Rare Civil War photos now at the Smithsonian
Colt 1860 revolver found at Gettysburg

Coughs up bullet 58 years later

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Photo courtesy of the Kilburn familyFor 58 years, the Civil War-era bullet that took the right eye of Confederate soldier Willis Meadows, left, was lodged near his brain. Fired in 1863 at the siege of Vicksburg by Union soldier Peter Knapp, right, the bullet reappeared in 1921 when Meadows was stricken with a violent coughing spell. The one-time mortal enemies were reunited as friends.
By BILL MILLER

Updated Apr 12, 2012 

Willis Meadows grasped his throat and began to choke.
Whatever was stuck in there wouldn't come out, and with coughing spasms growing violent, the 78-year old couldn't breathe. Just when he thought it was his time to die, something flew from his mouth, bounced on the wooden kitchen table and tumbled to a stop.
Trapped in Meadows' head for nearly 58 years, here was the Civil War bullet, a one-ounce slug that had taken out the Confederate veteran's right eye when he was just a boy.
"Coughs Up Bullet" was a national newspaper story in 1921. Eleven years later, in a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" cartoon, it was published around the world in 42 countries and 17 different languages.
Ripley missed the most unbelievable part of the story. After 58 years, Meadows would meet the Union soldier who shot him.
Read the full story: The Mail Tribune

 

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