Halvorsen

Post-war photo shows him with his grandchildren.

Image courtesy of his great nephew, Fredric Halvorson.

Halvorsen

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Halvorsen
Birth Name Hans Halvorsen Kjeldalen
Other Names Hans Halvorson
Patronymic Name Halvorsen
Lived 18 Jul 1838 - 07 Jan 1924
Birth Place Tuddal or Hjartdal, Telemark
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Neenah, Winnebago County, WI
Company at Enlistment D
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 8 Dec 1861
Death Location at home of daughter (Mrs. M. O. Schonsted) in Brooten, Stearns County, MN
Burial Location Big Grove Cemetery, Belgrade, Stearns County, MN
Mother Anne Sørensdatter Hovland
Mother Lived 1807- 1857
Father Halvor Olson Kjeldalen
Father Lived 1805- 1861
Immigration 14 Aug 1848
Spouse Ronnaug (Randi or Rachel) Larsdatter Sundvollen
Spouse Lived 1851- 1908
Marriage Location Big Grove Lutheran Church, Belgrade, Stearns County, Minnesota

Hans Halvorson was enlisted under the name Hans Halvorsen in Company D of the 15th WI by Captain Charles Campbell. Hans joined up at Neenah, Winnebago County, WI on November 5, 1861 for a 3-year term of service. The men of Company D 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.

Hans was mustered into Federal service at the rank of Private (Menig) on December 8, 1861 at Camp Randall, near Madison, WI. At the time the Army recorded him as being 23 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Neenah, Winnebago County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of Company D were issued Belgian rifle muskets. After about 3 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Halvorsen left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From March 14 to 31, 1862, he was listed by Company D as absent "to follow Reg't. to Island No. 10, Tenn." Hans re-joined Company D and the rest of the regiment in time to witness the surrender of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in TN on April 8, 1862.

That summer Private Halvorsen would have been with the 15th on the campaign though TN, MS, and AL. In July 1862, Private Halvorsen was listed as being absent "with the commissary [wagon] train." 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. He would have then 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 did not suffer any fatalities.

Starting December 6, 1862, Private Halvorsen was assigned duty as a teamster and "left with the baggage train" at Nashville, TN. As such, he would not have taken part on December 26, 1862, 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 also have missed fighting in the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stones River, 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. From June through October 1863, Private Halvorsen was assigned duty with the regiment as a "Teamster." Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in the Tullahoma campaign led by U.S. Major General Rosecrans. 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. Private Halvorsen is believed to have been present as a Teamster at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. He is also believed to have been present at the September 19-20, 1863, fighting at Chickamauga, GA -- the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. As a Teamster, it is not believed that he carried a musket in the ranks. Some 63% of the 15th's soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.

Private Halvorsen 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 nearby Mission Ridge on November 25, 1863, which the 15th took part in.

Beginning November 28, 1863, Private Halvorsen was reported as "absent sick at Chattanooga." As such he missed part or all of the 15th's almost non-stop marching and counter-marching all over Eastern TN throughout the winter of 1863/1864, which started right after the victory at Mission Ridge. 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.

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. Private Halvorsen served with the 15th when it fought at Rocky Face Ridge, GA in early May; at the bloody Battle of Resaca 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 50% casualties, including Private Halversen who was afterwards listed as "missing in action." In actuality, he was 1 of 29 soldiers from the 15th who had been taken prisoner by the Confederates.

Like almost all of the men captured at Pickett's Mill, Private Halvorsen ended up being imprisoned in the notorious Andersonville Prison Camp in GA. He is recorded in the prison's records under the name "Hans Halverson" captured May 27, 1864, at "New Hope Church, Ga."

After some 8 to 10 months as a prisoner of war, Private Halvorsen was released by the Confederates in early 1865. He was then mustered out of Federal service on March 25, 1865, at Madison, WI. This was several months after his 3 year term of service had expired and after Company D and the 15th WI had ceased to exist, and just a few weeks before the Civil War ended.

Shortly after being mustered out, Hans and his brothers Kittel and Halvor along with Hans Kittelson Skogen, Severt Larson, and Hans Skaartdahl, traveled to Belgrade, MN, to file for land grants. They were among the first pioneer settlers in that area and were known as "the soldier boys" because they were all Civil War veterans. It is recorded that Hans later became a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the Union veteran's organization.

After the war, Halvorsen married Ronnaug (Randi or Rachel) Larsdatter Sundvollen. In 1880, they were living in Getty, Stearns County, MN. They had several children, including Anne Louise (1873), Amanda N. (1876), and Emma M. (1879). He was working as a farmer. In 1920, Halvorson was widowed and living with his daughter, Amanda Schenstead, and her family in Brooten, Stearns County, MN.

 

Sources:  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, WI, 1885); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume 1, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1886); Genealogical data provided by Fredric Halvorson, Gary Horvath, and Jackie L. Hufschmid; Norwegian Immigrants To The United States, A Biographical Directory, Volume 3, 1847-1848, Gerhard B. Naeseth; Hjartdalsoga, Gard og Aeft Tuddal, Gjertrud Kleveland Karlsrud (Hjartdal Kommune, 1987); Index to Gravestones of Stearns County CD, St. Cloud Area Genealogists, Inc. (St. Cloud, Minnesota); 1920 Census, Roll: T625_862, Page: 10B, Enumeration District: 182, Image: 678; 1880 Census, Roll: 634, Family History Film: 1254634, Page: 487A, Enumeration District: 121, Image: 0590.


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