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Brown Syvertson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment
Brown  Syvertson Profile Image
Photo taken January or February 1862
Image WHi (X3) 30061, State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Picture shown above has been electroni

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Name at Enlist

Brown Syvertson

Birth Name

Baard Sjursen Haugsgjerd

Other Names

Baard Sivertsen


17 Mar 1834 – 06 Jul 1864

Birth Place

Haugsgjerd farm, Tittelsnes, Hordaland

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Deerfield, Dane County, WI

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment

Third Corporal

Muster Date

16 Nov 1861

Cause of Death

Died from war wounds

Death Location

Chattanooga, TN

Burial Location

Grave 536, Section E, National Cemetery, Chattanooga, TN


Ingeborg Endresdatter

Mother Lived



Sjur Arentsen

Father Lived




Baard Sivertsen was enlisted under the name Brown Syvertson by Captain Erick Larson, who it is said came to America with him. Company B called itself the “Wergeland Guards” in honor of Henrik Wergeland, the famous Norwegian writer and poet.

Brown was mustered into Federal service at the rank of 3rd Corporal (Korporal) on November 16, 1861, at Camp Randall near Madison. At the time the listed him as being as being 26 years old and not married. His residence was recorded as Deerfield Township, Dane County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th WI were issued Belgian rifled muskets. On March 2, 1862, after more than 3 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Corporal Syvertson left there with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until June 1863 he was listed as “present.” As such he would have participated in the successful siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in Tennessee, and the surprise raid on Union City, TN, in March and April 1862.

Starting June 11, 1862, he would depart from Island No. 10 with the 15th to campaign through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. In August and September he would have participated in the grueling 400-mile retreat led by U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and short of water.

On October 8, 1862, Corporal Syvertson would have taken part in the fighting at Perryville, Boyle County, KY, which was also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the 15th’s first big battle, it emerged without any fatalities.

On December 26, 1862, Corporal Syvertson would have participated in the 15th’s desperate charge upon a Confederate artillery battery at Knob Gap, TN, just south of Nashville. There the 15th captured a brass cannon. He would then have fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stones River, TN, which was also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, on December 30-31, 1862. It was there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery.

The 15th camped in the Murfreesboro area for the next 6 months, except for 2 weeks in February when it was sent to Franklin, TN. In June 1863, Corporal Brown was promoted to be a Sergeant (Sersjant) in Company B. On June 23, 1863, he was listed as “left sick” at a General Field Hospital near Murfreesboro, TN, when the regiment marched away to take part in the Tullahoma campaign led by U.S. Major General William S. Rosecrans.

Sergeant Syvertson was back with Company B in time to take part in the September 19-20, 1863, fighting at Chickamauga, GA — the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. There he survived the vicious fighting around Viniard’s Farm on the first afternoon, as well as the near capture of the regiment around midday on the 20th during what is now called Longstreet’s Breakthrough. Some 63% of the 15th’s soldiers who were at Chickamauga were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.

Sergeant Syvertson then served with the regiment during the Confederate siege of Chattanooga, TN, which began right after the battle. The siege caused severe shortages of food, medicine, and firewood, which together with cold, wet weather, caused much suffering, sickness, and death. Beginning October 13, 1863, he was assigned as a guard to the supply wagon train sent from Chattanooga, TN, to Stevenson, AL, and back. By all accounts this was a dangerous and physically daunting trip. Sergeant Syvertson was again listed as “present” with the regiment starting in early November 1863. It is believed that he took part with the 15th in the Union Army’s victorious charge up Mission Ridge on November 25, 1863, which finally broke the siege and routed the Confederate army.

Starting right after Mission Ridge, the 15th was engaged in almost non-stop marching and counter-marching all over Eastern TN throughout the winter of 1863/1864. By many original accounts, this was the worst period of the regiment’s 3-year term of service. Poor rations, inadequate clothing and shelter, and unseasonably cold weather made these months nearly unbearable.

Starting in May 1864, the 15th participated in the famous campaign to capture Atlanta, GA ,that was led by U.S. Major General William T. Sherman. This campaign was marked by almost daily marching and/or combat for 4 months straight. The 15th’s part in the campaign included fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, GA, in early May; at the bloody Battle of Resaca, GA, on May 14-15; and at the disastrous Battle of Pickett’s Mill (often called Dallas or New Hope Church), GA, on May 27, 1864. There the 15th suffered 50% casualties, including Sergeant Syvertson, who was wounded in action.

On July 6, 1864, Sergeant Syvertson passed away in a U.S. Army General Field Hospital at Chattanooga, TN. An article in the Norwegian language magazine, Ungdommens Ven, says the following about his end and that of his cousin:

“Brown Severson was hit by a bullet through his jaw, which tore his tounge off and went through his neck and shoulder. Later Erick Larson was hit by a bullet in his head, but he was only slightly wounded. Brown Severson stayed alive for awhile, and he even wrote a letter home, but when he died, Erik followed him shortly after. Erik was said to be “dead from wounds and melancholy.” They were both unmarried.”

According to official Army records, Sergent Syvertson actually died 2 weeks after his cousin. The Army’s Final Statement for Sergeant Syvertson lists his cause of death as “exhaustion from gun shot wound lower jaw.” It also notes that at the time of his death he was 28 years old, had blue eyes, brown hair, and a dark complexion, stood 5 feet, 6 inches tall, was by occupation a sailor, and possessed an “open faced silver watch.”


Sources:  Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1894); Oberst Heg og hans gutter [Colonel Heg and His Men], Waldemar Ager (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1916); Ungdommens Ven magazine [Youth’s Friend]; Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC); Regimental Descriptive Rolls, Volume 20, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1885); Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume 1, Office of the Adjutant General State of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin, 1886); genealogical data from Hans Bruvik and from Tove J. Johansen; Gards- og ættesoge for Sveio, Volume 1, Gamle Valestrand kommune by Simon Steinsbø (1986).