Olof Liljegren – Letters from the Civil War

Today, in ArkivDigital we have Swedish American church records for the following states:

  • Illinois – 2 congregations
  • Iowa – 88 congregations
  • Kansas – 99 congregations
  • Minnesota – 125 congregations
  • Missouri – 9 congregations
  • Nebraska – 120 congregations
  • Oklahoma – 1 congregation
  • South Dakota 1 congregation
  • Wisconsin – 12 congregations

In many of these archives along with church records such as membership, birth, marriage, death, reception and dismissal records, you will often find anniversary booklets and historical notes that present a history of the congregation, ministers and early settlers. In browsing these books, one will find many items of historical and also genealogical interest.

In the archive for the Cambridge Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Minnesota, you will find a very interesting set of letters, Olof Liljegren – Our Years in the Civil War. This collection consists mostly of letters translated into English written by Olof Liljegren to his father in Sweden, Jonas Nilsson, in Boggsjö, Sundjö parish in Jämtland county between the years of 1861 and 1864.

Olof emigrated from Sweden in 1858 to North America. He served in the Third Minnesota Regiment during the Civil War and in 1865 died in the United States Army in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1865. Besides the letters written by Olof to his father, the collection also includes a letter to his sweetheart, Mary Edblad, a pioneer school teacher in Isanti County, Minnesota as well a letter from Sargent Glader to Olof’s father notifying him of Olof’s death in 1865.

olof letter 1861

Letter dated December 1861 from Olof to his father. Cambridge Lutheran Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:31 Image 20 (AID: v886267.b20) Link

In the above letter Olof writes to his father the following:

“I have not told you anything about myself. I enlisted in the U. S. Army for three years or the duration of the war. We are building up a Swedish regiment with all officers having been trained in Sweden which makes them excellent officers. The captain’s pay is $108 per month, first lieutenant, $100, 2nd lieutenant, $75, Corporal $15, and private $10 per month.

I took this step after much thought and decided my life is worth no more than the next man and if I die, I feel I can not die for a better cause than to stop slavery.”

 olof deathLetter from Sargent Glader to Olof’s father notifying him of Olof’s death dated December 17, 1865. Cambridge Lutheran Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:31 Image 80 (AID: v886267.b80) Link

“I am sending you a few lines to let you know your son Olof died in the United States Army at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, September 25, 1865. Two days before he died, I stayed with him one day and one nite. He was then so poorly he did not think he could get well. He told me to write to you and gave me authority to take card of his belongings and send his medal home to Sweden.”

To find these letters:

  • Go to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select archive search
  • Select country, United States
  • Select state, Minnesota
  • Select Vol:31 Printed Documents

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