Amund  Olsen

Believed to have been taken post-Civil War.

Photo courtesy of his great granddaughter, Bette Minehart.

Amund Olsen

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Amund Olsen
Birth Name Amun Olsen Puntervold
Other Names Ammund Olson, Omun (Omund) Oleson
Patronymic Name Olsen
Lived 26 Apr 1840 - 26 Aug 1915
Birth Place Puntervold, Ogna i Eigersund parish, Rogaland fylke
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Bad Ax (Vernon) County, WI
Company at Enlistment A
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 17 Dec 1861
Cause of Death Stroke of paralysis
Death Location Slayton, Murray County, MN
Burial Location Slayton Cemetery, Slayton, MN
Mother Maren Nielsdatter Melhus
Mother Lived 1802-1898
Father Ole Tønnesen Puntervold
Father Lived 1795-1883
Immigration 1 May 1858
Spouse Bertha Mary Tennison
Spouse Lived 1837-1904
Married On 1865
Marriage Location Wisconsin
2nd Spouse Elizabeth (Lizzie) Shevland Norem
2nd Spouse Lived 1876-1943
2nd Marriage Date 3 Jun 1907
2nd Marriage Location Lakefield, Jackson County, MN

Amund Olsen was enlisted for a 3-year term of service in Company A of the 15th WI by Captain John A. Ingmundson on November 14, 1861 at Bad Ax (now Vernon) County, WI. His brothers Niels P. Olsen and Michael Olsen also joined the same company. Together they were one of what is said to have been 3 sets of 3 brothers who served in the 15th. The men of Company A called themselves the "St. Olaf's Rifles." They were also known as the "Sailor Company" because of the large number of seamen in its ranks, and as the "Chicago Company" because so many of its members were residents of that city. Amund was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) on December 17, 1861 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 20 years old and not married. He was recorded as having blue eyes, dark brown hair, a dark complexion, and standing 5 feet 8 1/2 inches tall. His residence was listed as Bad Ax County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th were issued Belgian Rifled muskets. After about 6 weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Olsen and his brothers left there in early March 1862, with their company and regiment to join the war. Starting that same month he is listed as "absent sick" at the Marine Hospital, Mound City, IL until June 1862. On June 11, 1862, his brother Michael was reported as being sick with a fever at Island No. 10. Michael was transferred to a hospital at Mound City where he died of disease on July 20 or 28. Apparently news of his death did not reach the 15th until late in the war.

That summer Private Amund Olsen would have been on the campaign with the 15th through TN, MS, and AL. Starting in August 1862, he would have been with it on 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. He is next listed as being "absent sick" at a hospital in Bardstown, KY from sometime in September through December 1862. As a result he missed taking part on December 26, 1862 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. He would also have missed fighting in the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, 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.

Private Amund Olsen was listed as "present" from early 1863 until September 1863. The 15th was camped in the Murfreesboro area from January to June 1863, 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, they camped at Winchester, Franklin County, TN for 6 weeks.

On August 17, 1863, the 15th left Winchester to participate in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign. Private Olsen was present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. He was also present at the September 19-20, 1863 fighting at Chickamauga, GA -- the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. There he was "wounded slightly in [the left] shoulder" and captured either during the vicious fighting around Viniard's's Farm on the first afternoon or around midday on the 20th during what later became known as Longstreet's Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.

Private Olsen was one of the very luckiest of the many 15th soldiers captured. He was quickly paroled back to Union forces. The vast majority were sent to Confederate prisons, including a number to the dreaded Andersonville Prison Camp. Many of them died as prisoners. The ones who survived were often physically and mentally injured by their experiences. Following his parole, Private Olsen was absent from the regiment until January 1864 to recover from his wound in Army hospitals at Chattanooga, TN and later at Nashville, TN. Hospital records from this period refer to him as Omun Oleson. For a part of this time his brother Niels was sick in a hospital in Chattanooga.

Starting at the end of November 1863, the 15th was engaged in almost non-stop marching and counter-marching all over eastern TN throughout the winter of 1863/1864. By many original accounts, this was the worst period of their regiment's 3-year term of service. Poor rations, inadequate clothing and shelter, and unseasonably cold weather made these months nearly unbearable. Private Olsen was with the regiment for part of this period.

Starting in May 1864, Private Olsen participated with the 15th in General William T. Sherman's famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost 4 months of daily marching and/or combat. It included fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA in early May; the bloody Battle of Resaca, GA on May 14-15; and the disastrous Battle of Pickett's Mill (often called Dallas or New Hope Church), GA on May 27, 1864. There the 15th suffered fearful casualties, and lost 25 men captured -- most of whom later died as prisoners of war in Andersonville.

The 15th and Private Olsen also fought at Kenesaw Mountain, GA, on June 23, 1864. In July, Private Olsen was listed as "absent sick" in the Division Hospital. It is not clear if he was back with the regiment in time for its part the fighting before Atlanta on July 22; Jonesboro, GA on September 1; or Lovejoy Station, GA on September 4, 1864, some 2 days after Atlanta was finally captured.

After several weeks of rest near Atlanta, the 15th was briefly assigned to Provost (police) duty in Chattanooga in early October. Private Olsen was again listed as "absent sick" in the Division Hospital in October 1864. The regiment was then assigned to several months of duty guarding a nearby railroad bridge at Whitesides, TN. This was considered by many of the 15th's soldiers as the easiest duty of their entire army service.

Private Olsen, together with his brother Niels, were mustered out of Federal service with most of the other surviving members of Company A on December 20, 1864 at Chattanooga upon the expiration of their 3-year terms of service. The Army recorded that he was owed a $100 bounty for having enlisted. The survivors of Company A were paid off and sent to their homes.

After being mustered out, Amund Olsen returned to Bad Ax County, where he married and started a family that included 8 children: Josephine Maria, born October 30, 1865; Tennis M., born April 9, 1867; Oscar John, born June 1, 1869; Bartemus, born May 12, 1871; Bergina Louise, born June 17, 1873; Amelia, born April 6, 1876; Anna Marie, born January 27, 1878; and, Alma Wilhelmina, born September 19, 1882.

In 1870, Amund and his family homesteaded in Mason Township, Murray County, MN. In 1880, he attended a reunion of the 15th's veterans. In 1903, he was granted a pension of $6 per month, retroactive to March 1895. In 1905, his first wife died. Two years later on June 3, 1907 at the age 67 he married and fathered another child: Arnold Leonard, born June 11, 1911. In 1914 Amund Olsen's health began to fail after a "stroke of paralysis" and he passed away at his home within a year. He was 75 years old.

 

Sources: Genealogical information provided by his great granddaughter Bette Minehart, and by The Westby Area Historical Society, Ellen Pederson; Egersund parish register #A9, born and baptised, p. 104, #A12.2, out-migrated, p. 503, digitalarkivet.no; Murray County Herald (Slayton, Minnesota, August 31, 1915); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers] by Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Civil War Compiled Military Service Records by Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); and Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume 1, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1886); MN Marriage Index, Certificate Number E-579; U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans; 1880 Census, Roll: 627, Family History Film: 1254627, Page: 17B, Enumeration District: 176, Image: 0036; 1910 Census, Roll: T624_708, Page: 7A, Enumeration District: 0144, FHL microfilm: 1374721; MN 1895 Census, Roll #V290_78, Line 1; 1890 Veterans Schedules; Minnesota Marriages Index, FHL #1403138; Civil War Pension Index, Roll #T288_355.


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