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This first full-length biography of Colonel Heg examines the life of a Civil War hero while illuminating the experiences of Norwegian American immigrants who found both hardship and success in a new home. Hans Christian Heg (1829-1863) was a Norwegian American abolitionist, journalist, antislavery activist, prison reformer, politician, and soldier. Best known for leading the Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment on the Union side during the Civil War, Heg died of wounds received at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. While Heg's achievements earned him a statue on the Wisconsin state capitol grounds, behind his public persona was a life emblematic of his generation. Heg's family hailed from Lier, Norway; economic as well as religious challenges led them, like so many others, to leave their homeland for the promise of a better life. Heg himself trod multiple paths: joining in the California Gold Rush, pursuing a political career in support of the Free Soil Party and then the newly formed Republican Party, and taking up the role of Wisconsin state prison commissioner. Like his fellow immigrants, he made a living and nurtured a family at the same time that he was defining what it meant to be both Norwegian and American. Heg's remarkable leadership of the Fifteenth Wisconsin, the "Norwegian regiment," is the stuff of legends. But this book is more than a biography of one man: it is the story of a generation of immigrant citizens who contributed politically, economically, and socially to the American Midwest and beyond.