Discussion Can A Man With Only One Hand Join The Army As A Sharpshooter?

major bill

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Yes they can. Twenty-three year old Thomas Smith wanted to join Company K of the First Michigan Sharpsooters. The problem was the young Anishinaabe man only had one hand with his right arm missing almost to the elbow and the US Army normally did not take one handed men.

Smith was an excellent shot and was able to past the sharpshooting test. He was thus allowed to join Company K.
 

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major bill

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Sadly poor Private Smith suffered from severe eye infections, eventually going totally blind. The Army could except a one handed sharpshooter but a blind sharpshooter was another story. Private Smith was discharged and sent back to Michigan.
 

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Jan 23, 2010
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State of Jefferson
William Matlock served four years in Forrest's cavalry and was one-armed. He and his two brothers along with their overseer had a gigantic fight with Forrest, who killed two of them and slashed William's arm with a bowie knife - he lost all use of it. However, he was a great shot and a fine rider despite that. He did not like Forrest but would not serve under anyone else and years after the war said Forrest was the greatest of all the generals and he was honored to have served under him. Still didn't like him, though!
 

16thVA

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Philadelphia
Abraham Bonnifield of Tucker County, WV, was a legless cavalryman. Here he is with his nephew

170965539_1475877552.jpg


"Born in the days before automobiles, Abraham’s main mode of transportation was horseback. His saddle had a brass rail around it that kept him from sliding off. However, despite his lack of legs, he was an excellent horseman, and his learning to “trick” ride in New York may have served him well during the Civil War. He served as a messenger, and when in a tight situation, he rode by enemy lines hanging from the side of his horse—one hand hanging on the saddle, the other holding the reins, no legs to weigh him down or to dangle below the horse to reveal his presents. Thus he evaded enemy fire, for all the enemy thought they say was a riderless horse. The strength in Abraham’s arms were such that he could maintain this style of riding over an hour without fatiguing.

He was regarded as among the very best riders in the Confederate cavalry. His weight was about seventy pounds; and being thus light, his horse, which was a powerful one, was about the last to give out when it came to a long raid or a long retreat. He remained for the most part in the Valley of Virginia; but he was frequently in other parts. He accompanied the Imbodens in some of their memorable raids. As he was always in the very front in every kind of adventure, he was often in the hottest part of the battle, and in the foremost rank of the charging columns. If he was cut off from his men, and in danger of being shot, he would throw himself from his horse, hang by his hand to the horn of the saddle on the side least exposed to the enemy’s fire, guide his horse with the other hand, and thus escape. In the tumult of the battle the foe would not notice but that the horse was rid-erless; and thus he often dashed through the very lines of the enemy unseen. Such was the strength of his arms that he could hang by them for an hour without very great fatigue.

http://uebelephoto.com/download center/Bonnifield 02c.pdf
 


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