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Cornelius E. Williams

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

Cornelius E. Williams

Birth Name

Knut Ericksen Rjoe


1 Jan 1838 – 28 Mar 1908

Birth Place

Voss parish, Hordaland fylke

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Cambridge, Dane County, WI

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

3 Mar 1862


Christi Knudsdatter Bakkethun

Mother Lived



Erik Vikingsen Rjoe (Erik Williams)

Father Lived

1806-25 Dec 1879


2 Aug 1844


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, box 76-2,10; Regimental Muster and Descriptive Rolls, 1861-1865, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, vol.20, p.112; Ole A. Buslett, Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers] (Decorah, Iowa, 1894), p.551 photo;  Oberst Heg og hans gutter, , Waldemar Ager, 1916, Fremad Pub. Co., Eau Claire, WI, p.270 photo; p.308; Lars Gjertveit, Bodo, Norway; Blaine Hedberg, NAGC&NL;; Norwegian Immigrants to the United States. A Biographical Directory, 1825-1850. Volume Two 1844-1846, Gerhard B. Naeseth, edited by Blaine Hedberg, 1997, Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, IA, p. 69, ID 858, p. 68, ID 835.