Being injured in battle 200 years ago was simply horrific. Surgery on an injured soldier was unbearable because anesthesia had not been invented yet. See how battlefield surgery was performed between 1799 and 1815 during the time of the Napoleonic Wars.
In this recreation, a corporal has sustained a bullet wound just below the knee. Watch the rudimentary operation carried out by a surgeon to help save the soldier’s life. First, the bullet will be pulled out by finger. Then a knife will be used to cut skin, muscle and fat. Finally, the skin will be stretched so there’s enough of it to cover the nub after the limb has been removed. No alcohol could be consumed prior to an amputation and, though they used a tourniquet, it’s safe to assume that soldiers felt the brunt of the operation. Multiple assistants would be needed to hold the patient down.