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John F. Bever

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment

Database Record Change Request

Name at EnlistJohn F. Bever
Birth NameJohan Frederik Bævre
Other NamesJohn F. Beaver
Lived18 Nov 1839 - 17 May 1873
Birth PlaceBever Grund (Bevergrenda) near Kongsberg, Buskerud
Birth CountryNorway
Resident of Muster-InNew Lisbon, Juneau County, WI
Company at EnlistmentD
Rank at EnlistmentPrivate
Muster Date8 Dec 1861
Cause of Deathtuberculosis
Death LocationOak Lake (Audubon) Township, Becker County, MN
Burial LocationBecker County, Mn
MotherMarte Christiansdatter Myra
Mother Livedcirca 1808-after 1865
FatherFrode Johan Lang Eje (Langei)
Father Livedcirca 1808-after 1865
SpouseSophia Ebeltoft
Spouse Lived- ca. 1870
Married On07 June 1869
Marriage LocationFreeborn County, Minnesota

Johan Frederik Frodesen Bævre enlisted under the name John F. Bever (sometimes spelled Beaver) for a 3-year term of service in what became Company D of the 15th WI. He was enlisted by Captain Charles Campbell on October 28, 1861, in Waupun, Columbia County, WI. The men of the company called themselves the “Norway Wolf Hunters.” They were also known as the “Waupun Company” because a number of them were residents of that WI town. John was mustered into Federal service as a Private (Menig) on December 8, 1861 at Camp Randall near Madison, Dane County, WI. At the time he was 22 years old and not married, had brown eyes and hair, a light complexion, and stood 5 feet 6 inches tall. His residence was listed as New Lisbon, Juneau County, WI.

On January 14, 1862, the men of the 15th were issued Belgian rifle muskets. After nearly 3 months at Camp Randall learning to be a soldier, Private Bever left there in early March 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. From then until April 1863, he was recorded as “present” with the 15th. As such he would have been at the successful siege of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in TN, and in the surprise raid on Union City, TN in March and April 1862. That summer he would have been on the campaign through TN, MS, and AL. In August and September 1862, he would have been on the grueling 400-mile retreat with General Buell up to Louisville, KY, with the last 2 weeks being on half rations and little water.

Private Bever would have been present at the October 8, 1862, fighting at Perryville, Boyle County, KY, which is also called the Battle of Chaplin Hills. While this was the 15th’s first big battle, it emerged without any fatalities. In late December he 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 have also fought at the long, cold, wet, and bloody Battle of Stone River, TN, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, at the end of December 1862. It is there that the 15th first suffered serious battle casualties, and was cited for bravery.

Private Bever’s time in the service wore down his physical health. On April 4, 1863, Captain Albert Skofstad of Company D signed a document recommending his discharge by reason of “being entirely unfit for military service, in my opinion.” Shortly thereafter the regiment’s 1st Assistant Surgeon Oscar Trenkler agreed, stating that Bever was suffering from “chronic diarrhoea and general debility.” Private Bever was honorably mustered out of Federal service “at camp near Murfreesboro” TN, on April 9 or 10, 1863, with a disability discharge.

John Bever returned to WI, but in October 1863, he acquired land and began farming in Vernon and Canisteo Townships, Dodge County, MN. There he raised money for the West St. Olaf Church in Vernon Township, which had been organized by the 15th’s first Chaplain, Claus L. Clausen. After his marriage, John and his wife moved north to what became Becker County, MN, where they were amongst the earliest White settlers. John became active in local government when the county was formally organized in 1871. He served on the first board of county commissioners and as the Clerk of Court. His wife died of tuberculosis during the first year of their marriage and he succumbed to the same disease 2 years later.


Sources: Genealogical data courtesy of Mike Oiseth and Tove Dahl Johansen; Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillage [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett (Decorah, Iowa, 1895); 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).