Norwegians in the Civil War

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JOHNSON, Ole C.

WI 15th Inf Co B. Residence: Koshkonong, Dane County, Wisconsin. Born 23 Feb 1838 at Skipnes Farm, (Bortshuset Skibsnæs), Nordsjo, Holden Prestegjeld, Telemark, Norway. To US on board the Salvator, arriving in New York on 6 Jul 1844 after a 59 day journey from Porsgrunn, Telemark. He came with his parents and four siblings. The family went to Whitewater, Walworth County, Wisconsin. In 1852, they went to Koshkonong, Wisconsin. Ole studied law at Beloit College. Civil War: Age 23. Commissioned Captain, 12 Nov 1861. Appointed Company B Commander on 1 Dec 1861. Promoted Major, 15 Nov 1862, at Edgefield, Tennessee, succeeding Carl Riise who had resigned. Promoted Lieutenant Colonel, 15 Mar 1863, with rank from 26 Feb 1863, after the death of Lieutenant Colonel David McKee. He was wounded and taken prisoner in the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, 20 Sep 1863, and sent to Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia. He escaped from Libby in May 1864 and returned to Company B on 24 July 1864. He later was officially exchanged and in 1865 returned to command the 15th Wisconsin. Promoted to Colonel. Mustered out on 10 Feb 1865. Named Colonel of the 53rd Wisconsin Infantry on 21 Feb 1865, but war ended before that regiment could take the field. Post war: Married on 3 Jan 1867 to Caroline Freie Bödtker. One child, a son, named Wilfor Chickamauga Shipness. In his later years Ole adopted the name “Skipnes”. He died 4 Nov 1886 in Beloit, Wisconsin. Sources: (WHS Series 1200 boxes 76-4, 78-1; red book vol 20 p2,28) (Naeseth vol 2 p27) (Ulvestad p252) (Buslett p292 photo; p303) (Lonn p260) (Ager p253; p289, photo) (Quiner p 625, 870) (Gjertveit) (RWV p808) (Naeseth ’44-325) “Skipnes, Ole C.”