The Fifteenth Wisconsin Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp Randall and mustered into the service of the United States on the 14th day of February, 1862. It left the state on March 2, 1862, reaching Bird's Point, MO, opposite Cairo, IL. On the 14th the regiment took its place in line with the forces investing Island No. 10, and remained until the end of the siege. (Siege of Island No. 10, February 28-April 8, 1862). Soon after the surrender of the Confederate forces, the Fifteenth was transferred to Tennessee, and the subsequent service of that regiment was rendered in middle Kentucky, middle Tennessee and northern Georgia. In the summer of 1862 it participated in many of the movements of the Union forces, and took part in the battle in the battle of Perryville (Chaplin Hills) KY on October 8, 1862.
With the Union forces in pursuit, the retreating Confederates reached Nashville, TN about the middle of November. About the 26th of the following December, as a part of the Army of the Cumberland, it took part in the movement toward Murfreesboro, TN and participated in the Battle of Stone's River or Murfreesboro, December 30 and 31, 1862, and January 1, 1863. Thereafter, the Fifteenth was continuously in service in various expeditions: in middle Tennessee and with the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. Rosecrans; the Tullohoma Campaign, June 23 to July 7, 1863; and in the advance into Northern Georgia near Chattanooga. It participated in the battle of Chickamauga, GA, September 19-20th, and in the subsequent battle of Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, TN., November 25, 1863, followed by service in the campaign to relieve the forces under Gen. Burnside at Knoxville, TN.
Returning to the vicinity of Chattanooga, the regiment joined Sherman's Army, May 5, 1864, and participated in the Atlanta Campaign, May 1-September 8, 1864. Taking part in the battles of Resaca, May 14, 1864; Dalton, May 26, 1864; Kenesaw Mountain, June 23, 1864; Atlanta, July 22, 1864, and Jonesborough, September 1, 1864. After the conclusion of the Atlanta Campaign, the Fifteenth returned to Chattanooga where most of the companies were mustered out of service of the U.S. in December owing to the expiration of the term for which the men had enlisted. Two companies, A & E, remained at that place until the 13th of February, 1865, when these companies were mustered out. A portion of the men whose term of service had not at that time expired were transferred to the Twenty-fourth Infantry, and subsequently upon muster out of that regiment to the Thirteenth Infantry, with which regiment these men served until muster out of service of the Thirteenth.
Flag from the Luther College Collection of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. The flag was presented to the 15th Wisconsin on March 1, 1862, by the Society Nora of Chicago, Illinois, as the regiment passed through Chicago on their way to the front. The regiment was under the leadership of Col. Hans Christian Heg.
The blue field has painting on both sides. On the front is the inscription: Presented by the Society Nora of Chicago to the Scandinavien [sic] Regiment. March 1st, 1862. "For Gud og Vort Land!" [meaning For God and Our Country]. Two shields contain the American flag and the Norwegian coat of arms. The reverse side has 34 gold stars for the number of states in the Union in 1861.
The Society Nora, later called Nora Lodge No. 1, R. H. K., was organized in 1860 in Chicago as a fraternal and Norwegian cultural society. R. H. K. stands for Riddere av det Hvite Cors or Knights of the White Cross in honor of St. Olav, Norway’s patron saint.
Photo and background information courtesy of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.