Database Record Change Request
|Name at Enlist|
Johannes Martinsen Laeskov
14 Nov 1840 – 30 Dec 1862
|Resident of Muster-In|
Mower County, MN
|Company at Enlistment|
|Rank at Enlistment|
11 Feb 1862
|Cause of Death|
Died from war wounds
Stones River battlefield, near Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, TN
Stones River Battlefield National Cemetery, near Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, TN
Johannes Martinson joined the 15th WI on February 3, 1862 for a 3-year term of service. He was one of 5 men enlisted by Hans C. Heg.
On February 11, 1862, Johannes was mustered into the army at the rank of Private (Menig). At the time the army recorded him as being an unmarried farmer who stood 5 feet 10 inches tall and had “blue eyes, blond hair” and a “fair complexion.” His residence was recorded as Mower County, MN. His military service records mistakenly note that he was 22 years old at muster-in; he was actually 21.
After only 2 weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Martinson left there on March 2, 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until June 12, 1862, he was listed as “Present” with the 15th. As such he would have participated in the successful siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in TN during March and April 1862. He would also have taken part in the surprise raid on Confederate Cavalry forces at Union City, TN in late March 1862.
After the surrender of Island No. 10 on April 7, 1862, Companies A, F, H, I, and K were sent to occupy the island and Captain Andrew Torkildson was placed in command of this battalion. There was much hard, physical work to be done on the island, and quickly. The 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.
On June 11, 1862, Company K and 7 of the 15th’s 10 companies departed Island No. 10 never to return. However, Private Martinson did not leave with them. He was listed as “left sick at Island No. 10” starting June 11, 1862. He returned to the Company K either later that month or sometime in July. From that point on he was recorded as “Present” with the 15th until October 1862.
That summer the 15th was on campaign through TN, AL, and MS. In late August the regiment left Iuka, MS and took part in the grueling 400-mile forced march retreat led by U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell. In late September the 15th finally reached Louisville, KY, after having marched the previous 2 weeks with only half rations and very little drinking water to sustain themselves.
After a brief period spent resting and refitting in Louisville, Private Martinson left there with the 15th on October 1, 1862, headed back south as part of General Buell’s Army of the Ohio. On October 8, 1862, Private Martinson took part with the 15th in the fighting at Perryville, Boyle County, KY (also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills). While this was the 15th’s first big battle, it emerged without any fatalities. On October 27, 1862, Private Martinson was briefly detached from the 15th for “Provost Marshall [military police] duty.”
Over the next few weeks the 15th marched south down to the vicinity of Nashville, TN where the Army of the Ohio went into temporary camp. On December 26, 1862, the army renewed its march south. That day Private Martinson took part in a desperate charge by the 15th upon a Confederate artillery battery at Knob Gap, TN, just south of Nashville. There the 15th captured a brass cannon and several prisoners.
On December 30, 1862, Private Martinson fought during the first day of the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stones River, TN (also called the Battle of Murfreesboro). It was at Stones River that the 15th was cited for bravery and suffered it first serious battle casualties, including Private Martinson and his fellow enlistees Corporal Amundson and Private Larson. Corporal Amundson, who survived the wound he received that day, said Johannes was struck in the stomach by a musket ball, sat down against a tree, and died.
Sources: Genealogical data from Mark Ashley, the great great great grandnephew of Johannes Martinson; Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); 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, 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).