| 8th MO Infantry (US)
Company B & C
Christian Nelson lived in Wisconsin, but he
enlisted in the 8th Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He served in Company B
and in Company A. (Click here
for an explanation of why people from other states joined the 8th Missouri).
Here is an article from the Lacrosse Wisconsin Gazette, featuring a local
re-enactor named John Dudkiewicz.
John Dudkiewicz of Onalaska, Wisconsin, who has been involved in Civil War re-enactments
for about 25 years, gave a talk at the Nov. 5, 2014, meeting of the Holmen Area
When Civil War buff John Dudkiewicz reported for duty at the meeting of the Holmen Area Historical Society, he was armed with a wealth of knowledge gleaned over the past roughly 23 years as a member of Company B 2nd Wisconsin Civil War Re-enactors.
When he and his son first got into Civil War re-enacting, Dudkiewicz told his son (also named John) he'd keep at it until the 150th anniversary re-enactment of the fabled Battle of Gettysburg. After all, he figured, he'd be well past the age of the vast majority of the soldiers who served in the Civil War, so he figured trying to portray those young warriors wouldn't seem right.
But when he went to Gettysburg for the sesquicentennial, so did an 82-year-old friend of his from Green Bay, Wisconsin, a Korean war veteran who set the pace for the rest of them. "He didn't just keep up, he led us," Dudkiewicz said. "He could really move."
That inspired helped Dudkiewicz decide to continue re-enacting. &nbps; "Right now, I don't see an end to doing it," he said. "It's an enjoyable, relaxing hobby where we try to help people learn and understand about the Civil War."
Dudkiewicz mostly helps people learn by portraying a Union soldier at re-enactments, such as the annual Civil War weekend at the Norskedalen Cultural and Heritage Center in Coon Valley, Wisconsin. &nbps; But he also has given many Civil War talks over the years.
"When you think about something a lot, you end up wanting to tell people what you know," he said. At a talk at the Holmen Area Historical Society, he shared what he knows about three Civil War veterans buried in a small cemetery near Lewis Valley Lutheran Church outside Holmen, Wisconsin.
There's Christian Nelson, who would have been roughly the age of Dudkiewicz at the Gettysburg sesquicentennial when Nelson fought for the 8th Missouri Infantry. Then there's Olf Larson Hove, who was in his early 40s by war's end, and Olaf "Ole" Fredrickson, who was a mere 19 years old when the Civil War started.
Dudkiewicz, an engineering manager with Winona-based Cytec, said he tries to shed some light on what life was like for Nelson, Hove, Fredrickson, and other soldiers, probably posing as many questions as he does answers. "I want to try to put people's brains in 1861," he said. "How did they find out about the war? Why would they bother going? What was it like to get trained?"
He brought a couple uniforms to show how the soldiers dressed, and give some perspective on what a soldier's life was like. For most, he said, "it was a year of boredom and two hours of terror."
At the top of this webpage, you can see a copy of a request for a headstone for his
grave in a little Norwegian cemetery in Holmen, Wisconsin.
You can see that Christian Nelson died in 1874, but his grave did not get
an official military headstone until 1932.
He is listed in Find A Grave.
Christian Nelson is in the Civil War Database of Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum: http://vesterheim.org/collections/civil-war-database/n/nel/006694.html