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03-05-2007, 10:31 AM
Confederate soldier's tooth found, will get belated memorial rite
Monday, March 05, 2007

The Associated Press

GETTYSBURG -- The discovery of a tooth from a Confederate soldier killed at Gettysburg will lead to a proper memorial service for the soldier 144 years after he fell on the field of battle.

Karin Bohleke of the Adams County Historical Society said she was going through boxes donated by a local family a few months ago when she found a punched-paper watch pocket, a small pouch with red embroidery hand-stitched on the front.

"I thought maybe there'd be a pretty piece of jewelry," she said. "Instead ... I found a tooth."

Accompanying the upper right lateral incisor was a note on yellowing paper.

"This tooth was taken out of a head lying in Roses Woods [Gettysburg battlefield] one year after the battle, at the head of a grave marked Lt. W.L. Daniel, Co. I, 2nd S.C.V.," read the note, signed by 1st Lt. W.T. King, Company G, 209th Pennsylvania.

"Poor fellow, though a rebel, he has only sympathy from the union soldier who picked up and keeps his tooth," Lt. King wrote.

Wayne Motts, the society's executive director, began a search that led to plans to give the soldier the kind of proper memorial service he never had.

Mr. Motts' research led him to William L. Daniel, born Jan. 30, 1833, in the Edgefield district of South Carolina. Lt. Daniel got a medical degree from South Carolina College, now the University of South Carolina and enlisted in 1861 as an infantry officer with Company I of the South Carolina Volunteer Infantry. One of his brothers, James Daniel, also served with the Confederate forces.

Both men fought and died at Gettysburg in 1863, falling within about 100 yards of one another, Mr. Motts said. James Daniel was buried in an unmarked grave in Richmond, Va., but William Daniel's body was not recovered. Mr. Motts said the body was likely lying in a temporary shallow grave when King, a Gettysburg tailor and soldier, took the tooth from his skull.

"They were buried where they fell," he said. The bodies of Confederate dead were not taken for proper burial until 1872, and Lt. Daniel's grave was marked only because he was an officer, Mr. Motts said.

"The actual location of the body is unknown," Mr. Motts said. "That, unfortunately, for Confederate soldiers is common."

The historical society in Saluda County, S.C., directed Mr. Motts to John Owen Clark, of Johnston, S.C., who told him that he had his great-great-uncle's tooth.

"I'm one of few people who even know William Daniel existed," Mr. Clark said. "I was just blown away. I just wouldn't have thought anybody was the least bit interested in William Daniel."

In July, Mr. Motts plans to hand-deliver the tooth to South Carolina, where it will be buried in a box of wood taken from the part of the battlefield where Daniel died.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Motts are to speak, a preacher will give an invocation and the Sons of Confederate Veterans will perform a funeral drill.

"We want to make sure this part of his mortal remains receives a proper burial," Mr. Motts said.

Mr. Motts said he is also asking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to have a government memorial stone made to be placed in the Red Bank Baptist Church in Saluda, where some members of the Daniel family are buried.