This is the sixth portion of E.B. Quiner’s history of the 15th Wisconsin, which fought in the Federal (Union) Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). This portion covers the time period May, 1864, to September, 1864. Information within brackets [ ] has been added to the original text by the webmaster to correct errors or to help modern readers understand what Mr. Quiner rightfully assumed mid-19th century readers would automatically know. Alternative spellings of 15th soldiers’ names have also been added within brackets by the webmaster, using spelling from the 15th’s official muster rolls. Finally, hot links have been added that will take you to on-line transcriptions of official documents and soldiers’ letters, and to profiles of soldiers, which contain additional information about the 15th or its soldiers. Enjoy!
Source: Quiner, E.B., The Military History of Wisconsin: Civil and Military Patriotism of the State, in the War for the Union. Chicago, Illinois: Clarke & Company, Publishers, 1866. Chapter XXIII, pages 627-631.
[Assault up Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia]
“On the 3d day of May, 1864, the regiment, under command of Major Geo. Wilson, moved with the brigade from McDonald Station, Tenn., to Tunnel Hill, near Dalton, [Georgia,] entering upon the celebrated Atlanta Campaign, arriving and taking position at the foot of Rocky Face Ridge on the 7th of May. On the 8th, four companies of the Fifteenth advanced as skirmishers under a heavy fire of the enemy strongly posted on the crest of the ridge. After a severe skirmish, the left carried the crest, and the regiment ascended to the summit of the Ridge, and held it until relieved by orders from General Newton. The enemy occupied a portion of the ridge in front of the right of the regiment, which they held, it being impossible, from the nature of the position, to carry it by assault. The regiment remained on the northern slope of the ridge, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until the afternoon of the 11th, when it moved with the brigade to the left, to check a reported movement of the enemy. Hans Christenson, of Company C [should be Company F], and Hans Senvig [Hans P. Lenvig] of Company E, were reported as killed in the attack on Rocky Face Ridge [Lenvig was killed on May 11th; in the 15th’s official rosters published in 1886 by the State of Wisconsin, Christenson is listed as killed May 27th, New Hope Church, Georgia.]
[Battle of Resaca, Georgia]
On the night of [May] the 12th, the enemy evacuated the position, and passed through Dalton southward to Resaca. Pursuit was immediately made, and the brigade joined the army in front of Resaca on the afternoon of the 13th. At 4 P.M. the regiment advanced to a position which was exposed to a heavy enfilading fire from the artillery, but was partly covered by the enemy’s first line of works which had been taken by the Twenty-third Corps. Here they were hotly engaged for about two hours, when, their ammunition being exhausted, they were relieved for the night. Next morning, they moved to the frontline, and being partly covered by barricades, they succeeded in silencing a two gun battery in their front, and so commanded the enemy’s works that they could not show themselves with safety above them. A desperate charge of the enemy in the afternoon was successfully repulsed, and they were very badly punished. Next morning, the rebels disappeared, and their works were entered by the skirmishers of the Fifteenth.
The [15th’s] casualties at Resaca were:
KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS. — Company B — Private Andrew Appheim [Andrew Asperheim, killed May 14th]. Company G — Private George Johnson [killed May 14th]. Company H — Corporal William Johnson [died of his wounds June 27th, Nashville, Tennessee]. Company I — Corporal Peter Haarstad [Peter O. Harstad, who died of his wounds June 8th, at Resaca] and Private Loren Johnson [Soren Johnson, killed May 15th] — 5 [Total].
WOUNDED. — Company A — Private Knud Oleson [Knud Olson]. Company C — Corporal W. E. Wheeler [Edwin W. Wheeler] and Private Peter Stangeland. Company D — Private Martin Halvorson [Martin Halvorsen]. Company E — Private Simon Jorgenson [Simon Jorgensen]. Company F — Privates Ever Anderson [Einar Andersen] and Michael Larson [Michael Larsen]. Company G — Privates Henry Thompson and Rier Thorson [Reier Thorsen]. Company I — Private Andrew Torgerson [Andrew Torkildson]. Company K — Privates John Johnson and Ole Evenson — 12 [Total].
Joining in the pursuit, the regiment proceeded with the brigade through Adairsville and Kingston, to the neighborhood of Cassville. Here General Sherman determined to turn the enemy’s position at Allatoona Pass, it being considered impossible to carry it. Twenty days rations were loaded into wagons and the army was put in motion for Dallas [Georgia].
[Battle of Dallas/Pickett’s Mill, Georgia]
On [May] the 25th, the Fourth Corps crossed Pumpkin Vine Creek, in the vicinity of Dallas, and on [May] the 26th, took a position and entrenched themselves on a ridge within 250 yards of the enemy’s [breast]works, the skirmishers driving in the enemy. On [May] the 27th, the division was sent about four miles to the left for the purpose of developing the enemy, and arrived at a point which was supposed to be the right flank of the rebel lines. About 4 P.M., Hazen’s brigade made an attack and was repulsed. The first line of [General] Willet’s brigade went forward closely followed by the Fifteenth Wisconsin crossing a ravine, was enfiladled by the enemy’s battery. Charging with a yell over the Second brigade, the regiment was so near the enemy’s breastworks that some of them were killed within ten feet of them. It being impossible to dislodge them, the Fifteenth lay down within fifteen yards of the works, and kept up an effectual musketry fire. The position was held until 9 P.M., when the regiment under orders fell back [at dusk]. In attempting to carry off the wounded, the enemy charged and took several of the men prisoners, including most of the wounded. The regiment moved about 300 yards to the right, on a ridge 200 yards from the enemy’s works and fortified themselves. This position was occupied, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until he evacuated the position on the night of June 5th.
The casualties in this battle, as reported, were:
KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS [all of the following are listed in the 15th’s muster rolls as killed May 27th, New Hope Church, Georgia]. — Company B — Private Osten Knudson. Company E — Sergeant Ole Lovig [Ole Lenvig], Corporals Edward Holby [Edwin Hadley] and Gulbrand Locke [Gilbrand Lokke], Privates Iver Anderson [Iver Andersen], Ole Erikson [Ole Ericksen 1st]and Ole Erikson 2d [Ole Ericksen 2nd]. Company G — Private Erick Larson [ Erick Larsen]. Company K — Privates John Johnson and Lars Lutson [Lars Leufson] — 10 [total].
WOUNDED. — Company A — Sergeant Ole K. Hanson and Private John Lungren. Company B — Sergeant Brown Siverson [Brown Syvertson, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds June 22, 1864, Chattanooga, Tennessee], Corporal Erick Larson [Erick Larsen, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds July 6, 1864, Chattanooga, Tennessee], Privates Peter Peterson, Jens Gilbertson [John Gilbertson], Ole Knudson [shown in the 15th’s muster rolls as killed May 27, 1864], Levert Leverson [Syvert Syvertson], and Knud Erickson. Company D — Corporals John Hogan [John Heyer] and Christian Helverson [Christian Helverson], Privates [Martin Halvorsen], Halvor Olson [Halvor Olsen], Jacob L. Jacobson [Jacob L. Jacobsen] and Simon Peterson. Company E — Privates Mads Rossum and Petrie Johnson [Peter Johnson 1st]. Company F — Private Reinert Baur [Reinert Bower]. Company G — Lieutenant C. B. Nelson [Charles B. Nelson], Corporals Iver O. Myher [Iver O. Myhre], Hans Larson [Hans Larsen] and Hans Hanson [Hans Hansen], Privates John Bonum and Lewis Anderson [Lars Anderson]. Company H — Privates Andrew D. Gerder [Andrew P. Gjerde], Ole A. Hamarss [Ole S. Hougness, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds January 18, 1865, Andersonville Prison, Georgia], Ole L. Fosse, Ole Halvorson [Ole Halvorsen] and Torbger Larson [Torger Larson]. Company I — Privates Nels Stonson [Nils Stenerson], Amos Johnson, John J. Ramack [John J. Rambeck], Knud Oleson [Knud Olson, shown in 15th muster rolls as killed May 27, 1864, New Hope Church, Georgia], Ole E. Trony [Ole E. Troan] and Peter Myhre. Company K — Privates Gulbran Olson [Gulbrand Olson], Albert E. Rice, Charles Olson, Ole Christenson, and Christ. Johnson [Christopher Johnson] — 39 [total].
[To see a list of soldiers captured at Pickett’s Mill, click HERE.]
[Fighting near Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia]
The regiment took up position near New Hope Church, from which they moved on the 6th of June, to a position in front of Pine Mountain, within 300 yards of the enemy’s works, where they remained until [June] the 14th, when they moved 200 yards to the left and front, and formed on a ridge, within the enemy’s works 200 yards in their front. On [June] the 15th, the rebels had disappeared from their front. From this time till the 3d of July, the regiment with the brigade, was constantly occupied in advancing, skirmishing, and driving the enemy from one line of [breast]works to another, on Pine Mountain, Lost Mountain and Kenesaw, losing up to the 3d of July, four men killed, as follows:
KILLED — Company B — Private Lewis Nelson [listed in 15th muster rolls as killed June 28, 1864, Bald Knob, Georgia]. Company D [should be Company I] — Private Daniel Peterson [listed in 15th muster rolls as “accidentally killed” June 23, 1864]. Company E — First Lieutenant T. P. Sloan [1st Sergeant Thor P. Sloan, listed in 15th muster rolls as wounded Kenesaw Mountain and died of his wounds June 28, 1864, Big Shanty, Georgia]. Company F — Private [Corporal] Andrew Thompson [listed in 15th muster rolls as killed June 27, 1864, Bald Knob, Georgia] — 4 [total].
[Siege and Capture of Atlanta, Georgia]
The enemy evacuated Kenesaw Mountain on the 3d of July, and the regiment accompanied the movements of the Fourth Corps towards the Chattahoochie River, occupying a position on the extreme left of the army. On [June] the 12th, the corps crossed the river on a pontoon bridge, and next day the division proceeded down the river to Pace’s Ferry, and drove the enemy from that place to enable the Fourteenth Corps to cross. July 18th the command advanced through Buckhorn, towards Atlanta, and on the 19th, found the enemy strongly entrenched on the south bank of Peach Tree Creek. The regiment did not become engaged at this point. On [July] the 21st, the division marched in a southerly direction and passed through the first line of the enemy’s works, and found him in position about a mile from the first line. Taking position within 200 yards of the works, they entrenched themselves. On [July] the 22d, they found that the enemy had abandoned his position, and they moved forward into his second line of works. Here they expected to enter the city without further opposition, but the enemy were found posted behind heavy forts and breastworks. The Fifteenth was put in position within musket range of the city, fortified, and was concerned in skirmishing with the enemy and on fatigue duty, until the 25th of August, when they accompanied the movement of the Fourth Corps to the right to cut off the enemy’s communication to the west and south of Atlanta. Arriving at Jonesboro on [August] the 31st, they participated in the engagement of the lst of September, and joined in pursuit of the enemy to Lovejoy’s Station, having one man wounded [Private Ole T. Westby]. They returned to Atlanta and went into camp four and a half miles south of the city, on the 9th of September.”
[To read excerpts from letters, diaries, and interviews by 15th soldiers about their experiences during the Atlanta Campaign, click HERE]