Friday, June 22, 2012

Julius Raith


Julius Raith was born in Germany in 1819, and came to this country with his father's family in 1836. They settled in St. Clair county, Illinois. When about 18 years of age, he went to Columbia, Monroe county, where he learned the trade of a millwright, and became an expert in that occupation. On the breaking out of the Mexican war he enlisted in Col. Bissell's regiment, and was commissioned as Captain, winning laurels at Buena Vista and in all the engagements of his regiment, which showed itself to be one of the most gallant and meritorious in that campaign. Soon after Captain Raith's return from Mexico, he married a daughter of Hon. John D. Hughes, of Belleville, taking up his residence in St. Louis, where he remained in the pursuit of his occupation as millwright, until 1860, when he removed to Illinois, and built a large flouring mill in O'Fallon, on the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, which is still operated in the name of Julius Raith & Co. He constructed some of the best and most noted mills in Missouri and Illinois, and was widely known to millowners and mechanics in the West.

During the summer of 1861, Capt. Raith raised the 43d Regiment, and entered the service as its Colonel in October. At the battle of Shiloh, Col. Raith was in command of the 3d brigade, composed of his own regiment, the 17th, 29th and 49th Illinois. Whilst leading his command, on the first day of the conflict, he was wounded by a minie ball in the leg above the knee. He lay on the battle-field for twenty-four hours, when he was picked up in a feeble and exhausted condition. He was placed on board the steamer Hannibal, and on the way to the Hospital at Mound City, Illinois, suffered the amputation of his leg. He died from tetanus, or lock-jaw, produced by his injuries.

Colonel Raith's wife died in the latter part of 1859, being survived by two sons, one of whom is now ten and the other seven years of age.

SOURCE: James Grant Wilson, Biographical Sketches Of Illinois Officers Engaged In The War Against The Rebellion Of 1861, p. 43

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