Actress Ashley Judd thought her great-great-great grandfather had lost his leg in the prison camp in Andersonville. The fact is that her ancestor lost his leg in the Battle of Saltville, Virginia and learned the truth from George Wunderlich, executive director of the National Museum of Civil Ware Medicine in Frederick, Maryland. The information was discovered when Judd and Wunderlich were collaborating on the genealogy TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?”.

Wunderlich showed Judd how her ancestor would have been treated and she was shocked when she learned how the leg was amputated and the conditions in the hospital.

George Wunderlich started working with history-related television programs in 1999 and he, along with his team, work to find out the truth in history in the 1800s. He said that it was like being a 19th century myth-buster and considers himself a historical windbag. I’ve no doubt that he’s a very interesting windbag.

This all came about from his interest in banjos, which led to an interesting transition to ballistics and medical history with his main area of expertise being from the 1830s to the 1890s.

As one might expect, the exposure has given him a public face, which has led to lecture engagements at universities throughout the country. Needless to say his exposure on TV has also been a draw for people to visit the museum. “It brings tourists to Frederick and it helps keep our museum in the public eye.”

If you’d like to learn more about George Wunderlich’s fascinating story click on Fredericksburg.com


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