“In 1861, [Dan] Sickles organized militia for the Union effort, and the next year was appointed brigadier general under Gen. Joseph Hooker in the Army of the Potomac. He rose to major general… and notoriously defied his commanding generals’ instructions at key battles. At Gettysburg, a cannonball mangled Sickles’ right leg, and it had to be amputated.
“Sickles donated his leg, soaked in whiskey as a preservative, to the Army Medical Museum in Washington, D.C., where it became exhibit No. 1335.
“ ‘For years afterward,’ Reid Mitenbuler writes in his book, ‘Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey,’ ‘on the anniversary of the amputation Sickles would visit his leg at the museum to remind everyone of his heroic sacrifice, using it to revive a political career that lasted until he’d died at the age of ninety-four.’
“This is the man who ran Reconstruction in North Carolina….”
— From “African-American news reflected 1860s Asheville” by Rob Neufeld in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Feb. 25)
And then there’s Stonewall Jackson’s arm….
Chitterlings/chitlins, a notoriously pungent exemplar of Southern cuisine, are seldom seen (or sniffed) these days. (None too soon, my mother would’ve said. Not my father, who took advantage of her absences to boil up a bucket of hog intestines and have his pals over to share.)
One early reference to the chitterling strut, as a dance step, appeared in the Asheville Citizen (June 30, 1926): “The Chitterling Strut, the Breakfast Bounce and the Rolled-Sock Dance are the latest terpsichorean novelties in Asheville’s darktown…. Wallace Walker had been charged with operating a dance hall without a license but was released when it was found that the cost of chitterling strutting was only 15 cents a head….”
The step may be long forgotten, but its name lives on most prominently in the annual Chitlin Strut in Salley, S.C.
Thanks to whoever thought this undated marker-on-cardboard poster was worth saving. Karen Brann at the Caswell County Public Library has lived in the county since 1987 but has no recollection of Fat-boys. Any Miscellany readers who can fill us in?