President Oscar Krosnes called the meeting to order. We sang the Norwegian and American National Anthems.
Oscar Krosnes gave a report on the famous Norwegian Col Heg, and the Norwegian soldiers of the 15th Volunteer Regiment of WI, who fought for the Union against the Confederacy, in many Civil War Battles in KY, TN and the northern counties of GA.
Hans Christian Heg was born near Drammen, Norway (near Oslo) on December 21,1829. Hans Heg came to Muskego,WI, with his family from Norway when he was 11. Growing up in his "new" country, he learned the language fast, and early on, learned the customs of America. After the death of his mother and father, he took over the family’s 320-acre farm, During his period on the farm, he met and married Gunhild Einong, the daughter of a Norwegian immigrant.
Hans Heg, now 22, had the respect and confidence of his Norwegian and American community, and was being considered a young politician. In 1855 he was chosen chairman of the Town Board of Norway and also became a member of the Racine County Board of Supervisors. In 1859 he gave up farming and made his home in Waterford. He soon entered state politics, and later became a Commissioner of the state prison system, and made many improvements to the prison system.
In 1861, after the attack on Fort Sumter, in Charleston, SC President Lincoln called 500,000 men to fight for the Union. Appealing to the dedication of all young Norsemen, Heg began recruiting for volunteers to fight for their "new" country. Governor Randall appointed Heg a Colonel of the15th Wisconsin Volunteers Regiment. Heg’s recruiting was a great success. He brought in 890 men, (115 of them had the first name of “Ole’). He’s regiment later came to 1100 men, that included Danes, Swedes and Dutch.
Colonel Heg and his Norwegians fought gallantly all through the many battles of the Civil War. One third of his regiment perished in fighting. Several hundred were captured and were prisoners in the horrible Fort Andersonville, where half of them died.
The battle of Chickamunga, near Chattanooga, was one of the more difficult campaigns. Colonel Heg, and many of his men were killed during the battle of Chickamunga. He experienced much suffering all night, and died the next morning. (September 20,1863). At Col. Heg’s request, his body was sent home to Waterford for burial. There was much mourning in Waterford and throughout the state of WI. Letters of Col Heg and more on the internet
Karen Kennedy, Carol Fidler and Sharon Lassiter shared information about Norwegian immigrants from their families who fought for the Union in the Civil War. Karen Kennedy shared information on three of her civil war ancestors. Her great great-grandfather Private, Martin Anderson Company D, 15th WI Regiment, Infantry, served under Capt. Charles Campbell. He was probably one of the oldest WI volunteers at age 52. His military career was brief and family lore tells he rode home to WI on horseback and died a short time later.
The brother of Karen’s great-grandfather, Private Kittel (Kittle) Jeglum, Company C, 12th Regiment WI, had only been in America since 1859. He was a paid substitute soldier for a WI draftee. The Enrollment Act of 1863 provided that a draftee could pay a “substitute” enrollee the sum of $300 (about $5,000 in today's terms) in order to enlist in his place. Kittel marched through Georgia under General Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign and on to Washington.
See the link below to read the engrossing fifteen page speech by the grandfather of Karen’s uncle by marriage. Private Ole Steensland of Perry, Wis., captivating hand written account of his experiences in the WI Infantry. He Address: at the reunion of the 15th Regiment Wisconsin, Infantry at Scandia Hall, Chicago, August 29th, 1900. Ole served in Company C under Brigade Commander Col. Heg, the subject of Oscar’s presentation. Heg died in the battle at Chickamunga but Ole survived and spent the next nineteen months experiencing horrors in many Confederate prisons including two times at Camp Sumter, also known as Andersonville Prison, GA. http://cdm15932.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/quiner/id/52620
Carol and Sharon had ancestors who fought for the Minnesota 9th and 5th Regiments in the Battle of Nashville on Dec. 15-16,1864. The city of Nashville surrendered to the Union Army February 25,1862, the city became a supply, transportation and hospital hub and a base for military operations in the western theater. Carol’s ancestor Private Hans Peterson was in Company D, 9th MN Regiment, Infantry, and fought in Battle of Nashville. Carol showed maps of the battle of Nashville and told many details of where her ancestor Private Hans Peterson fought in the battle of Nashville at Shy's Hill, just off what is now Harding Road, on Dec.15-16, 1864. During the Battle of Nashville, Federal troops finally broke the Confederate line on the left flank, resulting in a massive Rebel retreat from Shy’s Hill and a decisive Union victory. The 9th Regiment then marched in pursuit of Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood’s troops to the Tennessee River December 17-28.
The memorial on Shy’s Hill honors the troops of both sides who fought on and around Shy's Hill. It consists of three flags, an American flag, a Confederate national flag, and a Minnesota state flag (honoring the four regiments of Minnesotans who were instrumental in capturing the hill.) Read more about the action Shy’s Hill. http://www.bonps.org/shys-hill/
Carol shared a picture of the 1906 Howard Pyle painting depicting the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 10th MN Infantry Regiments who fought in a deadly charge across a muddy cornfield near Shy's Hill on Dec. 16, 1864. More than 300 soldiers were left on the field. The painting hangs in the MN State Capitol in St. Paul. There is a copy of the Pyle painting on display at the base of Shy’s Hill. Check out these links for more information. http://cw.tnvacation.com/civil-war/place/3362/battle-of- nashville-driving-tour-at-shys-hill/ TheTN Civil War App is available at the App Store.
Sharon shared about her great-great-grandfather Private Nelson Evans from Amherst Township, Fillmore County, MN, was drafted at age 40 and mustered in on Nov.17,1864, to Company F, 5th MN Regiment, Infantry and was in the Battle of Nashville. He survived the war but was discharged from service due to illness at East Port, MS, on Sept. 6,1865. He lived in MN with his family until his death on Aug. 6,1872 from ulceration of the bowels due to his war time dysentery.
Information on Civil War soldiers can be found in the gov.data base: https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-databasehtm
TN State Library and Archives
https://sos.tn.gov/tsla, in Nashville
Vesterheim The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center
Oscar reviewed the Winter Olympics status, especially how the Norwegians were doing. Norway is very much in the lead with a total of 22 metals including 7 golds. (as of Saturday, February 17). This was followed by Germany with 17 total, 9 golds; Canada with 15 total, 5 golds; Netherlands 13, 6 golds; USA 9, 5 golds. Specific events were reviewed. All metal results will change as the Olympics progress. Read the article in the February 2018 issue of the Viking Magazine titled The Making of an Olympic Powerhouse GOLD RUSH.
Carol Fidler was given a certificate and a pot of yellow miniature yellow daffodils for serving as emcee for the 2017 Julefest. Evelyn McDaniel was in Norway but when she returns to TN she will be given a certificate for emceeing the 2017 Julefest with Carol.
Meeting adjourned. The well fed MCV members headed home.
Sharon Lassiter MCV Secretary