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Peder Thompson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

Peder Thompson

Birth Name

Per Torgeirsen Såheimsmogen

Other Names

Peder Tompson


17 Jul 1837 – 8 Jan 1863

Birth Place

Tinn, Telemark fylke

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Ridgeway, Winneshiek County, IA

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

11 Feb 1862

Cause of Death


Death Location

Bowling Green, KY

Burial Location

Grave 453, Section N, National Cemetery, Nashville, TN


Aagoth Tovsdtr


Torgeir Vetlesen Såheimsmogen



Peter Thompson was born “Per Torgeirsen Såheimsmogen” in 1837 at Tinn, Telemark, Norway. He was the son of Torgeir Vetlesen Såheimsmogen and Aagoth Tovsdatter. Peter Thompson was enlisted in Company K of the 15th WI by 2nd Lieutenant Olaus Solberg in Winneshiek County, IA on January 3, 1862 for a 3-year term of service. His nephew Charles Thompson joined with him. The men of the company called themselves the Clausen’s Guards in honor of the 15th’s first Chaplain, Claus L. Clausen. Most of the company was recruited from Scandinavian communities in MN and IA, with the rest from WI.

Peter was mustered into Federal service at the rank of “Private” (Menig) on February 11, 1862 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was listed as being 24 years old and not married. His residence was recorded as Ridgeway, Winneshiek County, IA.

After just 3 weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Thompson and his nephew left there on March 2, 1862 with their company and regiment to join the war. From then until November 1862 he was listed as “present.” During those months the 15th participated in the successful siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in TN and the surprise raid on Union City, TN.

After the surrender of Island No. 10 on April 7, 1862, Companies A, F, H, I, and K were sent to occupy the island. There was much hard, physical work to be done on the island, and quickly. The slave-built fortifications contained many cannons, which the Confederates had installed to defend against a Union attack coming down the Mississippi River from the north. These had to be moved and the fortifications changed so they could be used to defend the island against a possible Confederate assault coming up the river from the south. This task was made even more difficult due to the unhealthy nature of the island, and with problems getting an adequate supply of rations. These conditions caused many complaints, sickness, and even death amongst the soldiers there. At some point in March and/or April 1862, Private Peter Thompson was listed as “sick in quarters.”

On June 11, 1862, he and his nephew departed Island No. 10 by steamboat along with their company and regiment to go on summer campaign through TN, MS, and AL. By mid-August the regiment was encamped near Iuka, MS. On August 20, 1862, Private Thompson’s nephew was sent to an Army hospital there due to illness. The next day Private Peter Thompson was placed “on extra duty as Blacksmith” with the regiment, which promptly marched away, leaving his nephew behind. It was the last time they ever saw each other.

Private Peter Thompson then participated in the grueling 400-mile retreat from Iuka up to Louisville, KY. The last 2 weeks of this forced march led by U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell was done on half rations and very little drinking water. The next day the 15th participated in the Battle of Perryville, KY, which was also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. Despite this being the regiment’s first big battle, it emerged without a single fatality.

Starting November 4, 1862, Private Thompson was listed as “sick at Bowling Green” KY. He died there of “disease” some 2 months later. His nephew had died of disease a month earlier in an Army hospital at Jackson, TN.

Unfortunately, official notice of Private Thompson’s death never reached the 15th. In April 1863, the regiment listed him as “said to be dead” and “reported as deserter.” When Company K finally mustered out of the Army on February 10, 1865, Private Peter Thompson was officially recorded as “dropped from the Rolls as deserter” effective April 30, 1863. This error was not corrected until after the war.

Sources: Genealogical data provided by Gene Estensen; Civil War Compiled Military Service Records by Office of Adjutant General of the United States,(Washington, DC); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillage [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers] by Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, IA, 1895); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office (Madison, WI, 1886).