5th Minnesota Battle Flag Richard Gessert

Name: Richard Gessert
Company: E
  • Date: about 1843
  • Place: Hessia (Germany) or New York
Mustered In
  • Date: February 10, 1862
  • Rank: Private
  • Age: 19
  • Residence prior to military service: Carver County, Minnesota
  • Date: March 24, 1918
  • Place: Ramsey County, Minnesota
  • Burial: Elmhurst Cemetery, Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota (Block 38)
Mustered Out
  • Date: September 6, 1865
  • Rank: Private
  • Age: about 23
  • Residence following military service: 1671 Harvester Ave., St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
  • Vocation following military service: Lumber inspector

Richard Gessert Biography and Civil War Narrative

Richard Gessert was born about 1843, the son of Hessian parents. His father, William, was a tinsmith, and his mother's name was Catherine. The 1860 U.S. Census shows the William Gessert family living in Chaska, Carver County, Minnesota. At age 14, Richard was the oldest child. His siblings were Justina (age 12), Louisa (age 10), Helena (age 7), Henry (age 4), and William (age 2 months). According to the census, Richard, Justina, and Louisa were born in Hessia; Helena and Henry were born in Wisconsin; and William was born in Minnesota. (Subsequent censuses would record that Richard was born in New York.)

On Monday, February 10, 1862, Richard Gessert enlisted as a Private in Company E of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He served until the end of the Civil War, during which time the 5th Minnesota participated in the (2nd) Battle of Corinth, Mississippi
(October 3-4, 1862); the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi (May 18 - July 4, 1863); the Red River Campaign in Louisiana March 10 - May 22, 1864); the Battle of Nashville, Tennessee (December 15-16, 1864); and the Campaign against Mobile, Alabama (March 7 - April 12, 1865). They were also involved in numerous other smaller engagements and campaigns along the way. On Thursday, February 25, 1864, Private Gessert re-enlisted as a veteran in the 5th Minnesota. He was mustered out with the regiment on Wednesday, September 6, 1865.

Richard Gessert returned home to Minnesota, where the 1865 Minnesota census shows him as a resident of Carver, Carver County, Minnesota.

Executive Documents for the State of Minnesota 1875 state that Richard Gessert was indicted in Washington County, Minnesota, for the fatal stabbing of a man (named David Larazzo) in Washington County who died in Pierce County, Wisconsin. On Friday, November 24, 1882, the St. Paul Daily Globe reported that in the case of State vs. Richard Gessert (held in District Court before Judge Wilkin), concerning charges of assault with deadly weapon, a verdict of not guilty was rendered. Newspaper articles also appeared in the Weekly Valley Herald (published in Chaska, Carver County, Minnesota) regarding Richard Gessert:
About 1881, Richard married Bertha, born September 1860, in Germany. She had come to America in 1871. By the time of the 1895 state census, Richard and Bertha Gessert lived in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and had two children: George Richard (born August 1884) and Minnie (born July 1888).

In March 1889, the St. Paul Daily Globe and the Carver Free Press both published articles stating the Richard Gessert had received a letter from the "White Caps," ordering him to leave the city. The whitecapping movement involved secret societies formed to deliver justice independently from government authorities.

Richard Gessert grave marker

NOTE: There was another Richard Gessert, born in 1825 and married to "Fannie" who also lived in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Richard Gessert attended a reunion of the 5th Minnesota Volunteers at the Minnesota State Capitol in September 1894.

On Tuesday, June 16, 1903, Richard and Bertha's son George graduated from Mechanics Arts high school. At the commencement ceremony he gave a presentation on "High School Athletics."

The 1900 and 1910 censuses show Richard and his family living at
1671 Harvester Ave., St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. Richard worked as a lumber inspector. In 1910, Minnie worked as a Stenographer.

Richard Gessert died on Sunday, March 24, 1918, in Ramsey County, Minnesota. He was buried in
Elmhurst Cemetery, Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota (Block 38).

Son George continued to live with Bertha in St. Paul. The 1920 census shows Bertha at age 59 and George at age 35, working as an Engineer for the Court House. Bertha died Wednesday, May 13, 1931, in Hennepin County. She was buried with Richard in Elmhurst Cemetery.

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This page is maintained by Tim Bode (timbode@juno.com ). Page created on 1/18/2011. Last modified on 1/18/2011.

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