Ole M. Bendixsen
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|Name at Enlist||Ole M. Bendixsen|
|Birth Name||Ole M. Bendigon|
|Lived||circa 1833 -|
|Resident of Muster-In||Columbia County, WI|
|Company at Enlistment||D|
|Rank at Enlistment||Brevet Captain|
|Muster Date||08 Oct 1862|
Ole M. Bendixsen was enlisted on November 27, 1861, by Captain (Kaptein) Charles Campbell as a Private (Menig) in Company D of the 15th WI. He joined up in Portage, Columbia County, WI for a 3-year term of service. The men of the company called themselves the “Norway Wolf Hunters.” They were also known as the “Waupun Company” because a number of them were residents of that WI town. Private Bendixsen was mustered into the Federal Army at that rank on December 8, 1861 in Camp Randall, Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 28 years old and not married. He listed his residence as Columbia County, WI.
Ole was appointed as a Corporal (Korporal) in Company D on January 1, 1862. On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th WI were issued Belgian rifled muskets. After 2 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Corporal Bendixsen left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. He was then absent from the 15th on “detached service” at Birds Point, MO on the Mississippi River with Company D from March 14-31, 1862. From then until October 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 Tennessee, and the surprise raid on Union City, TN, in March and April 1862.
That summer Corporal Bendixsen would have been with the 15th on campaign through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. 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 October 8, 1862, at the Battle of Perryville, KY, he was sick in the regimental hospital when the 15th was order to attack, but he picked up his musket and re-joined his company for the battle. While this was the first big battle the 15th was in, it emerged without any fatalities.
On December 1, 1862, Corporal Bendixsen was promoted to Sergeant (Sersjant). On December 26, 1862, 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. He would have also fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, on December 30-31, 1862. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery. One of those casualties was Sergeant Bendixsen, who was captured on December 31, 1862.
In March 1863, Sergeant Bendixsen was listed as a prisoner of war at Atlanta, GA. On April 7, 1863, he was released by the Confederates at City Point, VA. Sergeant Bendixsen was once again with Company D in time for the September 19-20, 1863, Battle of Chickamauga, GA, — the second bloodiest battle of the war. There he received a “flesh wound left leg” during the fierce afternoon fighting around Viniard’s Farm on the first day. Some 63% of the 15th’s soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.
In October 1863, Sergeant Bendixsen was listed as being in a hospital at Nashville, TN. In November and December he was listed as “now in Wis.” There at the Harvey Hospital in Madison it was noted that “hospital gangrene occurred before admission here, which was treated here with nitric acid; wound now granulating.”
It was not until September 1864, that Sergeant Bendixon returned to the regiment. He was then listed as “present” February 1865. After a rest following the capture of Atlanta, 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, Tennessee, near Chattanooga. Some of the 15th’s soldiers felt was the easiest duty of their war service.
Sergeant Bendixon was honorably discharged from the Army along with most of the other surviving members of Company D on February 13, 1865, at Chattanooga, upon the expiration of his 3-year term of service. The men of his company were then sent to Madison, WI, paid off, and the company disbanded.
After the war, Ole M. Bendixsen received recognition of his actions at Perryville. In 1867, WI Governor Lucius Fairchild, himself a distinguished Civil War veteran, honored Ole with a promotion to Brevet Captain, retroactive to October 8, 1862. His award citation reads as follows:
“In recognition of conspicuous gallantry displayed by him at battle of Perryville, Ky., where though excused from duty by the Surgeon of the Regiment by reason of sickness, upon hearing the battle commence immediately in front of the Hospital and being informed that the Regiment was about to attack the enemy he asked permission to join his company and immediately picked up a gun and reported for duty, and when told that he was too weak to follow in the charge they were about to make replied “let me go as far as I can. I cannot stay here and see my comrades fight the battle alone as long as I am able to point my gun.” Though exhausted he remained with his company during the entire engagement.”
Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Register of Commissions by Brevet 1864-1870 (Madison, WI); 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).