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|Name at Enlist|
Christian Hansen Hoyer
21 Nov 1821 – 31 Aug 1897
|Resident of Muster-In|
Randolph, Columbia County, WI
|Company at Enlistment|
|Rank at Enlistment|
01 Jan 1862
Riverside Memorial Park, Fox Lake, Dodge County, WI
6 Jan 1848
Christian Heyer was born on November 21, 1821 in Norway. He immigrated before 1850 and is listed in the 1850 Census as living in Merton, Waukesha County, WI. His wife was Egedia Gasman. Together, they had at least four children: Annette (1847), Hans (1849), Matilda (1854), and Alfred (1855). In 1860, they were living in Ashippun, Dodge County, WI. Heyer worked a a farmer.
He was enlisted in Company C of the 15th WI by Captain Frederick R. Berg on November 9, 1861 for a 3-year term of service. The men of the company called themselves the “Norway Bear Hunters” and served as the 15th’s Color (flag) Company. Christian was mustered into Federal service at the rank of Sergeant (Sersjant) on January 1, 1862 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 40 years old and married. He was recorded as having blue eyes, dark hair, a light complexion, and standing 5 feet 4 inches tall. His occupation was listed as farmer and his residence as East Randolph, Columbia County, WI.
On January 14, 1862, the men of Company C were issued Belgian rifle muskets. On March 2, 1862 after 2 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Christian Heyer left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until the end of December 1862, he was recorded as “present” with the 15th. In April 1862, he was demoted to the rank of “wagon master.” That spring he would have been at the Siege of Island No. 10 and the Raid on Union City in TN. That summer he would have been on campaign though TN, MS, and AL.
In August 1862, Heyer was appointed 1st Sergeant of Company C. It is believed that he filled the vacancy of 1st Sergeant James Larson.
From August through September 1st Sergeant Heyer participated in the grueling 400-mile retreat with U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell up to Louisville, KY, the last 2 weeks of which was conducted on half rations and little water. On October 8, 1862, he was in the 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 emerged without any fatalities.
On December 26, 1862, 1st Sergeant Heyer would have participated in the 15th’s desperate charge upon a Confederate artillery battery at Knob Gap, TN, just south of Nashville. There the 15th captured a brass cannon. He is known to have fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, on December 30-31, 1862. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery. On December 31st, the second day of the battle, Confederates captured 1st Sergeant Heyer.
1st Sergeant Heyer was subsequently transported to Richmond, VA where he was held as a prisoner of war starting January 13, 1863. He was then paroled to Union forces at City Point, VA on February 3, 1863. 1st Sergeant Heyer was next reported as being in Camp Parole at Annapolis, MD on February 5, 1863. He was then sent to Benton Barracks, near St. Louis, MO to be formally exchanged. After being exchanged for a Confederate, Heyer returned to the 15th in March 1863. The regiment was then camped near Murfreesboro, TN.
Starting June 23, 1863, the regiment took part in U.S. Major General Rosecrans’ Tullahoma campaign. On July 3, 1863, the 15th went into camp at Winchester, Franklin County, TN for 6 weeks. According to Ager’s 1916 history of the 15th WI, 1st Sergeant Heyer was commissioned by the Governor of WI as the 2nd Lieutenant of Company B on July 16, 1863. However, according to Buslett’s 1895 history of the 15th, 1st Sergeant Heyer was commissioned as the 2nd Lieutenant of Company B on February 1, 1864, and was transferred back to Company C on April 25, 1864. Whichever the case may be, 1st Sergeant Heyer was never mustered-into the Army as a Lieutenant.
On August 17, 1863, the 15th left Winchester to participate in General Rosecrans’ Chickamauga campaign. 1st Sergeant Heyer is believed to have been present at the daring early morning crossing of the Tennessee River on August 28th, which the 15th led. He was also present at the September 19-20, 1863, fighting at Chickamauga, GA — the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. There on the afternoon of the first day 1st Sergeant Heyer was wounded in the “right thigh” during the vicious fighting around Viniard’s Farm. Some 63% of the 15th’s soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.
1st Sergeant Heyer was absent from the regiment recovering from his wound until sometime in February 1864. Lieutenant Heyer served with the 15th all through General Sherman’s famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA in the spring and summer of 1864, including the disastrous May 27, 1864 Battle of Pickett’s Mill, GA which is often referred to as the Battle of Dallas or New Hope Church. There the 15th suffered fearful casualties.
Starting in May 1864, the 15th participated in General Sherman’s famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months. The 15th took part in the fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA in early May; at the bloody Battle of Resaca, GA on May 14-15; and at the disastrous Battle of Pickett’s Mill (often called Dallas or New Hope Church), GA on May 27, 1864. There the 15th suffered 50% casualties, including 25 men captured who were sent to the infamous Andersonville Prison Camp.
The 15th also took part in the fighting at Kenesaw Mountain, GA on June 23; 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, which some of the 15th’s soldiers felt was the easiest duty of their war service.
On December 31, 1864, 1st Sergeant Heyer was mustered out of Federal service at Chattanooga, upon the expiration of his 3-year term of service.
After the war, he returned to WI and was living in Fox Lake, Dodge County, WI in 1880 with his wife and nephew, Henry. He was granted a pension of $4 a month because of a wound in his right thigh. Heyer died on August 21, 1897 and is buried in Riverside Memorial Park, Fox Lake, WI. Egedia died in 1899 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Livingston, Park County, MT.
Sources: Oberst Heg og hans gutter [Colonel Heg and His Boys], Waldemar Ager (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1916); Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); findagrave.com; U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963; Civil War Pension Index, Roll #T288_214; 1850 Census, Roll: M432_1009, Page: 404A, Image: 337; 1860 Census, Roll: M653_1405, Page: 20, Image: 25, Family History Library Film: 805405; 1880 Census, Roll: 1423, Family History Film: 1255423, Page: 165B, Enumeration District: 012; 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. 88, ID 1100.