He was born in 1830 in Zollingen, Düsseldorf, Germany. He moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1833. From 1853 to 1857 he studied painting with members of the Düsseldorf school in Düsseldorf, Germany. Returning to the United States, he began to paint landscapes in New England and northern New York. He joined the expedition in 1859 to create a new map of the West. Meanwhile, Beerstadt constantly sketched and wrote. The following year, an exhibition of western landscapes was held.