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This prosthetic leg served in both the Confederate and Union armies

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by CSA Today, May 7, 2014.

  1. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    10308124_631820096899448_1919042912639190725_n.jpg
    When Confederate Captain John Newton Ballard of Mosby’s Rangers lost his leg in battle in 1863 like many of his fellow officers he didn’t waste time fretting over his amputated limb. Instead, he acquired a second hand artificial leg and got back to war. Unfortunately, he was left literally without a leg to stand on near Halltown, Virginia, when his horse collided with a Union cavalry soldier’s mount and his prosthetic was crushed, making him the only Civil War soldier to lose the same leg twice.
    However, he was about to have a stroke of luck. In March 1864, Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren was killed near Richmond, Virginia, during a cavalry raid. He, too, had lost a leg in 1863 (in fact, the severed leg was given a military funeral and is still sealed within the wall of Building 28 in the Washington Navy Yard). Dahlgren’s body was found by 13 year old Confederate, who took his wooden artificial limb as a souvenir. The Yankee prosthetic made its way to John Ballard, who wore it in active service to the end of the war.
     

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  3. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    Now, that's a story !
     
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  4. Union_Buff

    Union_Buff Captain

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    Thanks for posting the article CSA - one of the more interesting stories I have come across :smile:
     
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  5. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

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    If that leg could talk..........

    M. E. Wolf
     
  6. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Thanks! Just finished Eric Wittenberg's book on Dahlgren (again) and here you come with that awesome post!
     
  7. 7th Mississippi Infantry

    7th Mississippi Infantry Major Forum Host

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    Great story.
    I had an 80's flashback of Jack Palance gazing into the camera with a wild look on his face and whispering . . .
    DownloadedFile.jpeg
     
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  8. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Hellava story!
     
  9. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    That's a GREAT story, thanks so much! I smell a section here in the forum for ' Believe It Or Not ' stories- things like this are just way too good to become lost through time, don't you think Nate?

    ANOTHER ONE I missed? ***sigh**** Am still making sticky notes through the last one I did not know existed, mostly questions to pester someone with. You sure can't find the answers on Google searches let me tell you.
     
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  10. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Great story. I agree with Annie, a Believe or Not forum would be good.
     
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  11. W. Richardson

    W. Richardson 1st Lieutenant

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    Great post !! Thank you for posting..........

    Respectfully,

    William
     
  12. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    LOL. Because they don't go comb through the National Archives to find the answers! :smile: I love Eric's books even if they do give me nightmares.....
     
  13. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    I don't have my copy around, but I was thinking there was something about the leg not fitting the guy properly--perhaps too tall? (maybe someone else got it first?) and it was handed around until someone did fit it?
     
  14. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren acquired a wooden leg to replace one lost in battle. After he was killed in the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid on Richmond, Virginia, the leg was displayed in a Richmond department store. Soon thereafter. Confederate Lieutenant James Pollard, who led the unit that killed Dahlgren, lost a leg. He claimed Dahlgren's leg as a war prize. When the leg did not fit him, he gave it to Confederate Captain John N. BaJlard.
    of Mosby's Rangers. Thus, the leg served both with the North and the South.

    Captain Ballard had lost his leg in a skirmish with a small party of Union Cavalry, at Ewell's Chapel, east of Bull Run Mountains. After the war, he married Miss Thrift, and the Thrift Farm on the site of the Battle of Chantilly became known as the Ballard Farm.

    http://www.gfhs.org/local_lore/sanders_03.htm
     
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  15. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    And that's stranger than strange! :smile:
     
  16. noman

    noman First Sergeant

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  17. kholland

    kholland Brigadier General Moderator Trivia Game Winner Forum Host

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    Good story- a bit weird- but good.
     
  18. Patrick H

    Patrick H Captain

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    I can only second that statement.
     
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  19. damYankee

    damYankee 2nd Lieutenant

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    Sounds like both sides had the same leg up!
     
  20. 7th Mississippi Infantry

    7th Mississippi Infantry Major Forum Host

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    I wonder what Sickles thought about all of this ?
     

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