Database Record Change Request
|Name at Enlist|
Anton Johannesen Skofstad
02 Jul 1839 – 14 Oct 1873
Lier, near Drammen, Buskerud
|Resident of Muster-In|
Waterford, Racine County, WI
|Company at Enlistment|
|Rank at Enlistment|
14 Jan 1862
Bertha Olsdatter Kallerud
Johannes Evensen Skofstad
Anton Johannesen Skofstad came to America on the same ship as the Heg family (his mother and the mother of Hans C. Heg were sisters). Twenty years later the 1860 census recorded him as working as a prison guard and living in the Waupun, WI household of his 1st cousin Hans, who was then the State Prison Commissioner. When the Civil War began the next year, Skofstad enlisted as a Private (Menig) in the 3rd WI Volunteer Infantry.
On January 14, 1862, Governor Randall of WI commissioned Albert Skofstad as the 1st Lieutenant (Løytnant) of Company D of the 15th WI for a 3-year term of service. The men of the company called themselves the “Norway Wolf Hunters” thought they were also known as the “Waupun Company” because so many of them were residents of that WI town.
At the time Company D was commanded by Captain Charles Campbell who had recruited many of its men. The second-in-command was 1st Lieutenant Skofstad and its third-in-command was 2nd Lieutenant Christian E. Tandberg. These appointments were based on the recommendation of Colonel Hans C. Heg, who the Governor had appointed commander of the 15th WI.
1st Lieutenant Skofstad was mustered into Federal service at that rank on February 11, 1862 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was recorded as being 23 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Waterford, Racine County, WI.
Albert’s older brother, Even Skofstad, was later appointed as one of the 15th’s sutlers, traveling merchants who sold food, toiletries, reading and writing materials and other items to the soldiers.
On March 2, 1862, Lieutenant Skofstad left Camp Randall with his company and the 15th to join the fighting down South. At the end of March 1862, he took part in the successful raid on Union City, TN in March 1862, where according to Colonel Heg he picked up “a very fine Secesh uniform” and a pair of “nice embroydered slippers.” He also took part in the successful siege of Island No. 10, TN, which was located in the Mississippi River.
Again based on the recommendation of Colonel Heg, the Governor commissioned 1st Lieutenant Skofstad as the Captain (Kaptein) of Company D on April 30, 1862, to rank from April 20, 1862 for a 3-year term of service. Captain Skofstad replaced Captain Campbell, who had resigned his commission on March 28, 1862. The vacancy created by Skofstad’s promotion was filled when the Governor appointed 2nd Lieutenant Tandberg as the company’s new 1st Lieutenant and Sergeant Nels G. Tufte of Company D as its new 2nd Lieutenant. For reasons unknown, Captain Skofstad was not officially mustered into Federal service at that rank until May 7, 1863 at Murfreesboro, TN. Nevertheless, his rank was officially made retroactive to May 1, 1862.
In the spring of 1863, Colonel Heg was assigned command of the newly formed 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division of the 20th Army Corps (Army of the Cumberland). On May 2, 1863, Colonel Heg appointed Skofstad to be the Brigade Inspector, a position that Skofstad held until October 1863 when the brigade was dissolved. Heg was quite pleased with Skofstad’s performance, noting this in a June 29, 1863, letter home to his wife:
“Albert Skofstad is getting to be one of the best Officers to be found in the Army. He has learned a great deal since I put him in his new place and I think he would soon be capable of taking command of a Regiment. I have worked him very hard.”
In August and September 1863, Captain Skofstad participated with the 3rd Brigade Field & Staff in the Chickamauga campaign led by U.S. Major General William S. Rosecrans. Captain Skofstad was believed to have been present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the brigade led. In Colonel Heg’s final letter home to his wife, dated September 18th, he wrote the following:
“Albert Skofstad has been sick, but he is better. I have a good Buggy that belongs to me, and he rides in that. We use it whenever any of us are sick and we carry our dinner in it.”
Sick or not, Captain Skofstad was 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, during which Colonel Heg was mortally wounded. Captain Skofstad also survived the near capture of the brigade around midday on the 20th during Longstreet’s Breakthrough. Some 57% of the brigade’s soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, including Colonel Heg, who died on the 20th.
Captain Skofstad then requested and received a leave of absence starting September 21, 1863 to escort Colonel Heg’s remains from Chattanooga, TN up to WI for burial. Skofstad was next listed as being “sick” in Chattanooga, starting November 28, 1863.
On February 20, 1864, Captain Skofstad was appointed as the Inspector of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 4th Army Corps. However, on March 2, 1864, he submitted a letter tendering his resignation from the Army. Among the reasons he gave for resigning were the following:
“That I have lost all energy and interest in military life; And feel discontented since the death of Col Heg, who was my uncle, killed at the Battle of Chickamauga, [and] I have an aged Parent, who is dangerously ill, who earnestly desires that I should come immediately home.”
Despite the lack of a surgeon’s certificate attesting physical disabilities, his resignation was recommended for approval by Major George Wilson, who was then commanding the 15th, and was eventually approved by the U.S. Army.
After resigning Albert Skofstad moved to Decorah, IA where he lived with his wife, had 3 children, and served as the elected Sheriff of Winneshiek County in 1867-68. Shortly thereafter he was in KS, where he was treated as a patient by the 15th’s former Surgeon Steven O. Himoe.
Died of pneumonia (typhoid?) in Humboldt, Allen County, KS on October 14, 1873. Buried the same day in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, KS in section 3 lot 126, in a gravesite owned by his friend, Dr. Steven Himoe. His body later was moved to section 7, grave 52, lot 194.
Buslett’s 1895 history of the 15th WI states that Albert Skofstad was “well liked” and describes him as follows:
“Conscientious, but cheerful, with the manners of a gentleman…”
Sources: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Hans Christian Heg, edited by Theodore C. Blegen (Northfield, Minnesota, 1936); 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); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1886); Norwegian Immigrants to the United States. A Biographical Directory, 1825-1850. Volume One 1825-1843, Gerhard B. Naeseth, 2008, Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, IA, p. 98, ID 15; genealogical research by Dee Anna Grimsrud, MLIS, CGRS, and by Tove D. Johansen.