group, young Hanger "designed an artificial leg with the first hinged knee and hinged foot, forming it out of whittled barrel staves, rubber, wood, and metal components (the illustration at right is from Hanger's patent). According to a history of prosthetics from Northwestern University Medical School, Hanger 'replaced the catgut tendons of the American leg [an earlier prostheses named in 1856] with rubber bumpers to control dorsiflexion and plantarflexion and he used plug fit wood socket.'"
Eventually, Hanger set up shop in Richmond producing limbs for other Civil War amputees. The company he started, and that still bears his name, has since supplied advanced prostheses to amputees of every American military conflict. Today, the company has over 3,500 employees and a presence in 45 states (here's a fascinating short history of "Orthopedics at War," by Danielle Cohen; the Hanger company timeline is at the company website, and also here).
Hanger is not the only company that dates back in some form to the American Civil War. And the Hanger Limb was not the only innovative advance to spring from those years of slaughter, but I'd wager there are a lot more items on the killing and maiming side of that particular balance sheet. Take a moment this evening to raise your glass to James Edward Hanger, 1843-1919, considered by some to be the father of modern prosthetics.