Ernest Robert Jefferson


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JEFFERSON, Ernest Robert

Ernest Robert Jefferson was born in 1843 to Robert H. & Cornelia [Peters] Jefferson in Naperville, Illinois. The family ended up settling in the St. Anthony district of Minneapolis.

Ernest enlisted with the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He had two brothers, Robert E. Jefferson and Rufus Horatio Jefferson, that also served in the Civil War. They were two of 18 locals of the St. Louis County area that served with the Union during the Civil War.

Ernest Jefferson enlisted in the Union Army right after the outbreak of the Civil War at 18 years old, His older brother Rufus, upon hearing that, then hiked the 150 miles from Duluth, Minnesota to Ft. Snelling in Minneapolis to join him and enlisted with him.

Their service began in Centerville, Maryland the night before the Battle of Bull Run. Ernest came out unscathed at Bull Run but Rufus was slightly wounded and.the papers lmistakenly isted Rufus as killed This caused considerable grief in the Jefferson family and triggered Robert to enlist.

Ernest stayed in the 1st Minnesota and fought iin some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, namely Antietam and Gettyburg. It was at Gettyburg that Jefferson fell with a bullet in his left leg. As he lay on the field another bullet tore through his foot. Corporal Henry O'Brien helped him to some shelter. Shortly after nightfall the survivors came back for their friends. Henry O'Brien found Jefferson and helped him to the regimental hospital. O'Brien would eventually be given the Medal of Honor award.

With two wounds in the same leg, it had to be amputated at a Union hospital. Miraculously he recovered and lived a fulfilling life. He was honorably discharged on December 9th 1863.

After the war he returned to Minnesota and moved to Duluth near where his brothe Robert had lived. He married Addie M. and they started a family.

Mr. Jefferson died on May 16th 1911 in Bay Lake, Minnesota at 65/66 years of age. He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Duluth, Minnesota. He was the one of the last survivors of the fabled 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.


Albert J. Amatuzio Research Center | Veterans Memorial Hall (

Ernest R. Jefferson (1843-1911) - Find a Grave Memorial

First Minnesota (

Minnesota, U.S., Civil War Records, 1861-1865 -

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