Andreas Hofer, a Tyrolese patriot, born Nov. 22, 1767, in a tavern at St. Leonard's in the Passeyr valley, called the Sand house (whence his popular name of the Sandwirth, or Sand Landlord), shot at Mantua, Feb. 20,1810. He was known as a wine dealer and horse drover between Tyrol and the north of Italy. In 1796 he led a company of riflemen against the French on Lake Garda, and in 1803 organized the rural militia. In 1805 he was made a member of the deputation to which was committed the political direction of the country. Shortly after Tyrol was taken from Austria by the treaty of Presburg, and given to Bavaria. In January, 1809, when the disaffection toward Bavaria had become extreme and hostilities were on the point of breaking out between France and Austria, Hofer was one of the secret envoys who went to Vienna to confer with the archduke John on the subject of their national grievances. The archduke advised a rising in Tyrol, and the baron von Hormayr was early in 1809 charged to carry it out. The preparations were skilfully concerted, and in a few days the whole Tyrol was in arms, and 8,000 French and Bavarian troops were taken prisoners at Hall and Innspruck, and in Ster-zing, where Hofer commanded.
The Tyrolese were supported by 10,000 Austrians, but Bavaria sent 25,000 troops to quell the revolt. While the latter were toiling through narrow valleys, Hofer fell upon them, and on April 10 defeated Bisson and Lemoine in the moors of Sterzing. Within a week the whole province was free, and nearly 10,000 French and Bavarian troops were destroyed. Napoleon now sent into Tyrol three armies, one of which, commanded by Marshal Lefebvre, defeated Chasteler's Austrians at Worgl, and the Tyrolese at Feuer-Singer. Hofer soon rallied his countrymen, and defeated the Bavarians with great loss at Innspruck. But Napoleon's victory at Wagram (July 6, 1809) resulted in a stipulation that Austria should evacuate Tyrol. Lefebvre marched from Salzburg into Tyrol with over 20,000 French, Saxons, and Bavarians, while Beaumont with 10,000 advanced from Bavaria. It was under these trials that the military genius of Hofer displayed itself most brilliantly. After sustaining several reverses, Lefebvre with 25,000 Bavarian and French soldiers, including 2,000 cavalry, was completely routed (Aug. 13) by 18,000 Tyrolese peasants, and driven from Tyrol. An independent government was formed, with Hofer at its head as absolute ruler.
After the peace of Vienna, however, the archduke addressed a proclamation to the Tyrolese urging them to submit, while at the same time three veteran armies marched into the country to force them to Obedience. Under these circumstances Hofer sent in his submission in November to Eugene Beauharnais, the viceroy of Italy, and to the Bavarian commander-in-chief. Deceived by reports of Tyrolese victories and the entrance of the archduke into Tyrol, he took up arms again, but being defeated fled for concealment to the mountains, where the peasants resisted all inducements to reveal his hiding place. He was at last betrayed to Gen. Baraguey d'Hilliers by one of his most trusted partisans for 300 ducats, arrested on the night of Jan. 20, 1810, and taken to Mantua. He was tried before Gen. Bisson. A majority of the judges wished to save his life, but Napoleon gave orders that he should be put to death within 24 hours. He died without the slightest indication of fear, refusing to have his eyes bound, and himself giving the word to fire. His property was confiscated.
In 1819 the emperor Francis of Austria conferred upon his family, under the name of Von Passeyr, the patent of nobility already decreed in 1809. This was the name of the place where Hofer was captured, and where a monument was erected to his memory. The house where he was born and lived was converted by the emperor into an asylum for 16 old Tyrolese, while his remains were brought in 1823 from Mantua to Innspruck, and buried in the cathedral there, near the monument of the emperor Maximilian. A marble statue was placed in 1834 over the tomb.