The Sandhof in the Passeier Valley, from a copper engraving by Johann Georg Schedler.

Andreas Hofer was born into a family which had for generations owned the Sandhof Inn in the Passeier Valley. As an innkeeper, a livestock trader and wine merchant, he traveled extensively through the region and made many friends and connections, including Archduke Johann. In January of 1809, Hofer and many like-minded comrades were invited to Vienna to discuss the imminent revolt. In April he mobilized the Passeier militia and marched through the Jaufen Pass to Sterzing, where they seized the town and took the Bavarian occupation forces prisoner. The militia then pursued General Bisson's troops through the Wipp Valley, inflicting substantial casualties. After the Austrian defeat at the hands of Chasteler in Woergl and the partial withdrawal of Austrian troops, Hofer mobilized the militia once again.