Civil War Blog

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Crimes Committed on and by Returning Soldiers (Part 2 of 3)

Posted By on February 20, 2014

As soldiers were released from military service in 1865, they flooded into the three major discharge points in Pennsylvania:  Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh.  Frequently, these soldiers were the victims of local residents who sought to “relieve” them of their discharge money; sometimes the soldiers were themselves the perpetrators of crimes against the residents of these cities.  Today’s post is part 2 of a three-part series.  Selections from the Philadelphia Inquirer are given from May through August of 1865, describing some of the incidents.


From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 June 1865:


ANOTHER SOLDIER ROBBEDMary Taylor had a hearing yesterday morning before Alderman Moore, upon the charge of robbing a soldier of one hundred dollars.  The defendant was committed to answer for the alleged offense.

A man named Gottschalk was also arraigned before Alderman Pancoast during the morning, on a similar charge.  It is alleged by the soldier, whom it is said he robbed, that he lost from one hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars by the operation.  The accused was held for a further hearing.


From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 June 1865:


ROBBING A SOLDIERCharles McCarty and Henry Smith were arrested on Wednesday afternoon on the charge of attempting to rob a soldier in the neighborhood of Front and Walnut Streets.  They were taken before Alderman Beitler, who committed them to answer.


From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 July 1865:


SOLDIER DRUGGED — About eight o’clock yesterday morning, Officer Meyers [or Meyets] found a soldier in an insensible condition lying on a lot at Seventeenth Street and Girard Avenue.  He was supposed to have been drugged, and was taken to Camp Cadwalader in the Humane Engine Company’s ambulance.  The doctor in attendance thought he could not recover.


From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 July 1865:


ROBBING A SOLDIER — On Saturday afternoon Evan T. Cash had a hearing before Recorder Eneu, charged with robbing a soldier named Peter Martin of the sum of five hundred dollars.  The evidence set forth that the complainant entrusted the money to defendant for safe keeping.  The accused acknowledged this, but said that he had expended it.  Cash was committed to answer.


From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 July 1865:


SOLDIER ROBBEDMartin Tully was before Alderman Toland yesterday morning, upon the charge of having robbed a soldier.  It seems that the soldier was discharged from the Seventh District Police Station, where he had been locked up for drunkenness.  When he left he had $750.  He went to Water and Callowhill Streets, where he again got drunk, and was relieved of his money by Tully.  The exact amount of his loss is not known, but $500 of the stolen money was found on Tully when he was arrested.  The accused was committed in default of $1200 bail to answer at Court.


From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 July 1865:


ANOTHER SOLDIER ROBBED — On Saturday morning George Powell and J. C. Clifford were taken before Alderman Cloud, upon the charge of robing a soldier of $360.  From the evidence it appeared that the soldier boarded with the accused in Beach Street, below Shackamaxon.  The soldier alleged that the defendants stole the money in the night while he was asleep.  They were both required to give bail, in default of which they were committed to answer for the offense.


News clippings are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.


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