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Joseph Burger's Geni Profile

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Joseph Burger

Birthdate: (72)
Death: January 3, 1921 (68-76)
Minnesota, United States
Place of Burial: Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Caroline Burger
Father of Charles Joseph Burger

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joseph Burger

Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 2d Minnesota Infantry. Place and date: At Nolensville, Tenn., 15 February 1863. Entered service at: Crystal Lake, Minn. Birth: Austria. Date of issue: 11 September 1897. Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.


Joseph Burger wasn’t one to give up.

Born in the Austrian Alps, Burger was six months old when his parents immigrated to America, six years old when both his mother and father died of cholera, and 16 years old when he was grievously wounded in the Civil War.

“I fear for my very life for I am nearly destroyed,” he wrote in his diary days after being shot. “One arm is removed at the shoulder and the remaining hand is likely useless.”

Rather than being destroyed, Burger bulled his way back to health. He’d already survived as a six-year-old orphan, as a nine-year-old sent from Illinois to serve as a farm hand near New Ulm, and as a soldier in the Union Army — enlisting at the age of 13.

After the war, he went to law school at Warrenton College in Missouri and practiced law in that state. He ran for a seat in the Missouri Legislature, losing by one vote. Instead of giving up on politics, the Republican ran again a couple of years later and won by a single vote, according to his diary.
He married, fathered a son and three daughters, moved back to New Ulm, then to Mankato, and was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives serving Blue Earth County. Two more daughters and a second son were born in Minnesota.
And in 1897, he was awarded the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military decoration — for his gallantry as a 14-year-old in a skirmish in Nolensville, Tenn.
Even after his death in St. Paul in 1921, Burger’s legacy continued. His then-13-year-old grandson, Warren, didn’t emulate his father and go into farming. He followed his war-hero grandfather into the law and in 1969 became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

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Joseph Burger's Timeline

April 16, 1848
Age 21
January 3, 1921
Age 72
Minnesota, United States
Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, United States