Ole  Iverson

Believed to have been taken well after the Civil War.

Photo courtesy of Ole's great-great granddaughter, Beverly Saboe.

Ole Iverson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Ole Iverson
Birth Name
Other Names Ole Everson, Ole Iversen
Patronymic Name Iversen
Lived 25 Oct 1827 - 24 jan 1891
Birth Place Ål, Buskerud
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 Nicotinerism
Burial Location East Clermont Lutheran Cemetery, Grand Meadow Township, Clayton County, IA
Mother Gunnild Engebretsdatter
Father Iver Iversen
Immigration ca. 1860
Spouse Margit (Mary) O. Mikkelsdatter
Spouse Lived 1822- 1903
Married On 4 Jul 1855
Marriage Location Ål, Buskerud, Norway

Ole Iverson was born on October 25, 1827 in Ål, Buskerud, Norway. His parents were Iver Iverson and Gunnild Engebretsdatter. On July 4, 1855, he married Margit Mikkelsdatter in the same town. They had at least three chidren before immigrating: Gunnel (1855), Tillie (1858), and Iver (1860).

Iverson was enlisted for a 3-year term of service in Company H of the 15th WI by Captain Hans C. Heg. They were also known as the "Voss Company" because many of them were originally from that area in Norway.

Ole was mustered into Federal service at the rank of Private (Menig) on February 28, 1862, to date from February 13, 1862. He was mustered in at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was listed as 35 years old and married. His residence was recorded as Elgin, Fayette County, IA.

After only a few days at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Iverson 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 Company H. 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 defenses 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 the island 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 Olsen 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...Ole Iversen is [feeling] poorly..."

Private Iverson's health had not improved by June 11, 1862, when Company H departed Island No. 10 by steamboat. On that date he was officially listed as "sick at hospital Island No. 10 Tenn." His company 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.

At some point between late June and early August 1862, Private Iverson rejoined his company. He was next listed as being "left sick at hospital" in Iuka, MS starting August 19, 1862. In a letter from there dated the previous day, Col. Heg described the town to his wife:

"This place is the prettiest camp we have had since we left Wisconsin. Iuka is an Indian name. It is a small village with some very excelent Houses for summer residences and a fine Spring said to be Healthy. The weather here is just as cool and nice as it is anywhere in Wisconsin... We have a fine lot of peaches down here."

Private Iverson was absent from the 15th until some time in November or December 1862. On December 26, 1862, Private Iverson 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. He also fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone 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 the casualties was Private Iverson, who received a "gunshot fracture of right forearm" and was taken prisoner by the Confederates on the second day of 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. It is not clear from Private Iverson's military service records exactly how long he was a prisoner of war, but he was released by Confederate forces and was able to return to the 15th sometime before the end of February 1863. Apparently he did not regain his full health after imprisonment because he was subsequently reported as being "sent to Convalescent Camp Murfreesboro Tenn" on May 17, 1863. It appears this was the last day he physically served with the 15th.

According to his military records, Private Iverson was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps (VRC) as of August 1, 1863. The VRC (also known as the Invalid Corps) was a branch of the Army for soldiers too disabled for field service, but who could still do limited work in non-combat roles. This transfer officially ended Private Iverson's military service with the 15th.

Private Iverson's service over the next few months is not detailed in his military records. However, the November to December 1863, Muster Roll of "Redoubt T. J. Wood, Fortress Rosecrans Tenn" lists him as "Absent on detached service at Fortress Hospital." It is believed that Fortress Rosecrans was part of the defenses around Chattanooga where the 15th and other Union forces were under siege by the Confederate Army during October and November 1863.

At some point in late 1863 or early 1864, Private Iverson was examined by an Army doctor and determined to be "physically unable to enter or re-enlist in the Invalid Corps" due to his wounded arm. As a result, Private Iverson received a medical "Certificate of Disability" and was officially discharged from the U.S. Army at Murfreesboro, TN on February 9, 1864 "By command of" U.S. Major General George H. Thomas.

According to his Certificate of Disability, Private Iverson was "born in Norway, Europe" stood "5 feet, 6 inches high" with a "Light complexion, Blue eyes, Light hair" and was by occupation a "Farmer" when he enlisted. The Certificate listed his postal address as Clairmont, Fayette County, IA.

After being discharged from the Army, Ole Iverson returned to Fayette County, where he farmed in Pleasant Valley Township along the border with Clayton County. There, Ole and his wife had at least four more children: Inger (1864), Belle (1866), Annie (1868), and Julia (1870). Ole may also have helped to raise 3 to 5 other children from his wife's previous marriage.

Ole Iverson farmed in Pleasant Valley until his death at age 63 due to "Nicotinerism."

 

Sources: Genealogical data from Ole's great great granddaughter Beverly Saboe; Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); The Civil War Letters of Colonel Hans Christian Heg, Theodore C. Blegen (Northfield, Minnesota, 1936); 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); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1886); Norway Digital Archives, Ål, Buskerud, Norway, Ministerialbok, p.17 and 144; Norway, Select Baptisms, 1634-1927, FHL Film #278191; 1870 Census, Roll: M593_391, Page: 127A, Image: 301, Family History Library Film: 545890; 1880 Census, Roll: 339, Family History Film: 1254339, Page: 176D, Enumeration District: 205, Image: 0355.


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