Another murder mystery???
The Louisiana Tigers left the Willoughby Run / Oak Hill area northwest of Gettysburg on June 27, 1863, and marched through East Berlin into western York County, finally camping late that afternoon near Big Mount. The roads were “exceedingly muddy,” and scores of men straggled in the slop and mire. A few never rejoined the ranks, taking the opportunity to slip away and desert. An old book has a cryptic entry for Private Charles Brown of the 8th Louisiana, who was “supposed to have been killed by the citizens of Penn[sylvania].”
Was the German immigrant murdered by irate farmers who resented the Confederate incursion and confiscation of their horses, livestock, and material of use to the Rebel army? Or, did he merely desert, and his officers invent the story that Keystoners had killed him in an effort to try to keep other soldiers in the ranks? Certainly, there were documented cases of bushwhacking in other areas that did result in Rebel casualties, but I have never seen any confirmation that Berlin-area residents did so.
Here is Brown’s service record from the Index to Louisiana Confederate Soldiers…
“Brown, Charles, Pvt. Co. I. 8th La. Infty. En. June 19th, 1861, Camp Moore, La. Present on Rolls to Aug., 1861. Roll for Sept. and Oct., 1861, Absent. On detached service attending to wounded man at Carter’s Mills, London Co., Va. Roll for Nov. and Dec., 1861. Present. Promoted to Corpl. Dec. 27th, 1861. Rolls from Jan., 1862, to April, 1862, Present. Roll for May and June, 1862, Present. Reduced to Pvt. May 1st, 1862. Rolls from July, 1862, to May 1st, 1863, Present. Rolls from May 31st, 1863, to Oct., 1863, Absent without leave since June 27th, 1863. Roll for Nov.and Dec., 1863, Absent without leave since July __, 1863. Record copied from Memorial Hall, New Orleans, La., by the War Dept., Washington, D. C., June, 1903, Born Germany, occupation laborer, single, straggled on march from Gettysburg to York and supposed to have been killed by the citizens of Penn.
Has anyone living near East Berlin ever heard local legends or tales of citizens taking out their frustrations by murdering a Confederate straggler???