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Jens Jacobson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

Jens Jacobson

Birth Name
Other Names



ca. 1818 or 1823 – 16 Feb 1864

Birth Place

Christiania (Oslo), Norway

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Freeborn County, MN

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

01 Feb 1862

Cause of Death

diarrhoea febvis typhoides

Death Location

Richmond or Danville, Pittsylvania County, VA

Burial Location

National Cemetery, Danville, Pittsylvania County, VA





Jens Jakobson was enlisted under the name of Jens Jacobson in Company K of the 15th WI by Captain Claus Lauritz Clausen, a Dane. Jens was appointed to the rank of Sergeant (Sersjant) in Company K on February 1, 1862. He 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 38 or 43 years old and married. His residence was listed as Freeborn County, MN.

After only 3 weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Sergeant Jacobson left there on March 2, 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until September 1863, he was listed as “present.” 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, as well as on the surprise raid on Union City, TN, at the end of 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 slave-built fortifications contained many cannons, which the Confederates had 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. It is unknown whether this had anything to do with the fact that starting sometime in May/June 1862, Sergeant Jacobson was listed in official records at the rank of Private (Menig).

Starting June 11, 1862, Private Jacobson left Island No. 10 with his company to take part with the 15th on the campaign though TN, MS, and AL. In August and September he would have participated in the grueling 400-mile forced march retreat from AL up to Louisville, KY, which was led by U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell. The last 2 weeks of the march were conducted on half rations and very little drinking water.

Private Jacobson would have been present at the bloody October 8, 1862, fighting at Perryville, Boyle County, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the 15th’s first big battle, it emerged without any fatalities.

On December 26, 1862, Private Jacobson participated in the 15th’s desperate charge upon a Confederate artillery battery at Knob Gap, TN just south of Nashville. There the 15th captured a brass cannon. He would have also fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody fighting at Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, on December 30-31, 1862. It was there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties and was cited for bravery.

The 15th camped in the Murfreesboro area for the next 6 months, except for 2 weeks in February when it was sent to Franklin, Williamson County, TN. Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in the Tullahoma campaign led by U.S. Major General William S. Rosecrans. On July 3, 1863, the 15th went into camp at Winchester, Franklin County, TN, for 6 weeks.

On August 17, 1863, the 15th left Winchester to participate in General Rosecrans’ Chickamauga campaign. Private Jacobson would have been present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. He was also 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, but was taken prisoner around midday on the 20th during Longstreet’s Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th’s soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. According to some accounts, Private Jacobson was transported to a Confederate prison in Richmond, VA.

According to the Prisoner of War records, Private Jacobson was admitted to a prison hospital at Danville, VA, on December 10, 1863. According to those same records, he died of “diarrhoea febvis typhoides” at Danville on February 16, 1864. According to other accounts, he died of “scorbutus” (scurvy) at Richmond, ViA, on that date and his body was later transported to Danville for burial.

The Army’s final statement on Private Jacobson notes that he had been born in Norway, stood 5 feet, 11 inches tall, had a “light complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair,” and was by occupation a “Farmer.”

After the war, his wife, Anne Jacobson, filed a pension in his name from MN on May 9, 1864.


Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records by 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); Civil War Pension Index, Roll #T288_239.