An overflow crowd filled the fellowship hall of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Franklin for the March 2019 meeting of Music City Vikings Sons of Norway Lodge 5-681. Members of the church joined members of Music City Vikings for a wonderful program organized by member Ken Sersland, including music, history and delicious treats.
Those gathered were delighted by the Norwegian traditional desserts and fare, including lefse, lingonberries, waffles, krumkake, krinla, julekake, kransekake, rosettes, cheeses, and more, as well as sandbakkels made by Sersland himself. Many thanks to the all the MCV members who helped make everything so wonderful. Sixty happy people!
Sersland, who inherited a beautiful 100 year old heritage quality Hardanger fiddle from his father, opened the program with the history of the fiddle, as well as sharing anecdotes. To the delight of those gathered, famous luthier and member Brian Christianson then played several traditional Norwegian tunes on the fiddle, as well as one tune on a newer Hardanger fiddle.
Chief Ranger Jim Lewis from Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, TN. then presented a powerpoint with maps, photos, copies of letters and a poster about the Battle of Stones River, a pivotal Civil War battle and one that included many Scandinavian soldiers. Ranger Lewis also spoke on the topic of Norwegian soldiers and the Civil War.
Here is a summary of Ranger Lewis' interesting and informative talk: "Jim explained that the Battle of Stones River, which began on Dec. 30, 1862, was an overlooked battle with a twist. The men in the Wisconsin 15th Volunteer Regiment under Colonel Hans Christian Heg were known in history as the “Norwegian Regiment” and each Company had a Norwegian nickname. Company A was Saint Olaf’s, B was Wergland Guards, C was Norway Bear Hunters and D was Wolf Hunters, E was Odin’s Rifles, F was K.K.’s Protectors, G was Rock River Rangers, H was Heg Rifles and I was Scandinavian Mountaineers. The Scandinavians were immigrants and they believed in freedom and fought for the slaves right to be set free. Jim shared photos of letters from Norwegian soldiers. Knud Iverson Kikæ from Co.E penned a letter from Nashville on Dec. 20, 1862, describing the hardships of a soldier during war and the longing for home and family. Lars Olson Dokken was wounded at Stones River on Dec. 30, 1862 and left for dead. He laid still while the rebels stripped him of his blanket, canteen, sewing kit and his double explanation Catechism, which he missed the most. He laid on the battlefield for two days before he was found by Union soldiers. His letter was written in pencil from a hospital near Murfreesboro on Jan. 10, 1863. Three hundred men from the Wisconsin 15th Infantry died in the Battle of Stones River. Col. Heg later died at the battle of Chickamauga in Georgia on Sept. 20, 1863. The bloody conclusion of the Battle of Stones River was on Jan. 1, 1863, the same day the "Emancipation Proclamation” was signed by President Lincoln. The Union claimed victory on Jan. 5, 1863 and the troops moved into Murfreesboro."
Many thanks again to Ken Sersland and all who helped make this meeting a wonderful afternoon of informative and delicious fare!