Halvor H. Hofland
Database Record Change Request
|Name at Enlist|
Halvor H. Hofland
ca. 1833 – 05 Jun 1864
|Company at Enlistment|
|Rank at Enlistment|
01 Feb 1862
|Cause of Death|
Andersonville Prison, Macon County, GA
Andersonville National Cemetery, Macon County, GA
Halvor H. Hofland was enlisted in Company K of the 15th WI. The company called itself “Clausen’s Guards” in honor of the 15th’s first Chaplain, Claus L. Clausen. Most of the company was recruited from Scandinavian communities in MN and IA, with the rest from WI.
Halvor was appointed to the rank of Sergeant (Sersjant) in Company K on February 1, 1862. He was mustered into Federal service at that rank for a 3-year term of service on February 11, 1862 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was listed as being 28 years old and married. Army records state that he had blue eyes, dark hair, a light complexion, and stood 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall. His occupation was recorded as a farmer and his residence as Winneshiek County, IA.
After about a month at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Sergeant Hofland left there in early March 1862 with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until late December 1862, he was recorded as “present” with the 15th. As such he would have been at the Siege of Island No. 10 in TN, and the Raid on Union City, TN in the spring of 1862. On July 1, 1862, Sergeant Hovland was promoted to the rank of 1st Sergeant (Oversersjant) of Company K. This was the highest ranked Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) position in a Civil War company. As such, 1st Sergeant Hovland ran Company K for its 3 commissioned officers, who were at that time: Captain John S. Irgens, who was the third-in-command.
At the time of his promotion the 15th was in the midst of the regiment’s summer campaign though TN, MS, and AL. This concluded with a grueling 400-mile retreat with U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being made on half rations and little water. During the retreat both of the company’s Lieutenants resigned their commissions and left the Army. For a short while this left 1st Sergeant Hovland as the effective second-in-command.
On October 8, 1862, 1st Sergeant Hofland would have been in the fighting at Perryville, Boyles County, KY, which was also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the first big battle that the 15th took part in, it emerged without any fatalities. A few days later 2nd Sergeant of Company D John P. Strommer was commissioned as the company’s new 2nd Lieutenant.
Starting December 26, 1862, 1st Sergeant Hofland was “left sick” in Nashville, TN. He thus missed fighting in the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery.
The 15th camped in the Murfreesboro area for the next 6 months, except for 2 weeks in February when it was sent to Franklin, Williamson County, TN. 1st Sergeant Hofland was absent sick until sometime in mid-to-late April 1863. He was then listed as “present” with the 15th until mid-September 1863. In early June 1863, Sergeant Ellend Errickson was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of Company K, replacing Lieutenant Stromer who had been tricked into resigning the previous month. 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.
On August 17, 1863, 1st Sergeant Hofland left Winchester with the 15th to participate in General Rosecrans’ Chickamauga campaign. 1st Sergeant Hofland was 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 entire Civil War. There on the afternoon of the first day he was captured by Confederate troops 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.
After the battle 1st Sergeant Hofland was marched to Tunnel Hill, GA with other captured 15th soldiers. From there he was transported by railroad train to Atlanta, GA and then on to Richmond, VA, where he was confined in Libby Prison beginning September 29, 1863. On November 20, 1863, 1st Sergeant Hofland was removed to Hospital 21 for treatment of “diarrhea” and then returned to prison on November 24, 1863.
On December 12, 1863, 1st Sergeant Hofland was transported by railroad train to a prison in Danville, VA, after which he was sent further south to the infamous Andersonville Prison Camp in GA. There, on May 18, 1864, 1st Sergeant Hofland was admitted to the prison hospital, where he died of “anasarca” (generalized edema or dropsy) less than 3 weeks later.
Sources: Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Civil War Compiled Military Service Records by 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).