Today's image is titled "Hans Christian Heg" and was photographed by Kristian Knutsen.
There isn't that much traditional statuary to be found around downtown Madison, the most prominent example being the Great Emancipator seated at the top of Bascom Hill. It's fitting, therefore, that the second most prominent statue in the city that's also home to Camp Randall and Union Corners is that of Hans Christian Heg, a Norwegian immigrant to Wisconsin who led the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment (the Scandinavian Regiment) and other units in the American Civil War.
Today -- September 19, 2007 -- marks the 144th anniversary of his fall, as Heg was mortally wounded on the second day of the Battle of Chickamauga in northwest Georgia. The battle was the last and most significant major Confederate victory in the Western Theater, and was particularly noteworthy for the actions of General George Henry Thomas, a Virginian who remained loyal to the United States who is credited with saving the Union army that day. Dying the following morning, and one of 696 casualties in the Scandinavian Regiment from the afternoon's fighting, Heg was the highest-ranking officer from Wisconsin killed in combat through the entire war.
The statue was erected at the corner of Main and Pinckney streets on the Capitol Square on October 17, 1926. As described by Mark Gajewski for Historic Madison Inc.:
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.
Another statue of Heg was erected in his birthplace of Lier, Norway, while a park was named for him in Racine County near his American homestead by the Town of Norway and Muskego.
This is the latest entry of Madison Snaps: photos of Madison-area events and locations. The Isthmus group photo pool is the primary source for Madison Snaps, which are published here with the permission of individual contributors. If you are interested in having your photo eligible for Madison Snaps, please respond to the posting on the Flickr group page, or send a message. There is no compensation for Madison Snaps photos, which are © to the respective photographers.