Through a link in an article at Taki's Magazine, I came across Fanny Burney's description of her mastectomy in 1811. It's horrifyingly graphic in its details, and conveys the agony of surgery without anesthetic better than anything else I've ever read. Here's one paragraph from her account.
... when the dreadful steel was plunged into the breast—cutting through veins—arteries—flesh—nerves—I needed no injunctions not to restrain my cries. I began a scream that lasted unintermittingly during the whole time of the incision—and I almost marvel that it rings not in my Ears still! so excruciating was the agony. When the wound was made, and the instrument was withdrawn, the pain seemed undiminished, for the air that suddenly rushed into those delicate parts felt like a mass of minute but sharp and forked poniards, that were tearing the edges of the wound—but when again I felt the instrument—describing a curve—cutting against the grain, if I may so say, while the flesh resisted in a manner so forcible as to oppose and tire the hand of the operator, who was forced to change from the right to the left—then, indeed, I thought I must have expired.
There's more at the link.
Ghastly to read, but it makes me very thankful that anesthetics have been available for all the surgeries I've undergone!