A Murder Most Foul
The photograph below came from a photo album which I believe to have once been the property of Private Thomas Franklin Fleming of Company C, 32nd United States Volunteer Infantry (USVI) and identifies muder victim Private William Kilpatrick of Tahlequah, Indian Territory (left) . The label also states rather matter-of-factly that Kilpatrick was shot and killed by Tuazzo on October 7, 1900, at Balanga, Bataan in the Philippines. Naturally, this type of image simply screams out for further research and is exactly the type of image that I collect. Although faded by time the history lurking within this image is simply too much to pass up.
Above: Private William Kilpatrick of Company C, 32nd United States Volunteer Infantry (left) photographed sometime prior to his murder by Private Pasquale Tuazzo. c. 1900
My first cursory investigation into the ill-fated Private Kilpatrick only turned up a burial record dated March 1, 1901, which states that he was buried at the Presidio in San Francisco. Unfortunately no next of kin, birth date or place are listed on the card. This leaves a few additional avenues open to me in finding out more about him.
A bit more has turned up on Private Pasquale Tuozzo (according to all official records I have found this is the correct spelling of his name.) was born in Salerno, Italy and served with the 3rd Connecticut Volunteer Infantry as a baker with the brigade bakeries in Summerville, South Carolina prior to joining the 32nd USVI and shipping out to the Philippines.
Above: Members of Company C, 32nd Infantry, United States Volunteers pose prior to their departure to the Philippines. The doomed Private William Kilpatrick stands at far right. c. 1900,
Although the exact circumstances of the crime that left Private Kilpatrick dead are still yet to be uncovered, another typed label in the same photo album next to a second photo of Tuozzo states that he was dishonorably discharged from the army after and general court martial on December 10, 1900 and sentenced to 99 years at the Military Prison on Alcatraz Island.
There are several additional sources that I plan on looking into and I may attempt to get copies of Kilpatrick’s service records from the National Archives. I also plan on trying to find a source for old military prison records in order to find out if Tuozzo actually served his whole 99-year sentence. Much of this story is yet to be uncovered.
Since my initial investigation in the murder of Private Kilpatrick I may have identified his family in the 1900 Census for Township 17, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma). He appears to have been one of seven children of Thomas and Rhoda Kilpatrick and was born in Indiana around 1876. The census lists his occupation as “U.S. Soldier”. Kilpatrick was already overseas by the time the 1900 Census was taken and the enumerator probably listed all members of the household whether present or not. Kilpatrick also appears in the 1900 Census for military and naval personnel at Balanga, Bataan, Philippine Islands. Interestingly, his fellow soldier and future killer Pasquale Tuozzo is enumerated on the same census page.
I have also located copies of Tuozzo’s service records at the National Archives in Washington D.C. and acquired copies with the hope that some light might be shed regarding the particulars of the crime in question as well as some details of Tuozzo’s background. His service papers state that he was the of son of one Angelo Tuozzo, and was born at Salerno, Italy around 1872. He was relatively tall for his time standing 5 feet 8 inches and was a baker by trade prior to enlistment with Company C, 32nd USVI on July 27, 1899.
Above: Private Pasquale Tuozzo (at left) with fellow members of Company C, 32nd Infantry, United States Volunteers. Luzon, Philippine Islands, c. 1900.
While the majority of the paperwork included in Tuozzo’s service records relate to his court martial for the murder of Private Kilpatrick very little in the way of detail of the crime is mentioned. It seems that the army was more interested in whether the crime was committed and less as to the how’s and whys.
The specifications of the crime and charges against Tuozzo were outlined in General Order No. 29, Headquarters Department of northern Luzon dated December 6, 1900:
“In that Private Pasquale Tuozzo, Company C, 32nd Infantry, U, S. Volunteers, did, in time of insurrection, with malice of aforethought, willfully and feloniously murder and kill one William Kilpatrick, Private, Company C, 32d Infantry, U.S. Volunteers, then and there being, by shooting with a certain revolver, then and there held in the hand of the said Pasquale Tuozzo, and thereby causing the death of said Kilpatrick. This at Balanga, Bataan, Luzon, P. I, on the 7th day on October, 1900.”
The trail was a short one. A total of twelve witnesses were called and Tuozzo was found guilty to the charges and specifications against him on December 9. He was stripped of rank, dishonorably discharged and sentenced to 99 years at hard labor. The sentence was to be served at Bilibid Military Prison in Manila. At some point, Tuozzo was transferred to the U.S. military prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. He disappears from the records after this. Did he die in prison? Was he paroled at some point? Perhaps the answer to those question will be found one day.
Above: A newspaper clipping from the January 22, 1901, issue of the Wilkes-Barre Semi-Weekly Record (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) mentioning the conviction of Pasquale Tuozzo for the murder of William Kilpatrick.
As for the unfortunate Private Kilpatrick, he also returned to the United States and was buried at San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio. Ironically Kilpatrick’s grave offers a view of the distant Alcatraz Island.