|Name at Enlist||Olaus H. Loken|
|Lived||ca. 1834 - 1892|
|Residence at Muster-In||Madison, Dane County, WI|
|Company at Enlistment||H|
|Rank at Enlistment||Sergeant|
|Muster Date||13 Feb 1862|
Olaus H. Loken was enlisted in Company H of the 15th WI by Captain (Kaptein) Johnson on September 24, 1861. The men of the company called themselves Heg's Rifles, but they were also known as the Voss Company because a large number of them were from the Voss region of Norway. Olaus was appointed as a Sergeant (Sersjant) in Company H on January 16, 1862. He was then mustered into Federal service at that rank for a 3-year term of service on February 13, 1862 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 27 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Madison, WI.
After several months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Sergeant Loken left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until October 1862, he was recorded as "present." As such he would have been at the Siege of Island No. 10, TN and the Raid on Union City, TN in the spring of 1862. That summer he would have been on the campaign though TN, MS, and AL. He is recorded as having "lost 1 haversack" sometime in July or August 1862. That month and the next he would have been 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. On October 5, 1862, he was sent to the General Hospital in Louisville, KY as a patient. He was not marked as present with the 15th again until January/February 1863. It is likely he missed the October 8, 1862 Battle of Perryville, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills, and perhaps also the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, at the end of December 1862.
Sergeant Loken was then listed as present with the regiment from early 1863, until he mustered out in early 1865. In August and September 1863, he participated in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign. Sergeant Loken 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 Battle of Chickamauga, GA -- the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. He survived the vicious fighting around Viniard's Farm on the first afternoon, as well as the near capture of the regiment around midday on the 20th during Longstreet's Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.
Sergeant Loken served with the 15th all through General Sherman's famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA, in the spring and summer of 1864, including the disastrous May 27, 1864 Battle of Pickett's Mill, GA, which is often referred to as the Battle of Dallas or New Hope Church. There the 15th suffered fearful casualties. At one point in 1864 Sergeant Loken served as the 15th's Color Sergeant (Fanebærer), a position of great honor and danger.
Sergeant Loken was mustered out of Federal service along with most of the other surviving members of his company on February 13, 1865 at Chattanooga, TN upon the expiration of his 3-year term of service. After the war he moved to MN where he became the Commander of Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post No. 90.
Sources: 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).