Gahr Emanuel Aanunsen

Photo RG985-CWP-161.76

Wm. Schultz College, U.S. Army Military History Institute

Gahr Emanuel Aanunsen

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Gahr Emanuel Aanunsen
Birth Name Gahr Aanensen
Other Names Garth, Gahr Anunsen, Aanensen, Svenevig
Patronymic Name Aanensen
Lived 30 Apr 1832 - 19 Mar 1903
Birth Place Mydland, Hægebostad, Vest-Agder fylke
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Madison, Dane County, WI
Company at Enlistment A
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 25 Nov 1861
Cause of Death Pneumonia
Death Location St. Paul, Ramsey County, MN
Burial Location Luverne, Rock County, MN
Mother Anna Jacobsdatter Vatne
Mother Lived 1801-22 Dec 1882
Father Aanen Gahrsen Naglestad
Father Lived ca 1801-9 Feb 1880
Immigration 1861
Spouse Agnete Tobine Jacobsdatter Vaage
Spouse Lived 9 Oct 1828-11 Jan 1908
Married On 25 Mar 1858
Marriage Location Lyngdal, Vest-Agder, Norway

Gahr Aanensen was born on April 30, 1832, in Mydland, Hægebostad parish, Vest-Agder fylke, Norway. He left for Amerika from Lyngdal parish April 2, 1861, with his wife and two children.

After the war began, he was enlisted in Company A of the 15th WI by Captain Andrew Torkildson at Madison, Dane County, WI, on October 29, 1861, for a 3 year term of service. The men of the company called themselves the "St. Olaf's" Rifles. They were also known as the "Sailor Company" because many of them were seamen, and as the "Chicago Company" because many of them were residents of that city. Aanunsen was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) on November 25, 1861, at Camp Randall, Madison. At the time he was listed as being 29 years old and married. His residence was recorded as Madison, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th were issued Belgian rifled muskets. About 6 weeks later, after nearly 4 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Aanunsen left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until August 1863, he was listed as "present" with the 15th. As such he would have participated in the successful siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in Tennessee, and the surprise raid on Union City, TN, in March and April 1862. That summer he would have been with the 15th on campaign through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. In August and September he would have participated in the grueling 400-mile retreat with General Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and a shortage of water.

Private Aanunsen would have also been present at the October 8, 1862, Battle of Perryville, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the first big battle the 15th was in, it emerged without any fatalities. On December 26, 1862, he would have participated in the 15th's desperate charge upon a Confederate artillery battery at Knob Gap, TN, just south of Nashville. There, the 15th captured a brass cannon. Private Aanunsen fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stones River, Tennessee, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, on December 30-31, 1862. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties and was cited for bravery. One of the casualties was Private Aanunsen, who was "severely" wounded on December 31. Afterwards he was sent to Nashville to recover.

The 15th camped in the Murfreesboro, TN, area for the next 6 months, except for 2 weeks in February when it was sent to Franklin, TN. Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in General Rosecrans' Tullahoma campaign. On July 3, 1863, it camped at Winchester, Franklin County, TN, for about 6 weeks. On August 17, 1863, the 15th left there to participate in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign. Private Aanunsen was "left sick" at Stevenson, AL, when the 15th departed there on August 27, 1863. That was the last time he was ever with the regiment.

General Order 104 dated August 27, 1863, from the Headquarters of the 20th Army Corps officially transferred Private Aanunsen to the Veterans Reserve Corps (VRC) effective September 1, 1863. The VRC was also known as the Invalid Corps. Private Aanunsen was transferred because he had become too disabled for field service, but was still able enough to do service in garrisons, hospitals, or at prisoner of war camps. With this transfer, Private Aanunsen's official connection with the 15th Wisconsin ended.

Gahr and his wife, Agnete Tobine Jacobsdatter, had at least 5 children, including Anna Sophia (1859), Johan Alvig (1860), Anna (1866), Amelia (1869) and Johanna (1873).  In 1870 the family lived in Silver Lake, Worth County, IA, his parents and brother living next door.  By 1880 the family was living in Luverne, Rock County, MN.  He passed away shortly before his 71st birthday. It is believed that his death was due to pneumonia.


Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records by Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Det Femtende Regiment Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, B. Anundsen, Decorah, IA; Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1885); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1886); Genealogical data courtesy of his great grandson, Robert Knorr;  Hægebostad parish register #A 3/1, born and baptised, p. 28,  Lyngdal parish register #A9, married, p. 194, in- and out-migrated, p. 252, Herad parish register #A2, born and baptised, p. 36,; 1870 Census: Roll: M593_427, Page: 455A, Family History Library Film: 545926, 1880 Census: Roll: 632, Family History Film: 1254632, Page: 466D, Enumeration District: 235, ELCA Archives, Elk Grove Village, IL,

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