Boston Corbett was a hero in the early morning hours of April 26th, 1865. He brought Abraham Lincoln’s killer to justice by fatally shooting John Wilkes Booth through the neck at the Garretts’ barn. Though some would have preferred the assassin had been taken alive and put on trial, America was satisfied by the swift justice discharged through Corbett’s gun. Prior to his run in with history, Corbett was also a godsend to many of the poor Union soldiers imprisoned at Andersonville prison camp. A devout Christian, Corbett’s preaching of the Bible was his attempt to bring hope into an increasingly hopeless situation.
In addition to these personality traits however, Boston Corbett was also, shall we say, eccentric. Later in life his eccentricities would cause him to be admitted into an insane asylum. From here he would make his escape and disappear mysteriously, his fate known only to God.
It is one of Boston Corbett’s early eccentric activities that is the material for this post. Those of you familiar with the assassination story already know what surgical operation Boston Corbett performed on himself. For those of you unaware of his actions, I will attempt to delicately explain. In his attempt to remove himself from all physical temptation, Corbett performed an act on himself that we typically reserve to animals like cats and dogs to prohibit their breeding. For those of you who can overcome your squeamishness (and yes I’m mainly talking to the men here) what follows after the jump is the original hospital report and a transcription of Boston Corbett’s time in the hospital.
Boston Corbett’s medical record
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
July 16 to August 15, 1858:
I only have one more thing to add…Ouch!
I wanted to be a veterinarian as a young girl as I have always loved animals. At the age of sixteen, and against my parent’s wishes, I watched as the veterinarian gelded my 2 year old colt, Ringo. Absolutely horrific! Horses and livestock are NOT given anything but a local anesthetic. A twitch is tied around the horse’s upper lip to immobilize him and a large device somewhat not akin to a pair of hedge clippers was used. Needless to say, I then and there decided NOT to become a veterinarian. I also get sick at the sight of blood….
Boston Corbett was quite the character! Eccentric is certainly a good word used to describe him – a very interesting man….
Never seen this before, Dave! Thanks a bunch – you are quite the researcher!