Peter C. Assersen

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Peter C. Assersen
Born 1839
Eigersund, Rogaland, Norway
Died 1906 (aged 66–67)
New London, Connecticut
Buried at Naval Academy in Annapolis
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch US-DeptOfNavy-Seal.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1862–1869
Rank Rear Admiral
Battles/wars American Civil War

Peter Christian Assersen (January 5, 1839 – December 6, 1906) was Norwegian-born civil engineer and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy.


Assersen was born January 5, 1839, the youngest of twelve children, on the Midbrød farm in Egersund parish, today located in the municipality of Eigersund, in Rogaland county, Norway. His parents were Asser Johannessen and Malene Rasmusdatter. He left Norway at age 17 as a cabin boy on a bark sailing from the port of Stavanger. He came to the United States in 1859 at age 20.[1][2][3]

In August 1864 Assersen married Mary Ann Wilson from Brooklyn. She was born May 11, 1867 and died May 10, 1910. They had 7 children, 3 boys and 4 girls.

Military service[edit]

During the Civil War, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Master's Mate on May 27, 1862 at age 23. He took part in several battles as commander of gunboats. He was made an Acting Ensign on November 24, 1862 and was appointed an engineer in the United States Naval Marine Corps.[4]

Assersen was honorably discharged on February 28, 1869 and returned to naval service as a civil engineer on 6 March 1874. Assersen became a Lieutenant, Captain and in 1889, Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. Assersen was the chief engineer of the Brooklyn Naval Yards and Norfolk Naval Yard, specializing in building drydocks.[5]

He retired from military service on January 5, 1901, with the rank of Rear Admiral and continued on active duty. He died of Angina pectoris December 6, 1906[6] and was buried at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.[7]

Several of his sons served in the military:

Henry Raymond Asserson served as a special engineer during the First World War on General Pershing’s staff.[8][9] He was retired with the rank Major.

Frederick Asser Asserson served in the medical corps in the United States Navy and was retired with the rank Commander.

William Christian Asserson served in the United States Navy. In 1901 he served in China in the Boxer Uprising. During World War I he commanded the USS Castine (PG-6), and for some months before the Armistice with Germany he served as chief of staff to the commander of the United States Patrol Squadron in the Mediterranean Sea, in the vicinity of Gibraltar. He retired with the rank of captain. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his efforts in World War I.[10]


Other sources[edit]

  • Ulvestad, Martin Nordmændene i Amerika deres Historie og Rekord (Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1st volume. 1907) Norwegian
  • Bjork, Kenneth Saga in Steel and Concrete (Northfield, Minnesota: Norwegian-American Historical Association. Chapter 9, Pg. 335-338. 1947)
  • Rygg, Andreas Nilsen Norwegians in New York (Brooklyn NY: The Norwegian News Company, p. 50. 1941)
  • Bergmann, Leola Nelson Americans from Norway (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J.B.Lippincott Co. p. 216. 1950)