A New York City soldier buried in the Confederate Cemetery
in Raleigh, North Carolina
In 1871, the Raleigh Ladies Memorial Association had the remains of one hundred and thirty seven Confederate soldiers returned from the Gettysburg battlefield to Raleigh, North Carolina. It was intended that these soldiers were to be North Carolinians, but that was not to be the case.
Captain William McCreery, a Virginian on General Pettigrew’s staff, was buried at Gettysburg among the 26th North Carolinians, all of which were killed in the first day’s action west of town. Four other non-North Carolinians who died of wounds in the Letterman Hospital east of Gettysburg were in the group. Private James M. Gilbert of the 52nd Virginia and Private James G. Tucker, of the 53rd Virginia were mistakenly identified as being members of the 52nd and 53rd North Carolina, respectability. A similar instance was noted with Private John Simon Attoway of the 1st South Carolina, who died August 10th was listed as S. Attorney, 1st North Carolina.
In 2007, a soldier identified as Private John O. Dobson, of Company A, 2nd North Carolina who died September 3rd was identified as John O. Dolson, a Union Sharpshooter from Minnesota. It was about 1990 and again in 2007 that these errors were identified and the records corrected.
Now in December 2007, additional research has discovered the possible incorrect identity of another soldier brought to Raleigh from Gettysburg Letterman Hospital grave yard.
In 1871, he was recorded as J. Tiffee, Company I, 40th North Carolina Infantry. However, there was no one by the name Tiffee in North Carolina or its military units during that time period.
In searching the “Roster of North Carolina Troops” and the Complied Service Records of Confederate Soldiers it was discovered that Private George Piper, Company I, 45th N.C. died August 11th at Letterman Hospital, Gettysburg. He received an accidental wound at either Heidlerburg or Middletown, Pennsylvania on July 1st, 1863...
Later unit records reported him as ‘still in the hands of the enemy.’ The 45th N.C., in late 1863 reported, that he had died at Gettysburg, July 15th from his accidental wound. Federal papers recorded a G. W. Piper of Company I, 45th North Carolina as a wounded Confederate in the hospital at Gettysburg. Another Union report indicated that he had been turned over to the Provost Marshal. Other Union hospital records state that J. Fifer of Company I, 40th North Carolina was captured at Gettysburg and died on August 11th and his grave is located in the cemetery of the Letterman Hospital. Since the names Tiffee, Fifer and Piper sound so very close and every record stated Company I, it follows that this soldier must be Private George Piper of the 45th though Union records stated the 40th N.C.
The main point to consider is the “death order" of the soldiers at Letterman Hospital. Those that died at Letterman and brought to Raleigh were buried in their “death order.” Considering the death dates of those to the right and left of him in Oakwood, he had to have died in mid August. Hospital record indicates he died on the 11th of August, even though several months later company records indicate a death date of July 15th, 1863. In the mid 1990s a government headstone was placed over his grave as Private George Piper.
Both Union and Confederate deaths records from Letterman Hospital were issued by the National Park Service in 2007. It states that in row 5, grave 20 is buried Jacob Pheiffer, Co. E, 40th New York who was admitted to Letterman after gunshot fracture of the femur. Pheiffer died on August 11th 1863 and in 1871 his remains were removed to Raleigh as Confederate Jacob Fifer, Company I, 40th North Carolina.
This started in December 2007 an investigation of Private George Piper buried in grave 463 in the Confederate Section of Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh. Checking several sources we find:
1) According to the ‘Roster of North Carolina Troops’ Private George Piper of company I, 45th North Carolina resided in Caswell County and enlisted at age 17 in March 1863. He was wounded accidentally in the left hip on July 1st at Gettysburg. Then he was captured and died in a hospital at Gettysburg on or about August 11th, 1863 of wounds
2) The Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865 state:
J. Fifer, company I, 40th North Carolina captured at Gettysburg on July 4th, died at Gettysburg on August 11th of a gunshot wound to the left hip, and buried in grave 20, row 5 at Gettysburg.
3) A re-inspection of the military records of Private George Piper, company I, 45th North Carolina had some noted items.
A) George Piper enlisted at Milton, North Carolina on March 6th, 1863 and was present and accounted for until accident wounded at either Heideburg or Middletown, Pennsylvania on July 1st. His regiment stated that he died July 15th at Gettysburg from his wounds.
B) Two Union records had Private G. W. Piper of same unit on a list of sick and wounded Confederates in the hospitals in and about Gettysburg after the battle and that he was transferred from the hospital to the Provost Marshall.
C) Also, in his military jacket were two slips on a Private J. Fifer of company I, 40th North Carolina. One was a report of Prisoners of War who have died at General Hospital, Gettysburg from August 1st to September 30th, 1863. It listed J. Fifer as being captured at Gettysburg and died August 11th, 1863 of gunshot wound of left hip. He was buried in the General Hospital section. The other slip mentions the same information but with a very interesting notation. On the line that had ‘Pvt. Co. I, 40th Regt NC’ was penned ‘(NY)’ off to the right. Back 100 years ago, something told the clerk that made the slips from official documents that this J. Fifer was a New Yorker and not a North Carolinian.
4) According to ‘These Honored Dead’ by John W. Busey, Private Jacob Pheiffer, Co E, 40th New York enlisted August 1861 at Staten Island at age 19 in Co G, 55th New York (Pfeifer by other sources); transferred to Co I, 38th New York (Pfeiffer by other sources) and in June 1863 this company was transferred to Co E, 40th New York, the Mozart Regiment. This occurred one month before the battle of Gettysburg. He was wounded near the Devil’s Den on July 2nd and died of gunshot fracture of femur on August 11th 1863 in the Letterman Hospital at Gettysburg.
5) The ‘History of the Fortieth (Mozart) Regiment’ by Sgt. Fred. C. Floyd confirms Busey’s book, except the last name was Pfeiffer.
6) The 1860 census of the east side of Manhattan in New York City reports Jacob Pfeiffer, age 18, with his parents Joseph and Caroline Pfeiffer, plus his grandmother, Margaret Leis (age 63). These four individuals were born in Germany, also his brother, Phillip, age 15. His younger siblings, Lena, Joseph and Henry were born in New York. This family came to America between 1845 and 1856.
7) On Familysearch.org (a LDS site) we found Josephi Pfeiffer and Caroline Leies children, Jacobus Pfeifer christening on November 1st, 1841 and Philippus Pfeiffer christening on February 15th, 1845 in the Katholisch Kirk in Nüenschweiler, Germany. This small village is near the French border and located between Zweibrücken and Pirmasens.
8) In clearing the correct spelling of Jacob’s last name; German records, ‘History of the Fortieth Regiment, the 55th NY, 38th NY and the NY City census of 1860 and 1880 stated either Pfeifer or Pfeiffer. Only in the 40th New York was noted the spelling as Pheiffer. Based on the evidence he should now be identify as Jacob Pfeiffer of Co. E, 40th NY Regiment.
George Piper and Jacob Pfeiffer, did exist, but not J. Tiffee or Jacob Fifer and the question is which one of the first two named is buried in grave 463 in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC? With the data of early 1990’s available to the Oakwood researchers, they started with J. Tiffee, Co I, 40 NC, found J. Fifer, Co I, 40 NC with the military records of George Piper, Co I, 45 NC and assumed that the names Fifer and Piper were the same person.
Today, Private Jacob Pfeiffer, Company E, 40th New York Regiment is spot lighted as the person buried in Oakwood Cemetery. George Piper died on July 15th and his burial site is unknown at this time. Mistakes were common in the recording of data during the Civil War, but today’s research tools now help to sort those records into a more accurate identification of both Confederate and Union soldiers.
Garner, NCJanuary 2008
1860 New York City census – 4th Dist – 11th Ward – 13 Jun 1860
Joseph Pfeiffer age 43 born Bavaria
Caroline Pfeiffer age 35 “ “
Jacob Pfeiffer age 18 “ “
Phillip Pfeiffer age 15 “ “
Lena Pfeiffer age 6 “ New York
Joseph Pfeiffer age 3 “ “ “
Henry Pfeiffer age 5/12 “ “ “
Margaret Leis age 63 “ Bavaria
1870 New York City census – 8 Dist – 11 Ward –
Joseph Pifer age 56 born Bavaria
Caroline Pifer age 45 “ “
Lena Pifer age 16 “ NY
Joseph Pifer age 13 “ “
Henry Pifer age 12 “ “
Johana Pifer age 6 “ “
1880 New York City census – 108 Montrose Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Joseph Pfeifer age 63
Helen Pfeifer age 56
Joseph Pfeifer Jr. age 23
Lena Pfeifer age 26
Henry Pfeifer age 20
John Pfeifer age 15
German Church records:
Katholisch, Nünschweiler, Pfalz, Germany
Jacobus Pfeifer – christening November 1st, 1841
Philippus Pfeiffer – christening February 15th, 1845
Their parents were –
Jospehi Pfeifer and Caroline Leies
(note: Caroline was probably the daughter of Margaret Leis listed in the 1860 census of New York City as living in Jospeh Pfeiffer’s household.)
Nünschweiler is located in the Rhineland-Pfalz region near the France border. It is between Zweibrücken and Pirmasens.Charles Purser
This page updated 20 Feb 2008