Christian  Halvorsen

Christian Halvorsen

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Christian Halvorsen
Birth Name
Other Names Christian Strand Halvorson, Christian Strand
Lived ca. 1840 - 02 Feb 1917
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In New Lisbon, Juneau County, WI
Company at Enlistment D
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 8 Dec 1861
Death Location Arkdale, Adams County, WI
Burial Location West Arkdale Cemetery, Arkdale, Adams County, WI
Mother Caroline
Father Henry Strand
Spouse Laura
Spouse Lived 1847- ca. 1878
2nd Spouse Matilda (Tillie) Bredeson
2nd Spouse Lived 1860-
2nd Marriage Date 3 Dec 1878
2nd Marriage Location Grand Rapids, Wood County, WI

Christian Halvorsen was enlisted by Captain Charles Campbell in Company D the 15th WI on November 4, 1861 at Strong Prairie, Adams County, WI. The men of the company called themselves the "Norway Wolf Hunters." They were also known as the "Waupun Company" because a number of them were residents of that WI town. Christian was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) for a 3-year term of service on December 8, 1861 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 22 years old and not married. He was recorded as having brown eyes, dark hair, a light complexion, and standing 5 feet 9 1/4 inches tall. His occupation was listed as farmer and his residence as New Lisbon, Juneau County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of Company D were issued Belgian rifle muskets. After nearly 3 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Halvorsen left there on March 2, 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until January 1863, he was recorded as "present" with the 15th. As such he would have taken part in the siege of Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River in TN, and on the raid on Union City, TN in March and early April 1862. That summer he would have been on campaign with the regiment though TN, MS, and AL. In August and September, he would have taken part in the grueling 400-mile retreat with General Don Carlos Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and short of water.

Private Halvorsen 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. On October 18, 1862, Private Halvorsen was assigned to guard the regiment's wagon train. On December 1, 1862, Private Halvorsen was appointed as a Corporal (Korporal) in Company D.

On December 26, 1862, Corporal Halvorsen 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 Halvorsen took part in 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 Corporal Halvorsen, who was "lightly wounded" in action on December 31, 1862. The following is from Buslett's 1895 history of the 15th WI:

"After the battle General Rosecrans issued an order to the various regiments' commanders to submit to headquarters a list of one sergeant, two corporals and four or five privates in each company (altogether no more than six from each company), who had shown the greatest courage and ability during the battle. These would be entered on the Roll of Honor."

 At the recommendation of the 15th's commanding officer, Colonel Hans C. Heg, the name of Corporal Halvorsen was submitted to headquarters. He was subsequently added to the Roll of Honor for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Army Corps for his bravery in the battle.

For a time after the battle, Corporal Halvorson was listed as "absent" in a hospital in Nashville, TN recovering from his wound. 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. It is believed that Corporal Halvorson was back with the 15th in time to take part in General Rosecrans' Tullahoma campaign, which started June 23, 1863. 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 Halvorson was 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 near Brotherton Field 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.

Corporal Halvorson 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. The siege was finally broken by the Union Army's victorious charge up 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. On February 1, 1864, Corporal Halvorson was one of a number of 15th soldiers temporarily transferred to the 68th IN Volunteer Infantry Regiment at the order of their Brigade commander, General Willich. Corporal Halvorson and the others were transferred back to the 15th at Strawberry Plains, TN in April 1864 by order of the War Department.

Starting in May 1864, the 15th participated in General Sherman's famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months. Corporal Halvorson and 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. It was there that the 15th suffered fearful casualties, including Corporal Halvorson who received a "gun-shot wound of right fore-arm...resulting in entire loss of use of arm."

Corporal Halvorsen was subsequently treated at a hospital in Louisville, KY, before being sent to Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, MO. There he was honorably discharged from the Army due to his disability on November 2, 1864. By the time of his discharge he had nearly completed his full 3-year term of service.

In 1870, he was living with his first wife, Laura, in Strong Prairie, Adams County, WI. On December 3, 1878, he married Matilda Bredeson in Grand Rapids, Wood, WI. Her parents Barant and Mary Bredeson. In 1880, he was living with his second wife, Matilda (Tillie). In total, he had 3 children: Hand (1868), Oscar (1879) and Annetta (1871). The WI Veterans Census in 1890 and 1895 lists Christian Halvorson as a resident of Arkdale, Adams County, WI. At the time of his death he was using the name Christian Strand.

 

Sources:  Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); genealogical data from Gordon K. Klaus and Larry Onsager; 1870 Census, Roll: M593_1703, Page: 89B, Image: 165, Family History Library Film: 553202; 1880 Census, Roll: 1417, Family History Film: 1255417, Page: 79D, Enumeration District: 015; findagrave.com; Wisconsin Marriage Records, Batch # M00335-4, GS # 1275654.

 


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