Songs are found in many places. Breaking Blue’s song, Perfidy, was discovered in an old letter written by a soldier named James Henry Storey to his wife that detail the events of life in Fort Seldon, New Mexico shortly after the Civil War. The letter was published in El Palacio magazine out of Santa Fe, New Mexico by Shelly Thompson.
The story told in the song was paraphrased from this letter by Chrystal Copeland.
My Dearest Darling Little Wife:
A horrible tragedy occurred at the post yesterday, which resulted in the death of our two officers. You will remember in a previous letter that while crossing the plains I messed with Mrs. Warner, wife if Lieut. Warner of my Company. Warner suspicioned for some time past that Lieut. Fred Hazelhurst of my Regiment was too intimate with his wife. He watched them closely and found that his suspicions were but too true. He accordingly sent his wife to the States a week ago yesterday and applied for a divorce. Yesterday morning Johnny (Warner) called me into his room, locked the door and handed me three letters addressed to his wife, written by Fred Hazelhurst, in which he calls her his darling Julia, and says he will resign in January and meet her soon after. He denounced Warner and threatened to ruin him. Warner seemed very much affected, said he had taken the letters from the mail the night before and as my name was mentioned in the letters, asked my advice. I advised him not to take any extreme measures in the matter and he promised me he would not, as the letters would enable him to obtain a divorce without any trouble.
He then went with me into my room and smoked for a few minutes. He then went out saying he wished to see the Colonel. About 12-1/2 o’clock I heard several pistol shots next door in the Colonel’s quarters. As I was the “Officer of the Day” I rushed out to ascertain the cause. Upon reaching the door I saw Warner rushing out of the room and Hazelhurst standing in the door in the door with a pistol in his hand. Just as I reached him, he fired. I pushed him aside and begged him to get out of the way as I feared Warner had to attempt to again get into the room by the back door. Hazelhurst exclaimed, “Oh my God Storey, I am killed.” As he was able to stand without support, I supposed he was not badly hurt, so I went after Warner. Just as I turned the corner of the building, I came across him. Poor fellow, he was just breathing his last– shot right through the heart.
Hazelhurst lived until five in the morning. I remained with him all night, poor fellow. The officers did not have much sympathy for him and though the had but got his deserts. I could not see the poor fellow fie without a white face around him, so I remained with him to the last. Do you blame me, Darling. He repented before he died. I think ’tis well with him.
Fred was but 23, a reckless devil may care fellow, and better hearted fellow never lived. We have sat together at the mess table since we have been at this post and I miss him very much. Warner was 28, a real good fellow but a man of no depth of mind. He had been Quartermaster and Commissary of Subsistence at this post for five or six weeks. A lot of us were together a few nights ago. Warner gave the following as a toast:
Then stand to your glasses steady
This world is a world of lies
Here’s a health to the dead already
Three cheers for the next man that dies.
Poor fellow, he little thought he would be the next one. We buried them this afternoon, side by side. I commanded the funeral escort for Hazelhurst. A few yards march with muffled drums, three volleys ore the graves, and that was the end of two men who might have lived for years to come, but for the perfidy of one woman.