|Fold3.com via National Archives, Washington (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)|
And then there's the case of George Rahlfs, a private in the 20th New York, a largely German regiment recruited primarily from New York City. On Nov. 22, 1861, the 25-year-old soldier was leaning against his musket at the funeral of a comrade when the weapon accidentally discharged, sending a bullet through his brain and killing him. In a document found in Rahlfs' "widow's" pension file, George's commanding officers noted the cause of death.
Married for less than a year, Rahlfs left behind a widow, Magdelene, and an infant son named Henry.