Around this time 150 years ago, as Maj. General Daniel Sickles surveyed his line at the Peach Orchard from his headquarters at the Trostle Farm, his leg felt strange. When he bent over to feel into his boot, he sensed something wet.
Sickles’ leg had been hit by a 12-lb cannon ball, and the lower part of his shin was hanging limp. Despite the story you may have been told, he immediately started to panic. While aides pulled him off his horse and took him around behind the Trostle barn, he begged them not to let him get captured. He was placed in an ambulance and taken to the rear.
Sometime later that night, either at a III Corps field hospital along the Taneytown Road, or at the Daniel Sheaffer Farm, Sickles’ leg was amputated. Knowing that the army medical service was looking for examples of gruesome wounds to use for training material, Sickles used his political influence to have this leg placed in the Army Medical Museum, where he periodically visited it for the rest of his life.