Otto A. Risum

Wisconsin Historical Society, Iconography, ID 91086

Otto A. Risum

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Otto A. Risum
Birth Name
Other Names Otto Axel Risum
Patronymic Name Hansen
Lived 23 Feb 1835 - 11 Mar 1924
Birth Place Christiania (Oslo)
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Spring Valley, Rock County, WI
Company at Enlistment G
2nd Company Field Officers & Staff
Rank at Enlistment Sergeant
Muster Date 12 Dec 1861
Death Location Sawtell, Los Angeles County, CA
Mother Caroline Hermane Sell
Father Hans Ludwig Risum
Immigration 1856
Spouse Martha Wigley
2nd Spouse Louisa Krieger
2nd Spouse Lived -1896

Otto Axel Risum was born in Christiania, Norway, on February 23, 1835, the son of Hans Ludwig Risum and Caroline Hermane Sell. The father, Hans, went by his middle name, Ludwig. He was a printer and born in Denmark. The mother, Caroline, was born in Norway. In 1845, the family moved to Risör and Otto became a seaman. By 1860, he was living with his parents and brother, John L., in Spring Valley, WI. Otto worked as a farmer between 1856 and 1861.

Otto joined the WI 15th Infantry, Company G. The men of the company called themselves the "Rock River Rangers." The army listed him as living in Spring Valley, Rock County, WI, age 27, unmarried, and a farmer. Risum had blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion, and 5’9”. He enlisted for three years on October 16, 1861, at Beloit and mustered on December 12, 1861, at Madison and designated Sergeant (Sersjant). After the Battle of Chickamauga, GA, he was transferred to the Regimental Staff and promoted to Sergeant Major on March 1, 1864. He re-enlisted for three years on January 1, 1864, at Strawberry Plains, TN, with a bounty $402. Risum re-mustered on April 25, 1864 at McDonald’s Station, TN. On October 15, 1864, he was commissioned First Lieutenant (Løytnant) and assigned as Regimental Adjutant with rank from September 24, 1864. He mustered out in Chattanooga, TN, on February 9, 1865.

While in the south during the war, he met his future wife, Martha Wigley. They had a son named Louis. From 1873 to 1877, he was postmaster in Pulcifer, WI. He also owned a large mercantile business. After Martha died, he married Louisa Krieger. During a boat ride on Shawano Lake in 1896, Louisa drowned along with several others. By 1916, he was living in Los Angeles, CA. Louis died on August 31, 1922, and Otto on March 11, 1924.

Sources: Series 1200: Records of Civil War Regiments, 1861-1900, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, Archives, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, boxes 76-2,9,14; 78-1; Regimental Muster and Descriptive Rolls, 1861-1865, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, Archives, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, vol.20, p.2, p.98; Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, B. Anundsen, Decorah, IA, p.325, photo; Nordmaendene i Amerika, Martin Ulvestad, 1907, History Book Co., Minneapolis, MN, p.253; Oberst Heg og hans Gutter, Waldemar Ager, 1916, Fremad Publ. Co., Eau Claire, WI, p.272, photo, p.290; Lars Gjertveit, Bodo, Norway, list of the Field Officers of the WI 15th Regiment Infantry; Blaine Hedberg, NAGC&NL; 1860 census, Roll: M653_1431, Page: 635, Image: 67, Family History Library Film: 805431; and 1910 Census, Roll: T624_85, Page: 12B, Enumeration District: 0021, FHL microfilm: 1374098;; Norway, Baptisms, 1634-1927.

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