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Complete Explanation:
A grim commentary on the extraordinary measures taken by some Americans to evade military service during the Civil War. A man in shirtsleeves (center) has just had his right hand mutilated by a woman who stands at left, holding a hammer and knife. On a stump before the woman lies the man's severed index finger. "Oh Lord! Oh Lord! how it hurts," howls the man, as he dances about holding his bleeding hand.

On the right, another man with an amputated finger extends his hand and reassures him, "{grave}Twont hurt but a minute and then you can get one of those." He refers to a certificate in his left hand, signed by "Dr. Syntax," certifying that "I have examined Adam Cowherd, Esq. and find that he has lost the first finger of his right hand. He affirms that it was cut off while digging post holes. I recommend that he be sent to the Army or to Fort Lafayette." During the Civil War, Fort Lafayette was used as a prison for political offenders.

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