Today we recognize #InternationalDayOfPersonsWithDisabilities! People with disabilities contribute to every facet of American life. One hero from the night of the assassination, CPL James Tanner, overcame serious injury, and the stigma of the time, to make a lasting impression. After he was hit by shrapnel in the Second Battle of Bull Run (@Manassas National Battlefield Park), surgeons were forced to amputate both legs. Following this, he relearned to walk, studied stenography (writing in shorthand), and returned to serve his country, this time working for the Ordnance Department. It was due to this skill that he was called to the Petersen House by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, on the night of April 14, 1865, to record eyewitness testimony.
Following that night, Tanner worked for the New York state legislature, passed the bar, and travelled as a public speaker covering such topics as veterans’ rights and Civil War pensions. Commissioner of Pensions for five months, he then worked as a private lawyer helping veterans win pension claims, before becoming Register of Wills for DC. He successfully campaigned for soldier’s homes to be established in New York and Virginia and served on the board of directors for the Red Cross.
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Image: White, Thomas and White, Samuel. Ancestral Chronological Record of the William White Family, From 1607-8 to 1895. Concord, Mass.: Republican Press, 1895