Photo believed taken January 1862 in Madison, Dane County, WI. Shows him as a Private; pistol and knife were probably photographer's props.
Wisconsin Historical Society, Iconography, ID 53138
|Name at Enlist||Albert Emmonson|
|Other Names||Emmonsen, Emonson|
|Lived||25 Dec 1842 - 17 Oct 1895|
|Residence at Muster-In||Norway, Racine County, WI|
|Company at Enlistment||C|
|Rank at Enlistment||Corporal|
|Muster Date||2 Dec 1861|
|Death Location||Carlisle, Lonoke County, AR|
|Burial Location||Carlisle Cemetery, Carlisle, Lonoke County, AR|
|Spouse Lived||7 Mar 1851- 5 Jan 1899|
Albert Emmonson was born on December 25, 1842 in Norway. He was the brother of Thomas Emmonson. He was enlisted by Captain Frederick R. Berg into Company C of the 15th WI on October 11, 1861 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, WI. The company was the regimental Color Company, but its members called themselves the "Norway Bear Hunters."
Albert was mustered into the Federal Army at the rank of Corporal (Korporal) for a 3-year term of service on December 2, 1861 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time the Army listed him as being an 18 year old unmarried resident of Norway Township, Racine County, WI. A possible relative, Thomas Emmonson, age 21 and single, also joined the same Company C from Norway Township.
On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th were issued Belgian rifle muskets. After about 3 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Corporal Emmonson left there on March 2, 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until December 1864, 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.
Starting June 11, 1862, Corporal Emmonson would have left Island No. 10 with his company to go on campaign with the 15th through TN, MS, and AL. In August and September he would have participated in the grueling 400-mile retreat led by U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and short of water.
Corporal Emmonson would also have been present at the October 8, 1862, fighting in Perryville, Boyle County, KY, which was also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the 15th's first big battle, it emerged without any fatalities.
On December 26, 1862, Corporal Emmonson 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. Corporal Emmonson would have 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.
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 U.S. Major General William S. 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 15th left Winchester to participate in General Rosecrans' Chickamauga campaign. Corporal Emmonson 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 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 during Longstreet's Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Ager's 1916 history of the 15th tells this about what happened to Company C on the first afternoon of the battle:
Corporal Emmonson 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 October 13, 1863, Corporal Emmonson was absent serving as a guard with a wagon train to the Union supply base at Stevenson, AL. By all accounts the trip out and back was dangerous and physically challenging trip, being made over terrible mountain roads in bad weather and attacks by Confederate Cavalry. Corporal Emmonson was once again with the 15th in early November 1863. The siege was finally broken by the Union Army's victorious charge up nearby Mission Ridge on November 25, 1863, which the 15th took part in.
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. From March 1864, through August 1864, Corporal Emmonson served as the 15th's acting Hospital Steward.
Starting in May 1864, the 15th participated in the famous campaign led by U.S. Major General William T. Sherman to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months. The 15th took part in the fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA in early May; at the bloody Battle of Resaca, GA on May 14-15; and at the disastrous Battle of Pickett's Mill (often called Dallas or New Hope Church), GA on May 27, 1864. There the 15th suffered fearful casualties, including 25 men who were captured (most ended up in the dreaded Andersonville Prison Camp, many permanently). During the campaign the 15th also fought, at Kenesaw Mountain, GA on June 23; before Atlanta, GA on July 22; at Jonesboro, GA on September 1; and at Lovejoy Station, GA on September 4, 1864.
After a rest following the capture of Atlanta in early September, the 15th was briefly assigned to Provost (police) duty in Chattanooga at the beginning of October 1864. This was followed by several months of guarding a railroad bridge at Whitesides, TN, just outside of Chattanooga. Some of the 15th's soldiers felt was the easiest duty of their entire war service. On November 7, 1864, Corporal Emmonson was promoted to Sergeant (Sersjant).
Sergeant Emmonson was mustered out of Federal service along with most of the other surviving members of his company on December 20, 1864, at Chattanooga, upon the end of his 3-year term of service. At muster out the Army noted that he was due $100 in bounty money. The men of Company C were then sent to Madison, WI, paid off, and the company disbanded.
After the war Albert Emmonson was formally recognized for his actions at Chickamauga. On August 20, 1867, WI Governor Lucius Fairchild, himself a distinguished Civil War veteran, honored Albert with a promotion to Brevet Captain effective from September 20, 1863. The award citation read:
"In recognition of distinguished personal gallantry displayed by him in battle of Chickamauga, Ga, where after the fall of his captain [Hans Hanson] he took position in advance of his company and by his heroic example and words encouraged his comrades though hard pushed on all sides to maintain their ground."
After the war, Emmonson was married to Amanda. It is unknown if they had any children. In 1880, they were living in Carlisle, Lonoke County, AR. Emmonson died on October 17, 1895. Amanda lived March 7, 1851 to January 5, 1899. They are both buried in Carlisle Cemetery, Carlisle, Lonoke County, AR.
Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Oberst Heg og hans gutter [Colonel Heg and His Boys], Waldemar Ager (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1916); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillge [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Register of Commissions by Brevet 1864-1870 (Madison, Wisconsin); 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 1, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); Civil War Pension Index, Roll #T288_142; 1880 Census, Roll: 54, Family History Film: 1254054, Page: 222A, Enumeration District: 248, Image: 0563; findagrave.com.