Peter W. Chantland

Believed to have been taken sometime in 1863.

Image courtesy of his grand niece Jeanette Chantland Larson.

Peter W. Chantland

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Peter W. Chantland
Birth Name Peder Wilhelm Torbjørnsen Tjentland
Other Names Peder Wilhelm Chantland
Patronymic Name Torbjørnsen
Lived 10 Oct 1840 - 10 Jul 1905
Birth Place Tjentland, Aardal, Hjelmeland parish, Rogaland
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Primrose, Dane County, WI
Company at Enlistment E
Rank at Enlistment First Sergeant
Muster Date 8 Dec 1861
Cause of Death Stomach troubles
Death Location 1402 Second Avenue North, Fort Dodge, Webster County, IA
Burial Location Section G, Oakland Cemetery, Fort Dodge, IA
Mother Elen Kristina Pedersdottir (Ellen Stena)
Father Torbjørn Torbjørnsen Skiftun (Thorbjorn T. Chantland)
Immigration 1853
Spouse Julia (Guri) Skavlem (Skaalen)
Spouse Lived ca. 1850- 1872
Married On 15 Feb 1869
Marriage Location Beloit, Rock County, WI
2nd Spouse Anna Natesta (Amea, Austeen Hatlestad's daughter)
2nd Spouse Lived 1840- 1898
2nd Marriage Date 1875

Peder W. Tjentland came to the US with his parents in 1853. On his father's first land deed, the family surname was written "Chantland" So, he was enlisted under the name of Peter W. Chantland in Company E of the 15th WI on November 1, 1861, for a 3-year term of service. The men of Company E called themselves "Odin's Rifles."

Peter was mustered into Federal service as the 1st Sergeant (Sersjant) of Company E on December 8, 1861, at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. 1st Sergeant was the highest non-commissioned officer (NCO) position in a Civil War company. The 1st Sergeant ran the company for its officers. At that time the officers of Company E were its commander, Captain John A. Ingmundsen, its second-in-command, 1st Lieutenant Iver Tjentland (Peter's maternal uncle), and its third-in-command, 2nd Lieutenant John M. Johnson. When 1st Sergeant Chantland mustered, he was 22 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Primrose Township, Dane County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the 15th's soldiers were issued Belgian rifle muskets. After several months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, 1st Sergeant Chantland became sick and was granted a leave of absence to recuperate at home. He was still there when the 15th left WI on March 2, 1862, to join the war but caught up with the regiment later that month. From then until September 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 Tennessee, and the surprise raid on Union City, TN, in March and April 1862. On May 1, 1862, 1st Sergeant Chantland's maternal cousin, Private Ole Storeland of Company C, transferred into Company E.

On June 11, 1862, 1st Sergeant Chantland and Company E left Island No. 10 with 7 of the regiment's 10 companies to go on the campaign though Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. 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. In early September 1862, Chantland's uncle, 1st Lieutenant Tjentland, resigned his commission and left the Army.

1st Sergeant Chantland was listed as being "absent sick" at Bowling Green, KY, starting September 17, 1862, until sometime in November 1862, when 2nd Lieutenant Johnson left to become the new Captain of Company A and was replaced by 2nd Lieutenant John N. Brown from Company G.

In late December 1862, 1st Sergeant Chantland participated with his company 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 also took part in the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stones River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, at the end of December 1862. It was there that the 15th suffered its first serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery. After Captain Ingmundson was killed on the first day, and 2nd Lieutenant Brown seriously wounded on the second morning, 1st Sergeant Chantland took command of the company. After the battle he wrote the following in a January 11, 1863, letter to a friend, which later was published in Ager's 1916 history of the 15th WI.

"Our regiment lost 116, of whom two were officers. We had no officers left in our company and I am now alone to keep its records in order. I for my part will say that this war is a terrible thing, and I would like to see an end to it now. It takes men of good constitution to stand these hard and inhuman marches, when one has to carry all one's clothes and three days rations at a time and lie outdoors in winter, in rain, and without fire for weeks at a time..."

1st Sergeant Chantland's conduct during the battle of Stones River came to the attention of the 15th's commander, Colonel Hans C. Heg, who took action upon it. The following is from Buslett's 1895 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. Sergeant Chantland stands on this Roll of Honor as the first from Company E, 15th Wisconsin."

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. In January 1863, Regimental Sergeant Major Thorkild A. Rossing was commissioned at the new 1st Lieutenant of Company E. Based on the recommendation of Colonel Heg, the Governor of Wisconsin commissioned 1st Sergeant Chantland as the new 2nd Lieutenant (Løytnant) of Company E on April 21, 1863, with rank from April 9, 1863. He was mustered into Federal service at that rank at Murfreesboro, TN, on May 7, 1863, to date from April 26, 1863. He filled the vacancy created when 2nd Lieutenant Brown resigned. In May 1863, the regiment's Adjutant, 1st lieutenant Henry Hauff, was promoted to be the new Captain of Company E. Captain Hauff was immediately detached from the company to serve in a position on the brigade staff. 1st Lieutenant Rossing was then promoted to be the new Captain of Company E.

Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment left the Murfreesboro area to take part in General Rosecrans' Tullahoma campaign. On July 3, 1863, the 15th went into camp at Winchester, Franklin County, TN, for 6 weeks. On August 17, 1863, the regiment left there to participate in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign.

Lieutenant Chantland 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 with Company E at the September 19-20, 1863, fighting at Chickamauga, GA -- the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. There 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 who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Of the Company E soldiers present, one third were killed, wounded, or captured during the 2 days.

Right after the battle the Federal army retreated to Chattanooga, which the Confederates then laid siege to. The siege resulted in severe shortages of medicine, food, and firewood which, together with cold, wet weather, caused much suffering, sickness, and death. At the beginning of the siege Lieutenant Chantland was detached from Company E and appointed as the Commissary Officer for 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Army Corps (Army of the Cumberland). However, starting in October 1863, Lieutenant Chantland was listed as "sick" in the 15th's regimental hospital in Chattanooga, TN.

On November 6, 1863, Lieutenant Chantland submitted a letter of resignation to the Army "on the ground of ill health." His letter was accompanied by a medical certificate signed by the 15th's Surgeon, Steven O. Himoe, that stated the following.

"...I have carefully examined this officer and find that he is subject to confirmed pulmonary phthisis [pulmonary tuberculosis], in consequence of which, he is, in my opinion, totally unfit for military service."

On November 11, 1863, Lieutenant Chantland's letter of resignation was accepted. Because of a lack of transportation out of Chattanooga due to the siege, Chantland remained with the 15th as a civilian, and even participated in the successful attack up Mission Ridge on November 25, 1863, that broke the siege and sent the Confederate army fleeing.

When he arrived at his parents’ home in Primrose, Chantland was said to have been close to death from chronic diarrhea. In September 1864, he moved to Fort Dodge, IA, and bought land, becoming the first Norwegian to register a deed in the county. Shortly thereafter he returned to Wisconsin and attended Albion Academy for 3 years. On November 6, 1866, Peter W. Chantland was granted U.S. citizenship by the Circuit Court of Dane County, WI. He then settled permanently near Fort Dodge, where he farmed from 1867-1875.

In 1869, Peter married his first wife. That same year he started a hotel in Fort Dodge. The 1870 census recorded Peter and his wife as keeping a hotel property valued at $5,500 which had 28 other people living there. On June 22, 1870, his first child, William Thomas Chantland, was born. After the death of his first wife in 1872, Chantland sold the hotel and opened a farm machinery business. Peter remarried in 1875. That same year he was elected as Webster County sheriff on the Republican ticket. On May 17, 1877, his second child, Clarence Austin, was born. Peter was re-elected sheriff in 1877. On September 3, 1879, his third child, Charles N., was born. Peter was again re-elected sheriff in 1881 and 1883. After serving as sheriff he ran a general store. In 1892, Peter was elected as the Justice of Peace for Fort Dodge and re-elected in 1894. On October 19, 1898, his second wife passed away due to "apoplexy."

Peter W. Chantland was member number 6 and the first commander of the Fort Donelson Post No. 236 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), which was located at Fort Dodge. He was a Freemason for 24 years as well as a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows. At some point he served as Captain of Company F, 6th Regiment, Iowa National Guard, and was later promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Guard.

Peter Chantland passed away in his home at age 65 after having been bed-ridden for 5 months due to what was described in an obituary as "stomach troubles." The following is from his obituary in the Fort Dodge Messenger newspaper.

"Few citizens of Fort Dodge have had a larger friendship over the county than Mr. Chantland...nor was this confined to the Scandinavians alone, for among his staunchest friends and supporters were the Irish farmers of the county."

Sources: History of the Scandinavians and Successful Scandinavians in the United States, O.E. Nelson (Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1900); Oberst Heg og hans gutter [Colonel Heg and His Boys], Waldemar Ager (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1916); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, 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). Genealogical data from his relatives Shirley Vinsand and Jeanette Chantland Larson.


‹ Back to Soldier Search