The Snodgrass Cabin
served as a field hospital.
In 1863 George Snodgrass and his family of nine lived in a log house here. On the second day of the Battle of Chickamauga, Union forces made a desperate stand in the woods and fields surrounding the cabin, forcing the Snodgrass family to take cover in a nearby ravine with other refugees.
Thousands fell as Confederates attacked Union positions on Snodgrass Hill that afternoon. It was some of the war's bloodiest fighting, and the Snodgrass Cabin soon filled with wounded. That evening the Federals evacuated, leaving behind many wounded who could not be moved. For several days injured soldiers from both sides were treated here.
Army doctors found it difficult to cope with the great numbers of casualties and the ghastly wounds. Amputation was the standard treatment for the arms or legs smashed by bullets or shells. Anesthetics such as chloroform and ether were in use during this period, but were in short supply at Chickamauga.
Casualties at Chickamauga
Of 58,000 engaged
Killed .... 1,656
Wounded ... 9,749
Missing ... 4,774
Total .... 16,179
Of 66,000 engaged
Killed .... 2,673
Wounded .. 16,274
Missing ... 2,003
Total .... 20,950[Caption under large picture]:
A Confederate surgeon amputates a soldier's arm in an effort to save his life. Amputations needed to be performed quickly - in fifteen minutes or less under battlefield conditions.
Because of its proximity to the heavy fighting on Snodgrass Hill, the Snodgrass cabin was used by both armies as a hospital. The building has been restored by the National Park Service.
[Caption under small picture]:
Selected equipment and supplies used by army surgeons at field hospitals. Some of the surgical instruments are nearly identical to those used today.