|Name at Enlist||Niels Halvorsen|
|Birth Name||Niels Halvorsen Hande|
|Other Names||Nils Halvorson Hande|
|Lived||22 November 1835 - 24 November 1914|
|Birth Place||Vestre Slidre, Valdres|
|Residence at Muster-In||Manitowoc, Manitowoc County, WI|
|Company at Enlistment||F|
|Rank at Enlistment||Private|
|Muster Date||12 Dec 1861|
|Death Location||Moe Township, Douglas County, MN|
|Burial Location||West Moe Lutheran Cemetery, Douglas County, MN|
|Mother||Barbro Nilsdatter Hoyne|
|Father||Halvor Pederson Hande|
Nils Halvorson Hande was born on November 22, 1835 in Norway. He immigrated in 1857. He was enlisted under the name Niels Halvorsen in Company F of the 15th WI by Captain Kiler K. Jones. They were also known as the "Valdres Company" because a large number of them, including Niels, were from that area in Norway.
Niels was mustered into Federal service at the rank of Private (Menig) on December 12, 1861 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 26 years old and not married. He was recorded as having blue eyes, light colored hair and complexion, standing 5 feet 10 inches tall, and by occupation a farmer. His residence was listed as Manitowoc, WI.
On January 14, 1862, the men of Company F were issued Belgian rifle muskets. On March 2, 1862, after nearly 3 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Halvorsen left there with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until November 1862, he was listed as "present" with the 15th. As such he would have participated in the successful siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in TN, and the surprise raid on Union City, TN in March and April 1862. That summer, Private Halvorsen would have been with the 15th on the campaign though TN, MS, and AL.
In August and September 1862, Private Halvorsen would have participated in the grueling 400-mile retreat with U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and short of water. Private Halvorsen would also have been present at the October 8, 1862 fighting at Perryville, Boyle County, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the 15th's first big battle, it did not suffer any fatalities there.
Starting November 26, 1862, Private Halvorsen was listed by the 15th as being absent on detached duty with the "Pioneer Corps." This was the Army's field engineering organization. They constructed roads, bridges, and fortifications. It was generally hard, strenuous work, which was sometimes conducted under enemy fire.
Private Halvorsen did not rejoin the 15th until July 1864, some 20 months later. This was about half way through U.S. Major General William T. Sherman's famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. After Private Halvorsen rejoined the 15th it fought before Atlanta on July 22; at Jonesboro, GA on September 1; and at Lovejoy Station, GA on September 4, 1864.
After a rest following the capture of Atlanta in early September 1864, the 15th was briefly assigned to Provost (police) duty in Chattanooga at the beginning of October 1864. This was followed by several months of guarding a railroad bridge at Whitesides, TN, near Chattanooga. A number of the 15th's soldiers felt that this was the easiest duty of their war service.
Private Halvorsen was mustered out of Federal service along with most of the other surviving members of Company F on January 13, 1865 at Chattanooga, TN upon the expiration of their 3-year terms of service. At muster out the Army noted that he was due $100 in bounty money. The men of the company were then paid off, sent back to WI, and released to their homes.
At some point after returning from the Army, Niels moved to Douglas County, MN, where he was recorded as living in Moe Township in 1890. In 1900, he was single and working as a farmer in Moe. He passed away just 2 days before his 79th birthday on November 24, 1914. He is buried in West Moe Lutheran Cemetery.
Sources: Genealogical data provided by D'Arcy Hande; Schedule of Veterans U.S. Census (Washington, DC, 1890); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); findagrave.com; 1900 Census, Roll: 762, Page: 3A, Enumeration District: 0045, FHL microfilm: 1240762.