Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maximillian Von Krout

Maximillian Von Krout was born in 1837, probably in Germany.

Max immigrated to the United States and by the spring of 1861 was living in Grand Rapids where he was teaching German as well as French (“for ladies”). Apparently there were public allegations that same spring, at least within the local German community, that Von Kraut was less than patriotic.

On April 30, 1861, the Grand Rapids Enquirer reprinted the following letter to the editor from von Kraut. “Being informed that there are some parties, not known to me, who are misrepresenting my sentiments in regard to the present state of the country, allow me to say to the public, that so long as I shall have the honor to call the U. S. my home, I shall follow the banner of this glorious country wherever necessity calls, and help to defend the beloved Union. My arm shall not be the last that will draw the sword to fight for the maintenance of the glorious Stars and Stripes.”

Follow the banner he did. Max was 24 years old when he enlisted as First Lieutenant in Company C on May 13, 1861. In a description of the departure of the Third Michigan from Detroit for Washington, the correspondent for the Detroit Free Press wrote from Cleveland, Ohio, on June 14, 1861, that

After the excitement and confusion of parting was over, the scene was varied, and interesting; here and there upon the deck were groups of men, some discussion the beauties of a moonlight evening upon the water, others the probability of a return to the good old shores of Michigan and the ‘girls they left behind them,’ while others, of a more musical turn of mind, crowded around the piano in the cabin to listen to the very creditable performance of Lieutenant Max von Kraut, of company C. Thus the evening passed away until about 11 o'clock, when the fatigue and labors of the past two or three days -- during which time most of the soldiers had enjoyed but very little sleep -- began to tell upon their physical powers and to suggest the necessity of a little of ‘nature's sweet restorer.

On June 24 the Free Press correspondent wrote from Camp McDowell on Georgetown Heights, DC that “Scouting parties are now sent out every night to reconnoiter in the enemy's territory. Last night company C, Captain [Adolph] Birkenstock, went out, and Lieutenant Kraut captured a large secession watch dog; after much persuasion and entreaty, he was induced to take the oath of allegiance and is now the guest of the Lieutenant.”

Max was promoted to Captain in July of 1861 following Captain Birkenstock’s resignation and was commissioned as such August 1. He resigned on November 10, 1861, on account of disability.

There is no further record and no pension seems to be available.

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