Private Rafael Pérez: One Cuban Immigrant’s Story

Bird’s Eye View of Havana, Cuba, c. 1854 (U.S. Library of Congress, public domain).

Alternate Spellings of Given name: Rafael, Raphael, Raphailo. Alternate Spellings of Surname: Perez, Pérez, Pereze

 

Mixed in with the Beavers, Gardners, Haupts, Keisers, McNeals, Millers, Oysters, Smiths, Snyders, Whistlers, and Wolfs of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers’ Color-Bearer unit (Company C) is a soldier’s name so idiosyncratic, so distinctive from the other given and last names on the 47th’s regimental rosters that it triggers readers’ surprise – and compels even the least inquisitive of individuals to learn more about the man.

That “man” was, in reality, a teenager – Private Rafael Pérez, and he was a native of Cuba.

Formative Years

Key West, Florida, c. 1850 (courtesy of Florida Memory Project).

Born in Havana, Cuba sometime around 1847, Rafael Pérez was a son of Ygnacio Pérez (alternate spelling “Ignacio”), a native of Cuba who was born sometime around 1821. According to the 1860 U.S. federal census, the pair emigrated from Cuba to the United States sometime before the American Civil War, and settled in Key West, Monroe County, Florida.

Also per that same census, Rafael Pérez (aged 13) attended school in his newly adopted hometown of Key West while his cigar-maker father, Ignacio (aged 39), was working on growing his personal estate, which was valued at $100 by that year’s census taker. Also residing at the Pérez home at this time was another cigar maker, 19-year-old Jose Hernandez.

* Note: In a 2011 article written for the Florida Historical Quarterly, Latino Studies historian and anthropology instructor Anthony Rafael de la Cova, Ph.D. shed light on the role Cuban immigrants played in America’s Civil War, and also noted that, just prior to the start of the conflict, “Key West had the second largest Cuban emigré community in the United States.” Among those residing in the city in 1860 was “Rafael Pérez, a sixteen-year-old Cuban” who had “signed up as a private at the local recruiting depot of the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry on May 20, 1863. The regiment had been on garrison duty at Fort Taylor since the previous year.”

Cigar Rollers, Key West, Florida, c. 1900 (courtesy of Florida Memory Project).

Additional sources which documented the emigration from Cuba, Key West residency, and/or Civil War military service of Rafael Pérez include the 1860 U.S. Census, the Civil War Veterans’ Card File and muster rolls of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, 36th Pennsylvania Militia, and 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry (housed at the Pennsylvania State Archives), the Combined Military Service Record for Rafael Pérez (maintained by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration), historian Samuel P. Bates History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, and regimental historian Lewis Schmidt’s A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers.

Civil War Military Service – 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers

Raphael Perez, muster roll entry, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers (excerpt, May 1863, public domain; double click to enlarge).

According to muster rolls for the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Rafael Pérez was a sixteen-year-old resident of Key West, Florida when he enrolled and mustered in for duty as a Private with the regiment on 20 May 1863. The Civil War Veterans’ Card File maintained by the Pennsylvania State Archives notes, “Rolls give first name: Raphailo.”

Although the same card file indicates that the new recruit’s discharge date remained unclear as of 1869 when the regiment’s muster rolls were analyzed by historian Samuel P. Bates in preparation for his state-commissioned writing of a comprehensive history about the service of Pennsylvania’s volunteer soldiers in the U.S. Civil War, it is clear from Pennsylvania’s Civil War Veterans’ Card File and the muster rolls of other volunteer regiments from Pennsylvania that Rafael Pérez was honorably discharged from the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers sometime before or during June 1863 – while the regiment was still stationed at Fort Taylor in Key West. It is also clear that he was then transported north to the home base of his unit (Company C) – the community of Sunbury in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

Rendering of Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida, Harper’s Weekly, 1864 (public domain).

This transfer may have been instigated by senior officers of the regiment in order to remove an underage boy from the ranks. (Although various military records of the period noted that Private Pérez was 18 years old at enlistment – making his birth year 1845 – muster rolls for the 47th Pennsylvania confirm that he was just 16 – making his birth year 1847. This birth year of 1847 is also supported by the 1860 federal census, which documented that he was 13 at the time of the census taker’s visit to his home.)

More likely, however, is that his direct superiors (the officers of C Company) sent the vulnerable teen away from Key West in order to remove him from a potentially lethal situation. According to regimental historian Schmidt, admissions to the Union Army’s general hospitals at Forts Taylor (Key West) and Jefferson (Dry Tortugas) rose dramatically between the end of Winter and beginning of Summer in 1863 with 47th Pennsylvanians felled by everything from dysentery and bilious and remittent fevers to consumption (tuberculosis). The hospitalization rate for 47th Pennsylvanians at Fort Jefferson alone, in fact, climbed from 19 in February 1863 to 48 in May 1863. Schmidt, in his history of the regiment, presented the following as an example of the health hazards 47th Pennsylvanians faced during this period of duty:

Pvt. William Eberhart of Company G, a 19 year old cigarmaker [sic] from Wescosville and originally from Bucks County, was the second member of the regiment to die at Fort Jefferson. He died of consumption on Sunday, May 10, ‘after being sick for six months’. Pvt. Eberhart was known to have entered the Fort Jefferson Hospital on Christmas day in 1862 with chronic dysentery, and was discharged on January 10, 1863. He re-entered the hospital on March 3 with [phthisis – a form of wasting away common to tuberculosis patients at the end stage of the disease] and there is no record in the register of his subsequent discharge or death. Sgt. Hutcheson reported that Pvt. Eberhart was buried at 4 PM, probably on Bird Key, and time and the shifting sands have obliterated all traces of Bird Key and the grave site…. A tribute of respect to Pvt. Eberhart, and to Pvt. Sheirer who was also from Compny G and who would die at the fort nine days later, was published in the Allentown Democrat on June 10, 1863.”

Schmidt also noted that former Dauphin County resident Private Jesse D. Reynolds “died at Fort Jefferson [on 11 May] after a ‘short illness’ and was probably buried on Bird Key alongside his compatriot from Company G.” Private Reynolds had been repeatedly hospitalized for a variety of ailments over a period of several months, including a re-entry to the hospital on 8 May 1863 for a febrile illness with conjunctivitis which took his life three days later.

* Note: According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, such febrile diseases are known today as being the result of infectious diseases, and often plague sufferers with an array of symptoms, such as sore throat, fatigue, fever, cough, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, insomnia, vomiting, and/or rash.

Civil War Military Service – Shielding Pennsylvania from Invasion

Raphael Perez and John and Edward Oyster, muster roll entries, Company F, 36th Pennsylvania Militia, Emergency of 1863 (July 1863, public domain; double click to enlarge).

While residing in Pennsylvania, Rafael Pérez opted to re-enlist, re-enrolling for military service at Sunbury in Northumberland County on 29 June 1863 with Pennsylvania’s 36th Militia, Emergency of 1863, a volunteer “home guard” organized in response to the looming invasion of the Keystone State by Confederate Major-General Robert E. Lee. Joining him in this enlistment were Edward and John Oyster, the brothers of Daniel Oyster – one the officers under whom Private Pérez had served while enrolled with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The newly minted privates – all aged 18, according to muster rolls – officially assumed their posts with the 36th Pennsylvania Militia at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania on 2 July 1863. Also serving with this militia unit during this time were multiple siblings of other 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, including Charles D. Wharton (brother of Henry D. Wharton) and Martin L. Hendricks (brother of William Hendricks).

Commanded by Captain Simon P. Wolverton, the 36th Pennsylvania Militia was stationed at Greencastle, Chambersburg and Hagerstown, Maryland during its brief tenure. The regiment was also involved with provost (military police) and other operating duties in and around Gettysburg, according to Civil War historian Mark Major:

After the battle at Gettysburg, the 36th Pennsylvania Militia earned the duty of having to police the battlefield in the weeks following the three day fight.  A hand full [sic] of Schuylkill County men with the 36th Militia participated in the unenviable task of burying the dead, burning the carcasses of artillery horses and picking up thousands of muskets and other accoutrements from the fields around Gettysburg. John E. Heller who worked for the Pottsville Miners Journal newspaper prior to the war, provided details of the regiment’s activities in a letter penned on August 9th, a month after the battle.  He reported,

‘The regiment during its stay [at Gettysburg for] four weeks, has been performing all kinds of fatigue and guard duty, which has made us familiar with all parts of the battlefield and of the hospitals.  [We were] glad to leave [Gettysburg] as some of our duties there were anything but pleasant, added to which was the impurity of the atmosphere, and the countless millions of flies, who daily breed there.’

‘We gathered up on the battlefield 20,000 small arms, burnt a great many dead horses, escorted thousands of rebel prisoners to different places, did guard duty in town and at the hospitals, cleaned and assisted in fixing up new hospitals, dug trenches for them and hauled off their offals by the barrel….’

With the Emergency of 1863 deemed over by Union military leaders in early August, Private Rafael Pérez and his fellow militiamen were then officially mustered out from the 36th Pennsylvania on 11 August, and sent home.

Civil War Military – 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry

2nd State Colors, 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry/80th Pennsylvania Volunteers (public domain).

After helping to briefly garrison Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida and then defend the great Keystone State from invasion by Confederate troops during the Summer of 1863, Rafael Pérez then opted to re-enlist a third time for Civil War military service with Union forces. Re-enrolling and re-mustering on 16 February 1864 at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, he began life once again as a Private – but this time with Company M of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry (also known as the “Saber Regiment” or 80th Pennsylvania Volunteers).

Military records described him that February of 1864 as a cigar maker and native of Havana, Cuba who was residing in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and was 5’7” tall with black hair, hazel eyes and a dark complexion. Those records also indicated that he was 18 years old – making his birth year 1846.

Private Raphael Perez, 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Co. M (1864-1865, Pennsylvania Civil War Veterans’ Card File entry, public domain).

Joining him once again in this enlistment was Edward Oyster, one of the younger brothers of one of his former superior officers in the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Both entered at the rank of Private. This third enlistment was a lengthier and more adventurous one for Pérez than the previous two service tenures, and involved service at the following Union Army battles and duty stations:

  • Atlanta Campaign (May to September 1864): Rocky Faced Ridge, 8-11 May; Battle of Resaca, 14-15 May; Tanner’s Bridge and Rome, 15 May; Dallas, 24 May; line operations at Pumpkin Vine Creek with related battles near Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills, 25 May-5 June; Big Shanty, 9 June; Marietta and Kennesaw Mountain, 10 June-2 July; McAffee’s Cross Roads, 11 June; Powder Springs, 20 June; Noonday Creek, 27 June; Nickajack Creek, 2-5 July; Rottenwood Creek, 4 July; Rossville Ferry, 5 July; Chattahoochie, 6-17 July; Garrard’s Raid on Covington, 22-24 July; siege of Atlanta, 22 July-25 August; Garrard’s Raid to South River, 27-31 July; Flat Rock Bridge, 28 July; Kilpatrick’s Raid around Atlanta, 18-22 August; Flint River and Jonesborough, 19 August; Red Oak, 19 August; Lovejoy’s Station, 20 August; Chattahoochie River Bridge, 26 August-2 September 2;
  • Northern Georgia and Northern Alabama Operations Against Hood (29 September-3 November): Carter Creek Station, 1 October; Columbia and its environs, 2 October; Lost Mountain and its environs, 4-7 October; New Hope Church, 5 October; Dallas, 7 October; Rome, 10-11 October; Narrows, 11 October; Coosaville Road near Rome, 13 October; near Summerville, 18 October; Little River, Alabama, 20 October; Leesburg, 21 October; Ladiga, Terrapin Creek, 28 October;
  • Louisville, Kentucky Occupation (late October through 23 December): Ordered to Kentucky for resupply and encampment;
  • Winter Movements Through Tennessee and Alabama (late December-early January 1865 and late January through mid-March): March to Nashville, Tennessee, 28 December-8 January 1865; ordered to Gravelly Springs, Alabama on 25 January 1865 with duty there until mid-March; and
  • Raids and Site Occupations in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee (mid-March-August 1865): Wilson’s Raid to Selma, Alabama and Macon, Georgia, 22 March-24 April; Selma, 2 April; occupation of Montgomery, 12 April; occupation of Macon, 20 April; and duty in Georgia and at Nashville, Tennessee until August 1865.

With the long war finally over and Reconstruction ramping up, Privates Rafael Pérez and Edward Oyster honorably mustered out with their regiment on 23 August 1865. Historical records show that Private Oyster returned home to Pennsylvania and married a Virginia native; he then divided his time between Sunbury, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and ultimately became a clerk with the U.S. Treasury Department.

Return to Civilian Life

Rafael Perez, 10 September 1866 Service, 19th and 28th Infantry, U.S. Army Registers of Enlistment (public domain; double click to enlarge).

Unfortunately, the post-war location and life activities of Rafael Pérez remain less clear than those of his cavalry comrade Edward Oyster. Federal records appear to indicate that his father, Ygnacio Pérez, continued to reside in Key West, Florida, where he contracted consumption (tuberculosis) sometime during or immediately after the Civil War, finally succumbing to complications from the disease in 1870.

Meanwhile, evidence uncovered by researchers for 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers: One Civil War Regiment’s Story points to several possible ways in which adulthood may have unfolded for Rafael Pérez. The first scenario still being researched is that, after war’s end, Pérez re-enlisted in the military for a fourth term of service – this time at Philadelphia with the “G.S. Cavalry” on 16 February 1866. The United States Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army entered him on rosters as “Perez, Rafael” and described him as being a 19-year-old cigar maker and native of Havana Cuba (approximate birth year: 1847) who was 5’7” tall with brown hair, dark eyes and a dark complexion. This same register indicated that he was discharged (or deserted) just over a week later on 24 February with the notation “See Evl.”

He then reportedly re-enlisted again – this time in Pittsburgh on 10 September 1866. The United States Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army noted that he served with both the 19th and 28th Infantry until 16 May 1867, when he was discharged (or deserted); those rosters also recorded his name as “Perez, Rafael” and described him as being a 19-year-old cigar maker and native of Havana Cuba (approximate birth year: 1847) – but noted that he was 5’9¼ ” tall with black hair, dark eyes and a dark complexion.

Cigar company owned by a Raphael Perez, Philadelphia, 1882 (Philadelphia City Directory entry, public domain).

Following his departure from military service, Rafael Pérez then may have settled in Philadelphia and resumed the trade of cigar making. City directories from the early 1880s list a Raphael Perez residing at 1215 Clover Street in Philadelphia in 1880, working in “segars” at 43 South 13th Street, and owning his own cigar firm, Rafael Perez & Co. (and/or operating the firm in partnership with Luis Navarro as “Rafael Perez & Luis Navarro” at 247 South 9th Street in Philadelphia in 1882).

The federal census records of 1870 and 1880 also confirm that there was a Raphael Perez residing, respectively, in Philadelphia’s 2nd Ward (1870) and at 1215 Clover Street in Philadelphia (1880), and that he was a native of Cuba who was married to a Cuban native – “Flora” (who was shown on 1870 records as being 27 years of age and on the records of 1880 as being 36).

However, if  the census taker recorded the family’s vital statistics correctly, the age of this particular Raphael Perez in 1880 (a 45-year old cigar maker) does not match that of the Rafael/Raphael Pérez who fought with the aforementioned Union regiments during the Civil War. (This Raphael Perez residing in Philadelphia would have been born in Cuba sometime between 1833-1835 – a decade or more before the Rafael/Raphael Pérez who served with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers.)

Possible death of Raphael Perez as reported by The Charleston News (12 November 1872, public domain; double click to enlarge).

Another possible scenario which is also still being researched – and one that is far more unsettling – is that Rafael Pérez met with tremendous misfortune when he resettled in Charleston, South Carolina, where he attempted to take up the cigar making trade in that city. According to a report in The Charleston News on 12 June 1872:

The inquest upon the body of Raphael Perez, who was shot by F. V. Valdez, in Market street on Wednesday night, was resumed yesterday at the coroner’s office. All of the persons in the vicinity were examined, and their evidence established the facts that Perez had a grudge against Valdez for having been turned out of the cigar factory of Mantoue & Co. by Valdez, who was foreman; that he followed him on the night of the shooting, provoked the quarrel, and fired the first shot. The jury returned a verdict that Perez had been shot and killed by Valdez as above stated, but found that the killing was in self-defense and excusable…

The 12 November 1872 edition of this same newspaper then recapped the proceedings and reported the outcome of the Valdez trial:

THE PEREZ HOMICIDE: Trial of Francisco Valdez for the Murder of Raphael Perez – A Clear Case of Self-Defence [sic] and a Prompt Acquittal.

The Court of General Sessions, held by Judge Graham, was occupied yesterday with the trial of Francisco V. Valdez for the alleged murder, on the 12th of June last, of Raphael Perez, as fully reported at the time in THE NEWS. The court was more largely attended than usual, and a large proportion of white persons were present among the audience and witnesses. The State was represented by the acting solicitor, Mr. C. W. Butiz, and the prisoner, Francisco Victor Valdez, was in court accompanied by his counsel, Messrs. M. P. O’Connor and Thos. Y. Simons. He is a tall, swarthy man, with a high forehead, prominent cheek bones, rather small eyes, and a black moustache and beard. His face wore an anxious and troubled look, but it was not a bad face, and there was nothing criminal in the expression. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the indictment, which charged him with the willful [sic], felonious and malicious murder of Raphael Perez on the 12th day of June, 1872. The process of empaneling [sic] a jury was then commenced, and after a few challenges from both the prosecution and the defence [sic], the following jury was obtained: W. H. Chafee, foreman; and J. C. Dorbaum, E. J. Lacassagne and Frederick Dauer, white, and S. G. Russell, P. Green, D. W. Lee, E. M. Gregory, M. C. Campbell, T. A. Davis, Alex Williams and William Dart, colored.

THE FIRST WITNESS

called by the prosecution was Dr. J Somers Buist, surgeon in charge of the City Hospital. He testified that he had been called to the City Hospital on the night of the 12th of June to attend Raphael Perez, who had been shot. He found Perez dead, and on making a post mortem examination the next day he found that death had been caused by a pistol shot wound between the third and fourth ribs on the right side. The ball had passed through the chest and large blood vessels, and had lodged in the spinal column, causing profuse hemorrhage and death. Perez was a man five feet five or six inches high, shorter than the prisoner, and of average build. Private John O’Keefe, of the city police, was next sworn, and testified that on the night of June 12 he was walking on the north side of Market street, towards King street, and heard Perez, the deceased, hallooing and running along the same sidewalk from the direction of King Street. When he came up to the witness, Perez Jumped off the sidewalk into the Street, and fired his pistol four times in rapid succession up Market street toward Meeting. Just after the first of these shots was fired, three shots were fired in rapid succession from the direction toward which Perez had fired. The witness thought that the return shots were fired by somebody on the opposite side of Market street and near Meeting street but he could not see by whom they were fired.

THE ARREST OF VALDEZ.

Lieutenant Thomas C. Chapman, of the city police, was sworn, and testified to the circumstances of the arrest of Valdez. He had not been present at the affray, but was told that Valdez was at a house in George street, near St. Phillip street, and he went there to arrest him, between eleven and twelve o’clock on the night of the shooting. He first rapped on the door of an adjoining building, and upon that the lights in the house in which Valdez was were extinguished. The witness then entered that house, through a window, and met Valdez coming down stairs. He arrested him; and in order to see if he were the man who had done the shooting he asked him abruptly ‘Where ls the pistol that you shot that man with?’ Valdez said he had given it to his son, and the witness then knew that he had arrested the right man. Valdez then surrendered peaceably, and the witness took him to the Guardhouse. He admitted having shot Perez; and said that he did not know whether Perez was hit or not, and that he had fired in self defence [sic], and after Perez had fired at him first.

ON CROSS-EXAMINATION,

the witness testified that when he came upon the scene of the affray, the shooting was over, and he found Policeman O’Keefe holding Perez, the deceased. Perez’s pistol was a Colt’s revolver, and Valdez’s pistol was a Smith & Wesson’s, smaller than Perez’s

Frank Ladson, another policeman, testified that he was standing on the south side of Market street during the shooting. Perez and Valdez were on the opposite side of Market street, Perez being in the direction of King street, and Valdez in the direction of Meeting street. The first shot came from toward King street, and the return shots came from the direction of Meeting Street.

This closed the testimony for the prosecution, and Mr. O’Conner, for the defence [sic], said that if the only object were to secure a verdict of acquittal he would be content to go to the jury without the examination of any witnesses, because the State had utterly failed to make out a case. He desired, however, to show for the satisfaction of the whole community that his client had not only acted in self defence [sic], but under circumstances which placed his life in great and imminent danger, and that it was the act of a man who had been driven to the wall and could but fall a victim to the deadly malice of his pursuer or turn and defend himself.

THE FIRST WITNESS FOR THE DEFENCE

was Mr. Joseph Rosis, who testified, through Mr. Murrillo, an interpreter, that he kept a store on the corner of Guignard street and East Bay. On the night of June 12, Valdez came to his store to leave a Cuban newspaper, and the witness began talking to Valdez in a friendly way about affairs in Cuba. While they were talking Perez came in and sat down, and soon after Valdez rose to go out of the store, bidding the witness good night. Perez then confronted him, saying he was glad that he had met him to have an opportunity to tell him that he was a coward, a villain and a scoundrel. Perez used other abusive language, and Valdez said, ‘Do not insult me.’ Perez then tried to strike Valdez, and Valdez held up his open hand and said, ‘Don’t strike me.’ Perez said, ‘You are a coward,’ and Valdez walked away, leaving Perez in the street. Perez afterwards left, but came back three times during the same evening, looking for Valdez to see if he had returned. Witness told him he had done wrong to insult Valdez in his house. Perez said he was sorry it was in his house, but he would find Valdez and kill him or his son. Perez had a pistol and had a grudge against Valdez, because he thought Valdez had caused his discharge from Mantoue’s segar [sic] manufactory, where Valdez was the foreman. They had also

HAD WORDS ABOUT THE CUBAN CAUSE.

Both were Cuban, and Perez had been fighting In the Cuban cause, but had gone over to the Spaniards. The cross-examination of this witness did not produce any material facts.

The next witness was Mr. Joseph Espanoza, who testified, through an interpreter, that he had been in the store of Mr. Rosis on the night of June 12th, and he corroborated the testimony of the last witness as to the occurrences there. He left the store with Valdez and accompanied him to his home on George street. Valdez lived on George street, and his sons lived on East Bay. He left Valdez at his house In George street, between eight and nine o clock, and did not see him again that night. At about half-past nine the witness was in Market street when the firing took place. Perez, was running toward Meeting street shouting ‘Ho! Don Francisco.’ He then fired toward Meeting street and the shots were returned from that direction. He did not see Valdez during the shooting.

Mr. Joseph Gomez was next called and testified that Perez had frequently come to his house and said he had great enmity against Valdez, and would seek an opportunity for revenge. Perez said the cause was that he had been discharged from Mantoue’s factory on account of Valdez, and that Valdez hated him. Perez always said that it was on account of his work that Valdez had discharged him.

Mr. O’Connor then said that it was not necessary to put the prisoner on the stand, but he preferred to let the jury hear

HIS STORY FROM HIS OWN LIPS,

and Valdez was called and sworn. He testified, in somewhat broken English but without hesitation or contradiction, that on the evening of June 12 he had gone to Mr. Rosis’s store to leave a paper. He had some conversation with Mr. Rosis, during which Perez came in, and he rose to leave. Perez said, ‘You are a great rascal, a coward and a scoundrel,’ and raised his hand to strike. He and Rosis told him to stop, and then he (Valdez) left the store, Perez calling after him, ‘Answer me, coward,’ &c. He went to his home, in George Street, with Mr. Espanoza, and afterward, during the same evening, he left his house and walked down to his son’s residence, on East Bay, to give him some, medicine. He started to return home, walking through Market street. At about half-past nine o’clock he was passing Callajas’s store, when Perez came out from the store and again abused him, calling him a traitor, &c. He replied, saying, ‘It is you who are the traitor,’ and then went away toward Meeting street. He then heard a voice calling, ‘Don Francisco,’ and heard a pistol shot, the ball hitting his shoe. He then turned,

DREW HIS PISTOL AND FIRED BACK

because he felt his life was In danger. On being cross-examined, Valdez testified that he was the foreman at Mantoue’s factory and had had a difficulty with Perez, and had reported him, which resulted in his being discharged. The difficulty had nothing to do with politics. In Cuba, it was because Perez made some cigars shorter than others. This was more than a month before the shooting. The cross-examination of this witness was continued to a great length, but without shaking his testimony in any particular.

Two other witnesses were examined, but their testimony was unimportant, and Mr. Simons said that the counsel for the defence [sic] were ready to submit the case to the jury without any argument. The solicitor objected, however, and Mr. Simons commenced the argument for the defence [sic]. He was followed in an able argument by Mr. O’Connor, and the argument was closed by Solicitor Butiz for the prosecution.

Judge Graham then briefly charged the jury, defining the various grades of homicide and stating the law as it applied to each, and the jury, without leaving their seats, returned

A VERDICT OF NOT GUILTY.

An order for the unconditional discharge of Mr. Valdez was accordingly issued, and he left the court-room amid the congratulations of his Cuban friends, of whom there were a large number in the audience.

 

A Note from the Managing Editor of 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers: One Civil War Regiment’s Story

Researchers for 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers: One Civil War Regiment’s Story continue to investigate the vital statistics and life history of Rafael/Raphael Pérez, and ultimately hope to determine not just his marital/family status and how he spent his final days, but the exact years of his birth and death and location of his grave.  Information about this member of the 47th Pennsylvania would be most welcome from descendants or others researching his life history. Updates will be posted to this biographical sketch as additional primary source documentation is uncovered.

 

Sources:

1. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.

2. de la Cova, Antonio Rafael. Cuban Exiles in Key West During the Ten Years’ War, 1868-1878, in The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 89, No. 3, Winter (mentions Raphael Perez). Cocoa, Florida: Florida Historical Society, 2011.

3. Major, Mark. The Closing Actions of the Gettysburg Campaign. Pottsville, Pennsylvania: Pottsville Republican and Herald, 20 July 2013.

4. Perea or Perez, Ygnacio, in U.S. Federal Mortality Schedules. Washington, D.C. and Florida: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1870.

5. Perez, Rafael, in Civil War Muster Rolls – 47th Pennsylvania Infantry, in Registers of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865 (Record Group 19, Vol. 3, Series No. 19.65), in Records of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives, 1863.

6. Perez, Rafael, in Compiled Military Service Records – Civil War (Record Group 94). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1863-1865.

7. Perez, Rafael, in United States Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1866-1867.

8. Perez, Raphael and Raphael Pereze, in Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1866 (47th Pennsylvania Infantry, 36th Pennsylvania Militia and 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.

9. Perez, Raphael, in Philadelphia City Directories. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Various Publishers, 1880-1882.

10. Pereze, Raphael, in Decoration Day (listing of 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry members). Sunbury, Pennsylvania: Sunbury American, 4 June 1875.

11. Raphael Perez, in The Market Street Homicide: Verdict of the Coroner’s Jury – Valdez Released on Bail, and The Perez Homicide: Trial of Francisco Valdez for the Murder of Raphael Perez – A Clear Case of Self-Defence and a Prompt Acquittal. Charleston, South Carolina: The Charleston News, 15 June 1872 and 12 November 1872.

12. Schmidt, Lewis. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown: Self-published, 1986.

13. U.S. Census. Washington, D.C., Florida and Pennsylvania: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1860, 1870, 1880.

 

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