BALLING, Hans

NY 1st Inf Co I. Residence: New York, New York. Born “Ole Peder Hansen Balling” on 23 Apr 1823 in Øvre Voldgate, Oslo, son of a shoemaker. Balling was an art student in Copenhagen when the Danish-German war began in 1848. He volunteered and was appointed First Lieutenant in the Danish Army. Came to New York in 1856 and set up a studio. Civil War: Age 35. In 1861 he volunteered for military service and was elected commander of one of the two Scandinavian Volunteer companies (I and K). Commissioned Captain. Promoted to Major. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 11 Sep 1862 and given command of NY 145th Inf. Wounded in his right shoulder at Fredericksburg while trying to put down a mutiny in an “Irish” battalion. Because of his wound, he was discharged from the service for disability on 24 Jan 1863. Post war: Shortly after his discharge, Balling gained admission to the White House to meet with President Lincoln, to ask permission to return to the front lines as an artist, The president granted his wish and on learning that the artist was a Norwegian, said to him “I know the Norwegians … no other immigrants have brought America forward as they have.” Balling became a recognized portrait painter, painting portraits of Lincoln, Grant and several other Union Generals. His most famous painting was called “Grant and his Generals”, which is now a possession of the United States government. Balling died in Christiania, Norway, in 1920. Sources: (Rygg p43) (VGC Norw.-Am., 29 Nov 1912)

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