Database Record Change Request
|Name at Enlist|
ca. 1841 – 31 May 1891
|Resident of Muster-In|
Albert Lea, Freeborn County, MN
|Company at Enlistment|
|Rank at Enlistment|
11 Feb 1862
Ole Evenson was born about 1841. He enlisted in Company K of the 15th WI by 1st Lieutenant Ole Peterson on January 18, 1862 for a 3-year term of service. The men of the company called themselves the “Clausen’s Guards” after the 15th’s first Chaplain, Claus Clausen, a Dane. Ole was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) on February 11, 1862 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was recorded as being 20 years old and not married. His residence was listed as Freeborn County, MN.
After only a few weeks at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Evenson left there in early March 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until 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 on the surprise raid on Union City, TN in March and April 1862. That summer he would have been with the 15th on the campaign though TN, MS, and AL. Starting June 20, 1862, Private Evenson was listed as “sick in Quarters” in the 15th’s camp at Union City, TN. Starting June 24, 1862, Private Evenson was temporarily absent from the 15th while “guarding commissary stores.”
Private Evenson returned to the 15th sometime in July or August 1862, and then served “extra duty as Teamster” (driver of a horse or mule drawn wagon) beginning August 20, 1862. In August and September he 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. He would have been present at the October 8, 1862, Battle of Perryville, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills.
In December 1862, Private Evenson became ill and, on December 26, 1863, was sent to recover at an army hospital in Nashville, TN. It is virtually certain that he missed fighting in the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, at the very end of December 1862. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery.
Beginning sometime in April 1863, Private Evenson was again back with the 15th, which was camped near Murfreesboro, TN. He was then listed as “present” with the regiment until October 1863. Starting June 23, 1863, the 15th took part in General Rosecrans’ Tullahoma campaign. On July 3, 1863, it 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 Evenson is believed to have been present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. He is also believed to have present at the September 19-20, 1863, fighting at Chickamauga, GA — the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. There he survived the vicious fighting around Viniard’s Farm on the first afternoon, as well as the near capture of the regiment 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.
Private Evenson would have then served with the regiment during the Confederate siege of Chattanooga, TN, which began right after the battle. The siege resulted in severe shortages of medicine, food, and firewood which, together with cold, wet weather, caused much suffering, sickness, and death. Starting October 13, 1863, Private Evenson was assigned as a guard with the Army supply wagon train from Chattanooga, over the mountains to the Federal depot at Stevenson, AL. This was by all accounts a physically challenging and dangerous trip.
Private Evenson was again listed as “present” with the 15th starting November 1863 until May 1864. The Confederate siege was finally broken by the Union Army’s victorious charge up Mission Ridge on November 25, 1863, which the 15th took part in. Starting right after Mission Ridge the 15th was engaged in almost non-stop marching and counter-marching all over Eastern TN throughout the winter of 1863/1864. By many original accounts, this was the worst period of the regiment’s 3-year term of service. Poor rations, inadequate clothing and shelter, and unseasonably cold weather made these months nearly unbearable.
Starting in May 1864, Private Evenson participated with the 15th in General William T. Sherman’s famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months. The 15th took part in fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA in early May, and at the bloody Battle of Resaca on May 14-15, 1864. There on the first day Private Evenson was wounded “slightly in left hand”. He was then “absent sick” from the 15th recovering from his wound until sometime in September or October 1864.
After a rest following the capture of Atlanta in early September 1864, the 15th was briefly assigned to Provost (police) duty in Chattanooga at the beginning of October 1864. 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 10, 1865, Private Evenson was mustered out of Federal service at Chattanooga, along with most of the other surviving members of Company K, upon the end of his 3-year term of service.
After the war he married a woman named Emma. They lived in Geneva Township, Freeborn County, MN. On September 14, 1891, Emma Evenson filed a pension in his name.
Sources: Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, 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_146.