Ole B. Johnson
Database Record Change Request
|Name at Enlist|
Ole B. Johnson
ca. 1842 – 15 or 16 Sept 1864
|Resident of Muster-In|
Manitowoc County, WI
|Company at Enlistment|
|Rank at Enlistment|
12 Dec 1861
|Cause of Death|
Andersonville Prison Camp, Macon County, GA
Grave 8886, Andersonville National Cemetery, Macon County, GA
Ole B. Johnson was enlisted in Company F of the 15th WI by Captain Kiler K. Jones. The company was also known as the Valdres Company because a large number of its members hailed from the Valdres region of Norway. Ole was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) on December 12, 1861 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 19 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Manitowoc County, WI.
Private Johnson was appointed to the rank of Corporal (Korporal) in Company F on January 1, 1862. After several months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Corporal Johnson left there in early March 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until sometime in May or June 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 and the surprise raid on Union City, TN in March and April 1862. Starting June 23, 1862, Corporal Johnson was “detailed on daily duty guarding commissary stores.” That summer he would have been with the 15th on the campaign though TN, MS, and AL. In August and September he would have participated in the grueling 400-mile retreat with General Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and short of water. On September 8, 1862, Corporal Johnson was promoted to the rank of 3rd Sergeant of Company F.
Sergeant Johnson would have been present at the October 8, 1862 Battle of Perryville, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the first big battle the 15th was in, it emerged without any fatalities. In late December he would have 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. Sergeant Johnson would have also fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, at the end of December 1862. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery. And it was there on December 31, 1862 that Sergeant Johnson was taken prisoner.
Starting January 16, 1863, Sergeant Johnson was confined at a prison in the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA. After only 2 weeks there he was paroled by the Confederates to Federal forces at City Point, VA on February 3, 1863. He was then listed as being at Camp Parole in Annapolis, MD starting February 5, 1863. Sergeant Johnson returned to the 15th sometime in May or June 1863. Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in General Rosecrans’ Tullahoma campaign. On July 3, 1863, the 15th camped at Winchester, TN. 3rd Sergeant Johnson was promoted to the rank of 2nd Sergeant in Company F sometime in July or August 1863.
On August 17, 1863, the 15th left Winchester there to participate in General Rosecran’s Chickamauga campaign. Sergeant Johnson is believed to have been present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. He 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, 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.
Sergeant Johnson was once again sent to Richmond, VA, where he was confined in prison beginning September 29, 1863. He was subsequently sent to a prison in Danville, VA on December 12, 1863. At some point prior to September 1864, Sergeant Johnson was transferred to the notorious Andersonville Prison Camp in GA. There on September 15, 1864, he was admitted to the prison hospital where he died later that day or the next morning of “scorbutus” (scurvy).
In honor of his deeds and sacrifice, WI Governor Lucius Fairchild commissioned Sergeant Johnson as a 2nd Lieutenant on February 25, 1867, with rank from November 15, 1863. Johnson was never mustered into the Federal Army at this rank.
Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Ole A. Buslett, Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1886).