Peter Christian Asserson, Rear Admiral

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Peter Christian Asserson, Rear Admiral

Also Known As: "Admiral P. C. Asserson", "Assersen", "Midbrød", "Peder Kristian Assersen Midbrød"
Birthplace: Midbrød, Egersund, Eigersund, Rogaland, Norway
Death: Died in Brooklyn, NY, USA
Cause of death: Angina Pectoris
Place of Burial: Annapolis, MD, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Asser Johannesen Midbrød and Malene Rasmusdatter Midbrød
Husband of Mary Ann Asserson
Father of Henry Raymond Asserson, Major; Malene R Fletcher; Anna Gertrude Spicer; Capt. William Christian Asserson; Mary Alice Asserson, Dr. and 2 others
Brother of Karen Malene Jakobsen; Ane Kirstine Steinkopf; Johan Arnt Assersen Midbrød; Asser Assersen Midbrød; Malakias Assersen Midbrød and 3 others
Half brother of Rasmus Gunnarson Midbrød

Occupation: Rear Admiral in the United States Navy
Managed by: Alfred Maudal Steinson Paulsen
Last Updated:

About Peter Christian Asserson, Rear Admiral

Peter C. Assersen (1839 - December 7, 1906) was Norwegian-born civil engineer and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy.



Assersen was born during 1839, the youngest of twelve children, on the Midtbrøt farm in Egersund parish, today located in the municipality of Eigersund, in Rogaland county, Norway. 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.

Military service

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.

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.

He retired from military service on January 5, 1901, with the rank of Rear Admiral and continued on active duty. He died during 1906 and was buried at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. His son, Henry R. Assersen served as a special engineer during the First World War on General Pershing’s staff.

The only Norwegian who has attained the rank of rear admiral in the United States Navy is Peter Christian Asserson, who was born in Egersund, Norway, in 1839, emigrated to America while very young, and after becoming a civil engineer was employed for some time in the United States coast survey and lighthouse service. During the Civil War he served as a volunteer officer in the navy. After the war he was employed by the government in removing vessels that had been sunk in the various harbors and were obstructing navigation. In 1874 he was detailed with the rank of lieutenant to the Norfolk navy yard, where he directed the building of dry docks and other important naval construction work requiring high engineering skill. After some years he was promoted captain and later rear admiral. He married an American; they had seven children, most of whom have been connected in one way or another with the naval service. Rear Admiral Peter Christian Asserson died in 1906.


Peter C. ASSERSON, a civil engineer, with the rank of Rear Admiral U.S.N., died suddenly of heart failure early yesterday at his home, 4?5 Eighth avenue, age 6? years.

    After retiring early on Wednesday night Mr. ASSERSON awoke shortly 

after 3 o'clock yesterday morning and calling from his room to the members of his family, complained between gasps of acute pains across the chest. Before Dr. BUNKER, the patient passed away. As an active attaché of the Navy Department Mr. ASSERSON was placed on the retired list Jan 1, 1901. He was superseded as the head of the Department of Yards and Docks at the local navy yard by the present incumbent, R.C. HOLLYDAY. Despite the retirement of Mr. ASSERSON from the active list he was through formal action taken by the department at Washington, retained in an advisory capacity, owing to the large dry dock projects planned for the yard. His knowledge of dry dock construction was considered most invaluable, and he proved his great ability in that line by his painstaking work in connection with the rehabilitation of the tree immense dry docks in use at the yard. He had experienced fifteen years continuous service at the yard preceding his partial retirement and he put aside his active ? as a naval land engineer of the first rank. Dry dock No. 4 at the yard contains many of the features proposed by him as a result of careful research and study. This dry dock is now in course of completion. On May 27, 1862, he entered the United States Navy as a mate, being appointed from Virginia, and rose through sheer ability to the foremost relative rank in the department. He instituted improvements at the Norfolk navy yard that were lasting and of incalculable benefit and while detailed there was frequently known to don a diver's suite and make inspection of work under water. He did not become a civil engineer until the early '70's. In 1869 be received an honorable discharge from the navy and retired to private life to study until reappointed in 1874. He was a native of Norway.

    Mr. ASSERSON was married in August 1864, to Miss WILSON, a daughter 

of Henry WILSON of Brooklyn. He was a Free Mason, a Knight Templar, a member of the Loyal Legion, the Union League Club and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

    Mr. ASSERSON's three sons and four daughters, who are scattered 

throughout the United States, have been notified and all are hurrying to their father's bier, with the exception of Dr. Frederick ASSERSON, who is on the battleship Columbia in Havana. Dr. ASSERSON has telegraphed that he would sail for New York immediately but it would be impossible to arrive in time for the funeral. Henry R. ASSERSON, ex-chief engineer of the Department of Sewers of Brooklyn, was at the bedside of this father at the time of this death. The other members of the family including Lieut. William S. ASSERSON of the U.S.S. Tacoma at Hampton Roads, and his dour daughters, Mrs. William B. FLETCHER, wife of Lieutenant FLETCHER of the navy; Dr. Alice ASSERSON; Mrs. W. T. SPICER, wife of Lieutenant Colonel SPICER of the United States marine corps, and Mrs. Justen SWIFT of Pittsburgh, arrived home to-day. Interment it is believed, will be made at Annapolis.


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Peter Christian Asserson, Rear Admiral's Timeline

January 5, 1839
Egersund, Eigersund, Rogaland, Norway
February 24, 1839
Egersund, Eigersund, Rogaland, Norway
June 29, 1865
Age 26
New York, Kings, New York, United States
August 22, 1867
Age 28
Virginia, United States
October 8, 1869
Age 30
Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
March 12, 1871
Age 32
Catonsville, Baltimore, MD, USA
August 21, 1875
Age 36
Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Virginia, United States
May 1877
Age 38
January 1879
Age 39
Virginia, United States