This is probably the greatest urban legend of all time.
And it's a "Battlefield Myth"

New meaning to the term "son-of-a-gun"

A Minié ball (pronounced "minny") is a type of bullet used in a rifle musket – a weapon commonly used during The Civil War. The urban legend says the bullet was fired through the groin area of a Confederate soldier and subsequently ricocheted into the ovaries of a nearby southern bell whose home bordered the battlefield in question. Nine months later a baby was born and eventually the soldier, being a gentleman, married the young mother and everyone lived happily ever after.

According to Dr LeGrand G Capers in his article published in the American Medical Weekly on November 7, 1871, this actually happened:
 


Dr Capers was the chief surgeon attached to Cuttshaws Battery during the Vicksburg Campaign.
He stated that the incident occurred during the very real Battle of Raymond, Mississippi May 11, 1863.
He stated in the article that the baby was born to the young lady in question 278 days later who had been examined pre-birth and found to have an intact hymen, suggesting no sexual contact.
To tie up loose ends it was also stated that he removed the deformed Minié ball from under the baby's skin after birth.


As reported by the popular culture/urban legends debunker Snopes, the American Medical Weekly published in its November 21, 1874 edition that the Son of a Gun story was a gag. Still, the article was passed around and eventually cited as fact again in the New York Journal of Medicine in 1959. The crew of the Discovery Channel program "Mythbusters" eventually declared it impossible due to the physics and biological aspects of the million to one shot.
 
Still, the Old Courthouse Museum in downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi has an exhibit of the Son of a Gun story complete with a Minié ball, a picture of Confederate Surgeon Capers, and a copy of the article penned by Dr Capers that started everything.
The exhibit states plainly "We don't ask you to believe the story, just enjoy it!"


(click to enlarge)

The Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi
when battledetectives visited it in the 1990's.

 

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