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Dispatches from the Front:  February 1862

By Bruce Weaver II

Camp Randall

This image of Camp Randall was scanned from a plate published in a 1920 issue of Wisconsin Magazine of History.

A war was on. Hans Christian Heg, Wisconsin State Prison Commissioner, felt it a patriotic duty for Scandinavians to join the war effort and appealed to his countrymen to volunteer. He soon resigned his position and reported to Camp Randall in Madison on December 15, 1861 to become Colonel of the new regiment. Many Norwegians including a number of Valdris heeded the call. What better way to see their new homeland and receive pay! The war should be over soon anyway.

 

 

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Muster-in Roll of Company D, 15th Wisconsin regiment. Note the company was formed on February 13, 1862 for a period of three years’ service. Typical soldier Muster-in Roll. Arne Arneson (Eldebakken) enrolled on December 15, 1861 at nearby Mt. Horeb. Brothers Ole and Halvor Lee, Arne’s near neighbors from Sør Aurdal, also enlisted. The three of them served together in company D.

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The first entry in the 15
th Wisconsin Field Return.
It reports the unit was officially formed on February 3, 1862.

On the first day of March 1862 the Regiment was ordered by the Governor of Wisconsin to proceed next day to St. Louis and report to Maj. General Halleck. Following this order the Regiment arrived by the N.W. RR at Chicago


on the evening of M
arch 2, left on the C. St. L & A. RR and arrived at Alton on the evening of the 3rd embarked on steamboat City of Alton and landed at St. Louis next forenoon…

 

 

St Louis MO 

Engraving scanned from Harper’s Weekly (September 14, 1861) showing Federal troops from Indiana offloading from the Steamer City of Alton at St. Louis. This was the same steamboat the 15th Wisconsin Infantry boarded in early March 1862 to reach St. Louis.

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