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The Fifteenth Regiment was recruited mostly from the Scandanavian population of the State, and was organized at Camp Randall, Madison, its muster into the United States service completed on the 14th of February, 1862, and it left the State for St. Louis on the 2d of March. Kiler K. Jones, Esq., of Quincy, Ill., was comissioned Lieutenant Colonel, and superintended the organization of the several companies, until Colonel Heg was relieved of his official duties as State Prison Commissioner. He continued his official connection with the regiment until the lst of March, when, from some unfortunate misunderstanding, his commission as Lieutenant Colonel was revoked, and the regiment left the State without a Lieutenant Colonel. Captain David McKee, of the Second Wisconsin, was subsequently commissioned, and joined the regiment at Island No. 10.
Passing through Chicago, the regiment was presented with a beautiful flag, by the Scandnavian "Society Nora." The motto on the flag was, "For God and our country." On one side was the American colors, with gilt stars on a blue field. On the reverse were the American and Norwegian arms, united; the Norwegian arms representing a lion with all axe, on a red field. On the flag was inscribed, "Presented by the Society Nora, of Chicago, to the Scandinavian Regiment, March 1, 1862." The flag was presented by C. Ditrickson, Esq., accompanied with a speech in the Norwegian language, which was appropriately replied to by Colonel Heg. The regiment went immediately aboard the cars, and reached St. Louis on the morning of the 4th and were ordered by General Halleck to proceed to Bird's Point, opposite the mouth of the Ohio, at Cairo. There they found comfortable barracks, and Colonel Heg assumed command of the post, leaving Major Reese in command of the regiment. There they remained, engaged in guard duty in the entrenchments, until the 14th of March, when, pursuant to orders, Colonel Heg embarked his regiment with the exception of companies C, D and K, on the transport Silver Wave, and joined the expedition of Commodore Foote against Island No. 10, near New Madrid, forming, with the Twenty-seventh Illinois, the land forces which accompanied that expedition, and arrived before the enemy works on the 15th, when the bombardment was immediately commenced. Here the regiment remained for some time,inactive, except the performance of a little picket duty, on a point of land on the Missouri shore. At this time the surrounding country was flooded, and but little dry ground could be found to encamp on. This compelled the troops to remain on the transports where they suffered much from the cold, and the inadequate means of cooking their rations.
On the 31st of March, a portion of the regiment participated in an attack on a rebel camp near Union City, to the east of the town of Hickman, Ky. Proceeding up the river to Hickman, they made a forced march to Union City, near which they surprised the camp of a band of rebels, under the notorious Clay King, completely routing them, and destroying their camp and its contents, and capturing about a hundred horses and mules, and several wagons. Company G captured a secesh battle flag, which was sent to the Governor of Wisconsin as a trophy, with another, which was subsequently captured at Island No. 10.
The regiment returned to New Madrid, where it remained till Island No. 10 was evacuated, on the night of the 7th of April, when it was sent to occupy the Kentucky shore, opposite the Island, where the rebels had erected several batteries. They took possession of the camps of the enemy, in which they found a large amount of stores of all kinds. On the departure of the forces of Commodore Foote and General Pope, the Fifteenth was left to garrison the Island, and to gather up and protect the immense stores of ordinance and other articles, which bad been captured. The situation was found to be quite unhealthy, and the duty of the regiment was very severe and laborious. The companies left at Bird's Point, joined the regiment at Island No. 10.
Pursuant to orders, Colonel Heg, left companies G and I, to garrison the post, under the command of Captain Gordon, of Company G, and on the 12th of June, proceeded with the rest of his force,to Union City, and reported to General Mitchell. After a short stay here, they moved to Humboldt, thence to the neighborhood of Corinth, where they were assigned to Rosecrans' command, in General C. S. Hamilton's division, thence, on the 20th of July, they proceeded to Jacinto, where they were assigned to Colonel Carlin's brigade, of General Jeff. C. Davis' division. From Jacinto, they proceeded to Iuka, where they remained till the 21st of August, when they remained with Davis' division, to join the army of the Cumberland, reaching Florence, Ala., on the 24th of August.
General Bragg had commenced his great raid into Kentucky and all of Buell's forces were en route to head off any attack on Louisville. Davis' division arrived at Nashville on the 8th of September. March was resumed on the llth, and the regiment and division entered Louisville on the 26th, tired, hungry, ragged and footsore from their long march. Here Davis' division was transferred from the army of the Mississippi to the Third Corps, General Gilbert, Army of the Ohio. After a few days rest, the regiment, on the 1st of October, marched with the division in pursuit of Bragg, proceeding through Bardstown. The division was temporarily under the command of Brigadier General R. B. Mitchell, and was designated as the Ninth Division of the Army of the Ohio, and the brigade as the Thirty-first, under Colonel Carlin, consisting of the Twenty-first and Thirty-eighth Illinois, One Hundred and First Ohio, Fifteenth Wisconsin, and Second Minnesota Battery. Arriving within four miles of the enemy on the 7th, line of battle was formed, and they slept on their arms. The battle commenced on the following morning, but the brigade was not disturbed till about 2, P. M., when it was ordered to advance to the support of General Sheridan's division. They marched to the vicinity of McCook's corps, on the left, where the battle was raging fearfully, then moved to the right, and formed in the woods. One company of the Fifteenth was sent forward as skirmishers, who soon engaged the enemy. The brigade advanced in line of battle, exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery. The rebel infantry fell back under the protection of their guns. Notwithstanding the heavy fire, the Fifteenth Wisconsin and the Twenty-first Illinois took advantage of the inequality of the ground, and advanced steadily, driving the enemy, with his artillery, before them, until they had reached a point within a quarter of a mile of the village, when they were ordered to halt, and lay down behind a rise of ground. The enemy's artillery again opened, which was replied to by the brigade battery. Remaining about two hours, they were ordered to retire, which was not done until thirteen wagons, filled with ammunition, were captured by the brigade. It appears that the enemy's ammunition train might all have been captured, if the brigade had been permitted to follow up the pursuit. Notwithstanding their exposure, the Fifteenth escaped without having a man wounded.
The division joined in the pursuit, and found the enemy's on trains passing through Lancaster. It was drawn up in line, and skirmishers sent forward, preparatory to an attack, when peremptory orders were received from General Gilbert to hault, and not bring on an engagement. Thus the enemy's trains escaped, much to the chagrin and indignation of the troops. The rebel force was only a train guard of five hundred men. The pursuit was continued to Crab Orchard, where the Fifteenth was employed as Provost Guard for a week, when the troops completed the return march, proceeding by way of Danville and New Market, to Bowling Green, where General Rosecrans was reorganizing the army, and on the 4th of November proceeded towards Nashville, to Edgefield Junction, where, after resting a few days, the Fifteenth joined an expedition, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel McKee, down the Cumberland River, towards Clarksville, in quest of Woodward and Morgan's guerillas. The expedition proceeded down the river about fifty miles, and was gone five davs, and succeeded in capturing about fifty prisoners, and a large number of horses, mules and wagons. Several well known resorts for guerillas were destroyed, and also a distillery, whiskey and salt, together with a quantity of corn, tobacco, etc. General Rosecrans, in a complimentary order, after stating the results of the expedition, concludes:- "This handsome little success shows what good infantry can do under an enterprising leader, and reflects much credit upon all who were engaged in it.",
In the reorganization of the army by General Rosencrans, General Davis' division was designated as the First, of the right wing of the Fourteenth Army Corps. The brigade was designated as the Second.
Companies G and I, left at Island No. 10, in October, 1862, took part in a brilliant affair, in which the enemy, under Colonel Faulkner, with three hundred mounted men, dashed into their camp before daylight. In the brisk little fight which ensued, the two companies, under Captain Gordon, with a company of Illinois cavalry, charged upon the rebels in the confusion occasioned by the darkness, with such vigor, that they fled, pursued cavalry, for fifteen miles. It resulted in the capture of the rebel Colonel and his line officers, and ten men prisoners, seven killed and nine wounded.
Returning to Edgefield Junction, the regiment moved to Nashville, and remained in camp, engaged in occasional skirmishing, or guarding forage trains, until the 26th of December, when they marched in company with the forces of General Rosecrans, to take part in the battle of Murfreesboro.
Davis' division was in the right wing of the army, under General McCook, on the extreme right, and took position as the advance division. About one o'clock, P. M., the enemy was found in position near Nolinsville, drawn up in line of battle. A battery opened on the advancing division, which proved very annoying, and was only silenced by Carlin's brigade swinging round to flank their position, when they limbered up and started to the rear.
In front of Carlin's division, about a mile distant, was a deep cut or gorge in the mountain known as Knob Gap, through which the Nolinsville and Triune turnpike passes. This gap is about 300 paces in width, closed in by steep bluff walls. Here the rebels had placed eight pieces of artillery, with a large force of dismounted cavalry in support. An order to Colonel Carlin, directed that the battery be taken at any risk. It looked like a hopeless job, but Colonel Carlin quietly turned to Lieutenant Colonel McKee, of the Fifteenth, and ordered him to take command of the skirmishers, and advance rapidly. McKee knew the danger of the undertaking, but immediately responded to the order, and taking one company from each regiment of Carlin's brigade, deployed them in front, and pushed rapidly forward towards the gap, followed by the brigade. The rebel battery of eight guns, opened with shell, and fired with fearful rapidity. Steadily, that little band, under their indomitable leader, pushed on amid the bursting shell, and other missiles, through cornfields and woods, and up and down hill, to the very cannons' mouths. The skirmishers are near enough, and open fire. The rebels reply with canister. The brigade soon gets with in range, and opens fire along the whole line, and with a yell, make for the battery. The men were so exhausted they could not get up a double quick. Colonel Heg dashed forward on his horse, and the Fifteenth following with bayonets at a charge, drove the enemy, who limbered up and retired, leaving one gun. Colonel Heg rode forward on his horse, and with Lieutenant Colonel McKee, took possession of the piece, a trophy for the Fifteenth Wisconsin.
Bivouacking at the Gap, next day the command advanced two miles, and camped, remaining till Monday, the 29th, when they again moved towards Murfreesboro, and bivouacked, without fires, the men resting on their arms.
On the morning of the 30th, line of battle was formed, and the regiment advanced. Company E, Captain Ingmundson, was sent forward as skirmishers, who reported to Lieut.Col. McKee, in command of the skirmish line. The enemy was encountered by the skirmish line, about 12 o'clock. About 2 o'clock, the Fifteenth was ordered to advance and occupy the position held by the skirmishers, which was done, and Colonel Heg found that Captain Ingmundson had been killed, and one of his men wounded. Driving in the enemy's skirmishers, the regiment advanced slowly, through a heavy cedar thicket, under a severe fire of grape and shell, Colonel Heg found the enemy in heavy force behind a rail fence, near the house of Mrs. William Smith. His regiment continued to advance, notwithstanding the heavy fire, to within a hundred yards of the enemy's line, when another battery, on his left and front, opened a cross fire of grape and canister on his command. The regiment on the right of the Fifteenth, being unable to stand the enemy's fire, began to retire, when finding his flank thus exposed, Colonel Heg directed his regiment to fall back slowly. This they did, facing twice to the enemy, and delivering their fire, in going 200 yards, and taking position behind a fence, about 300 yards in advance of the enemy, which they held till after dark, taking off their killed and wounded. Their loss in this day's fight (the 3Oth) was six killed and thirty-five wounded.
At 8 o'clock in the evening, the regiment was relieved by the picket guard, under Lieutenant Colonel McKee, and retired about 400 yards to the rear, where they rested on their arms, without fires.
Early next morning, the regiment was in line of battle, with full ammunition boxes. A brisk firing was heard to the right. It proved to be the attack of the rebels on Johnson's division, which occupied the extreme right of the right wing, next to which was Davis' division, in which the Fifteenth was brigaded. Colonel Heg held the position occupied during the night, till the battery on his right retired, when he fell back about 300 yards, to its support. The battery again retired, to the vicinity of a house, which was occupied as a Union hospital. The regiment retired with it, and again acted as its support.
Being anxious to rejoin the brigade, Colonel Heg wheeled his regiment to the right, and advanced in the direction where the brigade was posted, with a view to assist in keeping the enemy in check. He took position near a fence, in the rear of the Thirty-eighth Illinois, which was then holding the enemy at bay. During this time, the forces of Johnson were retiring before the advancing enemy. The Thirty-eighth Illinois also retired, and the Fifteenth opened fire on the enemy, who was then within 200 yards, advancing towards them in solid column. The position was held until the appearance of a heavy force on the right left no alternative but to retire or be taken prisoners. While engaged at this point, Lieutenant Colonel McKee and several others were killed, and several wounded. From this position, Colonel Heg found great difficulty in extricating his command, as he had to retire through an open field, with the enemy accumulating a heavy force on his right flank, which was pouring in a terrible fire. Joining the remains of Carlin's brigade, near the hospital on the hill before mentioned, the command retired to the Murfreesboro Pike, where the rest of the right wing had congregated, between the railroad and pike. The regiment again took position behind a fence when within 400 or 500 yards of the pike, and opened fire, but the overpowering numbers of the enemy, compelled them again to retire. Crossing the turnpike, the men were again rallied at the railroad track, where they remained during the rest of the day. Here in the railroad cut, which passed through a hill, Rosecrans massed his infantry, and concentrated a large number of his guns. As the triumphant rebels would rush up in pursuit of our retiring forces, these guns would open, and the infantry would deploy from the railroad cut and pour in a devastating fire, and their ranks would go down like grass before the mower.
The command remained in this position during the lst and 2d of January, 1863, engaged in skirmishing with the enemy's pickets. On the evening of the 2d, they moved across Stone River, where the left wing, under General Crittenden, had been stationed, from which it had been forced to retire, taking position on a high point of land in front of the enemy, three-fourths of a mile from the river, where they remained until the morning of the 4th, constantly skirmishing with the enemy's pickets, in a drenching rain, without fires or shelter, and with scanty rations. For five days Colonel Heg's regiment fought or skirmished almost continually, without a word of murmuring or dissatisfaction. In this engagement, our Scandinavian soldiers displayed a courage and endurance, second to no regiment on that bloody field.
Lieutenant Colonel McKee was killed instantly, by a shot in the head. Captain Ingmundson was also killed. The loss of these officers was a sore calamity. Captains Wilson, Grinager, and Lieutenant Simonson, were wounded in the engagement on the 30th, but remained with their companies, and brought them, in good order, off the field. Captain Gustaveson was slightly wounded in the foot.
The casualties, from December 30th to January 4th, 1863, were 25 killed or died of wounds, 69 wounded and 31 missing, mostly taken prisoner. After the battle with the rest of Rosecrans army, the regiment went into camp near Murfreesboro, where they suffered severely for the want of warm and comfortable clothing, provisions and tents. The enemy had obstructed the railroads, and supplies were with great difficulty got forward. The regiment remained in camp south of Murfreesboro until the 23d of June, except about two weeks in February, when the division was sent to Franklin.
On the 1st of May, the regiment was transferred to the Third Brigade, of which Colonel Heg had been placed in permanent command, by General Rosecrans. Adjutant Henry Hauff was appointed Assistant Adjutant General, Captain Albert Skofstadt Inspector, and Lieutenant 0. H. Dahl, Topographical Engineer.
The death of Lieutenant Colonel McKee created a vacancy, and Major Ole C. Johnson was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain George Wilson, Major. Colonel Heg being in command of the brigade, the command of the regiment devolved on Lieutenant Colonel Johnson.
The Fifteenth, with Heg's brigade, accompanied the movement of General Rosecrans' forces, against General Bragg, at Tullahoma, leaving the neighborhood of Murfreesboro on the 24th of June, Heg's brigade being detailed as the rear guard of the Twentieth Corps, under General McCook.
We have before described this march of the army, and nothing occurred of much historical importance, in which the Fifteenth was engaged. After driving Bragg out of Tennessee, General Davis' division went into camp at Winchester, Tenn., on the 3d of July. On the 17th of August, the onward march was commenced, and the division crossed the Cumberland Mountains, to Stevenson, Ala., where they remained until the 28th, when they led the advance of Rosecrans' army against the enemy, in the Chicamauga campaign. Proceeding by a circuitous route, the brigade reached the Tennessee River near Caperton's Ferry, in the neighborhood of Bridgeport, where they constructed a pontoon bridge, and the Fifteenth Wisconsin was the first regiment to cross into the enemy's country, south of the Tennessee River.
With the rest of McCook's corps, the division of General Davis proceeded up Wills' Valley, to Winston's Gap, from whence it was recalled, when General Rosecrans concentrated his troops prior to the battle of Chicamauga. General McCook's command joined General Thomas' forces on the 18th of September, the night proceeding the great battle of Chicamauga.
On the morning of the 19th of September, General Davis' division was ordered to march at daylight, but it was 8 o'clock before they got in motion. The engagement began on the extreme left, about 10 o'clock, and the cannon firing increased as they advanced. About noon they passed General Rosecrans' headquarters, at the widow Glenn's house, and were soon after seat forward at a double quick, and thrown into line of battle, to fill a gap which existed in the lines at that place, and of which the rebels were attempting to take advantage, by throwing in a force, and thus cut the army in twain. Heg's brigade was formed in two lines, the Thirty-fifth Illinois on the left, the Eighth Kansas in the centre, and the Fifteenth Wisconsin on the right. The Twenty-fifth Illinois was in the second line, as a reserve. Advancing in this manner, the enemy skirmishers were driven in, and a heavy fire was received from his main line. The brigade continued to advance, however, until the Eighth Kansas began to waver and fall back. Being unsupported on the right, and the regiment on the left thus faltering, compelled the Fifteenth also to fall back, which it did, fighting, carrying off most of its wounded. Here Captain Johnson, of Company A, was killed. Being reinforced, they regained the lost ground. Colonel Heg was conspicuously active, and labored with the utmost bravery to make up by personal valor, what he lacked in numbers. The forces in this part of the field were, however, compelled to yield to superior numbers, and fell back across an open field. The regiment was stationed in reserve a few moments, when the front line was driven back. The regiment was lying down as the Thirty-fifth Illinois passed over them, intending to form in the rear of the Fifteenth, but did not, and passed through a column of reinforcements, which were just coming up. The reinforcements, supposing the Thirty-fifth to be the last Union regiment in their front, mistook the Fifteenth for a rebel regiment, and opened fire, while the enemy began a heavy fire on the other side. Being thus placed under the galling fire of both friend and foe, the regiment was compelled to break, and each man looked out for himself. The regiment was no more together that day as an organization, but the men attached themselves temporarily to the commands they first encountered, and stayed with them till night. Another advance was made, and the lost ground occupied until near sundown, when Lieutenant Colonel Johnson procceded together his scattered regiment. About this time, Colonel Heg was wounded by a shot in the bowels, which proved fatal next day. Captain Johnson, of Company A, and Captain Hauff, of Company E, were killed; Major Wilson and Captain Gasman were severely wounded, Captain Hanson, of Company C, mortally wounded, and Second Lieutenant C. S. Tanberg, of Company D, was also wounded.
The remnant of the Fifteenth was aroused at 3 o'clock next morning, and put in a commanding position near the Chattanooga road, to the right and somewhat to the rear of the rest of the army. About 10 o'clock the skirmishers became engaged on the left, and the battle soon raged with great fury on that part of the field. Sheridan's and Davis' divisions were soon ordered forward to occupy the extreme right of the line. Davis' division consisted of the Second Brigade, Colonel Carlin, and the Third, (late Heg's) now commanded by Colonel Martin, of the Eighth Kansas. Carlin's brigade occupied the front line, his left joining General Wood's right, with the Third Brigade in his rear as support. We have elsewhere related the great blunder at Chicamauga, whereby General Wood's division was withdrawn, and the divisions of Sheridan and Davis were allowed to be outflanked and slaughtered. A recapitulation here is therefore unnecessary. After General Wood's departure, Colonel Heg's brigade was ordered to fill the gap, with about 600 fighting men. The Third Brigade had hardly time to get into line, before the rebels attacked them. Protected by a slight barricade of logs and rails, they were warmly received, and repulsed with great slaughter. A second charge was also bravely repulsed, soon after which, the right and left flanks were turned, Sheridan's division not having come up on the right of Carlin and a large gap still existed in the position vacated by General Wood. Holding out to the last, in hopes reinforcements would come, the regiment, when almost surrounded, broke, the last to leave their position, and many were captured, among them, Lieutenant Colonel Johnson.
An effort was made to gather the scattered men near the Chattanooga road, but it proved a failure, and the retreat was continued a mile south of the road, where a good position was obtained, and here men were gathered from the division, and from most of the regiments of the corps, who had got separated from their commands. The whole force was consolidated, and the position held until 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when they were ordered three or four miles further to the rear, where they camped for the night. Here the fragments of the regiment were gathered. The day before, their aggregate was 176, it was now reduced to 75.
The killed and wounded, as officially reported, were 11 killed or died of wounds, 37 wounded and 48 missing, mostly taken prisoner. All the field officers being disabled, Captain Grinager took command of the regiment. Soon after breakfast, on the 21st, companies G and I, which had been stationed at Island No. 10 since June llth, 1862, joined the regiment. They numbered eighty men - more than all the other companies put together.
Rail breastworks were thrown up, but the enemy made no attack, and the brigade was ordered, at 10 P. M., to proceed to Chattanooga, where they arrived about daybreak, and commenced throwing up breastworks. Here the regiment, with the whole army, suffered severely for fuel, provisions and clothing, there being only a single line of communications over the Cumberland Mountains, to Stevenson, 180 miles, which was continually interrupted by the rebel cavalry. Captain Gordon, of Company G, joined the regiment on the 28th of September, and being senior Captain, took command.
On the 11th of October, the army of the Cumberland was reorganized, and the Fifteenth Wisconsin was assigned to the First Brigade, Brigadier General Willich, Third Division, Major General Wood, of the Fourth Army Corps, Major General 0. 0. Howard. From the battle of Chicamauga up to this time, the regiment had been kept constantly in the trenches, and suffered terribly, but they were now ordered into camp, and were more comfortably situated. About one hundred of the regiment were detailed as guard to a provision train to Stevenson, the remainder, on the 17th of October, being sent on duty to the north side of the river, to build pontoons, etc. The whole regiment was again together, with the brigade, on the 7th of November. The Fifteenth was put on guard duty in Fort Wood, until the 23d of November, when the whole army moved out of their works, to attack the rebels on Mission Ridge. On the 24th General Hooker drove them from Lookout Mountain, and the army of the Cumberland drove them from their front into their work near the foot of the ridge. The Fifteenth Wisconsin and Thirty-second Indiana did the skirmishing that day, and first occupied Orchard Knob. At a given signal from Fort Wood, on the 25th, the whole line advanced, drove the enemy from his works at the foot of the Ridge, and with a yell and cheer, started up the Ridge, drove the enemy, captured all his artillery, and a great number of prisoners, the Fifteenth suffering but a trifling loss, having only 6 men wounded. On this day, Major George Wilson returned and assumed command of the regiment.
Instead of being allowed a short time for rest, as they had a right to expect, after the excessive and laborious service which had been required of them, the Fifteenth was ordered, with the brigade, to march on the 28th, to Knoxville, in East Tennessee, which place was then besieged by General Longstreet. This expedition was under the command of General Sherman. After a fatiguing march of 110 miles, with scant rations, and the men suffering for clothing and shoes, they reached Knoxville on the 7th of December. The service of the Fifteenth in this campaign in East Tennessee, was one of great hardship, and was of a character which possesses little of historical. importance, interesting to the general reader. It was a constant marching over intolerable roads from place to place, remaining only long enough for the men to indulge in the hope that they would be allowed once more to pitch their tents and enjoy a little rest, when orders would be received to move to another point, where the same scene would be reenacted. So disgusted and disheartened did the men become, that only seven of the whole regiment finally reenlisted as veterans, although at one time all but five had consented to do so. There seemed to be an unnecessary amount of hardship put upon this regiment in that campaign.
No engagement of importance occurred with the enemy in East Tennessee, except one with Wheeler's cavalry, at Charleston, in which a detachment of convalescents of the Fifteenth took part, and in which the enemy lost 10 killed and 167 wounded and prisoners. After spending the winter in guard duty at various points, and remaining but a few days at any one place, they finally reached Strawberry Plains on the 9th of March, where they were engaged in railroad guard duty, picket duty, and labor on the fortifications, until the 7th of April, when they received orders to join the army of the Cumberland, marching 108 miles, and encamping on the 16th, at McDonald Station, on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, between Chattanooga and Cleveland.
On the 3d day of May, 1864, the regiment, under command of Major Geo. Wilson, moved with the brigade from McDonald Station, Tenn., to Tunnel Hill, near Dalton, entering upon the celebrated Atlanta Campaign, arriving and taking position at the foot of Rocky Face Ridge on the 7th of May. On the 8th, four companies of the Fifteenth advanced as skirmishers under a heavy fire of the enemy strongly posted on the crest of the ridge. After a severe skirmish, the left carried the crest, and the regiment ascended to the summit of the Ridge, and held it until relieved by orders from General Newton. The enemy occupied a portion of the ridge in front of the right of the regiment, which they held, it being impossible, from the nature of the position, to carry it by assault. The regiment remained on the northern slope of the ridge, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until the afternoon of the llth, when it moved with the brigade to the left, to check a reported movement of the enemy. Hans Christenson, of Company C, and Hans Senvig of Company E, were reported as killed in the attack on Rocky Face Ridge.
On the night of the 12th, the enemy evacuated the position, and passed through Dalton southward to Resaca. Pursuit was immediately made, and the brigade joined the army in front of Resaca on the afternoon of the 13th. At 4, P.M. the regiment advanced to a position which was exposed to a heavy enfilading fire from the artillery, but was partly covered by the enemy's first line of works which had been taken by the Twenty-third Corps. Here they were hotly engaged for about two hours, when, their ammunition being exhausted, they were relieved for the night. Next morning, they moved to the front line, and being partly covered by barricades, they succeeded in silencing a two gun battery in their front, and so commanded the enemy's works that they could not show themselves with safety above them. A desperate charge of the enemy in the afternoon was successfully repulsed, and they were very badly punished. Next morning, the rebels disappeared, and their works were entered by the skirmishers of the Fifteenth.
The casualties at Resaca were 5 killed or died of wounds and 12 wounded.
Joining in the pursuit, the regiment proceeded with the brigade through Adairsville and Kingston, to the neighborhood of Cassville. Here General Sherman determined to turn the enemy's position at Allatoona Pass, it being considered impossible to carry it. Twenty days rations were loaded into wagons and the army was put in motion for Dallas.
On the 25th, the Fourth Corps crossed Pumpkin Vine Creek, in the vicinity of Dallas, and on the 26th, took a position and entrenched themselves on a ridge within 250 yards of the enemy's works, the skirmishers driving in the enemy. On the 27th, the division was sent about four miles to the left for the purpose of developing the enemy, and arrived at a point which was supposed to be the right flank of the rebel lines. About 4 P.M., Hazen's brigade made an attack and was repulsed. The first line of Willielt's brigade went forward closely followed by the Fifteenth Wisconsin crossing a ravine, was enfiladled by the enemy's battery. Charging with a yell over the Second brigade, the regiment was so near the enemy's breastworks that some of them were killed within ten feet of them. It being impossible to dislodge them, the Fifteenth lay down within fifteen yards of the works, and kept up an effectual musketry fire. The position was held until 9, P. M., when the regiment under orders fell back. In attempting to carry off the wounded, the enemy charged and took several of the men prisoners, including most of the wounded. The regiment moved about 300 yards to the right, on a ridge 200 yards from the enemy's works and fortified themselves. This position was occupied, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until he evacuated the position of the night of June 5th.
The casualties in this battle, as reported, were 10 killed or died of wounds and 39 wounded.
The regiment took up position near New Hope Church, from which they moved on the 6th of June, to a position in front of Pine Mountain, within 300 yards of the enemy's works, where they remained until the 14th, when they moved 200 yards to the left and front, and formed on a ridge, within the enemy's works 2OO yards in their front. On the 15th, the rebels had disappeared from their front. From this time till the 3d of July, the regiment with the brigade, was constantly occupied in advancing, skirmishing, and driving the enemy from one line of works to another, on Pine Mountain, Lost Mountain and Kenesaw, losing up to the 3d of July, four men killed. The enemy evacuated Kenesaw Mountain on the 3d of July, and the regiment accompanied the movements of the Fourth Corps towards the Chattahoochie River, occupying a position on the extreme left of the army. On the 12th, the corps crossed the river on a pontoon bridge, and next day the division proceeded down the river to Pace's Ferry, and drove the enemy from that place to enable the Fourteenth Corps to cross. July 18th the command advanced through Buckhorn, towards Atlanta, and on the 19th, found the enemy strongly entrenched on the south bank of Peach Tree Creek. The regiment did not become engaged at this point. On the 21st, the division marched in a southerly direction and passed through the first line of the enemy's works, and found him in position about a mile from the first line. Taking position within 200 yards of the works, they entrenched themselves. On the 22d, they found that the enemy had abandoned his position, and they moved forward into his second line of works. Here they expected to enter the city without further opposition, but the enemy were found posted behind heavy forts and breastworks. The Fifteenth was put in position within musket range of the city, fortified, and was concerned in skirmishing with the enemy and on fatigue duty, until the 25th of August, when they accompanied the movement of the Fourth Corps to the right to cut off the enemy's communication to the west and south of Atlanta. Arriving at Jonesboro on the 31st, they participated in the engagement of the lst of September, and joined in pursuit of the enemy to Lovejoy's Station, having one man wounded. They returned to Atlanta and went into camp four and a half miles south of the city, on the 9th of September. Here they remained engaged in the performance of picket duty, foraging, etc., up to the 30th of September, when the regiment proceeded to Chattanooga, and engaged in provost duty until the 18th of October, when they were ordered to guard the railroad bridges between Chattanooga and Whitesides, with headquarters at the latter place, where they remained until mustered out of service.
The casualties reported as having occurred after the battle at Kenesaw Mountain were 7 killed or died of wounds.
Lieutenant Colonel Johnson succeeded in escaping from the rebel prison and rejoined the regiment on the 24th of July, 1864, and took command. Through the Atlanta campaign to that time, Major Wilson was in command.
There being more than two months difference between the muster of the first and last companies, the regiment was mustered out by companies. Companies B, A and E, were mustered out on the lst of December, 1864, Company C, January 1st, 1865, G and F, January 14th, I and K, February llth, D and H, February 13th, 1865. Lieutenant Colonel Johnson mustered out with the last Company.
The recruits and veterans of the regiment were transferred to the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, and subsequently to be Thirteenth.
The several companies, as they were mustered out, returned to Wisconsin, were paid off and disbanded. Thus closes the hisory of one of the bravest and most efficient regiments that Wisconsin has sent to the field.
Regimental Statistics. Original strength, 801. Gain-by recruits in 1863, 20, in 1864, 76, in 1865, 1; substitutes, 1; by draft, none; veterans, 7; total, 906.
Loss-by death, 26; missing, 2; deserted, 46; transferred, 47; discharged, 204; mustered out 320.
Quiner, Military History of Wisconsin, 1866