Findonus M. Gasman

Findonus M. Gasman

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Findonus M. Gasman
Birth Name Findanus Mathæus Gasmann
Other Names Finn
Patronymic Name Hansen
Lived 17 Feb 1835 - 11 Jan 1894
Birth Place Nordre Foss, Gjerpen, Telemark fylke
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Ashippun, Dodge County, WI
Company at Enlistment I
Rank at Enlistment First Sergeant
Muster Date 6 Feb 1862
Death Location Chattanooga, Hamilton Co, TN
Burial Location Chattanooga National Cemetery, Sect S, Grave 13078
Mother Anne Kirstine Pedersdatter
Mother Lived 1793-1876
Father Hans Jacob Gasmann
Father Lived 1787-1857
Immigration 1843
Spouse Maren Gurine Gregoriusdatter Tufte
Spouse Lived 15 Jun 1835-?

Findanus Mattæus Gasmann arrived in New York July 1843 with his parents and siblings aboard the Salvator. As Findonus M. Gasman he enlisted under his older brother, Captain August Gasman, in Company I of the 15th WI on February 6, 1862, at Ashippun, Dodge County, WI, for a 3-year term of service. 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 Wisconsin county.

Findonus was mustered into Federal service as the 1st Sergeant of Company I on February 13 or 26, 1862, at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was listed as 27 years old and married. His residence was recorded as Ashippun, WI. Enlistment credited to Chippewa, Dodge County, WI.

After only a few weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier and run the company for the officers, 1st Sergeant (Sersjant) Gasman left there on March 2, 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until October 1863 he was listed as "present." 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. That summer when 8 companies of the 15th left Island No. 10, he remained on the island with Companies I and G on extended guard duty. These 2 companies would not rejoin the rest of the regiment for 15 months. During that time the rest of the regiment participated in several campaigns as well as the battles at Perryville in KY, at Murfreesboro (Stones River), TN, and at Chickamauga, GA.

Initially the 15th soldiers 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 became ill there, with several dying of disease.

In early October 1862, their camp, which consisted of 150 men, was attacked just before dawn by 300 Confederate cavalry. The attack was badly managed and quickly repulsed with virtually no loss, but afterwards the Union camp was moved over to Island No. 10. There the 15th soldiers were safe from attack behind the Confederate-built fortifications with their 80 cannons.

In December 1862, a curious incident threatened their safety and caused the 15th's soldiers to repeatedly refuse orders. Union General Thomas E. Davis sent an order to Island No. 10 ordering the soldiers there to spike the cannons and throw their ammunition into the Mississippi River to keep it from being captured by the Confederates. In reality there were no Confederate troops anywhere nearby and the 15th soldiers were safe from attack on the island, so they repeatedly refused to obey the orders. Finally the General sent an officer to the island who forced the men to obey. The 15th soldiers managed to save a great deal of the ammunition and destroy the cannons in such a way that they could still be repaired, though for 3 days afterward the island was almost completely defenseless. After the officer departed, the 15th soldiers fired on a passing Union steamboat, forcing it to stop. They explained the situation to an officer on board, who carried the news down river to Union General U. S. Grant down near Vicksburg, MS. Once General Grant heard of these strange orders he immediately relieved General Davies of command and life returned to normal at the island.

In March 1863, Lieutenant (Løytnant) Gasman served as the Acting Post Adjutant on Island No. 10. In September 1863, he was detached as a recruiting officer for the 2nd TN Heavy Artillery (Corps De Afrique). On August 19, 1863, Companies G and I exchanged their old Belgian weapons for new British Enfield .58 caliber rifled muskets. On September 2, 1863, the 2 companies were ordered to rejoin the rest of the 15th. After a 3-week trip by steamboat, railroad train, and on foot they were reunited with the remnants of the regiment at Chattanooga, TN. They arrived in Chattanooga on the morning of September 20, 1863, the second day of fighting at Chickamauga, GA, which was the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Though they could hear the sounds of the fighting in the distance, they were not sent forward to join the battle. That turned out to be their good fortune. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. In fact, together the 2 companies had more than twice the number of men than answered roll call the next morning in all the other 8 companies, combined.

1st Lieutenant Gasman served with the regiment during the Confederate siege of Chattanooga, TN, which began right after the battle. The siege caused severe shortages of food and firewood. On September 26, 1863, he was reported as sick in hospital. Starting October 13, 1863, he was detached to go with the vital supply train from Chattanooga over the mountains to the Federal supply base at Stevenson, AL, and back. By all accounts this was a physically challenging and dangerous assignment. It was not until the Union Army's victorious charge up Mission Ridge on November 25, 1863, which the 15th took part in, that the siege was finally broken.

Starting right after Mission Ridge the 15th was engaged in almost non-stop marching and counter-marching all over Eastern Tennessee 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 January 1, 1864, until July 1, 1864, 1st Lieutenant Gasman commanded Company I.

At McDonalds Station, TN, Gasman re-enlisted in the Army as a Veteran Volunteer on April 25, 1864 under General Order 191, War Department Series of 1863. By re-enlisting he committed to staying in the army "for the duration of the war", giving up his right to leave and go home at the end of his original 3-year commitment (of which less than a year remained). He was one of only a handful of 15th soldiers who re-enlisted. Veteran Volunteers usually received a 30-day leave of absence, which they typically spent at home.

Starting in May 1864, the 15th participated in U.S. Major General William T. Sherman's famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months. During the campaign the 15th took an active role 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 50% casualties, including 29 soldiers captured, most of whom later died in the infamous Andersonville Prison Camp in GA.

The 15th also fought at Kenesaw Mountain, GA, on June 23; at Atlanta on July 22; at Jonesboro, GA, on September 1; and at Lovejoy Station, GA, on September 4, 1864. It was near Atlanta, on August 13, 1863, that 1st Lieutenant Gasman was officially mustered into the Army at that rank.

After a rest following the capture of Atlanta in early September 1864, the 15th was briefly assigned to Provost (police) duty in Chattanooga in early October before being sent to Whitesides, TN, to guard a railroad bridge. By order of Brigadier General Smith, commander of the Army's District of Etowah, 1st Lieutenant Gasman was ordered on detached service starting October 8, 1864,"on daily duty in command of mounted detachment" who are recorded as being a "scouting party."

1st Lieutenant Gasman was mustered out of Federal service on February 10, 1865, at Chattanooga, TN, upon the end of his 3-year term of service. At muster out the Army noted that he had not been paid since August 31, 1864. The following remarks by Private Ben Nelson of Company I are from Ager's 1916 history of the 15th.

"Lieutenant Finn Gasman also stayed with us through our whole period of service, but [after muster out] he remained at Whiteside Station [Tennessee]. We were told he bought shares in a coal mine there, but we figured that he was afraid to come [home] with us because he was not well liked."

Findonus Gasman and his wife, Mary, (whose sister married his brother August) had at least two daughters, Maria born about 1859 and Anne Helene, born February 11, 1861, and, possibly a son, Andrew Jackson 1881-1917. Findonus died January 11, 1894 in Chattanooga and is buried in the National Cemetery there.  Mary filed for a pension as his widow January 24, 1894.


Sources:  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, MN, 1936); Oberst Heg og hans gutter [Colonel Heg and His Boys], Waldemar Ager (Eau Claire, WI, 1916); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, IA, 1894); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1885); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1886); genealogical data from Jan Christensen and Tove D. Johansen; military service data from Jon-Erik Gilot; 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 328, 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. 18, ID 227;;

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