TIEMANN AMPUTATION SET OF SURGEON JAMES S. GALE, 60th NEW YORK

$4,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 413-65

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This is a military style amputation set using sliding latches on the case rather than a civilian key lock and screws securing the top as well as the brass top corners and bands at the upper corners of the lower section. It bears an original red label on the cover of the lid compartment reading, “G.TIEMANN & Co / MANUFACTURERS / OF / SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS / 63 CHATHAM ST. N.Y.,” dating it from 1855 to 1864. In addition to the Tiemann maker’s label the case preserves a wonderful Tiemann list of contents and prices for the implements and the entire cased set on a label inside the cover of the lid compartment. It also bears a brass escutcheon plate on the lid engraved in period script, “J.S. Gale,” confirming that it was privately purchased rather than passing through U.S. Hospital Department channels. The only viable candidate is James S. Gale, who served as Surgeon for the 60th New York from 1861 to 1863.

The interior of the box is lined in red velvet. The lower section of the box contains three long amputation knives and a tenaculum in slots to the right. These are marked “Tiemann” in Old English- a marking fully appropriate for the date of the set. In one compartment at left is a complete tourniquet with brass body and full red and white strap with pad. A small lidded compartment contains suture needles, pins, and thread. There is also a loose extra blade for the amputation saw. The inside of the lid contains the amputation saw and an artery forceps in fitted recesses. Two other spaces are empty. We would recommend leaving the set as is, though it would be possible over time to fill the spaces with the correct Tiemann marked implements for display. But it would be important to document the case as is since it is identified, and carefully record what is added.

James Sheldon Gale was born in Orwell, Vermont, Jan. 30, 1830, the son of Dr. Nathan Gale, and became a physician as well. He studied medicine as Castleton Medical College in Vermont and when the war started was living and working in Canton, St. Lawrence County, N.Y. He enrolled in the 60th New York and was mustered in and commissioned as Surgeon to date 30 October 1861. His younger brother Rollin had enrolled about a month earlier and was the regimental adjutant.

The unit left the state November 4 and was first assigned to guard the important rail line between Baltimore and Washington. In April 1862 they were posted to Harpers Ferry and as part of Banks Corps of Pope’s Army of Virginia were in reserve at Cedar Mountain during the Virginia campaign, after which they were assigned to Greene’s Division of Mansfield’s 12th Corps, Army of the Potomac. At Antietam the corps was sent in on the right wing and attacked after Hooker’s assault, forcing Confederates out of the East Woods and Cornfield, with elements reaching the Dunkard Church and Mumma Farm. The regiment lost 22 officers and men, 8 of them killed outright or mortally wounded, including William Goodrich, their colonel and acting brigade commander. After the battle they were again posted to Harpers Ferry and saw action in two small skirmishes at Hillsboro, Va., in November and December. The regiment had been ravaged by Typhoid and other diseases in the summer of 1862. Gale himself was forced to resign from ill-health in early 1863, being discharged to date Jan. 17, 1863. He returned to his civilian medical practice. We find him back in Orwell, Vermont, for the 1870 census, but by 1890 he is once again in Canton, NY, where he died in August 1894. Gale is mentioned several times in the regimental history was consulted for parts of it.

The case is in very good condition, with good finish and nice lining. The brass corners, bands and escutcheon plate show some original gilt. The escutcheon plate shows some age spotting. The corners show some natural rubbing from handling. The instrument blades are bright and the black checkered handles are very good. [sr] [ph:m/L]

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