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John Gilbertson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

John Gilbertson

Birth Name

Jens Gulbrandsen

Other Names

Jens Bring Gilbertson, Jens Gulbrandson, Næs


4 Oct 1827 – 16 Jul 1894

Birth Place

Believed to be Nord Aurdal, Oppland fylke

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Gale, Trempealeau County, WI

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

21 Jan 1864

Cause of Death

Old age

Death Location

Mower County, MN

Burial Location

Bear Creek Lutheran Cemetery, Frankford Township, Mower County, MN


Johanna Petersdatter


Gulbrand Gulbrandsen Næs




Sønnef ‘Susan’ Juelsdtr Sohus

Spouse Lived

1823- 1897

Married On

28 Oct 1849

Marriage Location

Nord-Aurdal, Oppland fylke, Norway

At some point around the time he and his wife immigrated to America, Jens Gulbrandson changed his name to John Gilbertson (known to his family as Jens Bring Gilbertson). He and his wife had 7 children prior to his enlistment: Julius (1850-1882); Gilbert (1852-1932); John (1855-1892); Mina (1856-1882); Julia (1858-1928); Samuel (1861-1895); and Christina (1863-1935).

John Gilbertson was enlisted in Company B of the 15th WI by Captain B. F. Cooper on January 21, 1864. John joined up at La Crosse, La Crosse County, WI for a 3-year term of service. The men of the company called themselves the “Wergeland Guards” in honor of the famous Norwegian Writer and Poet, Henrik Wergeland. John Gilbertson’s enlistment papers, which he signed with an “X,” describe him as being 6 feet tall, with hazel eyes, brown hair, and a dark complexion. At the time of his enlistment the Army noted that he was a 37 year old married farmer residing in Gale Township, Trempealeau County, WI. However, land and census records indicate John was actually a resident of Barre Township in La Crosse County, WI. John was mustered into the Federal Army as a Private (Menig) on January 21, 1864.

In February, 1864, Private Gilbertson traveled from WI to Knoxville, TN where the company was then located with the rest of the 15th. B Company had by that time been in existence since late 1861. Private Gilbertson was one of the few recruits to join Company B after it was first formed.

In the spring of 1864 Private Gilbertson participated with B Company and the 15th in the opening actions of the campaign by U.S. Major General William T. Sherman to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months. Private Gilbertson apparently took part with the 15th in the fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA in early May, and at the bloody Battle of Resaca, GA on May 14-15, 1864.

Private Gilbertson also fought with the 15th at the disastrous Battle of Pickett’s Mill (often called Dallas or New Hope Church), GA on May 27, 1864. At Pickett’s Mill the 15th fought bravely and stubbornly for many hours, and suffered 50% casualties. During the fighting that afternoon and evening a minie ball (a bullet fired from a rifled musket) struck Private Gilbertson’s left leg two inches below the knee, passed down through his leg, and came to rest at his ankle. Despite the serious nature of his wound, he managed to avoid being captured, unlike 29 of the 15th’s soldiers, most of whom ended up dying of malnutrition-related diseases in the infamous Confederate Prison Camp at Andersonville, GA.

After being wounded Private Gilbertson is believed to have been treated in hospitals at Madison, WI and Keokuk, IA before being admitted on June 29, 1865 to the Swift U.S. Army General Hospital at Prairie du Chien, WI as a Private (Menig). Gilbertson was still hospitalized when B Company was mustered out of existence on December 2, 1864 at the end of the 3-year term of service of its original members. At that time Private Gilbertson and other members of B Company who had not yet served out their full 3 years were transferred to Company H of the 15th. On February 13, 1865, H Company, the last remaining company in the 15th, mustered out of existence and with it the 15th WI.

Private Gilbertson and the others from the 15th who had not yet served out their full terms, including the regiment’s few Veteran Volunteers, were transferred to the 24th WI Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The war ended in April 1865 with Private Gilbertson still absent recovering from his wounds. On June 10, 1865, the 24th was mustered out and he and the remaining 15th recruits and Veterans were transferred to 13th WI Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment. These were all paper transfers; John never actually served a day with either the 24th or the 13th. On July 29, 1865, Private Gilbertson was honorably discharged from the Army with a certificate of disability due to his wound.

After the war John Gilbertson returned to his wife and family in Barre Township, La Crosse County. The next year their final child, Ole (1866-1904), was born. In 1872, John and his family moved to Grand Meadow in Mower County, MN. Later he applied for and eventually obtained an invalid’s pension based on his war injuries. In the 1880’s John briefly homesteaded in Walsh County, ND. He was was granted a patent on land in Walsh County in 1885, but sold it to his son-in-law and returned to Grand Meadow, MN in time to be listed there in the 1890 census. He died there 4 years later of “old age” a few months before his 66th birthday. His wife passed away 3 years later.


Sources: Genealogical information provided by Robert Anderson; Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, IA, 1894); History of Mower County Minnesota (1911); Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Civil War Pension Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, 1885); Oppland fylke, Nord-Aurdal, Klokkerbok nr. 1 (1834-1887), Ekteviede [Marriages] 1849, page 641-642.