Wounded Soldiers' Pics Were Used To Assess Pensions In US War, Photography Enriched Medical Science

John H Bowers wounded at the Battle of Petersburgh in 1865.

John H Bowers wounded at the Battle of Petersburgh in 1865.

Ludwig Kohn wounded in 1863 at the battle of Gettysburg was admitted to Harewood General Hospital as a result of rib-fracturing gunshot wound.

Ludwig Kohn wounded in 1863 at the battle of Gettysburg was admitted to Harewood General Hospital as a result of rib-fracturing gunshot wound.

Peter Strien, wounded in 1865, at the Battle of Fort Steadman

Peter Strien, wounded in 1865, at the Battle of Fort Steadman

William A Donan, a 26-year-old sergeant, wounded on June 3, 1864, at the battle of Coal Harbor.

William A Donan, a 26-year-old sergeant, wounded on June 3, 1864, at the battle of Coal Harbor.

Edward Estelle admitted to the Harewood Gen'l Hospital in 1865, suffering from the amputation of the left arm, as a result of the gunshot.

Edward Estelle admitted to the Harewood Gen'l Hospital in 1865, suffering from the amputation of the left arm, as a result of the gunshot.

In US, Reed B Bontecou, a surgeon from New York, started medical photography.
He was also a soldier in the American Civil War.
He took his camera with him to the battlefield.
Besides treating the wounded soldiers, he also clicked their pictures.
He recorded injuries, surgeries, treatments and his working environment.
He played an important role in the identification of a huge number of fatalities of the Civil War.
His images were used to determine post-war pensions, as the officials used the photos to confirm the injuries of the soldiers.

Martin Restle, circular amputation of left leg, as a consequence of gunshot wound.

Martin Restle, circular amputation of left leg, as a consequence of gunshot wound.

William Trefts admitted to Harewood Gen'l Hospital, the USA in 1865, with a gunshot wound at battle of Peterburg.

William Trefts admitted to Harewood Gen'l Hospital, the USA in 1865, with a gunshot wound at battle of Peterburg.

These pictures of Dr Reed B Bontecou played a significant role in the formation of the Otis Archives in the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington.
Some of these pictures were used to show the use of plastic surgery in a visage and body repair.
These images were displayed in numerous exhibitions, and many of them have been showcased at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art, as part of the Photography and American Civil War exhibition.

Edward Estelle admitted to the Harewood General Hospital in 1865, suffering from the amputation of the left arm, as a result of the gun shot.

Edward Estelle admitted to the Harewood General Hospital in 1865, suffering from the amputation of the left arm, as a result of the gun shot.

In 2011, the Burns Archive paid tribute to Dr Bontecou by releasing a book called "Shooting Soldiers: Civil War Medical Photography by Reed B Bontecou." Besides a big selection of Dr Bontecou's photographs, the book contains a compilation of short history and biography of the doctor.

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