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Ben Nilson

15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
The Scandinavian Regiment

Database Record Change Request

Name at Enlist

Ben Nilson

Birth Name

Bersvend Nilsen Fleskmoen

Other Names

Bersven, Ben, Benjamin Nelson


17 Jan 1842 – 25 Apr 1925

Birth Place

Fleskmoen, Målselv parish, Lenvik, Troms fylke

Birth Country


Resident of Muster-In

Elk Mound, Dunn County, WI

Company at Enlistment


Rank at Enlistment


Muster Date

20 Dec 1861

Cause of Death

Heart disease

Death Location

Spokane, Spokane County, WA

Burial Location

Riverside Memorial Park, Spokane, Spokane County, WA


Dorthea Olsdatter Moen

Mother Lived

18 Dec 1815-29Jun 1850


Nils Johansen Brenna

Father Lived

1800-5 Sep 1879


10 Jul 1861


Julia Torgerson (Toycen)

Spouse Lived

11 Mar 1853- 20 Sep 1939

Married On

26 Apr 1869

Marriage Location

Elk Mound, Dunn County, WI

Bersvend Nilsen was born at Fleskmoen, Målselv parish, Lenvik, Troms, Norway. He left the parish with his parents and siblings in 1861 and arrived July 10, 1861, at Quebec from Bergen on the Camilla. They came to La Crosse, WI, on July 16, 1861, and then moved to Elk Mound, WI.

As “Ben Nilson” he joined the WI 15th Infantry, Company I. The men of the company called themselves the “Scandinavian Mountaineers” but were also known as the “Waupaca Company” because so many of them were living in that Wisconsin county when they enlisted.

The army listed Nilson as living in Elk Mound, Eau Claire County, WI, age 19, and unmarried. He enlisted on November 8, 1861, at Wheaton, WI, and mustered at Madison, WI, on December 20, 1861, as a Private (Menig). He was on sick leave in Eau Claire, WI, in May 1863. In September and October 1863, Nelson was with the provisions transport from Stevenson, AL. He was on Military Police duty on May 23, 1864. On February 10, 1865, he mustered out with Company I at Chattanooga, TN.

After the war, he returned to Wisconsin and married. He and Julia had at least four children, including Dortha C. (1870-1889), Bertha Gurina/Rena (1871-1940), Nora  Sofie (1876-1957), and Clara Adina (1879-1964). He was a farmer, and later worked as a carpenter. The family lived in Dunn, Barron, and Douglas Counties in northwest Wisconsin, before moving to Spokane, WA. Ben died there on April 25, 1925, and is buried in Riverside Memorial Park in Spokane, Spokane County, WA.


Sources: Series 1200: Records of Civil War Regiments, 1861-1900, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, box 76-11; Regimental muster and descriptive rolls, 1861-1865, Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, vol.20, p. 132; Det Femtende Regiment, Wisconsin Frivillige  [The Fifteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers], Ole A. Buslett, 1894, B. Anundsen, Decorah, IA,  p. 600; Oberst Heg og hans gutter, Waldemar Ager, 1916, Fremad Pub. Co., Eau Claire, WI, p. 315, p. 15, photo, e51; Nordmaendene i Amerika, Martin Ulvestad, 1907, History Book Co., Minneapolis, MN, p.313; Lars Gjertveit, Bodo, Norway; “Notes of a CivilWar Soldier“, Bersven Nelson, pub. in Norwegian-American Studies, vol 26, by NAHA, 1974; Civil War Pension Index, Roll #T288_346; 1870 Census, Roll: M593_1712, Page: 131B, Image: 264, Family History Library Film: 553211; 1880 Census, Roll: 1424, Family History Film: 1255424, Page: 323B, Enumeration District: 154; 1890 Veterans Schedules, Roll: 116, Page: 2, Enumeration District: 14; 1900 Census, Roll: 1786, Page: 2B, Enumeration District: 0075, FHL microfilm: 1241786; 1910 Census, Roll: T624_1671, Page: 1A, Enumeration District: 0199, FHL microfilm: 1375684; 1920 Census, Roll: T625_1942, Page: 5A, Enumeration District: 251, Image: 231; Washington, Select Death Certificates, FHL Film #2022258, Ref ID: rn468 and FHL Film #2023707, Ref ID: rn1192; “Norwegian Immigrants 1850 and later”, database, NAGCNL, #64101;;;