Contributed by Carol Buttery
The following letter was written by the commanding officer of the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Co H, to the parents of Andrew Nelson. Nelson was a private in the company who passed away while the unit was encamped at Camp Cuba Libre, near Jacskonville, Florida.
Andrew Nelson was born 26 October, 1872 in Wiota, Lafayette Co., Wisconsin to Peder Nielsen (Peter Nelson) and Ingeborg Torstensdatter (Emily Thompson Nelson). Peter and Emily were born in Gran Hadeland, Oppland Co., Norway and immigrated to southern Wisconsin in 1869 with four boys varying in age from 9 years old to 6 months old. Andrew was the 2nd of six children born to Peter and Emily in the U.S.
Andrew was a farmer, and at the time of his death was 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed 200 pounds. He was an accomplished musician, and could play many instruments, however the violin was his first love. He played for many dances in the rural area, and was very popular with the young ladies.
Andrew died on 25 Aug 1898 of typhoid fever in Camp
Libre. His body was returned to his parents, accompanied by his
friend and messmate, Private Clarence Allen, who was born and raised in
the same rural area as Andrew. Private Allen also presented the
family with Andrew's personal effects, including the following: Bible,
blouse, trousers, blue shirt, leggins, socks, campaign hat and blanket.
From Camp Libre, Jacksonville, Florida
Andrew Nelson took sick on Sunday evening July 31, 1898 and was sick in his tent until august 16. During this time Dr. Evans had charge of the case and he received the very best of care. C. A. Allen, C. K. Allen and Charles Phillips who were in the same tent with him, waited on him every day and night. The morning of august 16 Andrew was feeling still worse and was ordered to be moved to the division hospital which was about a mile from where his company is in camp. Here he received the best of medical aid. Some of the boys called to see him every day and he seemed quite cheerful and said he was getting along all right, till Wednesday afternoon Aug. 24th when we called to see him again, and he was not feeling so well and was a little fidgety, but the doctor said that he was in no immediate danger. Thursday forenoon he was taken suddenly with heart failure and the doctor notified our captain, F. F. West, that Andrew Nelson was dangerously ill, and would probably die to-day.
We immediately telegraphed the sad news to his brother Ed Nelson.
We went to his bed-side and remained till his death, which occurred at 6:40 in the evening of Aug. 1898. Andrew Nelson was a good honest and faithful soldier, always found at his post, ready to perform whatever duty was assigned to him. He had the good will of all who knew him and was highly esteemed by all of the officers and members of his company.
His friends and relatives have the heart felt sympathy of the entire company.
Fred F. West
Capt. 1st Wis. Vol. Inft.
Com’d Co. H
Lieut. M.C. Durst
Fred W. Burhler
Letter courtesy of Carol Buttery