Jacob L. Jacobsen

Image used with permission of Vesterheim Genealogical Center.

Jacob L. Jacobsen

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Jacob L. Jacobsen
Birth Name
Other Names Jacob Larson Jacobsen (Jacobson)
Patronymic Name Larsen
Lived 06 Dec 1832 - 15 Jun 1892
Birth Place Slemdal (Siljan), Telemark
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Oconomowoc, Waukesha County, WI
Company at Enlistment D
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 10 Dec 1861
Cause of Death pneumonia
Death Location Stoughton, Dane County, WI
Burial Location St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery, Stone Bank, Waukesha County, WI
Mother Ingeborg Larsdatter Island
Mother Lived 1793- 1837
Father Lars Jacobsen Snurren
Father Lived 1805- 1853
Immigration 1857
Spouse Maren Helvig Holte
Spouse Lived 1845- 1905
Married On 12 Mar 1867
Marriage Location Pine Lake, Waukesha County, WI

Jacob L. Jacobsen and his friend Charles Campbell on November 25, 1861, for a 3-year term of service. The men of Company D called themselves the "Norway Wolf Hunters." They were also known as the "Waupun Company" because a number of its members were residents of that Wisconsin town.

Jacob was mustered into Federal service at the rank of Private (Menig) on December 10, 1861, at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was recorded by the Army as being 27 years old and not married. His residence was listed Oconomowoc, Waukesha County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th WI were issued Belgian rifled muskets. After nearly 3 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Jacobsen left there on March 2, 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until August 1862, he is believed to have been 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.

Starting June 11, 1862, Private Jacobsen would have left Island No. 10 with the 15th to go on campaign through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. He was next listed as " absent" sick in a hospital at Iuka, MS, starting in August, 1862. As such he probably did not participate in the grueling 400-mile retreat with U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and short of water.

It is not clear if Private Jacobsen was present with the 15th at the October 8, 1862, fighting at Perryville, Boyle County, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the 15th's first big battle, it emerged without any fatalities.

It is known that on December 26, 1862, Private Jacobsen 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 Jacobsen then fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stones 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. One of those cited was Private Jacobsen. The following is from Buslett's 1894 history of the 15th WI:

"After the battle General Rosecrans issued an order to the various regiments' commanders to submit to headquarters a list of one sergeant, two corporals and four or five privates in each company (altogether no more than six from each company), who had shown the greatest courage and ability during the battle. These would be entered on the Roll of Honor."

At the recommendation of the 15th's commanding officer, Colonel Hans C. Heg, the name of Private Jacobsen was submitted to headquarters. He was subsequently added to the Roll of Honor for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Army Corps for his bravery in the battle.

The 15th camped in the Murfreesboro area for the next 6 months, except for 2 weeks in February when it was sent to Franklin, Williamson County, TN. Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in U.S. Major General William S. Rosecrans' Tullahoma campaign. On July 3, 1863, it went into camp at Winchester, Franklin County, TN.

On August 17, 1863, the 15th left Winchester to participate in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign. Private Jacobsen 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 in GA -- the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. He survived the vicious fighting around Viniard's Farm on the first afternoon, but was captured around midday on the 20th during what was called Longstreet's Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Private Jacobsen was one of the lucky prisoners. He was paroled by the Confederates to Federal forces shortly after the battle.

Private Jacobsen would have then served with the regiment during the Confederate siege of Chattanooga, TN, which began right after the battle. The siege resulted in severe shortages of medicine, food, and firewood which, together with cold, wet weather, caused much suffering, sickness, and death. Starting October 13, 1863, Private Jacobsen was one of 120 members of the 15th assigned as a Guard with the Army supply wagon train from Chattanooga, over the mountains to the Federal depot at Stevenson, AL. This was by all accounts a physically challenging and dangerous trip. He was once again with the 15th in early November 1863. The Confederate siege was finally broken by the Union Army's victorious charge up Mission Ridge on November 25, 1863, which the 15th took part in.

Starting November 28, 1863, Private Jacobsen was listed as "absent sick" in a hospital in Chattanooga. As such he missed at least part of the almost non-stop marching and counter-marching the 15th then did all over Eastern Tennessee throughout the winter of 1863/1864. By many original accounts, this was the worst period of the regiment's 3-year term of service. Poor rations, inadequate clothing and shelter, and unseasonably cold weather made these months nearly unbearable.

Private Jacobsen is believed to have been back with the 15th by February 1, 1864, when he and other members of the 15th who had decided not to re-enlist as Veteran Volunteers were transferred to the 68th Regiment of IN Volunteer Infantry. The rest of the 15th was ordered back to Wisconsin for a 30-day leave as part of their reward for re-enlisting. However, when the Army suddenly cancelled their leave, the men cancelled their re-enlistments, and Private Jacobsen and the others were transferred back from the 68th to the 15th on April 2, 1864, by order of the War Department.

Starting in May 1864, Private Jacobsen and the 15th participated in U.S. Major General William T. Sherman's famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months. The 15th took part in fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA, in early May; at the bloody Battle of Resaca, GA, on May 14-15; and at the disastrous Battle of Pickett's Mill (often called Dallas or New Hope Church), GA, on May 27, 1864. There the 15th suffered 50% casualties, one of whom was Private Jacobsen who was "wounded in left shoulder." Private Jacobsen was sent to a hospital in Chattanooga to recover.

Private Jacobsen returned to the regiment in time to be mustered out of Federal service along with most of the other surviving members of Company D on February 13, 1865, at Chattanooga, after completing his 3-year term of service. Company D and the rest of the regiment had been guarding a railroad bridge at nearby Whitesides, TN, for the previous 3 months.

Afterward being mustered out Jacob returned to Wisconsin. It is said that in 1866 he bought 65 acres of uncleared land bordering on Pine Lake, near Stone Bank in Waukesha County, cleared 28 acres for farming, and built a log cabin. The next year he got married and started a family, which eventually included 9 children. Some of the children included: Nils (1868), Louis (1869), John (1871), Isaac (1872), Ida (1873), Jacob (1875), and Caroline (1879). As the farm prospered and his family grew it is said he built a large barn in 1874 and a 5-room frame house in 1876. In May 1892, he is supposed to have caught a cold while constructing a fence in the rain. His illness is said to have developed into pneumonia and he died the next month at age 59.

 

Sources: Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, Decorah, IA; Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1886); 1870 Census, Roll: M593_1743, Page: 286B, Image: 290, Family History Library Film: 553242; 1880 Census, Roll: 1451, Family History Film: 1255451, Page: 114B, Enumeration District: 260; Genealogical data collected by Manetta Henning, Harold Petersen, and NAGC&NL.


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