Although we do not know the cause of Stephen's two visits to the doctor, he did receive a wound serious enough to warrant amputation of his right forearm. He was fortunate, if you forgive the obvious on my part, to be wounded at the end of the war. At the start of the states' conflict, there were few surgeons, and virtually none with the experience to treat the injuries inflicted by minié balls. Amputations were a life-saving procedure to prevent death from bleeding, infection and gangrene. By 1865 when Stephen received his injury, there were experienced doctors available with the ability to prevent the high risk of death at a time lacking antiseptic and antibiotics.
In 1869, Stephen is apt to need medical attention for his war wound, even four years later.