William Edward Richter was born in 1826 in Weimar, Germany.
William immigrated to America and settled in western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.
William stood 5’9” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion, and was a 35-year-old workman possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.) He was discharged for consumption on July 31, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia
William returned to Michigan where he reentered the service (probably on October 10, 1861 and probably in Grand Rapids) in B Battery, First Michigan Light Artillery, listing his residence as Mt. Clemons, Macomb County. He was most likely mustered in Grand Rapids where the battery was originally organized between September 10 and December 14, 1861. The battery left Michigan on December 17 for St. Louis, Missouri, and during the battle of Shiloh in early April was overwhelmed and captured except for Lang’s section, which was attached to Mann’s Battery “C,” First Missouri Artillery. It was subsequently reorganized at Detroit in December of 1862. The battery left for Columbus, Kentucky on Christmas day, and remained in Columbus until it was moved to Corinth, Mississippi January 4-9, 1863. It remained in Corinth until early March when it was moved to Bethel, Tennessee and remained on duty there until early June. Edward was discharged for disability as a Corporal on June 21, 1863, at Detroit.
According to the burial records at the Dayton National Cemetery, William reentered the service in October of 1861 in the “Second Wisconsin Battery” and was discharged in March of 1863.
In December of 1863 (?) he applied for and received a pension (no. 110122).
At some point after his discharge William apparently returned to Michigan. By 1870 he was probably working as a sailor and living with the Louis Liscke family in Detroit’s Third Ward. He may have been living in Detroit in the fall of 1872 when he was admitted to the “Michigan Soldiers’ Home” at Harper hospital in Detroit, awaiting transportation to the Central Branch National Military Home in Dayton, Ohio. In fact he was admitted to Dayton on November 14, 1872.
William died of asthma on December 7, 1872, at Dayton, and was buried in Dayton National Cemetery: section A, row 11, grave no. 61.