Colonel Heg and His Boys

 by Waldemar Ager
Cover of Book: Colonel Heg and His Boys

Oberst Heg og hans Gutter
Waldemar Theodor Ager (1916)
(Digitized on-line at the Hathi Trust digital library)

Colonel Heg and his Boys
Translation by Della Kittleson Catuna and Clarence A. Clausen
Published by the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA)
Available for purchase from NAHA online.

Ager collected substantial material on the Union Army's Fifteenth Wisconsin Regiment, made up mostly of Norwegians and headed by one, Colonel Hans Christian Heg.  When Ager supervised a Wisconsin exhibit for Norway's 1914 Centennial Exhibition, he brought along much of that material, including the regiment's battle-torn banner.

Two years later, Ager published his book on the Fifteenth Wisconsin.  He intended it not to be a history, but a sort of scrap book, proof that immigrants--especially Norwegian immigrants--had something vital to contribute to America.  In addition to containing some of Ager's essays, Oberst Heg og hans Gutter offers letters, photos, first-hand accounts and battlefield maps.  Ager used the book as part of his fund drive for a statue of Heg, which was raised in 1925 at the state capitol in Madison.  And much of the historical material found its way into another of Ager's books, Sons of the Old Country. In it, the protagonist joins the Fifteenth Wisconsin, fights, suffers wounds and is incarcerated in the Andersonville prison camp.