August 2015 Book Update

Hello folks, after getting married this spring and the associated chaos related to moving to a new home, I’m finally getting a little time to work on the 49th again.  My research materials have actually made it out of the garage and into my office and are available for use again.  For the last few weeks I’ve been working on locating the graves of members of the regiment that died during the war.  Then, I’ll get back to the series of posts on post-war deaths of unit members that were noted in their pension records.

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Update on the Book

I just wanted to give everyone an update on where things stand with the book on the history of the 49th that I’ve been working on a for a long time.  A draft of the manuscript is complete up through the beginning of the battle for Spanish Fort near Mobile.  I’ve been sort of stuck at this point for a while as there is almost no specific information about the role that the regiment played in this campaign.  For example, Col. Dyer apparently didn’t write an after-action report and I’ve not come across any letters or diaries from soldiers of the 49th written during this period.

In the last few months I’ve been trying to clear up a lot of confusion regarding the spelling of soldier names.  Anyone who has dealt with manuscripts from this period understands the difficulty in interpreting the writing and when you combine this with the fact that there are several different ways to spell the names of many of the unit’s German soldiers, confirming the accuracy of a particular spelling can sometimes be almost impossible.  I feel that I owe it to the soldiers to do the best I can to make sure that their names are spelled correctly both on the web site and in the book.

One resource that has proven to be particularly helpful is, which often has photos of gravestones, which I take as the definitive spelling — though even these are sometimes contradicted by the spelling in newspaper obituaries.

Update on the Update (May 2015)– I’ve had to put the book on hold as I prepare to get married and move.  Hopefully, I will be able to finish it up later this summer

Death of Levi Pennington

150 years ago today, Private Levi Pennington, of Company A, died of congestion of the brain and liver in Columbia, Missouri.  When he enlisted at the age of 17 he was a farmer living in Warren County.  He is buried in the Pennington Cemetery in Truxton, Lincoln County, Missouri.

Source: Columbia Missouri Statesman, December 16, 1864; 49th Missouri Infantry service records.

Private Henry T. Lefaivre – The First Loss due to Combat

October represents the 175th anniversary of first campaign in which the 49th participated. Arriving in Jefferson City on October 3rd, 1865, the 49th began constructing earthworks to protect the city from Sterling Price’s approaching army.

On October 6th parts of the 49th apparently skirmished with the rebels near Moreau Creek and Private Henry T. Lefaivre, a 15-year old farmer in Company G, suffered a serious gunshot wound to his right leg from which he died on the 9th. He was buried in the small National Cemetery in Jefferson City. He has the unfortunate distinction of being the first soldier in the regiment to die while in service.

While the gravestone records the name “Lafeth” and enlistment records give his age as 17, a receipt signed by his father for $50 bounty based on his son’s service indicates that the proper surname is “Lefaivre” and that he was 15 when he joined the unit.