Nugent was among the lucky ones: he came back alive. More than a third of Mississippi’s 78,000 soldiers were killed in battle or died from disease. And more than half of the survivors brought home a lasting disability of war. Visitors to the state were astonished by the broken bodies they saw at every gathering, in every town square. Mississippi resembled a giant hospital ward, a land of missing arms and legs. In 1866, one-fifth of the state budget went for the purchase of artificial limbs.
20 percent of a state’s budget, just for artificial limbs. I suppose the lesson is don’t commit treason to defend slavery, but while the percentages were must lower in the North, the impact of the returning amputees was just as drastic.