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Herman Anderson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

Herman Anderson

Birth Name

Hermand Andersen


03 Dec 1826 – 14 Jan 1916

Birth Place

Snarvagten under Hafslund, Skjeberg, Østfold fylke

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Scandinavia, Waupaca County, WI

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

20 Dec 1861

Death Location

Richland County, WI

Burial Location

Basswood Cemetery, Basswood, Richland County, WI


Karen Sophie Andersdatter

Mother Lived

1792-19 Apr 1845


Anders Jensen

Father Lived

1799-9 Aug 1854


15 Jun 1861


Anna Cecilia Andersson

Spouse Lived

ca 1822-ca 1866

Married On

24 Feb 1856

Marriage Location

Oslo, Norway

2nd Spouse

Pernille Johanneson

2nd Spouse Lived

1829-30 Jul 1873

2nd Marriage Date

12 May 1867

2nd Marriage Location

Richland County, WI

3rd Spouse

Kari Knudson

3rd Spouse Lived

1830-28 Mar 1920

3rd Marriage Date

4 Jan 1874

3rd Marriage Location

Richland County, WI

Hermand Andersen was born on December 3, 1826, in Norway to Anders Jensen and Karen Andersdatter. He was a baker and first married Anna Cecilia (Agnetta) Andersson.  “H. Andersen, baker”, is on the passenger list of the Christaine which departed Christiania on April 24, 1861, and arrived Quebec June 15, 1861.

When the war began, Anderson enlisted under Captain August Gasman in Company I of the 15th WI on November 4, 1861, for a three-year term of service. The men of Company I called themselves the “Scandinavian Mountaineers.” They were also known as the “Waupaca Company” because so many of its members were living in that Wisconsin  county when they enlisted.

Herman was mustered into Federal service at the rank of Private (Menig) on December 20, 1861, at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was listed as 35 years old and married. His residence was recorded as Scandinavia, Waupaca County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th WI were issued Belgian rifled muskets. After over two months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Anderson left there on March 2, 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until September 1862, he was listed as “present” with his company. As such he would have participated in the successful siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in Tennessee and the surprise raid on Union City, TN, in March and April 1862.

That summer when eight companies of the regiment left Island No. 10, he remained behind with his company and Company G on extended guard duty. These two companies would not rejoin the rest of the regiment for 15 months. The men left behind were generally not happy about their assignment. The area around Island No. 10 was considered to be unhealthy and many of the 15th soldiers had already become ill there, with several dying of disease. Initially these 15th soldiers were camped across the Mississippi River from Island No. 10 on the Tennessee side at what was called New Madrid Bend. There they were engaged in rounding up Confederate soldiers who had escaped when the island was captured and in hunting down, sometimes on horseback, local groups of rebel guerrillas who were resisting the Union occupation.

In early October 1862, their camp, which consisted of 150 men, was attacked just before dawn by 300 Confederate Cavalry. The attack was badly managed and quickly repulsed with virtually no loss, but afterwards the Union camp was moved over to Island No. 10. There the 15th soldiers were safe from attack behind the Confederate-built fortifications with their 80 cannons. A drawing of the 15th’s camp on the island can be viewed by clicking HERE.

In December 1862, a curious incident threatened their safety and caused the 15th’s soldiers to repeatedly refuse orders. Union General Thomas E. Davies sent an order to the island ordering the soldiers to spike the cannons and throw their ammunition into the Mississippi River to keep it from being captured by the Confederates. In reality there were no Confederates nearby and the 15th soldiers were safe from attack on the island, so they repeatedly refused to obey the orders. Finally the General sent an officer to the island who forced the men to obey. The 15th soldiers managed to save a great deal of the ammunition and to ‘destroy’ the cannons in such a way that they could still be repaired, though for three days afterward the island was almost completely defenseless. Once General U. S. Grant heard of these strange orders he relieved General Davies of command and life returned to normal at the island.

On August 19, 1863, Companies G and I exchanged their old Belgian weapons for new British Enfield .58 caliber rifled muskets. On September 2, 1863, the two companies were ordered to rejoin the rest of the 15th. After a three-week trip by steamboat, railroad train, and on foot they were reunited with the remnants of the regiment at Chattanooga, TN. They arrived on the morning after the September 19-20, 1863, fighting at Chickamauga, GA — the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Some 63% of the 15th’s soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. In fact, together the two companies had more than twice the number of men than answered roll call that morning in all the other eight companies combined.

However, Private Anderson did not accompany his comrades as far as Chattanooga. Starting September 15, 1863, he was reported as “sick” in a U.S. Army hospital at Stevenson, AL. It is believed that he was left there by his company when it passed through there in mid-September on its way to Chattanooga. Private Anderson recovered from his illness well enough that on December 20, 1963, he was assigned as a baker at Stevenson. This was a trade he had worked at in Norway before coming to America.

Private Anderson returned to the 15th in late April or early May 1864, in time to take part in the famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA, led by U.S. Major General William T. Sherman. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for four months. The 15th took part in the fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA, in early May 1864, at the bloody Battle of Resaca, GA, on May 14-15, and at the disastrous Battle of Pickett’s Mill (often called Dallas or New Hope Church), GA, on May 27, 1864. There the 15th suffered 50% casualties, including 29 soldiers who were captured, most of whom ended up dying of malnutrition-related disease in the infamous Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, GA.

The 15th also took part in the fighting at Kenesaw Mountain, GA, on June 23, 1864. Private Anderson was then listed as “absent sick” in July 1864. He apparently returned to the 15th in time to take part in the fighting at Jonesboro, GA, on September 1, and at Lovejoy Station, GA, on September 4, 1864. After a rest following the capture of Atlanta in early September 1864, the 15th was briefly assigned to Provost (police) duty in Chattanooga in early October. This was followed by several months of guarding a railroad bridge at Whitesides, TN, near Chattanooga. Some of the 15th’s soldiers felt that this was the easiest duty of their entire war service.

On February 8, 1865, Private Anderson and the other survivors who were still with Company I handed in their weapons at Whiteside. At 4:00 AM on February 10th the company started by railroad train to Chattanooga, where at 9 AM that morning Private Anderson and the others were mustered out of Federal service upon the end of their three-year terms of service.

Later that same day the men who had been mustered out of Company I departed by railroad train to Nashville, TN, where they arrived the next day at 11 AM and departed there the same day at 3 PM by train for Louisville, KY. They arrived there at 3 PM on the 13th and were sent across the Ohio River to Jeffersonville, IN, where they were paid off and sent by train to Indianapolis, IN, that afternoon. They reached Chicago the next day and were finally back in Wisconsin on February 15, 1865, where they were released to return to their homes.

After the war, Herman Anderson  moved to Richland County where he bought 40 acres in Eagle Township for $400. He improved this land into a well-cultivated farm, where he  lived the rest of his life. He had at least one child with his first wife: Karen Sophie (1859-1897).  He married Pernille/Permelia Johannesen in 1867. They had at least one child: Henry Elmer (1867-1891).  He married Kari/Carrie in 1874.  Herman died on January 14, 1916, and is buried in Basswood Cemetery, Basswood, Richland County, WI.

The following is from Miner’s 1906 “History of Richland County.”

“Herman Anderson is one of the venerable citizens of Scandinavian birth and lineage who has gained success and honor as one of the sterling citizens and successful farmers of Richland County. He served his adopted country faithfully and well as a soldier in the Civil War, and his entire life has been guided and governed by unswerving integrity of purpose… He holds membership in the Grand Army of the Republic and has taken a deep interest in the same… He is a staunch Republican in politics, having cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and he has been a member of the Lutheran church from his youth to the present time.”

It is said that in his later years Herman Anderson would sometimes give voice to old Norwegian songs that had been sung in the 15th and weep.


Sources: Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, B. Anundsen, Decorah, IA; Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1885); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1886); 1870 Census, Roll: M593_1734, Page: 608B, Image: 120, Family History Library Film: 553233; 1880 Census, Roll: 1445, Family History Film: 1255445, Page: 59C, Enumeration District: 233; 1900 Census, Roll: 1813, Page: 2A, Enumeration District: 0112, FHL microfilm: 1241813; 1910 census, Roll: T624_1732, Page: 9B, Enumeration District: 0091, FHL microfilm: 1375745;; genealogical data from his great-great-granddaughter, Lynda Knobeloch; History of Richland County, Judge James H. Miner (1906);;,; “Norwegian Immigrants 1850 and later”, database, NAGCNL, #64092.