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The General's reponses to their loss of a leg - Other People of the Civil War - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 01:13 am
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JoanieReb
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I have spent a lot time, personally, comparing the ways that both General Ewell and General Hood "came back" after each lost a leg.  Much is written about both men's commands after each was so mutilated, and how each coped.  Hood became extremely reckless, Ewell too timid, by many historian's accounts. 

It has always struck me as interesting that Ewell had FINALLY married the love of his life; while Hood was still persuing  (and ultimately disappointed in persuing) his Great Love in Life (was it "Sallie 'Buck' Preston"? I'm at work, no references handy...)

Of course, there were many other factors in each man's upbringing and personality that would explain why, once severely injured and taking opiates (and in JBH's case, alcohal) regularly to subdue the pain, that their short-comings as commanding generals might be accentuated.

Then, of course, it struck me that we might as well include Pickett  (oops - I'm editing, I meant Sickles, Thank you Pvt. Clewell - see posting below). He was a Yankee, and I think he carried his "pickled" amputated leg around with him, and was a notorious lover until the day he died....

I'm not so interested in Pickett (oops I mean Sickles, Thank you Pvt. Clewell - see posting below), but might as well bring an interesting Yankee into it.

Just wondered, has anyone besides me wondered about  "The Men With Lost Legs": their personal responses to being amputees,  and the medicinal effects of treating the pain besides me?

 

Last edited on Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:41 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 01:57 am
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Steven Cone
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You are correct with the name Sallie "Buck"Preston.

I don't remember reading anything about Hood being a drinker.  There are here say  stories  of him taking opiates.. But there are no documented facts to any of that. 

I have always wondered about  those (not necessary a leg)  that lost limbs and returned to their ranks.  What drove them to continue on in the ranks and in life.

I have always wondered what gave them  the strength to go on.was it love of  country  or life;  Did they have a death wish ? Did they think they  had something to prove by being a amputee? 

All this Would actually make a good book  for someone to write.. that is if there isn't one already out there.



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 02:19 am
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PvtClewell
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Joanie,

Do you mean Sickles instead of Pickett? Don't know that Pickett lost a limb, although I think he did get his ass chewed out after his shadbake at Five Forks.

Amputees returning to service in the Civil War are interesting. You have to think they were sedated on occasion, which had to affect their judgement in the field. Didn't Ewell cool his stump in Rock Creek after arriving in Gettysburg?

Actually, Ewell's performance up until the end of the first day at Gettysburg was pretty decent, I believe. He dad a strong performance at Winchester on the way to Gettysburg in one of his first actions as a corps commander.

Not sure that Sickles returned to service after his wounding, but he was instrumental in turning Gettysburg into a national military park.



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 02:31 am
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JoanieReb
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Do you mean Sickles instead of Pickett?
Hell yes, exactly what I mean.

God, I will be so glad when I get the staples out of my back and off this goof-ball stuff that junkies pay big bucks for - Tomorrow!!!!!!

(In the meantime, my daughter has been having a real good time,  bringing her friends home to play "confuse my Mom, she's easily confused right now".  Fortunately, her friends all like me, so it has all in been in good fun  - they even did the dishes...after I bought them pizza (HUH?)  - ROFL.  No wait, can't ROFL, it hurts my back,,,,,)



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:07 am
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JoanieReb
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"Actually, Ewell's performance up until the end of the first day at Gettysburg was pretty decent, I believe. "

I have a theory that Ewell needed to have a dominent personality in his life.  Jackson fulfilled that early in the war:  later, it was  Early and Ewell's wife, "Mrs. Brown".  (you know that story, right?  Ewell was so overwhelmed by having finally married his Great Love that he would become confused and introduce her by her widowed name, as, "My wife, Mrs. Brown".).

But, This doesn't fit with the younger Ewell.  I have to go back to his service prior to TWBTS, but didn't he take great iniative when he was younger?   Also, he was headstrong enough to believe, and say out-loud, that Thomas Jackson was crazy/insane, before they began working together so well.



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:49 am
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JoanieReb
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Steven Cone wrote:

"I have always wondered what gave them  the strength to go on.was it love of  country  or life;  Did they have a death wish ? Did they think they  had something to prove by being a amputee? "

I wonder, too.  But, I don't think the "death wish" was a big part of it.  These men were surely "a different breed" than most of us know now.  They awe me.



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:59 am
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JoanieReb
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As regards my response to Pvt Clewell, about three responses above, where I confused Pickett's and Sickles' names:

I am finding it very interesting, being seriously medicated for pain right now, that I become so confused and also so unaware of how confused I am.  It makes me think of this subject in a new way.  Especially JBHood, whom was noted for being "moody" and sometimes "unconcerned", during major battles.

I haven't read much about Ewell's being seriously medicated on the job, but it seems JBHood certainly was, his amputation was much more severe (only 20% of men with that particular leg amputation - like 4 inches below the hip - survived ( I can site the reference if anyone wants it). I have read much about his need to control his pain.


 



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 04:57 am
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JoanieReb
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OK, I'll just keep replying to my own thread, LOL!

I always think that everyone here at CWi knows as much and pro'bly more than I do. I forget that not everyone is an Army of Northern Virginia addict, like me.  In, fact, I have noticed that many members come from the North, and the West.  And are very knowledgable about those areas, where as I am an ignoramus.  Anyway, thinking everyone knew exactly what I was talking about,  I may have been  unclear when I replied to Pvt. Clewell's observation above:

"Actually, Ewell's performance up until the end of the first day at Gettysburg was pretty decent, I believe. "

I was thinking that everyone here at CWi knew that General Lee had, by many accounts, told Ewell to "take the hill, if practicable".  Then, Ewell consulted with Early, and Early advised Ewell not to, despite many other officers encouraging him to take the hill.  (Hey, one such was General Trimble, who LOST A LEG at G-burg - at about 62 years of age - then lived about another 30 years, I think!). 
And, many historians argue that The Battle of G-Burg was lost on the first day, when Ewell did not "take the hill".   

Thus my observation that Ewell may have needed a dominent personality to help him make decisions.


(In contrast, JBH would so little listen to any of his lessor generals' opinions that, after leaving a meeting that included Cleborne and NB Forrest, where each general there strongly disagreed with JB Hood's plans, NB Forrest exited saying "If you was a whole man, I'd whup you to within and inch of your life".) 

Last edited on Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 06:05 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 02:08 pm
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PvtClewell
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Joanie,

I found this in the epilogue of Donald Pfanz' incisive 1998 biography on Ewell:

"...Ewell's record up to the time he was wounded at Groveton was spotless. He was arguably the Army of Northern Virginia's best division commander up to that point...Ewell did not perform as well under Lee (as he had for Jackson). After the war, individuals surmised that the loss of his leg, his marriage to Lizinka, his formal acceptance of Christianity, or some combination of the three had impaired his fighting spirit. No one would have suggested such a thing in June 1863. At Second Winchester, Ewell swept Robert Milroy from the Shenandoah Valley, then boldly led his corps to the outskirts of Harrisburg, Pa., the farthest north any Confederate general would get during the war. Jackson himself could not have done better.
But disappointment followed. At Gettysburg on 1 July, Ewell routed two corps of the Union Army and garnered some 5,000 Federal prisoners. His decision not to attack Cemetery Hill, however, gave the Union army a good position from which to fight over the next two days. Although in retrospect the decision was probably correct and conformed to Lee's orders (to avoid a general engagement), Ewell was criticized for it thereafter.
Critics then and later accused Ewell of being indecisive, but no one has offered any credible evidence to back up such a claim...In later years, as the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg took on greater significance, so, too, did Ewell's failure to take Cemetery Hill. Some Southerners, seeking explanations for why they lost the war, pointed to Gettysburg and blamed Ewell. Sadly, that has been his legacy ever since."



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 02:28 pm
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younglobo
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NB Forrest exited saying "If you was a whole man, I'd whup you to within and inch of your life".) 

LoL man that is why Love to read about NBF what a way with words.

Back to the subject of this thread now .. I think most of the Gen. that came back did so because of a largly due to a sense of duty and honor to country, and folks were just alot tougher back then.  I caught a show on cable the other day (I think on CSTV or Military Channel) about soilders that had returned from Iraq as amputees which who in there College days had been world class athletes one soilder had lost an arm and used to play tennis and the other was a la cross player that had lost both legs and with prosthesis limbs both not only played thier previous sports but folks that knew them when said they were even better players now. You have to have a certain attitude to be a good soilder and the ones that have it can overcome alot.

I also believe it has alot to do with attitude , I have a young teenage girl in my youth group at our church she has a spinal injury and has been in a wheel chair since birth, she has the most to gripe about of any teenager yet rarely if ever does is always smiling and in a good mood. Because she has a positive outlook, and a go getter attitude. Both of the above Gen. had to have the same attitude or they would of been sunk plus times were different you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps you didnt look for the GOV for help or others like most do now days, the woe is me mentality. 

I now hop off the soap box (sorry for the lengthy rant)

As i always say just the Opinion of a MO. Boy that and .50 the java is on me



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 02:31 pm
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younglobo
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one other random thought

Sickles was a nut didn't he give his leg to the Med. Museum in DC and go to visit it often , think it is still on display today.



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:22 pm
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Steven Cone
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Theses were very tough men.. Buit I think everyone has their braking point..

Ma'am  you mentioned Hood wqs Moody   4 hours in saddle is one very tiring  to do  8  with  be.. Oh geeze i dont even want to think of it.. plus minus a limb  as high up as his was..    I would be beyond tired. and would sleep for days.   

I know in my profession in which I stand for 6 to 10hrs  a day   some times even more. I am plum worn out  And you talk about being snappy, ill , disgruntel etc   I'll give anyone a run for their moneyl .. 

Btw Ewell Lived in Spring Hill, Tennessee after the war. Kind odd that  Hood and Ewll have  the town  in common as well.

Regards, steven



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:27 pm
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David White
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I seem to recall a story about Ewell on July 1 that he took a bullet in his artificial leg that afternoon and it took a little spunk out of him for the rest of the battle, up until that point, he did perform marvelously in the campaign.



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:35 pm
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HankC
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Steven Cone wrote:

I have always wondered about  those (not necessary a leg)  that lost limbs and returned to their ranks.  What drove them to continue on in the ranks and in life.

I have always wondered what gave them  the strength to go on.was it love of  country  or life;  Did they have a death wish ? Did they think they  had something to prove by being a amputee? 



Ewell and Hood are professional soldiers. As general officers, they return to work after recuperating.

Injured enlisted men are invalided home once they're missing a limb or an eye - not sure about fingers...

Sickles, not a professional soldier, figures he's given enough, plus he's not really wanted by many, anyhow ;)

 

 

HankC



 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2007 03:38 pm
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ole
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In the early (pun intended) Lost Cause Movement, a lot of effort went into deifying Lee--which required blaming others for the defeat at G'burg. Longstreet got the most of it with Ewell coming in a close second.

"Take the hill if practicable" gave Ewell the out he needed. Could he have taken it? Probably, but at considerable cost. The retreating Howard had significant numbers on the hill and, 'though disorganized and whupped, would have exacted a heavy price. Meanwhile, Ewell's troops had been fighting all day and were also considerably disorganized after having passed through town. From our 21st-century chairs, we can see that Ewell ought to have taken the hill. On July 1, 1863, it would have taken "We must have that hill." No "if practicable" about it.

Ole



 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2007 12:41 am
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CleburneFan
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Hood didn't suffer only from the loss of a leg at Chickamauga. At Gettysburg, a serious wound on Day Two of the battle, cost him the use of his left arm the rest of his life. The shattered arm wasn't amputated, but it was severely damaged.

When I think how difficult it must have been to ride for hours on a horse when one has lost the use of an arm and has lost a leg, it just boggles my mind. No wonder Hood may not have been thinking clearly at Franklin and Nashville.

He did manage well enough with these handicaps to father eleven children after the war. However, in one last cruel tragedy, his offspring were all orphaned when Hood, a widower,  died of yellow fever. In an unthinkable event as seen from modern times, these children (except one who had died before Hood) were split among families in five different states!

 

 



 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2007 01:43 am
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JoanieReb
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Wow, I am just thrilled by these responses, and actually learning and being challenged and wanting to respond, with thoughts or questions, (hopefully intelligent ones) to each one.

I was afraid everyone would think I was just being silly with this thread!

I will not be on my feet until Monday, and am very tired, but, boy, reading this thread gave me a lift, thank you all!

I just wanted to reply to Cleburne Fan's response right now, because I think it brings in special information.  Yes, this Great, Big, seemingly Fearless soldier (credited to Texas, but originally from Kentucky, I believe), had previously lost the use of his arm.  While it was not amputated, it was withered and useless,  and was pinned by the sleeve to the breast of his shrit or jacket for the rest of his life.  Subsequently, he lost a leg, 4 inches below the hip!   This was an incredably physically hardy man by birth and upbringing, he couldn't have survived otherwise.  And by all accounts, he was fearless. 

I remember reading something that said, "as if to dispute all claims that he might be a lame lover, he fathered eleven childern in as many years, including  (2 or 3???) sets of twins."

Yet, his life was bound in tragedy - if I remember correctly, his wife, eldest child, and he, himself, all died of a fever within a week of each other, when the elderst was eleven years old (Please feel free to correct me, going on memory, but I'm sure that I am not too far off).

I have always thought, that this was the ultimate tragedy/failure of his life, to leave behind 10 orphaned children, none older than 10 years old.  I have wondered what happened to those orphaned children.  Thank you for giving me a clue, Cleburne Fan!

But again, interestingly, Ewell and his wife also died somewhat prematurely of a fever, a few days apart.

Well, back to recouping  - see Ya'All Monday!

Joanie

 

 



 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2007 10:17 am
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JoanieReb
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Pvt. Clewell,

I would LOVE to believe this:

Although in retrospect the decision was probably correct and conformed to Lee's orders (to avoid a general engagement), Ewell was criticized for it thereafter.

Thank you for the quote from Donald Pfanz, most of which I think accurate and good until I come to that singular statement.....

....but hadn't Lee's orders about avoiding a general engagement expired hours ago?  Didn't it expire when Heth engaged Buford.? (Another subject, but, I think pro'bly another very sad mistake resulting from AP Hill being too ill to command.)

I think that the battle was in full swing, and actually winding down, when Ewell chose not to take The Hill.   A "general engagement"  had been going on for hours....violently.  And, with the man that I think was the North's best general (John Reynolds), killed early on.



 

Last edited on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 10:44 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2007 03:26 pm
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ole
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....but hadn't Lee's orders about avoiding a general engagement expired hours ago?

The statement caught my eye as well. I think Ewell was justified in not taking the hill, and "if practicable" was the justification. Having been in a "general engagement" very nearly all day, it simply doesn't make sense to bring out and dust off the marching orders.

Ole



 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2007 02:40 am
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JoanieReb
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In all my reading, prob'ly one of the most singular paragraphs that I had ever come across was how, in his last months, Lee finally unburdened himself - to someone, I can't remember who, I'm thinking a  cousin - but I will find the reference if anyone wants it.

When asked about The Battle Of Gettysburg, and how it was lost, General R. E. Lee, said, " if Thomas Jackson had been there, he would have found a way to take That Hill".

Last edited on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 02:43 am by JoanieReb



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