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View Full Version : 19th c. artificial leg and swimming/wading



CWatts
02-28-2016, 06:44 PM
So I have a Civil War vet who lost his leg below the knee and has wooden, metal & leather prosthesis. It has a foot and he wears a normal shoe or boot on it. I'm thinking similar to a Palmer Leg (http://www.nineteenthcenturydisability.org/items/show/59) - he'd want the best he could afford, he's a Southerner (so no help from the govt.) who's worked his way back into the middle class. Then of course I need to mess with him....

He gets caught in the great Virginia flood of September 1870. What happens when he's in the water? I've read that the leg would be fairly heavy so would it pull him down rather than the wood making it float (and what would it do if detached)? Obviously it would make it wading into rushing floodwaters extra dangerous. I need him to survive but the wooden leg will probably be destroyed during his misadventures.

WeaselFire
02-28-2016, 07:23 PM
If the leg comes off, it will sink like a rock and likely be pushed down stream and buried in silt and debris. For your story, he could find it or not, damaged or usable. Have him take it off if you need to lose it for the story, either to keep from drowning or as a precaution before going into the water. These weren't a quick detach, so it could cause some struggle or panic if he's knocked off his feet and has to ditch it to avoid drowning. Write it as your story needs.

Jeff

CWatts
02-28-2016, 10:44 PM
These weren't a quick detach, so it could cause some struggle or panic if he's knocked off his feet and has to ditch it to avoid drowning. Write it as your story needs.

Jeff

Thanks. Yes the examples I've found often attached around the thigh so he'd have to drop trou to remove it. As much as I'd love to have him going around butt naked, I'd guess he'd have on long underwear with the leg strapped on over top of it (because chafing?).