Ingebreth  Olson

Ingebreth Olson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Ingebreth Olson
Birth Name Ingebrigt Olsen Udgaard
Other Names Ingebrigt Oleson Utgard; Engebret
Patronymic Name Olsen
Lived 10 Mar 1827 - 09 Sep 1862
Birth Place Udgaard (Augard) farm, Lesja parish, Oppland fylke
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Elgin, Fayette County, IA
Company at Enlistment H
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 13 Feb 1862
Cause of Death Disease
Death Location Columbus, Hickman County, KY
Mother Mari Johannesdatter Søre Rolstad
Mother Lived 1795- 1861
Father Ole Eriksen Augard
Father Lived 1791-1881
Immigration 21 Feb 1859
Spouse Margaret

Ingebreth Olson was enlisted by Captain Knud J. Sime in Company H of the 15th WI on February 1, 1862 for a 3-year term of service. The men of the company called themselves "Heg's Rifles" in honor of the 15th's first commander, Colonel Hans C. Heg. It was also known as the "Voss Company" because so many of its members came from that region of Norway.

Ingebreth was mustered into Federal service at the rank of Private (Menig) on February 13, 1862 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time the Army recorded him as being a 32 year old married resident of Elgin, Fayette County, IA.

After only 3 weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Olson left there on March 2, 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until June 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 TN and the surprise raid on Union City, TN in March and April 1862.

After the Confederate surrender of Island No. 10 in early April, Company H was one of 5 companies from the 15th that were ordered to occupy and defend it. The island's fortifications were originally constructed to repulse an attack by Union forces coming down the Mississippi River. The 5 companies had to quickly re-construct the defenses to defeat an anticipated counterattack by Confederate forces coming up the river. This involved much hard labor building new earthworks and moving heavy cannon.

The soldiers assigned to Island No. 10 considered it a very unhealthy place to be, and not just because of the workload, bad water, fevers, and heat. 1st Lieutenant Andrew A. Brown of Company H wrote the following on April 22, 1862, in a letter to his mother:

"...a detachment of five companies viz: A, F, H, I, K, are on the Island suffering greatly on account of the tough Quartermaster's concern which obtains the rations from the Government [and] trades them for something else and leaves the boys on the Island to get along as best they can... I almost thank God that there is a Hell to receive all such men."

All of this took a toll on the men. The following is from a June 4, 1862, letter written by Private Lars O. Dokken of Company H to his parents:

"Many men of the regiment are sick and confined to the hospital. Five members of our company have died since we came to the island and six are at present in the hospital..."

One of them was Private Olson, and he was listed as "sick in the hospital" on June 11, 1862. That day Company H departed Island No. 10 by steamboat; it was the last day he served with his comrades. Company H was one of 8 of the regiment's 10 companies that were ordered away to take part in a summer campaign through TN, MS, and AL, never to return to the island.

At some point that summer Private Olson was transported by steamboat up the Mississippi River to an Army hospital in Columbus, KY. It was there that he passed away as a result of "disease." His widow, Margaret, filed a pension in his name in June 1864.


Sources: Bygdebok for Lesja, Volume 3 (page 363) by Arnfinn Kjelland (Lesja, Norway, 1996); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers] by Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Oberst Heg og hans gutter [Colonel Heg and His Boys] by Waldemar Ager (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1916); and, Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I,Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1886); Civil War Pension Index, Roll #T288_355; Lesja parish register #4, born and baptised, p. 268, #8 in- and out-migrated, p. 549,

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