Civil War Medicine Quiz: The People and Innovations That Changed Medicine

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD

Disclosures

May 21, 2015

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

Dan Sickles (1819-1914) had a fascinating career as a politician, soldier, and foreign minister. At age 40, he murdered his wife's lover, Philip Barton Key II, who at that time was Attorney of the District of Columbia and a son of Francis Scott Key, composer of our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner." Because Sickles confessed to committing the murder, he seemed doomed to be executed, but he was acquitted after pleading insanity—the first time such a defense had ever been used to justify murder. He lost his leg during the Civil War when struck by a cannon ball at the battle of Gettysburg. The shattered tibia and fibula along with the cannon ball can be seen at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.[9]

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