Activist state

The statue of Colonel Hans Christian Heg outside the state capital will be rededicated in May

The restored statue of Colonel Hans Christian Heg in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol (WISC-TV/Channel3000)

MADISON, Wis. – A statue outside the state capitol honoring Wisconsin’s highest-ranking soldier who died in the Civil War will be rededicated over Memorial Day weekend.

The statue of Colonel Hans Christian Heg, a Norwegian immigrant who became an American citizen and fought to abolish slavery before dying aged 33 at the Battle of Chickamauga, stood outside the King Street entrance of the Wisconsin State Capitol since 1926, when Norwegian citizens presented it to state officials.

The statue, along with the “Lady Forward” statue overlooking State Street across from the Capitol, was torn down by protesters in the summer of 2020 following the arrest of a prominent Madison activist.

RELATED: City recovers two statues torn down by protesters

Both statues were reinstalled in September 2021 after extensive restoration work. Costs to repair the Heg statue have been estimated at $30,000 to $50,000. The state then received $60,000 in federal grants to help defray the cost of the restoration.

Felony charges were later filed against a man who was seen on city surveillance cameras attaching cables to the two statues, and the man was eventually sentenced to seven years in federal prison for attempting to bomb the City-County Building from downtown the same night. Several other people in the group have also been identified and charged.

The rededication ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 29 at 1 p.m. at the King Street entrance to the Wisconsin State Capitol. The ceremony will be based on a 1917 dedication memorial service by the Grand Army of the Republic, which was the largest group of Union Civil War veterans at the time. The successors to the Grand Army of the Republic, the Sons of Union Civil War Veterans, will be involved in the event.

Officials from the Madison Veterans Council and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum will also be present, and descendants of Col. Heg will also travel from across the country for the ceremony.