Wednesday, June 18, 2008

General Daniel E. Sickles loses a leg at the Battle of Gettysburg

Gens. Sickles, Carr & Graham. Taken near Trostle's barn, Gettysburg Battlefield - on spot where General Sickles lost his leg, July 2nd, 1863

Colorful, enigmatic, and controversial Union General Daniel E. Sickles suffered the misfortune of being struck by a cannonball at the Battle of Gettysburg. As a result of this injury, his right leg was amputated, thus ending his combat career. In typical Sickles fashion, he faced his handicap with extraordinary bravery and calm. Whitelaw Ried describes this calm in his Cincinnati Gazette column of July 4. Reid writes:

On a stretcher, borne by a couple of stout privates lay General Sickles -- but yesterday leading his corps with all the enthusiasm and dash for which he has been distinguished -- to-day [sic] with his right leg amputated, More...and lying there, grim and stoical, with his cap pulled over his eyes, his hands calmly folded across his breast, and a cigar in his mouth! For a man who had just lost a leg, and whose life was yet in imminent jeopardy, it was cool indeed. He was being taken to the nearest railroad line<, to be carried to some city where he could get most careful attendance...

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