Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Magic Bullet

  On July 1, 1863 Union forces were closing in on Vicksburg Mississippi. A nineteen year old Confederate sniper named Willis Meadows was taking aim through a hole in an iron boiler plate when a minie ball crashed through his right eye and into his brain. Peter Knapp, a 21 year old Union soldier thought he had killed Meadows. He was lying against the boiler plate gushing  blood from his right eye.  Knapp was captured by the Confederate army several months later and would be held in several Confederate prisons, including Andersonville. After the war Knapp would marry and settle down in Michigan.

  In 1921 Peter Knapp noticed a Ripley's Believe It or Not cartoon in a local newspaper. At the top was the caption (Coughs Up Bullet) . The story was about a 78 year old man who suddenly began choking on something and went into a coughing spasm trying to dislodge the object from his throat. Just as he thought he was about to die something large and hard flew from his mouth and landed with a loud thump on the kitchen table. The man discovered that it was a bullet that had been lodged in his head for 58 years. The bullet had blinded him in the right eye and nearly killed him at the battle of Vicksburg. The most amazing part of the story, which Ripley would never know, was that Peter Knapp realized that the man in the story was the man he had shot so many years ago. .

  A few months later Knapp contacted Meadows and after talking it was confirmed that he was the man that Knapp had shot that day. After Meadows was found he was taken to a Union surgeon. The doctor was afraid to go after the bullet. So he was sent to a Union hospital and later exchanged with a Confederate hospital. At the end of the war Knapp married and settled in his home town of Lanette Alabama. When Knapp and Meadows reunited they became fast friends, exchanging  pictures and wishing each other good health


  1. "God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see; He will make a way for me."