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Twelve Civil War Letters of Col. Hans C. Heg to his Son*
    edited by E. Biddle Heg (Volume 32: Page 177)

* The following twelve letters by Hans C. Heg were preserved by the Heg family until they were donated to the Norwegian-American Historical Association. In December, 1939, the Association presented the letters to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at Madison. there to become part of the larger Fowler/Van Doren collection of Heg manuscripts.

The Civil War was a major catalyst in the Americanizing of the Norwegian immigrants who arrived here between 1825 and 1860, molding them in some ways very subtly and in other ways more obviously. Few immigrant Norwegian Americans escaped the influence of this upheaval, if not on the battlefield then certainly on the economic and social fronts. Those on the home scene who assumed the duties of business, farm, and family were passively influenced, adjusting to the attendant deprivations and daily changes, not always aware that they were participants in the struggle of their adopted country. Others, more aggressive, were drawn into the vortex of the war on the several battlefields away from home. On whichever front they found themselves, the immigrants came to feel at home in America during these Civil War years. So it was with Hans Heg, who “became the war hero of the Norwegians, the personal symbol of their contribution to the preservation of the Union.” {1} His short life is a microcosm of [178] immigrant Americanization; for him as for many others, the Civil War was a decisive stage in this process.

For the Norwegian immigrant in the Middle West, one can identify four general phases leading to the Civil War years: the frontier years, the years of settlement, the years of social and cultural beginnings, and the first steps toward political involvement. From 1825 when the first Norwegian immigrants arrived in America, these phases followed swiftly as the tides of immigration flowed west after 1836, when Wisconsin became a territory. By 1840 the frontier years were at their height there. By 1845 the years of settlement had turned villages into towns and towns into cities; {2} and this same year the Norwegian immigrants in Wisconsin felt secure enough in their new home to issue a “declaration of independence,” the Muskego Manifesto, acknowledging allegiance to their new country and emphasizing the basic philosophy of their Americanization - ”freedom and equality,” the very principles for which Hans Heg was to give his life just eighteen years later. {3}

Hans Heg was well prepared for his role as an American when at the age of eleven he arrived on the Wisconsin frontier. Born in Lier on December 21, 1829, to parents who had made the most of individual enterprise in a land of farmers, this youth spent his most impressionable years in the shifting panorama of coastal life in Norway at an inn operated by his father. To young Hans, this inn was like his father’s great barn on the shore of Wind Lake in Wisconsin; his eleven years in Norway imbued him with a sense of wide horizons which he later pursued in leading other immigrant settlers farther west, and in his adventuresome trip to the California gold fields in 1849. His strong sense of identity with America was fostered during the ten years before he was twenty-one by an intimate knowledge of the territory in which he lived, its wilderness, its towns and cities, and its people; {4} by his close association with the Norwegian-American cultural and political activities of his father. Even, who was a vital participant in the affairs of the Muskego settlement until his death in 1850; and by an [179] open and friendly warmth of personality that made him admired by those who knew him. {5}

In 1851, Hans Heg, a wiser, more experienced, and more worldly man, returned to Wisconsin from California to take over his father’s farm, and on December 10 of the same year, eleven days before his twenty-second birthday, he married Gunild Einung in “the old log house” on the farm. {6} The next ten years Hans devoted to family and career as he supervised his 320-acre farm with the help of Hans Wood and Ole Luraas.

With a strong sense of dedication to his adopted land, his state, and his Norwegian heritage, he began the final step in the Americanizing of an immigrant - assuming his political identity. He first moved into local and county politics in 1852, when he became a justice of the peace and a town supervisor in the town or Norway, Racine county. In this same year, on September 22, James Edmund, the first of his four children was born. In 1854, Hans Heg was named chairman of the town board of supervisors, a post to which he was reappointed the following year. As chairman he automatically became a member of the county board of supervisors. This affiliation in turn led to his being appointed as one of the commissioners to supervise the Racine County Poor Farm. In 1857, Heg entered state politics by becoming a delegate from Racine county to the Republican State Convention in Madison. Then, in 1859, he won the Republican nomination for the office of state prison commissioner of Wisconsin, to which position he was elected for a two-year term.

The same year, Hans moved his family from Waterford, where he had recently opened a mill and general store, to their newly purchased home near the state prison in Waupun. It was here in Waupun that his three-year-old daughter Annetta died in 1860, and his fourth and last child, Elmer, was born. {7} Although he was renominated for the office of state prison commissioner, Hans Heg left Waupun after receiving his commission as colonel in the Union Army on October 1, 1861. By the time he assumed leadership of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Regiment in the winter of 1861-1862, he had moved [180] his family back to Waterford, where they had their general store, until then tended by his partners. At that time young Edmund was nine years old, a shy and somewhat frail child. In Waterford he continued the education he had begun at the log school near his father’s farm and later at Waupun. He was schooled enough to write to his father at Camp Randall in Madison, and old enough so that he and his sister Hilda {8} could travel by train to visit their father at camp on February 19, 1862. {9}

Throughout the time that Colonel Heg was in the army, Edmund was at home under the care and guidance of his mother. His father’s letters to him, with notes to Gunild often appended, reflect the love and concerns of an absent parent. Hans’s letters to his son also carry indirect admonitions, advice, and suggestions to his wife, as he was always aware of her responsibility in managing a farm and household, and mindful of her role as a mother to three young children. Self-made in the full sense of the word, Hans Heg believed in education and the ethic of hard work. “I want to give the boys a good education, but no money - let them work for it as you and I have done.” {10}

The colonel saw the value of his son’s learning German and Norwegian, and frequently reminded his wife to encourage the complete education of their children. To this end, five years after the death of her husband at Chickamauga in September, 1863, Gunild Heg moved her family to Beloit, Wisconsin, where Edmund entered college in 1868. There he studied law, but during his college years he became quite deaf and decided to take up journalism instead. He was graduated in 1874. That same year he married Ella C. Clark in Beloit, where they lived for the next two years. From 1876 to 1895 Edmund Heg and his wife lived at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where all six of his children were born. {11} There too he began his work in journalism by becoming owner and editor of The Lake Geneva Herald, a weekly newspaper. {12} He served as president of the Wisconsin Press Association in 1891 and 1892. During these years Edmund also became general superintendent of the Green Bay Reformatory, which he was [181] instrumental in organizing. Finally, in 1895, he sold his interest in The Lake Geneva Herald and moved to Rahway, New Jersey, where he helped start a new reformatory. After he had completed this work, he became president of the Automatic Heating Company, with corporate offices in New York City and some twenty branches throughout the country. He moved from Rahway to Elizabeth, New Jersey, where his sister Hilda lived with her husband Charles N. Fowler. After the sudden death in 1909 of his son Walter, who had charge of the Chicago office of the Automatic Heating Company, Edmund moved his family to that city, where he lived until his death on April 6, 1914, at the age of sixty-one.


1.

[N.D.] {13}

Dear Edmund -

I must not forget to write to you. I am very glad to get letters from you, and to hear that you take good care of the Ponies. You must tend to my business till I come back home.

If you learn to do that now when you are a boy, you will be a smart man when you get older.

You must sell off some of the sheep this fall - so that you keep about 40 or 50. - The ponies you must do the best you can with, if you can sell them you had better do that perhaps - When I come home I intend to bring you a fine little pony to ride.

You must practice writing, so that you learn to write a good hand - and bye and bye I will take you along with me as Aid de Camp - do you know what that means? Every General has several boys and men to ride around and carry messages for them. When you get to be one year older, I will get a commission for you as Lieutenant and have you with me as my Aid de Camp - dress you up in fine uniform, and get a nice pony for you to ride but you must learn to write a good hand - and you must be a good boy - You must learn to ride too -

I am telling you this, to keep it to yourself - When you [182] get old enough, and arc a smart boy, I can find a good place for you - Write to me as often as you can and see that Elmer is a good boy and do not plague him any -

Your Father - Hans C. Heg

 

My Dear Hilda,

I have not room to write much to you - but I will write you a long letter pretty soon - I am coming home to hear you play on the Piano before long.

Good Bye
Hans C. Heg

2.

Bowling Green Ky Oct, Nov {14}

My Dear Edmund,

I wrote to Ma yesterday and I will write to you and Hilda today. I have not had any letters from you for a very long time, but today I got an old letter from you by Willard, {15} he came here to day. I am very glad that you have sold the Ponies and I hope you have got the Pony I sent you. I am expecting [a] letter from you and I want to know how you like the little Pony. {16} I am very glad to see that you attend to my matters at home, you must take care of my things till I come back - Write to me as often as you can and let me know how Elmer and Ma is [sic] - I want to see you all very much, and will try to visit you sometime this winter and next spring. The war will probably be over and I will come home and stay with you. You must go to school and learn to write so that you can write me good long letters, and tell me all the news. I am very anxious to hear from home. I have been sick for a few days and I am nearly well again to day. {17} The Regiment came in to this place today, and camped close by here. I can not tell how long we will stay, we will go from here to Nashville. Write to this place, and if I am not here I will have it forwarded to where we are. When I come home for good I will take you and Ma [183] and Elmer and Hilda all with me up on a visit to Minnesota, {18} and a good many other places - We will have very nice times, if you are good children while I am away. I am getting good wages and will [have] plenty of money to buy many nice things when I get home. Furgeson [sic] is here to see me just now, he has been sick at the hospital in this place for sometime. {19} Bert Willard is very sick but he is getting better now I believe. I must stop this time, write to me immediately and direct it to Bowling Green Ky.

Be a good boy, and I will write to you often

Your own Pa Pa -

Dear little Hilda

I must not forget to write a few lines to you, then you will write to me again, I am so glad to see your nice little letters. If Edmund’s Pony has come home I want him to let you ride on him sometimes. I will try and get a saddle for you when I come home.

I have been in the Battle several times and seen a great many men killed, and the Rebels have shot at me too, {20} but if you arc a good girl and Edmund is a good boy, they will not hit me, but I will come home again to you soon, and we will have very nice times - does your Piano play good now? {21} Write me a good long letter soon and give Elmer a kiss for me.

Good By My Dear Hilda
Kiss Ma for me too.

Your Pa

3.

Camp near Nashville Tenn.
Dec. 9th 1861

My Dear Edmund,

I wrote to Mother last night and I will write to you to day. The Paymaster came here yesterday evening and paid us up for the months, July and August. {22}

My pay is cut down some - I received $410.00 and today [184] I sent by Express to the Farmers and Millers Bank $400.00 to be deposited for Mother, to pay her for what I borrowed of her while I was with you - she can not say now that I owe her anything. {23} And you can tell her that we are even again now.

I have got a nice warm tent, and I bought me a light stove yesterday for 5 dollars - I board together with the Doctor and am living well - we have plenty to eat. {24}

I hope you will try to learn to write well, and write to me often. I am very anxious to hear from home, and want you to keep me posted. I send you an Illinois Bill that I can not use down here. You may give Hilda half of it and keep the balance your self. I am very busy since I came back. My tent has been full every day and it is hard work to get a [chancel to write letters. I make many mistakes in writing because I have to do so while my tent is full. {25}

I have nothing more to write about this time and must close - I expect to hear that you are a good boy and that you help your Mother all you can, that you are good to Hilda and Elmer.

I think we may have a Battle here before long, and if you are good children, God will let me come home again to you safe. {26}

The weather is very warm and fine today, it was cold Sunday and yesterday. Good by - my Dear Boy -

Your Father
Hans C. Heg

Capt. Johnson just came in and gave me his Picture - Take care of it
{27}

Hans

4.

Camp near Nashville, Dec. 18th 1862

Dear Edmund,

I have written to Hilda, and Mother, a letter a piece - and I owe you one this time.

I got Ma’s letter day before yesterday, her letter was dated Dec 9th with Clausen letter in with it. {28} [185]

I am very glad to hear you get along well, and I will try and write to you as often as I have chance to send the letters. Yesterday I went out with two Regiments, my own and the 101st Ohio and a Battery of Artillery, and 125 Waggons, to get corn and hay.

We saw the rebels, but they did not try to fire on us. There was [sic] about 500 up on a big hill about two miles from us, and I tried to get my waggons loaded early enough to have got time before dark to go up and see them, and try if they would fight, but I did not get time to do it. General Davis promised that I should get permission to go out to day or to morrow to look after them, but I have had no orders yet. {29} The weather is very pleasant indeed. It was cold last night but the sun shines nearly every day, and then it is warm and pleasant.

We have lots of good things to eat and I am just as well again now as I was before I was taken sick. If you get a chance to send any thing down here by Lt. Thomson, you can send me a box of cigars, of the same kind that I got when I left home. On the 10th of December I sent $400.00 to the Farmers and Millers Bank {30} and asked Holton to send the check to Mrs. H. C. Heg at Waterford, so that you can tell Ma that I do not owe her once cent. {31} And if she wants to borrow any more money from me I will lend her some after New Year. You may tell her that I will lend her enough to buy her a House and Lot if she wants to and I collect it from her when I come back home - Dr. Wooster of Racine is commissioned as Assistant Surgeon for this Regiment, and I suppose he will be here very soon. {32} I am very glad he is coming, for I know he is a very good man. I asked the governor to appoint him.

I shall expect to get a letter from some of you to day - We get the mail at 2. o clock every day-I subscribed for the Sentinal before I left Milwaukee, and get it regular. {33} I got the one giving account of the drawing on the 11th but I did not remember the number of your Ticket so I could not tell whether you drew anything or not. I sent a Magazine to you by mail, and in it is 3 Pictures of our Camp on Island No 10. [186] One of the Picture belong [sic] to Dr. Himoe - and you must send it to Andrea. {34}

[incomplete]

5.

[N.D.] {35}

My Dear Boy,

Your letter that was inclosed with one from Ma came to day - It is so long since you wrote to me that I was really glad to get your nice letter - I hope you are going to school and learning to read and write fast. When school is out you must stay at home as much as possible, and not run around the streets too much nights - it is only bad boys that will do that. Tell me in your next letter how the sheep are doing, and how it is with the Pony and black Horse - If Gipsom will take good care of the Horse, and break him to work for a Buggy good - you may let him have him to use, as long as you please - I want you to learn to write good till I come back, so that when I start a store again you can do the business for me - We will go in partnership then - Tell Hans Wood to write to me - {36} and tell Hilda I will write to her the next time I write home - and tell Nebby I am sorry he has lost his dinner, but if he is big enough to wear bosom Shirt, he ought to lose his dinner - Good Bye - I expect to hear that you are a good boy -

Your own Pa

Did I ever tell you that Furgeson is dead? He died in Bowling Green.

6.

Camp at Salem March 19th 1863

My Dear Edmund,

To day I recieved [sic] yours and Ma’s and Hilda’s letter. I was really glad to get so many letters at one time and such nice interesting ones. I wrote to Ma to day with Pencil. I had [187] no pen and ink. I hope you will get your new house soon, and you will be near the store. {37} Mother says you are a strong Republican, I am glad of that, [if not] you would be like the Democrats, and help the Secesh. I see that the Black Horse is well again too, - If you can find somebody that will take good care of him, - you may let them have and use him and learn him to work in a harness, so that when I come home I can use him for a Buggy horse. I have sent home plenty of money to pay for your house, and to build a stable. The House, if you get it is to belong to Ma, and I want she shall build a good Barn, and paint it Blue, so that we can have as nice a place for our horses as anybody - I am sorry the Sheep is not doing well. {38} You must buy some grain and give them. I am going to come home next fall - and stay for good, unless I can get command at some place where I can have you all with me, and as soon as I come home I will go in partnership with you in a Store. But you must learn to write good if we shall keep store together.

You can tell Ma and Hilda that I will write to them soon, and answer their letters.

Old Rosy wont let your Mother come down and visit me - although he has his own wife down here - He thinks women are not good soldiers. {39}

I have not time to write any more now, it is very late, and I must go to bed - Good Bye - be a good boy -

From your own
PaPa

Dear Nebby,

You little Rat you - you would like to come down to visit with Ma - and see PaPa - I will have to come up and see you soon -

Nebby I know is a good Boy, and he is Pa Pas Boy - [188]

7.

Camp Near Murfreesboro Tenn
April 1st 1863

Dear Edmund,

I got a letter from each of you yesterday but I was out on Picket at the time and did not get time to write to you till to day. I was very glad to get so many letters, and to hear that you are well. Elmer sings a song about the Copperheads. I send you [a] song that the boys down here sing about them - I will Explain to you what some of the names in the song means - a “Pup Tent” is a small Tent that Every soldier has to carry on his back, and is so small that the boys call them Pup Tents or Dog Tents.

“Sow Belly” means “Bacon” - some of the Bacon when it looks poor, the boys call it “Sow belly” because it is a part of the belly of some old Sow.

“Hard Tack” means Crackers - The soldiers sing this song very often. They do not like Copperheads at all - But I hope there will soon be no Copperheads up North. - They ought to be loyal all of them. I was very glad to get so many letters, and I hope you will write to me again soon. I will write to Hilda to night and put a letter in here for Ma. - I would like very much to have you all come down here and see me, but I can not send for you now, I am afraid we would move, before you could come - As soon as I get settled down in a place, then I will have you come down - If not then I expect to come home to you next fall. You must be a good boy take good care of Ma and learn to write a good hand. I shall want you for my Aid De Camp, when I get to be a General - or a clerk if I go back to Wisconsin to Keep Store. I want to have you learn to ride Horseback too - do you ever ride on the Pony? {40}

You must let me know how Turk is getting along {41} and how my Black Horse is doing - I have sent Ma a good deal of money and you must keep my accounts and let me know how much she owes me - I think she must owe me a good deal when I have paid for her house and Lot. - I wish I could see little Nebby - I know he must be a funny fellow now. Does [189] he go down to the Store often? and has Ma made him any Military clothes yet? She must make him a pair of blue Pantaloons and an officers Coat for Summers. - He will make a fine little officer wont he? Tell little General Ellsworth that he must write to his papa-soon - {42}

I think I shall go up to Nashville in a day or two, and if I get time I will take my Photograph and send home to you - Good bye - be a good boy - show this song to the Union Men - Those that like the Copperheads wont like it much.

Good Bye
Your own PaPa

8.

Murfreesboro - April 24, 1863

Dear Edmund,

I have not had time to write to you for a good while - I have expected letters from you but I have not got any - You do not write very often - How is Turk now, is he still alive?

I send Hilda some money in her letter the last time and I intended to have sent you some in this, but I am a little afraid it may get lost - I will wait till I hear if Hildas came through safe - Are you going to the German School yet? {43} I want you to learn the German language - and not to forget the Norwegian - You will see that it is necessary if we shall keep store.

If you and I go in partnership keeping Store we shall have to hire Nebby for our clerk.

How does the little Rat like his new house? You must write me some good long letters and tell Hans Wood to do so too - Next fall I expect to come home to you for good - and I hope to find you a good smart boy - I will not write to you till I get a letter from you now

Good Night
Your PaPa

Good Night to Hilda & Nebby too [190]

9.

3d Brigade May 12th 1863

My Dear Edmund -

I get letters from you very seldom - You dont write as often as I think you ought to. I am sorry to hear that Ma complains of you sometime - You should keep away from all the bad boys around the streets, and try to be a real good boy. If you are a good boy then I will come back to you soon and stay at home all the time with you. - I dont want to come back and find a bad boy. - I suppose Ma had the Blues and I suppose when she wrote to me about you being a bad boy sometimes - she said that for an excuse.

Have you been up to see how it looks up on the Farm lately? I want you to tell me all about it - how are the sheep? I heard that you was [sic] going to the German School - have you quit? I want you to keep on steady where you begin - if you go to one school - you must keep on at that one all the time - and not run from one thing to another or you will never amount to anything at all.

Tell how the Store is running - has Ole got much goods {44} - Write often to me and I will answer you - and give the letter that is in with this one to Ma - I shall expect to hear that you are a real good boy always.

Your PaPa

10.

3d Brigade June 3d 1863

My Dear Edmund,

I wrote to Hilda yesterday, and promised to write to you this time. I got your letter. I am glad to hear that the Sheep are washed, and to hear that you are going to school and learning fast. You must try to write often, and by and by you will be able to write a good letter.

I have bought a very handsome Horse now, that I will try and take care of so that I can bring him home with me when I come. He is very big and handsome. And I have got a very [191] pretty mare that I shall bring home for Hilda, and if you will learn to ride on the Black Horse, I suppose that will have to be yours now. And Ma & Nebby will have the Pony - you dont tell me any thing about the Pony, have you got him yet? You dont tell me if Turk is alive or not. You ought to write to me often. You may tell Ma that Albert Skofstad {45} got a letter from the 3d Regiment saying that Simon Thorsdal is dead - And tell her that I will write to her next time. I am coming home in the fall, perhaps for good - You must see that your sheep are taken good care of and that Ole Luraas does not keep any Bucks with them during the summer. I can not write any news - I get the Milwaukee and Madison Papers, and the Racine Advocate. {46} I must close - give Nebby a kiss for me and give Ma one too.

Good by. Be a good Boy
From your PaPa

11.

July 7 1863

Dear Edmund -

I get very few letters from you. Why dont you write to me oftener? I wish you would tell me what sort of a celebration you had on the 4th and how the wheat up on the farm looks - Do you want me to build a store on Ma’s lot? {47} One that you could keep store in - in company with me? If you will learn to write well, and be a smart man - I shall have to do as Waage has done - take you in Partnership with me and start a good big store. In your next letter you may send me a few Postage Stamps - and I want you to send Mothers Photograph with Even if you can get her to take it. {48} I do not care about a daguerreotype - I want a good Photograph - I want you to see that she puts on her best clothes and dresses up like a Generals Wife would like to get Nebbys Picture too - and if the little rascal wont send me his picture I shall have to give him a good spanking when I come home.

Nebby must write to me too.

Good Bye my Boy
From your PaPa [192]

Dear Hilda, I have [no] time to write a letter to you today - but I will write to you to morrow or next day. I am glad to hear you have a music teacher. {49} I know you will be a nice young lady by the time I get back home - and I shall be very proud of having a smart little girl like you - I will take you along with me to a good many places when I get home from the war - Your Mare is very fine - I ride her every day -

Good by my little Darling,
Your PaPa

12.

3d Brigade July 28, 1863

My Boy,

In Hilda’s letter I promised to write to you next time - I got four letters all right and I only wish you would write oftener than you do - You should practice writing so that you learn to write a good hand.

When I was as old as you are I could write very well and I had not gone to school but very little. If you was down here I would let you see what fine Horse I have got - and I have got me a good Buggy too - just as good as the one we had at Waupun - I can not tell you when I am coming home - but when I come I shall let you know it and have you all meet me in Chicago. - I suppose you get all the wine you want to drink now that Ma has made so much - you must live well up in your new house - I think you have the best place in Waterford. I only wish I could come up and help you build a good Barn and fix up everything for you well - I send you $200 and $100 for Nebby. I sent him some in Hildas letter, tell the little rascal that he must not say that he is not my boy or I will not send him any candy money -

Good night, be a good Boy
Your PaPa [193]

Notes

<1> Theodore C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America: The American Transition (Northfield, Minnesota, 1940), 392.

<2> The population of Milwaukee in 1840 was 1,712 and in 1846, 9,655. Bayrd Still, Milwaukee, The History of a City (Madison, Wisconsin, 1965), 570; James S. Ritchie, Wisconsin and Its Resources; with Lake Superior, Its Commerce and Navigation (Chicago, 1858), 86.

<3> Clarence A. Clausen and Andreas Elviken, eds. and trans., A Chronicle of Old Muskego: The Diary of Søren Bache, 1839-1847 (Northfield, Minnesota, 1951), 143.

<4> Joseph Schafer, “Five Wisconsin Pioneers,” in The Wisconsin Blue Book (Madison, Wisconsin, 1933), 38.

<5> Leola N. Bergmann, Americans from Norway (Philadelphia, 1950), 262-263; Blegen, ed., The Civil War Letters of Colonel H. C. Heg (Northfield, Minnesota, 1936), 65.

<6> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 154, 249.

<7> Annetta is buried in the Norway churchyard, Muskego.

<8> Hilda Heg married Charles N. Fowler, congressman from New Jersey. She died February 20, 1932.

<9> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 56.

<10> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 226, 225.

<11> The children born to Edmund and Ella were Walter (died 1909), Lois (1877-1961), Katherine (1878-1953), James Elmer (1884-1971), Ernest Clark (1887-1968), and another child who died in infancy.

<12> The Lake Geneva Herald, April 13, 1914.

<13> This letter was probably included with another Written to Gunild. Reference to “the Piano” places the letter after Heg’s return on June 4, 1862, from a leave in Wisconsin. Evidently he had bought the piano for his family when he was on leave. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 91-93. Heg’s mention of selling the sheep “this fall” indicates that the letter must have been written in the early summer of 1862.

<14> This letter was probably finished on November 1, 1862, when Heg was recuperating from a cold at the Morgan House Hotel in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The regiment was expected to catch up with him at this place “sometime tomorrow.” Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 150-151.

<15> DuBartus Willard of Racine. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 105, 151, 235.

<16> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 140-142, 148.

<17> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 150-151.

<18> Heg had bought some land in Minnesota, apparently as an investment. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 191, 205.

<19> Fergus Ferguson was a corporal in Company D and Heg’s orderly.

<20> The Fifteenth Wisconsin had participated in the Union City, [194] Tennessee, expedition in March of 1862 and in the battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862.

<21> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 87.

<22> At one time, the paymaster Was as much as four months late. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 87, 101. The remuneration paid to Heg was between $200 and $250 per month, on which he paid a federal tax. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 232.

<23> Heg had been home on leave for thirty days. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 153n.

<24> Dr. Stephen O. Himoe, Heg’s brother-in-law, was surgeon of the Fifteenth Wisconsin from November 11, 1861, to November 13, 1863. Blegen, The Civil War Letters 49n, 156; E. Biddle Heg, “Stephen O. Himoe, Civil War Physician,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 11 (Northfield, Minnesota, 1940), 30-56.

<25> It is interesting to note how very few errors in spelling and rhetoric are made by Heg in the many letters he wrote to his family during the war, especially as his formal education was quite limited. In editing, the spelling has in a few instances been regularized. He “attended the common schools, but there is no evidence that a thought was ever given to the possibility of a higher education for him.” Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 8. It is quite possible that he was a member of a “school” class organized by Claus L. Clausen or his wife Martha. Nils N. Rønning, The Saga of Old Muskego (Waterford, Wisconsin, 1943), 20.

<26> The Fifteenth Wisconsin was involved in the action at Knob Gap on December 26, 1862, and in the battle of Murfreesboro, between December 30, 1862, and January 2, 1863.

<27> Captain John M. Johnson of Madison, Wisconsin, second captain of Company A.

<28> Claus Lauritz Clausen, first chaplain of the Fifteenth Wisconsin. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 69n; Rønning, The Saga of Old Muskego, 18, 28-29.

<29> General Jefferson C. Davis, Division Commander.

<30> The Farmers and Millers Bank in Milwaukee, incorporated in 1853 under the 1852 free-banking law, later became the First Wisconsin National Bank “and one of the most influential banks in Wisconsin finance.” Leonard B. Krueger, “History of Commercial Banking in Wisconsin,” in University of Wisconsin Studies in the Social Sciences, 18 (Madison, Wisconsin, 1933), 62.

<31> Edward D. Holton (1815-1902), an entrepreneur, was one of several influential civic leaders in early Milwaukee. Still, Milwaukee, 53-54. Holton had some connection with The Milwaukee Daily Sentinel newspaper and was president of the Farmers and Millers Bank from 1852 to 1862. John C. Gregory, History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I (Chicago, 1931), 399-400; Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 107, 174.

<32> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 176n.

<33> ”The Sentinel, published daily, tri-weekly, and weekly (Republican), [195] is the oldest and most widely circulated. As a political and commercial journal it is regarded throughout the north-west with general favor. Jermain and Brightman, the publishers, have materially improved the sheet within the last two years, and widened its circulation accordingly.” A. C. Wheeler, The Chronicles of Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1861), 286.

<34> Andrea Heg, Sister to Colonel Heg, was born in 1835 in Norway, and married Dr. Stephen O. Himoe, surgeon of the Fifteenth Wisconsin.

<35> The date of this letter is difficult to establish. It appears that Heg sent the black horse and his Negro servant, Gipsom, home to Wisconsin with Even Skofstad, who left camp January 7, 1863. It is probable that this letter was written between January 8 and February 16, 1863, when Heg wrote again to Edmund. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 169-170, 175.

<36> Hans Wood was a close friend of Heg. He was employed to look after Heg’s interests in Waterford and at the farm and to help Gunild Heg with the management of house and store. At one point, Gunild has some question in her mind as to the expense of employing him. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 55, 92-93.

<37> Heg and his family had owned a house in Waupun, where he was State Prison Commissioner from January 2, 1860, to January 6, 1862. He sold this property in late 1862. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 153-154. The Heg family had previously bought a store property in Waterford. However, Heg wanted a separate home there for his family; and after the sale of the Waupun property, he became more interested in such a purchase. Finally, between the middle of February and the end of March, 1863, Gunild purchased the Hovey property in Waterford. She and the children moved into their new home in the first part of April, 1863. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 197-198, 205.

<38> The sheep were kept on the Heg farm about four miles north of the town of Waterford, This farm was purchased by Hans Heg’s father from John Nelson Luraas, who came to Wind Lake in 1839. George T. Flom, A History of Norwegian Immigration to The United States (Iowa City, Iowa, 1909), 68, 241-242. The purchase was made in the late spring of 1843, at which time (by the end of May) John Luraas had moved west to Dane county. In the spring of 1863, a purchase offer apparently having been made to him, Hans Heg considered the value of his farm to be $25 an acre. Blegen The Civil War Letters, 201. The farm was approximately 320 acres and contained the family homestead and the great barn. After Hans and his family moved to Waterford in 1859, he left the farm in the care of Ole Luraas, who is mentioned many times in Heg’s letters to his wife. Evidently Luraas managed the farm completely, though not always to Heg’s full satisfaction. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 200, 217. On the farm Luraas raised such livestock as horses and sheep as well as grains and other produce. Some time before 1866 the farm was sold to Tollef Jensen and his wife. Then on December 6, 1866. it was sold by the Jensens to Halvor Bendickson, who married Anna [196] Anderson, daughter of Ole Anderson who came to Wisconsin with the Heg family in 1840. Ella S. Colbo, Historic Heg Memorial Park (Racine, Wisconsin, 1940), 10, 61.

<39> Major General William S. Rosecrans. Heg’s estimate of Rosecrans is given in his letter to Gunild, October 26,1862. General Rosecrans discouraged Heg on several occasions from having Gunild with him while he was on duty in the South. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 193, 204, 211, 213.

<40> Heg writes to Gunild, September 26, 1862, “I have one of the prettiest little Ponies you ever saw, that I bought on Edmunds Birthday.” Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 140. He sent the pony home to Edmund and inquires in several letters how his son likes the pony. In one letter to Gunild, he is annoyed because Edmund is afraid to ride the pony. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 201.

<41> Turk is the family dog, much beloved by the children. Turk was killed by someone in Waterford at the end of May, 1863, and Heg named his new horse after Turk. Blegen, Civil War Letters, 54, 115, 216.

<42> Hans Heg facetiously calls his youngest son, Elmer Ellsworth Heg, the “little General,” as he was named after General Elmer Ellsworth, the Zouave commander.

<43> At the time of this letter, Edmund was ten years and five months old, old enough to attend an elementary school. In the town of Waterford, the first school was established in 1840, and the first schoolhouse was built at Rice’s Corners some years later. In the early days, before the state organized the school districts in 1858, many of the school activities were held in local churches. Such was the case in Waterford. In the early 1860s school was held in the basement of the old Congregational Church at the west end of Main Street. Colbo, Historic Heg Memorial Park, 58. For a discussion of early education in Wisconsin see Consul W. Butterfield, The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin (Chicago, 1878), 140-142, 146-147, 484.

<44> Ole Heg, the Colonel’s younger brother, was born in Norway June 21, 1831, and died at Burlington, Wisconsin, April 18, 1911. He was quartermaster of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Regiment until his resignation on June 6, 1862. His first wife was Smilie Christenson, who died in 1856. On January 27, 1861, Ole married her sister Nanna, whom he took with him in the service until she became ill and returned to Wisconsin in early April, 1862. Hans Heg sold his interest in the Waterford store to Ole for $2,000 in 1862. Later Ole took Christen Hatlestad as a partner in the store business. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 57, 78, 109, 237. In 1874 Ole Heg was a member of the Board of Supervisors of Racine county, a position which his brother Hans had held in 1855 and 1856. Butterfield, The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, 316. Hans was most critical of his brother’s lack of enthusiasm for any war service.

<45> "Albert" was Anthon Skofstad, the son of Johannes Evensen Skofstad and Berthe Olsdatter, sister of Sigrid (Siri) Olsdatter, Hans Heg’s mother.[197] Anthon was born in 1839 and with his family came to America in August, 1840, on the Emilie, when he was nine months old. He served as captain in the Civil War. Clausen, “An Immigrant Shipload of 1840,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 14 (1944), 63; Hans C. Brandt, “Letter to Friends, June 22, 1841,” in Blegen, ed., Land of Their Choice (St. Paul, Minnesota, 1955), 80; J. A. Johnson, Det Skandinaviske Regiments Historie (La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1869), 121.

<46> Heg subscribed to three Wisconsin newspapers which he received regularly: Emigranten, State Journal, and Racine Advocate. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 209.

<47> In a letter dated June 23, 1863, Heg discusses plans for a store building to be put up for Ole and himself in partnership on for himself alone. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 218, 225.

<48> Even Skofstad, older brother of Anthon Skofstad, set up a “sutler shop” with Christen Hatlestad in March, 1863, at the front. Even Skofstad made several trips to Wisconsin and he was probably in Waterford at this time. Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 197-198.

<49> Blegen, The Civil War Letters, 228, 230.


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