Cornelius E. Williams

Wisconsin Historical Society, Iconography, ID 89416

Cornelius E. Williams

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

The Scandinavian Regiment

Name at Enlist Cornelius E. Williams
Birth Name Knut Ericksen Rjoe
Lived 1 Jan 1838 - 28 Mar 1908
Birth Place Voss parish, Hordaland fylke
Birth Country Norway
Residence at Muster-In Cambridge, Dane County, WI
Company at Enlistment H
Rank at Enlistment Private
Muster Date 3 Mar 1862
Mother Christi Knudsdatter Bakkethun
Mother Lived 1814-1883
Father Erik Vikingsen Rjoe (Erik Williams)
Father Lived 1806-25 Dec 1879
Immigration 2 Aug 1844
Spouse Britha Sjursdatter Hylle Newton
Spouse Lived 1 Oct 1839-
Married On 12 Nov 1868
Marriage Location Chicago, IL

Cornelius E. Williams was born “Knut Eriksen Rjoe” in Voss, Norway, a son of Erick Williams and Christine Bochtun. He emigrated from Bergen in 1844. He joined the WI 15th Infantry, Company H. The men of the company called themselves "Heg's Rifles" in honor of the 15th commander, Colonel Hans C. Heg. They were also known as the "Voss Company" because of a large number of them who were from the Voss region of Norway.

He was listed as living in Cambridge, Dane County, WI, age 23, and unmarried. Enlisted as a Private (Menig) on March 3, 1862, at Chicago, IL. He mustered the same day. He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant (Løytnant) at Jacinto, MS, on July 31, 1862. He was named commander of the Pioneer Corps in November 1862. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on June 8, 1863, at Chattanooga, TN. He was promoted to Captain (Kaptein) on June 3, 1863. He was named commander of the Pioneer Brigade in Chattanooga, TN. He became Quartermaster of the Detachment in Chattanooga September 7, 1864. He mustered out with Company H on February 13, 1865 at Chattanooga.

After the war, he moved to Chicago, IL, and married Brita Sjursdatter Hylle Newton on November 12, 1868. Their children were Bella Christine, Edward Newton, and Mari Mattie. In 1870, he was working in the hospital of the soldiers' home in Milwaukee. In the 1890s, he was living back in Chicago.

Sources: Series 1200: Records of Civil War Regiments, 1861-1900, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, Archives, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, box 76-2,10; Regimental Muster and Descriptive Rolls, 1861-1865, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, Archives, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, vol.20, p.112; Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, B. Anundsen, Decorah, IA, p.551 photo;  Oberst Heg og hans Gutter [Colonel Heg and his boys], Waldemar Ager, 1916, Fremad Publ. Co., Eau Claire, WI, p.270 photo; p.308; Lars Gjertveit, Bodo, Norway, list of the Field Officers of the WI 15th Regiment Infantry; Blaine Hedberg, NAGC&NL;; Norwegian Immigrants to the United States. A Biographical Directory, 1825-1850. Volume Two 1844-1846, Gerhard B. Naeseth, 1997, Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, IA, p. 69, ID 858, p. 68, ID 835.

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