May 2018 Meeting – Bob O’Connor

Join us on May 8 when Bob O’Connor discusses the first amputee of the Civil
War, James Hanger, and how he went on to serve others after suffering his

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., May 8, 2018

Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia

Topic: The First Amputee of the Civil War

James Hanger was a member of the Churchville Cavalry of the 14th Virginia
Cavalry. He was hit by a cannon ball in the first land battle of the Civil War at
Philippi, Virginia, in president-day West Virginia, on June 3, 1861. He became
the war’s first amputee. He went on to develop his own prosthetic and then
opened a factory in late 1861 to make prosthetics for others. By his death in 1919,
over 60,000 people had worn Hanger limbs. Today, his company, Hanger, Inc., is
156 years old and is the largest manufacturer of prosthetics in the United States.


Our speaker:
Bob O’Connor’s interest in history goes back to a trip in 1958 to Galesburg,
Illinois, where he attended the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Carl Sandburg was the featured speaker.

He has worked full time and part time as a newspaper reporter. While director of
tourism in Washington County, Maryland, he became involved in touring local
places like Antietam Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and
was hooked.

Along the way he was privileged to work with Superintendent Rich Rambur at
Antietam Battlefield. O’Connor started two marvelous events at the national
park that are still going strong: the Independence Concert at Antietam Battlefield
in July and the Memorial Illumination at Antietam Battlefield in December.

He has a biology degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and
lives in Charles Town, West Virginia, close to most of the sites of the books he has
written and his son, daughter, and seven grandchildren.

He also hosts the podcast “The Chronicles of the American Civil War.”

About Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.
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