Lars  Johannesen

Lars Johannesen

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Lars Johannesen
Birth Name
Other Names Johanneson
Lived ca. 1831 - ca. 1882
Birth Place Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Chicago, Cook County, IL
Company at Enlistment A
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 15 Nov 1861

Lars Johannesen was enlisted in Company A of the 15th WI by Captain Andrew Torkildson on September 30, 1861 for a 3-year term of service. The men of the company 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. Lars was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) on November 15, 1861 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was recorded as being 30 years old and married. His residence was listed as Chicago, Cook County, IL.

Private Johannesen was appointed to the rank of 2nd Corporal (Korporal) of Company A on January 1, 1862. On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th were issued Belgian rifled muskets. After 14 weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Corporal Johannesen left there in early March 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until November 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.

That summer Corporal Johannesen would have been with the 15th on campaign through TN, MS, and AL. 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. He 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 15th's first big battle, it emerged without any fatalities.

Starting on November 3, 1862, Corporal Johannesen was "detailed to the post bakery" in Bowling Green, KY. He was absent from the 15th until sometime after April 10, 1863. As such he missed participating with the 15th in the December fighting at Knob Gap, TN and at the long, cold, wet and bloody Battle of Stone River, near Murfreesboro, TN. Corporal Johannesen was next listed as "present" with the regiment from May/June, 1863 until November 1863. Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in General Rosecrans' Tullahoma campaign. On July 3, 1863, the 15th camped at Winchester, TN.

On August 17, 1863, the 15th left there to participate in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign. Corporal Johannesen is believed to have been present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. In the 15th's monthly report for September 1863, he was listed as a baker. Corporal Johannesen may have been at the September 19-20, 1863 fighting at Chickamauga, GA -- the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. However, as a baker it is likely that he remained behind the lines with the regiment's commissary at Crawfish Springs, GA. If so, then he would not have participated with Company A in either the vicious fighting around Viniard's Farm on the first afternoon or in the brief struggle during Longstreet's Breakthrough around midday on the 20th in which so many were captured. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.

Corporal Johannesen did serve 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. The siege was broken by the victorious Union charge up Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863, which the 15th took part in. Starting the next day Corporal Johannesen was "on detached service as Baker at Chattanooga by order of General Willick."

Corporal Johannesen was away from the 15th serving as a baker for about a year. During that time the regiment spent the winter of 1863/1864 marching and counter-marching over the cold, barren hills of eastern TN and then participated in the hard-fought campaign to capture Atlanta, GA, during the summer of 1864. Corporal Johannesen returned to the 15th in time to muster out of Federal service along with most of the other surviving members of Company A on December 20, 1865 at Chattanooga at the end of his 3-year term of service.

After the war, he returned to IL. In 1880, he filed a pension. In 1882, his widow, Sophia, filed a pension in his name.


Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records by Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); 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_243.

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