Left-Hand Penmanship Contest

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Discover how Civil War Veterans coped with and interpreted the loss of a limb through their submissions to a Left-Hand Penmanship Contest. The contest, sponsored by William Oland Bourne, aimed to demonstrate that these Union Army veterans were “disabled, but not disheartened.” The writers recount their war service, the circumstances of their wound or amputation, and sometimes their feelings about sacrificing their dominant arm for the nation. Though the stories are personal to each veteran, their service and sacrifice resonate today.

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