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Department 1

Civil War Institute


After losing both arms in a gunnery accident aboard the USS Rhode Island in 1863 and being told he would not live, Medal of Honor recipient Lewis Horton resolved that he would recover and be with his family again soon. The double amputation, completed within an hour of the accident, was successful, but Horton lost a significant amount of blood and could merely wait and hope. Eighty days after amputation, the ligatures — cords left in the limb to hold arteries closed until they had sufficiently healed — were removed, and healing commenced quickly. Shortly after, he was discharged and the process of learning to live as a double-amputee began. [excerpt]


This blog post originally appeared in The Gettysburg Compiler and was created by students at Gettysburg College.