Axel  Pederson

Axel Pederson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Axel Pederson
Birth Name
Other Names Arel
Lived ca. 1842 - 3 July 1864
Birth Place Oslo
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Worth County, IA
Company at Enlistment K
Rank at Enlistment Corporal
Muster Date 11 Feb 1862
Cause of Death Diarrhea
Death Location Andersonville Prison, Macon County, GA
Burial Location Andersonville National Cemetery, Macon County, GA, grave 2847

Axel Pederson was enlisted in Company K of the 15th WI by Captain (Kaptein) Mons Grinager on November 30, 1861. The men of the company called themselves Clausen's Guards in honor of the 15th's first Chaplain, Claus L. Clausen. Axel was mustered into Federal service as a Corporal (Korporal) for a 3-year term of service on February 11, 1862, at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 19 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Worth County, IA.

After several months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Corporal Pederson left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until October 1862, 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 short of water.

Corporal Pederson would have 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. Starting October 27, 1862, he was absent from the 15th on Provost Marshall (military police) duty. Starting December 26, 1862, he was reported as "absent sick" in an Army hospital in Nashville, TN. As such it is unlikely that he participated in the 15th's desperate charge upon a Confederate artillery battery at Knob Gap, TN, that same day, or fought in the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stones River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, which began on December 30, 1862. It was at Stone River that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery.

The 15th camped in the Murfreesboro 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, TN. On August 17, 1863, the 15th left there to participate in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign. Corporal Pederson is believed to have been present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. He was present at the September 19-20, 1863, fighting at Chickamauga, GA -- the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. There he survived the vicious fighting around Viniard's Farm on the first afternoon, but was one of about 2 dozen 15th soldiers, including the regiments commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ole C. Johnson who were captured near Brotherton Field around midday on the 20th during what is now known as Longstreet's Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.

The 15th's prisoners were marched to Tunnel Hill, GA, then taken by railroad train to Atlanta, GA, and on to Richmond, VA, the Confederate capital. There they were imprisoned and their money confiscated. The 15th initially listed Private Pederson as "Missing" but was notified on November 4, 1863, that he was alive and being held as a prisoner in Richmond. In March 1864, many of the 15th's soldiers were transferred to the infamous Andersonville Prison Camp in Georgia. It was there that he was reported to have died of "diarrhea" that summer.

 

Sources: Series 1200: Records of Civil War Regiments, 1861-1900, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, Archives, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, box 76-12; Regimental Muster and Descriptive Rolls, 1861-1865, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, Archives, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, vol.20, p.140; Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, Decorah, IA, p.639; Nordmaendene i Amerika, Martin Ulvestad, 1907, History Book Co., Minneapolis, MN, p.265, 321; Oberst Heg og hans Gutter, Waldemar Ager, 1916, Fremad Publ. Co., Eau Claire, WI, p.319; “Prisoners who died at Andersonville Prison” Atwater List, Publ. 1865.


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