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Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer who Died Defending Robert E. Lee
October 10, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pmFree
From the depths of the German and American archives comes a story one soldier never wanted told. The first volunteer killed defending Robert E. Lee’s position in battle was a German assassin. Lee wrote a letter home, praising this unnamed fallen volunteer. Military records identify him, but none of the Americans knew about his past life of crime.
After fleeing to the United States to escape the law, he enlisted in a German company of the Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Mexican-American War and died defending Lee’s battery at the Siege of Veracruz in 1847. That same soldier assassinated a German mayor in 1835. It became 19th-century Germany’s coldest case ever solved outside of a confession — and its only case ever solved in the United States. Thirty-seven years after the case went cold, a former suspect who had also fled to America found evidence in Washington, D.C. and forwarded it to Germany. He didn’t make the story up to clear his name. The German prosecutor could corroborate the story and closed the case files in 1872, naming Lee’s defender as the murderer.
For the first time, Death of an Assassin brings the two stories together.