|One of The 15th Wisconsin flags. The text says|
"For God and our country"
|Statue of Heg in Madison, Wisconsin|
I knew that there was about five thousand Norwegians who fought in the war, but I had never heard of this union regiment, consisting of about 400 soldiers, with about ninety percent Norwegians.
The 15th was during most of the war led by Hans Christian Heg. He was born in Buskerud, Norway, and migrated to America in 1840 as a child. He was killed in 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga. In the battle the regiment lost almost fifty percents of it's men, and a total of 35000 men were either killed, wounded or captured on both sides. The regiment is apparently well known in the US, and there's a statue of Hans Christian Heg in Wisconsin.
The regiment was formed in 1862, and dissolved in 1865 when the war ended. Even though it was formally known as "The 15th Wisconsin", they were also called "St. Olaf Rifles" and "Wergeland's musketeers".
Most of the soldiers in the regiment were first generation immigrants, and had only been in the country for a couple of years when they joined the war. The regiment participated in 26 battles, and sustained heavy casualties throughout the war. In 1914 regiment survivors had their last big reunion, celebrating the one hundred year anniversary of the Norwegian constitution. 27 of them was still alive at the reunion.