|Name at Enlist||Edward Edson|
|Other Names||Edward Peterson|
|Lived||ca. 1840 - 4 Feb or Mar 1864|
|Residence at Muster-In||Boone County, IL|
|Company at Enlistment||A|
|Rank at Enlistment||Private|
|Muster Date||25 Nov 1861|
|Cause of Death||mumps followed by pulmonary congestion|
|Death Location||General Field Hospital, Chattanooga, TN|
|Burial Location||National Cemetery; section A, grave 38, Chattanooga, TN|
Edward Edson was enlisted in Company A of the 15th WI by Captain Andrew Torkildson on October 16, 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. Edward 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 21 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Boone County, IL.
On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th were issued Belgian rifled muskets. After near 15 weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Edson left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until October 1863, 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 he would have been with the 15th on the campaign though 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.
Private Edson would have been present 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. In late December he would have 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 would have also fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, at the end of December 1862. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery.
The 15th camped in the Murfreesboro area for the next 6 months, except for 2 weeks in February when it was sent to Franklin, TN. Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in General 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 Edson 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 also present at the September 19-20, 1863 fighting at 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 near Brotherton Field during Longstreet's Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who fought at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.
Private Edson 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 on October 28, 1863, Private Edson was detached to serve in the 6th OH Artillery Battery by the order of General Willick. 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.
On November 28, 1863, Private Edson was listed as being "sick in hospital" at Chattanooga. Starting right after Mission Ridge the 15th was engaged in almost non-stop marching and counter-marching all over Eastern TN 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 Edson was spared this experience. However, on February 4 or March 4, 1864, Private Edson died of "mumps followed by pulmonary congestion" at the General Field Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. In 1881, his father Even Peterson filed for a pension in Edward's name.
Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, 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_138.