Skip Navigation

Halvor Anderson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment
Halvor  Anderson Profile Image
Image is a photograph of a painting.
Photo courtesy of Ronald Pearson.

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

Halvor Anderson

Birth Name

Halvor Andersen Hanekam

Other Names

Halvor Andersen Alrek


06 Nov 1836 – 25 May 1862

Birth Place

Hanekam, Arnefjord Parish, Vik, Sogn og Fjordane

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Cambridge, Dane County, WI

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

16 Nov 1862

Cause of Death


Death Location

Island No. 10, Mississippi River, TN

Burial Location

Mississippi River National Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, TN


Britha Sjursdatter Lillesand

Mother Lived



Anders Halvorsen Hanekam

Father Lived




Halvor Andersen was born on Hanekam, Arnafjord Parish in Vik, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. His parents were Anders Halvorsen  and Britha Sjursdatter Lillesand. He left Vik parish April 14, 1856, with his parents and siblings.

He was enlisted under the name Halvor Anderson in Company B of the 15th Wisconsin by Captain Ole C. Johnson on October 10, 1861, at Madison, WI.  The men of Company B called themselves the “Wergeland Guards” in honor of Henrik Wergeland, the famous Norwegian writer and poet.

He was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) for a three-year term of service on November 16, 1861, at Camp Randall, near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time, he was 25 years old, working as a farmer, and not married. His residence was listed as Cambridge, Dane County, WI.  His younger brother, Syvert A. Anderson, joined the company a week later.

On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th were issued Belgian rifle muskets. After several months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Anderson left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. That month and the next, he was present during the siege and capture of Island No. 10, which was located in the middle of the Mississippi River. During the siege he sent the following description to his “Dear and Unforgettable Parents and Brothers and Sisters” about a Union gunboat which had successfully run down river past the Confederate artillery batteries on the island.

“The North has seven cannon boats, and they are being used, and then two days ago there was one that stole past the island, going south, she had a big freighter along side loaded with hay, so that the Rebels would not do her any harm, and she was lucky, and I have hopes that still another one has done the same thing this night. It was so awful, the cannons roared. They shot twenty-one shots at the first one, but not one cannonball hit her.”

The letter was dated April 6, 1862. At the time, Halvor was so sick he had to dictate these words to his friend, Private Rognald Lasseson, who wrote them down for him. Nevertheless, Halvor tried to reassure his family.

“I must send you some lines to let you know that my health is alright, thank God, and thanking Him for His mercy towards me, the poor sinner, but the Lord is anyway taking care of me and several others every time and moment, and I hope to find you again in the earthly life, my dear parents, and if it is God’s will that we shall not find each other any more here in the earthly life, then I will pray with all my heart to our heavenly Father, that it must not be too long.”

The next day, the Confederates quietly abandoned Island No. 10 and the 15th took possession of it without firing a musket. It was there, less than 2 months later, that Halvor passed away of “disease.

At some point after the war, the bodies of the Union soldiers buried at Island No. 10 were removed and reburied at the National Cemetery near Memphis, TN. Either before or during this process, the identities of many of them, including Private Halvor Anderson, were lost. He is now buried as an “unknown” from Isler’s Landing, TN, which was across the Mississippi River from Island No. 10.


Sources:  Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, B. Anundsen, Decorah, IA;  Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); Genealogical data provided by Ronald Pearson and Tove D. Johansen;  “Norwegian Immigrants 1850 and later”, database, NAGCNL, #38997.