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With that, Brooks struck the seated Sumner across the head with his heavy cane. Sumner, who was quite tall, could not get to his feet as his legs were trapped under his Senate desk, which was bolted to the floor. Brooks continued raining blows with the cane upon Sumner, who tried to fend them off with his arms. Sumner finally was able to break the desk free with his thighs, and staggered down the aisle of the Senate.
Brooks followed him, breaking the cane over Sumner’s head and continuing to strike him with pieces of the cane. The entire attack probably lasted for a full minute, and left Sumner dazed and bleeding. Carried into a Capitol anteroom, Sumner was attended by a doctor, who administered stitches to close wounds on his head.