North Carolina Buys Artificial Limbs for Confederate Amputees

Samuel Clark’s 1866 leg.  It is currently on display at the N.C. Museum of History.

Samuel Clark’s 1866 leg. It is currently on display at the N.C. Museum of History.

On January 23, 1866, the General Assembly passed a resolution asking Governor Jonathan Worth to contract with a manufacturer of artificial limbs to fulfill the needs of the state’s Confederate amputees. North Carolina thus became the first of the former Confederate states to offer artificial limbs to amputees.  The state contracted with Jewett’s Patent Leg Company, and a temporary factory was set up in Raleigh.  A system was developed whereby the amputees encountered no out-of-pocket expenses in visiting Raleigh for prosthetic fittings.

During the five years that the state operated the artificial limbs program, 1,550 Confederate veterans contacted the state for help.  According to records in the State Archives, the total cost of the artificial-limbs program to the state was over eighty-one thousand dollars.  After defeat, the loss of thousands of lives, and economic ruin, the state’s citizens still had the ability to achieve something noble by repaying, to a degree, those who had literally risked life and limb.

There are two Jewett legs that are on display in North Carolina.  One is in the visitor’s center at Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks. Another is on loan for the new exhibit called North Carolina and the Civil War: The Raging Storm, 1863, which just opened at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 878 other followers

%d bloggers like this: