Minnesota Eighth Regiment, Civil War
Joseph Vadner, Jr., Private
Presentation to the Annandale History Club
Ruby (Vadner) Geisinger
Ruby Geisinger's great-uncle, Joseph Vadner, Jr., was a member of Company E of the Eighth Minnesota Regiment. He was born June 13, 1844, in Canada. The family came into the United States in New York and later on they came to Minnesota and settled in Maple Lake. Joseph's younger brother, Alexander, was born in 1857 in Maple Lake before Minnesota statehood (May 11, 1858). Joseph enlisted at age 18. The Union Army was getting beat at that time. Company E, Eighth Minnesota, was made up almost entirely of Wright County men. The men were farmers, accustomed to hard labor and exposure, and expert with fire arms. Joseph Vadner enlisted at Fort Snelling August 19, 1862 and he was mustered out July 11, 1865.
After the Battle of Richmond and the retreat of McClellan in 1862, President Lincoln called for 600,000 more men. Wright County responded to the call. On August 12, 1862, the Wright County board of commissioners met in Monticello. Representative men from each township were present. In order to save the county from the draft, it was resolved that Wright County should offer a bounty of $25 for each man who would enlist. The sum of $25 would be issued to the supervisor of each town in the county equal to the number of Wright County volunteers presented by each town after August 1, 1862. Joseph Vadner, Jr. enlisted from the Town of Maple Lake.
The Eighth Regiment Volunteer Infantry was organized August 1, 1862. They were stationed at frontier posts until May 1864 when ordered on Indian expeditions. The regiment was sent to Monticello, Fort Snelling, Fort Ripley, and spent a year in Paynesville. In the spring of 1864 the company was mounted and with Gen. Alfred Sully accompanied a wagon train westward across the plains. They engaged in battle with the Sioux July 18, 1864, at the Heart River, 125 miles west of Fort Rice on the Missouri River. They returned to Fort Snelling October 26, 1864, after long and arduous service in the Dakota War. On November 4 they hurriedly left Fort Snelling for service in the south. Theyengaged in the following battles, sieges, skirmishes and marches.
The Eighth Regiment stayed at Charlotte until July 15, 1865. Rations were helped by the abundance of fruit and berries. They took the sick out of the hospital, took the train and passed through Petersburg, and boarded a steamer to Baltimore. There they boarded trains again and came west through Pittsburgh and Chicago to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where they boarded a steamer back to St. Paul. The weather was fine, military bands added pleasure, and the grateful people along the route were accommodating.
At St. Paul the cannons were fired from the time the regiment came in until they were unloaded. They were received with music and speeches from the Governor and others. They had a good dinner at the Capitol. They expected to go to Fort Snelling, but instead they were given furlough. They returned later and got their pay and their final discharge.
This was the largest and the healthiest regiment that ever returned to St. Paul. When the Third Brigade was formed, the three regiments were equal in size. When they returned, the Eighth Regiment was larger than the other two put together. They traveled more miles and saw greater variety of service than any other regiment in the Union Army. They weren't in any of the great battles. They never turned their back to Indian or Rebel, though surely tested by both.
Ruby showed a photo of her great-uncle, Joseph Vadner, Jr., and also his Army discharge papers. Joseph's younger brother, Peter Vadner (1847-1925), was also in the Army. He served in the Minnesota Third Regiment, Company I, from September 20, 1864 to September 2, 1865. Peter was a drummer and never fought.
Excerpts from a tape recording of Ruby Geisinger's 1993 presentation; transcribed by Annandale History Club Secretary, 2009.
JOSEPH VADNER, JR. (1844-1910): Joseph Vadner died August 9, 1910, at Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minnesota.
JOSEPH VADNER, SR. (1814-1898)
Buffalo Journal, October 26, 1898: Died, at his home near this village on Monday, October 18, 1898, of old age, Joseph Vadner, aged 84 years and 13 days.
Mr. Vadner was born in St. John's Province, Canada, October 4, 1814, and when but 13 years of age left his home and started out to fight the world's battles alone. In 1840 he was married to Henrietta Perrot, and there were born to this union 11 children, seven of whom are still living. His first wife died in February 1871. In October 1871 he was married to Felomine Rehaume, and to them five children were born, all of whom are living.
The funeral services, which were conducted by Fr. Plante, were held at the Catholic Church in this village (Buffalo) and the remains were deposited in the East Maple Lake Cemetery. Joseph Vadner was one of Wright County's oldest settlers and was an honest upright man and had the esteem of all his acquaintances. He owned and opened up a large farm in East Maple Lake, where he resided for many years, providing a livelihood for his family by hard, honest toil. A couple of years ago he moved into his house near this place where he resided until death called him from all earthly labor.
Children of Joseph and Henrietta Perrot Vadner: Joseph, Jr. (1844-1910); Lizziebell (1846-1918); Peter (1847-1925); Louisa (1848-?); Mary (1852-?); Mary Ann (1854-1897); Nelson (1855-1939); Alexander (1857-1898); Abraham (1859-1932); Sarah (1862-1886).
Children of Joseph and Felomine Flora Rehaume: Eugene (1873-1857); George (1876-1957); Delia (1879-1963; Adolph (1881-1939); Emily (1884-1954).
NELSON VADNER (1855-1939)
Pioneer Park Family Histories, The Annandale Advocate, December 12, 1964 - Nelson Vadner was born on January 20, 1855, at Saranac, New York. He was the son of Joseph and Harriet (Perrot) Vadner, who were originally from Montreal, Canada. The family came to Territorial Minnesota in 1857 and were early settlers in Maple Lake Township where 15 children were raised.
Nels worked in the logging camp at Aitkin, where his job was to sharpen saws, whittle out handles, and repair equipment. When spring came he joined the drive and rode the logs down the Rum River to the Twin Cities.
He acquired 32 acres of land in Southside Township in 1888. Here he built a house and in 1897 Nels married Augusta DeCheney (1874-1926), daughter of Peter and Monique (Lambert) DeChaney. She was born two miles south of Annandale in 1874. During her childhood she had an illness that affected the use of her right arm. With this handicap she cared for her household and raised their three sons, Joseph, Earl and Clifford. The butter and cheese she made was traded for groceries at the stores in Annandale.
Nels was a tanner by trade, and the elbow-length fur mittens he sewed by hand were in great demand for driving horses in the winter. He was also a road overseer. Nels built a new home in 1907 and, with the help of his son Joseph, built a barn in 1915.
After Augusta died in 1926, Joseph moved to the home farm. He was married to Helen, daughter of Oscar and Carrie Johnson, and they had a daughter, Ruby. Besides farming and carpenter work, Joseph was the assessor of Southside Township for many years. He owned and operated ice cutting, wood sawing, and threshing machines with which he did custom work.
Nels died on the farm in 1939. Helen died there 10 years later. Joseph remained on the farm until his death in 1978. The original farm has been passed on to Joseph and Helen's daughter, Ruby Geisinger, and her son Kevin and family live there now.
Notes by Secretary
Annandale History Club