Grand Army of the Republic
Augustus Gordon Weissert was born at Canton, Ohio on August 7, 1844, the son of Michael and Magdalene (Bernard) Weissert. When he was six years old, his parents moved to Racine, Wisconsin, where he obtained a good elementary education and graduated from high school. He then pursued a general course of study at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and then entered the Law Department there, graduating with an LL.B. degree. He decided to continue his studies in New York the year before he entered the army.
At age 17, he enlisted in Co. K, 8th Wisconsin Infantry, the live eagle regiment, enrolling September 10, 1861, having been rejected several times before on account of his age and stature. After three years of campaigning with Grant and Sherman, he was promoted to Sergeant Major of the regiment on September 3, 1864, He shared in the 8th Wisconsin's fortunes until the battle of Nashville. When the army was in line at Nashville, Sgt. Maj. Weissert traversed the lines to ascertain whether his regiment was properly supplied with ammunition, and when his duty was completed, he received an order to remain at the rear to make up the regimental returns, then 15 days behind, on account of the constant campaigning. When the army advanced, Weissert was found in position with his regiment. When reminded of the order, he replied, I deemed this my place and thought I would go with the regiment, and finish the reports after the battle. Later that day, he received a bullet just over the knee, which he carried for many years as an open wound. He convalesced sufficiently and rejoined his regiment on crutches. He was breveted a captain with rank to June 6, 1864 for conspicuous bravery during the Red River expedition and for gallantry at Lake Chicot, Arkansas, June 6, 1864, and at Nashville, December 15th. The following March, he received an appointment to West Point, but he refused because of his wound.
Sgt. Maj. Weissert was mustered out with his regiment on September 17, 1865, and returned to Wisconsin, where he took up the study of law under the guidance of W.P. Lyon of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He was admitted to practice in the Circuit Courts of the state in 1869. The following year, he was admitted to the higher court of the State and to the Federal and Supreme Courts of the United States. He practiced law in Milwaukee from 1876 until 1921. Commander Weissert was married November 24, 1869, to Mary E. Trautwin and they had one daughter, Florence E. George C., a promising son, was drowned when 15 years old.
He joined the Grand Army of the Republic at Madison, Wisconsin, in 1866 and was several times elected to represent his post, Milwaukee's E.B. Wolcott Post #1, at the Department Encampments. For several years, he was Trusteee of the Wolcott Post. He was one of the representatives of the Wisconsin Department at the 1887 National Encampment in St. Louis, and was prominent at Columbus in 1888, in securing the 1889 Encampment for Milwaukee.
On February 17, 1888, he was elected Department Commander and revealed that he was a stickler for discipline. He preferred the Post hall to the banquet board and believed that on meeting night the Post room was the place for Grand Army men. In 1889, he was re-elected, and at the 23rd National Encampment, was unanimously elected Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief.
He was president of the executive council of the Citizen's Committee that made the 23rd National Encampment in Milwaukee a success. At the Detroit Encampment in 1891, he received the second highest number of votes for the office to which he was subsequently elected to in 1892 in Washington DC. In the capacity of Senior Vice Commander, he visited many of the Departments of the East and West, in the company of Commander-in-Chief Russell A. Alger.
Commander-in-Chief Weissert had always actively interested himself in civic affairs. He held Government appointments to several civil positions and for a number of years, was an influential and prominent member of the Milwaukee School Board. He was for a long time, Chairman of the High School Committee. In 1900, he was presidential elector at large and chosen president of the electoral college of Wisconsin. President Roosevelt appointed him to the board of visitors to West Point in 1904.
Pasat Commander-in-Chief Weissert died at his home, 101 Eighteenth Street, Milwaukee, on Tuesday, April 24, 1923. He was 79 years old and survived by his widow, Mary and his daughter, Mrs. Lewis Sleeper, of Appleton. He was buried in Milwaukee's Forest Home Cemetery. Much of his GAR memorabilia was donated by his family to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison and is on display there.
Soldiers & Citizens Album of Biographical Record, 1889. Vol. 2, Brown & Brown.
The Milwaukee Sentinel
Stephen A. Michaels
Past Department Commander
Department of Wisconsin
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
August 1, 2000