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.

The Price Raid — Video of Lecture at Chicago Civil War Round Table

In the video below, Diance Eckoff and Aaron Barnhart discuss the background of the Civil War in Missouri while focusing on the raid led by Confederate General Sterling Price in the fall of 1864.

At the time the raid began the 49th was just beginning to organize and they were quickly rushed to Jefferson City where they were set to building fortifications for an expected Confederate attack on the town.  A full-scale attack never happened, but the 49th lost its first man killed in battle when Private Henry Lafeth, a 17 year-old German farmer from St. Charles that was a member of Company  G, died on October 9, 1864 three days after being shot in the right leg while skirmishing with the rebels.  Private Lafeth was buried in what later became Jefferson City National Cemetery.