Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Civil War Crutches

From: Joshuasattic.com

Crutches during the Civil War were not made with the double body struts like now. They were a long, sturdy pole of hardwood doweled-into a top piece that fit under the armpit. These could be quickly made by local woodshops or by carpenters escorting the Divisions. This one of either walnut or fine-grained oak was padded over the years with a green (or faded dark brown) heavy cloth that is sewn with heavy brown thread. It keeps the wood from digging into the flesh and irritating it with constant use... An arm could get numb, sometimes permanently, if pressure on the nerve was constant and intense. Civil War doctors were very wise about such details of care... I have not taken off the cloth-pad, as there is nothing to find under there other than the plain wood top piece. These were rarely maker-marked. It is 50" long.


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