Nicolae Dunca was born in 1837, in Transylvania, Romania, and came to the United States in December 1861. He enlisted in the Union Army in March 1862 and, due to his past military experience, was appointed captain of the 12th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Volunteers from New York. He was later assigned as aide-de-camp to Major General John C. Fremont, whose army was operating in the Shenandoah Valley. Dunca was shot and killed by a Georgian (Pvt. John Long of Co. B, 21st Georgia Infantry) on picket duty at the Battle of Cross Keys on June 8, 1862. When the picket searched Dunca's personal effects, it was discovered that he was carrying a dispatch outlining Gen. Fremont's order of march for the day. Dunca was still a Romanian citizen at the time of his death. He was buried at Perkey’s Farm, Cross Keys, Virginia, and his remains were later transferred to the Staunton National Cemetery (Section B, Grave 292).
- Staunton National Cemetery.
- Collins, Darrell L., The Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, June 8–9, 1862. H.E. Howard, Inc., Lynchburg, Virginia, 1993. (see p. 68 for a details surrounding Dunca's death)