Jurgen Wilson

Jurgen Wilson

Jurgen Wilson was born in Hamburg, Germany, on 18th December, 1836. His parents were English and he lived for a time in Norway before emigrating to America in 1858. He settled in Madison, Wisconsin, and found work as a clerk in a drug store.

In December, 1859, travelled to New Orleans and later became a sailor. He spent time in Chicago before returning to Madison.

On the outbreak of the Civil War Wilson joined the Scandinavian Regiment under the command of Colonel Hans Heg. Although Wilson had no military experience, Heg appointed him 2nd Lieutenant of Company B.

Wilson took part in the successful raid on Union City, Tennessee. After an extensive campaign in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in May, 1862.

Wilson led Company H at the Battle of Chaplin Hills (October, 1862) and the Battle of Murfreesboro (December, 1862), where he was wounded.

Colonel Hans Heg promoted Wilson to the rank of major in March, 1863. Some 63% of the Scandinavian Regiment were killed, wounded or captured at the Battle of Chickamauga (September, 1863). Wilson was shot three times, including a serious wound in his left side and the loss of a thumb.

While recovering from his wounds in Wisconsin, Wilson married Mary Madson. In November, 1863, Wilson returned to take temporary command of the Scandinavian Regiment. Wilson led his men during battles at Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca and the disastrous Pickett's Mill (27th May, 1864) where once again the regiment suffered heavy casualties.

Lieutenant Ole Johnson resumed command of the Scandinavian Regiment in July, 1864. By the time the war ended in April, 1865, Wilson had taken part in 26 military engagements.

After the war Wilson became a successful businessman in La Crosse County, Wisconsin. Trading under the name Wilson & Jurgens, he ran a bank and steamship business. He was also a partner in a meat salting company.

In 1874 Wilson took his family on a tour of Europe. While on a steamboat off the coat of Norway, Wilson once again became a hero. It was later reported that: "A woman fell overboard. He immediately tore off his hat and coat and was in the water holding the woman's head by the hair before anybody else on board knew what was happening. He held her above the water like this until a boat came to help."

Wilson's business failed in 1878 and he became a travelling salesman for a wholesale clothing firm in Chicago. It is not known when or where Jurgen Wilson died.