Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - William Breidenstein

William Nelson Breidenstein

Representing: Union

Unit History

  • 2nd Minnesota Cavalry C

See full unit history

William Breidenstein
Full Unit History

Organized: Fall/Winter, 1863
Mustered In: January, 1864
Mustered Out: Fall, 1865 - 5/4/66

Regimental History


The 2nd Minnesota was a three year "frontier" cavalry regiment that never fired a shot at Johnny Reb. Following its January, 1864 Federal muster it entered into garrison duty with occasional expeditions in pursuit of wandering bands of Native American Indians.

In late May, '64 the regiment departed Ft. Snelling St. Paul, MN as part of a campaign against the hostiles. After affecting a July 1st junction with other Federals at Ft. Sully on the Missouri River, the Union force drove the Indians from their camp on the Cannon Ball River and followed them to the Little Heart River.

Then came the battle of Takahokuty Mountain during which 5,000 Indians were strongly posted in ravines and hillsides. Two men were killed during this engagement. Early August found the 1st in action during the battle of the Little Missouri.

Reaching the Yellowstone River the regiment began its return trip to Ft. Ridgley. Arriving at the fort on October 8, 1864 several companies were detailed to forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie and Ripley as well as other smaller posts.

Late, 1865 saw the regiment mustered out as fast as regular troops could take their places. The final musters were in April and May, 1866.


Officers Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 0; Officers Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 3; Enlisted Men Killed Or Mortally Wounded:  4; Enlisted Men Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.:56   .

Soldier History

Residence: Inf. Not Avail.   Age: 32.3 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 12/1/63 Owatonna Steele Co., MN   Rank: Sgt.
Mustered In: 12/1/63 Owatonna Steele Co., MN
Mustered Out: 1/17/65
Highest Rank: Qtr. Mstr. Sgt.
Rank At Discharge: Qtr. Mstr. Sgt.

Family History



NOTE: The birth - to - death biographical profile of William Breidenstien was created in October, 2020 during the Covid-19 medical pandemic. It is less detailed than other biographies found within this website because military, pension and other veteran-related files housed in Washington, D.C.'s National Archives were not available. It is hoped that at a later time these documents can be obtained and data contained therein added to the narrative which follows.


 William Nelson Breidenstien was born on 9/20/30. The location of his birth was Columbiana County, OH. 

Parents of William were Martin L. (b. 1776 E. Cocalico Lancaster County, PA - d. 6/21/59 Hanover Columbiana County, OH) and Nancy J. (nee Kemmel b. 1793 loc. unk. - d. unk.) Breidenstien. Nancy was John's second wife. 

Although William had nine half brothers and sisters via his father's first marriage, he also had four blood siblings. Older than he was Elizabeth (b. 1829 Lancaster Co., PA). Younger than he were Margaret A. (b. 1/20/32 OH), Hannah (b. 1835 OH) and Jonas (b. 11/3/39 OH). 

Around 1856 William married. His bride was Mary Elizabeth (nee Thomson b. 4/28/36 MD). 

William and Mary produced six children. The Breidenstien children were: George Reck (10/25/56 Owatonna Steele County, MN), Eliza Belle (b. 1858), Frank Lincoln (b. 12/23/66 MN), Esther C. (b. 1868 MO), Alfred Grant (b. 1872 Osborne County, KS) and Mary Ellen “Mamie" (b. 1874 KS). 

Looking at the children’s' birth states, it would appear that after wedding William and Mary settled in Minnesota. According to the 1860 U.S. Census, however, as of that year they were in Center Columbiana County, OH. 

That having been said, when in 1863, William entered the U.S. Army, the family  may have been residing in Minnesota again as that is where William enlisted in the 2nd Minnesota Cavalry. 

Without access to his military service records the most that can be said about William’s period of service is that he entered the military as a sergeant within Company "C". He then moved to regimental staff as a quartermaster sergeant. Also, he survived The War and returned to civilian life. 

It appears that upon leaving the military William rejoined his family in Minnesota. By 1868, though, the Breidenstiens had removed to Missouri.  

In 1870 the family was in Polk Nodaway County, MO. There, William listed his occupation as laborer. 

As if 1880 the Breidenstiens had made another inter-state move. The Census of that decade found the family farming in Penn Osborne County, KS. 

The 1890s. Another decade and another change of scenery. As of late 1890 William and family were in Washington State. What had drawn them to the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest and when they had arrived here are unknowns.  

By 1892 William, Mary, son Alfred and daughter Mamie were residing in Ward 3 Seattle King County, WA.  Occupationally, in 1892 William was employed as an "expressman." 

William died on 9/16/95.His passing occurred at home in River Park King County, WA. Details of his death are not available. He was/is buried in the Comet Lodge I.O.O.F. (Georgetown) Cemetery located on the west side of Seattle's Beacon Hill. 

On 12/20/90 William had begun the paperwork to obtain a U.S. Government disability pension based on his days of Civil War soldiering. A pension was granted, but without his files the details of the stipend are not known. 

What is known is that following William's death Mary petitioned the government to continue receiving at portion of her late husband's stipend. Again, the request was granted but, without pension files the details of her monthly income are unknowns. 

After William's death Mary remained in Seattle. In 1900 she was residing in the Fulton King County home of son Alfred, his wife and children. She also is listed in the 1904 and 1910 Seattle city directories. 

Mary died on 1/7/10. Her passing came, not in Seattle, but in Boise Ada County, ID. No details are available pertaining to her living situation - likely she was in the home of one of her adult children - or circumstances surrounding her death. Her earthly remains were returned to Seattle for burial beside William.


Buried at Comet Lodge AKA Georgetown Cemetery

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