This June 3, 1861, battle, which resulted in a Union victory, was part of a campaign by Maj. Gen. George McClellan, then commander of the Department of Ohio, to protect mostly pro-Union western Virginia and secure railroad bridges.
What may be the first battlefield amputations were performed on the Confederate side. Horrible as it was, this common battlefield surgery, which generally took about 15 minutes, saved many lives, according to Michael O. Varhola in the book Life in Civil War America.
One of the patients was 18-year-old James E. Hanger, who lost his leg. After returning home, he crafted an artificial leg from barrel staves with a hinge at the knee. He was commissioned to manufacture prosthetic limbs for other wounded soldiers and patented his device. He founded what is now the Hanger Orthopedic Group, still a leading manufacturer of artificial limbs.