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Otto A. Risum

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment
Otto A. Risum Profile Image
Wisconsin Historical Society, Iconography, ID 91086

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

Otto A. Risum

Birth Name
Other Names

Otto Axel Risum


23 Feb 1835 – 11 Mar 1924

Birth Place

Christiania (Oslo)

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Spring Valley, Rock County, WI

Company at Enlistment


2nd Company

Field Officers & Staff

Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

12 Dec 1861

Death Location

Sawtell, Los Angeles County, CA


Caroline Hermane Sell


Hans Ludwig Risum




Martha Wigley

2nd Spouse

Louisa Krieger

2nd Spouse Lived


Otto Axel Risum was born in Christiania, Norway on February 23, 1835, the son of Hans Ludwig Risum and Caroline Hermane Sell. The father, Hans, went by his middle name, Ludwig. He was a printer and born in Denmark. The mother, Caroline, was born in Norway, In 1845,  the family moved to Risör and Otto became a seaman. By 1860, he was living with his parents and brother,  John L., in Spring Valley, WI. Otto worked as a farmer between 1856 and 1861.

Otto joined the WI 15th Infantry, Company G. The men of the company called themselves the “Rock River Rangers.” The army listed him as living in Spring Valley, Rock County, WI, age 27, unmarried, and a farmer. Risum had blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion, and 5’9”. He enlisted for three years on October 16, 1861 at Beloit and mustered on December 12, 1861 at Madison and designated Sergeant (Sersjant). After Battle of Chickamauga, GA, he was transferred to the Regimental Staff and promoted to Sergeant Major on March 1, 1864. He re-enlisted for three years on January 1, 1864 at Strawberry Plains, TN with a bounty $402. Risum re-mustered on April 25, 1864 at McDonald’s Station, TN. On October 15, 1864, he was commissioned First Lieutenant (Løytnant) and assigned as Regimental Adjutant  with rank from September 24, 1864. He mustered out in Chattanooga, TN on February 9, 1865.

While in the south during the war, he met his future wife, Martha Wigley. They had a son named Louis. From 1873 to 1877, he was postmaster in Pulsifer, WI. He also owned a large mercantile business. After Martha died, he married Louisa Krieger. During a boat ride on Shawano Lake in 1896, Louisa drowned along with several others. By 1916, he was living in Los Angeles, CA. Louis died on August 31, 1922, and Otto on March 11, 1924.

Sources: Series 1200: Records of Civil War Regiments, 1861-1900, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, boxes 76-2,9,14; 78-1; Regimental muster and descriptive rolls, 1861-1865, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, vol.20, p.2, p.98; Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, IA, 1894), p.325, photo; Nordmaendene i Amerika, Martin Ulvestad, 1907, History Book Co., Minneapolis, MN, p.253; Oberst Heg og hans gutter, Waldemar Ager, 1916, Fremad Publ. Co., Eau Claire, WI, p.272, photo, p.290; Lars Gjertveit, Bodo, Norway; Blaine Hedberg, NAGC&NL; 1860 census, Roll: M653_1431, Page: 635, Image: 67, Family History Library Film: 805431; and 1910 Census, Roll: T624_85, Page: 12B, Enumeration District: 0021, FHL microfilm: 1374098;; Norway, Baptisms, 1634-1927.