Interesting stuff David and it sure sounds like Black Bart. Wells Fargo was established in 1852 so that checks out and Butte County is not too far from Sacramento so that makes sense. Sacramento also had newspapers back in the day and I'm wondering if anything else can be gathered as there should be a source for New Orleans carrying the story.
As you know there were not that many Union soldiers who went off to war for the $13.00 per month pay as a private. It was more patriotic I suppose more than any other reason enlisting early in the war.
Could the gentleman bandit have had a sense of patriotic duty? Being born in England and being successful in robberies in California seems to promote your theory on Black Bart not being the same Union soldier as Charles E. Boles.
But the soldier Charles E. Boles just seems to disappear after his discharge in Washington.
And there does still seem to be a gap if this is the same man listed as robbing a stage coach as reported in a newspaper article August of 1860 and then another Charles E. Boles enlisting in August of 1862 in Illinois. There was enough time to cover the trip back to Illinois.
Sherman's Yankee's who made the March to the Sea were walkers. I remember reading about the Grand Review in Washington and people noting the long strides of Sherman's bummers. And from the accounts I've read say that Black Bart's method of robbery was on foot. For what ever reason Black Bart did not ride horses as a rule.
You could be correct David about the two Charles E. Boles not being the same man. I don't know where the family Bible is that was reported by detective Hume but it would be interesting to find out.