Commemorating the most noted Norwegian-American to serve in the Civil War it was unveiled at the King Street corner of the Capitol Square October 17, 1926.
Commemorating the most noted Norwegian-American to serve in the Civil War, the statue bears the following inscription: Hans Christian Heg Colonel 15th Wisconsin Volunteers Born in Norway December 21, 1829 Fell at Chickamauga September 19, 1863 Norwegian-Americans gave this memorial To the state of Wisconsin
Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he raised the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, which was nicknamed the Scandinavian Regiment. The 15th trained at Camp Randall in the winter of 1861, then departed for St. Louis on March 8, 1862. The 15th fought at Island No. 10 and Perryville, then Stone’s River, where the regiment lost 15 killed, 70 wounded, and 53 missing. Heg, whose men saved part of the army by holding their ground during the battle, was commended by his commanding officer as the “bravest of the brave.”
By 1863 Colonel Heg was in charge the Third Brigade in the army of William S. Rosecrans, commanding the 15th Wisconsin, 25th and 35th Illinois, and 8th Kansas regiments.
In February 1920 Norwegian-Americans began a drive to raise $25,000 for a statue honoring Heg, and in 1924 the contract was let. Originally planned for a cemetery in Racine, permission was instead granted for it to be placed on the Square. The bright flags veiling the statue were parted by Heg’s boyhood friend and wartime follower Lewis Rolfsen. Governor John Blaine, Mayor Albert Schmedeman, and Norwegian Consul Olaf Bernts all spoke. Heg’s daughter and Paul Fjelde, the sculptor, were present, along with four members of the 15th Wisconsin, all in their 80s. Only 320 of the 960 men in the Scandinavian Regiment survived the war.