August  Gasman

August Gasman

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist August Gasman
Birth Name August Gasman
Other Names Gasmann
Patronymic Name Hansen
Lived 7 Aug 1829 - Apr 1907
Birth Place Nordre Foss, Gjerpen, Telemark fylke
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Waupun, Fond du Lac County, WI
Company at Enlistment I
2nd Company D
Rank at Enlistment Captain
Muster Date 11 Feb 1862
Death Location Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, IA
Burial Location Elwood Cemetery, Elwood, Clinton County, IA
Mother Anne Kirstine Pedersdatter
Mother Lived 1793-1876
Father Hans Jacob Gasmann
Father Lived 1787-1857
Immigration Jul 1843
Spouse Johanna Helvig Gregoriusdatter Tufte
Spouse Lived 3 Jan 1839-31 Mar 1917
2nd Spouse Elizabeth A. Ryan (born Mero)
2nd Spouse Lived 12 Nov 1858-2 May 1924
2nd Marriage Date 20 Jun 1895
2nd Marriage Location Clear Lake, IA

August Gasmann came with his parents and siblings to America on Salvator, which sailed from Porsgrunn and arrived in New York July 1843. He came with a group to Ashippen Township, Dodge County, WI. He served as Captain of Company I, 15th WI. His brother, Findonus M. Gasman, served as the company's 1st Sergeant (Sersjant) and later as its 1st Lieutenant (Løytnant).

The men of Company I called themselves the "Scandinavian Mountaineers." They were also known as the "Waupaca Company" because some of them were residents of that WI county. Captain (Kaptein) Gasman was mustered into the Federal Army at that rank on February 11, 1862, with rank from January 15, 1862, at Camp Randall in Madison, WI. At the time he was 33 years old and married. He listed his residence as Waupun, Fond Du Lac County, WI.

After less than 2 months learning to be an officer and training his company, Captain Gasman departed Camp Randall for the war with his company and the rest of the regiment on March 2, 1862. Captain Gasman was listed as being "sick" at the settlement of Birds Point, MO, starting March 14, 1862, and then as "present" in April and May. This period includes the siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in Tennessee, and the Raid on Union City, TN.

Starting June 11, 1862, Companies I and G were left to guard Island No. 10 while the other 8 companies of the 15th departed on campaign. The regiment would not be reunited for some 15 months. During that time the other companies participated in several campaigns as well as the battles at Perryville, KY, at Murfreesboro (Stones River), TN, and at Chickamauga, GA.

Initially Companies I and G were camped across the Mississippi River from Island No. 10 on the Tennessee side at what was called New Madrid Bend. There they were engaged in capturing Confederate soldiers who had escaped when the island was captured and hunting down, sometimes on horseback, local groups of rebel guerrillas who were resisting the Union occupation. The area around Island No. 10 was considered to be unhealthy and many of the 15th soldiers there became ill, with several dying of disease. A drawing of the 15th's camp on the island can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Captain Gasman became seriously ill during July and August 1862. He applied for and received a 20-day medical leave of absence to recuperate at home, starting August 19, 1862. Despite being at home, his health apparently did not improve. At the end of the 20 days he applied to have his leave extended, but it was not approved. On October 11, 1862, Captain Gasman sent a letter to the 15th resigning his commission due to ill health. On the basis of this letter, the Governor of Wisconsin commissioned 1st Lieutenant Reynard Cook of Company I as its new Captain. In January 1863, Cook resigned due to ill health.

In February 1863, the Governor commissioned 2nd Lieutenant William A. Montgomery of Company G as the newest Captain of Company I. That same month the Federal War Department ordered Captain Gasman "to join his regiment immediately." It is not clear from the records whether the resignation letter was lost or if the Army decided not to accept it. In any case, the result was that Company I had 2 Captains, which the Army felt was an unacceptable situation. Apparently others felt the same. According to Private Ben Nelson of Company I:

"Our Captain, Gust. Gasman, had -- after a short period of service -- been sent home on sick-leave and was absent a long time. When we heard that he had resigned, we elected Lieutenant Wm. Montgomery to be our captain. No sooner was this done than Gasman returned and wanted to resume his position. But this we definitely opposed, as we had some complaints against him."

After reporting back to Island No. 10 in early March 1863, Captain Gasman again tried to resign. Instead he was ordered on June 23, 1863, to take command of Company D, which was then in Tennessee with the rest of the regiment. The men of Company D called themselves the "Norway Wolf Hunters", but was also called the "Waupun Company" because so many of its members were from Waupun. Gasman was filling in for Captain Albert Skofstad of Company D, who was serving as the Inspector of Heg's Brigade (3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Army Corps).

Captain Gasman was in command of Company D at the beginning of the September 19-20, 1863, Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia -- the second bloodiest battle of the war. There he was severely wounded in the right thigh on the first afternoon during the fierce fighting around Viniard's Farm. Unable to walk, Captain Gasman was in danger of being captured when the regiment was forced to retreat. Wagoner Torry Larson of Company F went forward in the face of the advancing enemy and helped Gasman from the field, earning a promotion to Brevet Captain for doing so.

Based on the severity of his wound, Captain Gasman once again submitted his resignation. This time it was accepted, to take effect on April 3, 1864. However, the Army was not quite finished with him. In 1893, almost 30 years later, the Army changed the effective date of his resignation back by 6 months to October 7, 1863.

August Gasman and his wife, Johanna, (whose sister married his brother Findonus) had at least 2 children, George Augustus (1862-1925) and Henrietta/Etta (ca. 1866-1906). After the war he went to Clear Lake, IA, where he married Elizabeth. He died in April 1907 and she filed a pension as his widow July 20, 1907.

 

Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records at the National Archives and Records Administration; 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); 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, 1886); genealogical data from Jan Christensen and Tove D. Johansen;  Norwegian Immigrants to the United States. A Biographical Directory, 1825-1850. Volume One 1825-1843, Gerhard B. Naeseth, 2008, Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, IA, p. 194, ID 326; Norwegian Immigrants to the United States. A Biographical Directory, 1825-1850. Volume Two 1844-1846, Gerhard B. Naeseth, edited by Blaine Hedberg, 1997, Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, IA, p. 19, ID 228; ancestry.com.


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