Adjutant James Krafft
Adjutant James Krafft was born on Nov. 25, 1839 in Belleville, Illinois. His father, Theodore Julius Krafft, immigrated from the German Rheinpflaz to Illinois in 1832. His mother was Mary Elizabeth Mitchell, a granddaughter of Reverend Edward Mitchell, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Like many other German immigrants in the St. Clair County area, Theodore Krafft was raised with a classical education and worked as a merchant, a lawyer, and became the mayor of Belleville in 1850.
Much of what historians know today of life as a soldier in the McKendree Regiment comes from the many diary entries and letters James Krafft wrote during his enlistment. Krafft enlisted in the 117th Illinois Infantry in August of 1862 at the age of 22 and was initially appointed a Sergeant. He was later promoted to Sergeant Major, Lieutenant, and Adjutant to the Regiment. Krafft participated in the Red River Campaign, the Siege of Mobile, and the Nashville Campaign. He was discharged at the age of 25 on Aug. 5, 1865. He married Louisa Frances Flanagon on June 12, 1866 with whom he had two children, Frederick Theodore Krafft and Edwin James Krafft. He passed away on Feb. 4, 1920 at the age of 80.