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Ole P. Gamme

Militærtjeneste i Norge først på 1800 tallet.

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Ole P. Gamme

Hei. Fra Sydney Sneider i Alparetta, GA, USA har jeg fått disse spørsmål:

I do have a question about the military in early 1800s. I’m trying to understand the context in relation to my ancestors from Hadeland. For instance, were all men of a certain age in the military? Apparently Iver Borgersen from Helmeid went to “war against the Swedes from 1807 to 1814 and advanced to under officer”. After he had served his own military obligations, he was paid to take the place of someone else.


Similarly his wife’s( Boletha Abigael Møllerup, born 1801) father, Christian Fredrik Møllerup apparently served in the military as Wagtmeister.


Was it typical that men from a certain area would all serve in a local militia? Was their service mandatory? Were they paid to serve? Was the service typically full time or just as needed, such as reserves?


If there are any books or journal articles that you know about, I’d be happy to read those.


I’m also attaching a document which I have not been able to translate. To find out more about the unit or regiment in Hadeland, is that information based in Norway or Denmark?

Dersom noen kan svare på dette, helst på engelsk, skal jeg sende det over til Sydney. PDF dokumentet han har sendt med som vedlegg, klarer ikke jeg å få kopiert og lagt ved her. Dersom noen har tid og interesse til å tyde det som står, kan jeg sende dokumentet, kan kontaktes på olegam@online.no Mvh. Ole.

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Alexander Glasø

Skriver et svar på engelsk basert på det lille jeg vet, men det er sikkert andre som har mer konkret og utdypende informasjon og ekspertise innenfor dette feltet.


Until 1799 a large portion of the regular Dano-Norwegian army in Norway was based on the "legd" system, where several farms (typically 2 to 8 depending on time period) in local areas would come together to recruit a soldier for the army. Essentially these soldiers would serve on behalf of those farms in the army. From what I've read, it was in some cases a form of conscription and many young men sought to avoid this type of military service probably because of the obligations that came with it, such as being bound to a particular location. In peace time the soldiers lived in the "legd," meaning on one of the farms, and these farms were contractually obligated to provide the soldier with a place to live and work. Expenses related to equipment and uniform were covered by the state. After 1799, recruitment sessions were often organized in farm country divided in to local company districts required to find a certain amount of soldiers, and the most fit and able among the local populace would be selected for service. The legd system is fairly similar to the one employed by the Swedish army before and during the Napoleonic Wars and beyond, but there it was more on a voluntary basis from what I've seen.


Senior officers of the period seem in large part to have been recruited from abroad, and officers from Denmark, Prussia and German-speaking principalities in particular were common in the army. However, lower ranked officers could in some cases be the sons and heirs of local farmers of some means. From the mid 1700s and on, educating lower ranked officers became a priority and military academies were established in different parts of the country. As I've understood it, chances for advancement in to the senior ranks was often difficult and there was a certain glass ceiling in place. 


This conscripted farmer-army was also complemented by the inclusion of "gevorbne" soldiers who were recruited or enlisted of their own free will and typically bound themselves to service for a set number of years, manning garrisons and fortresses in key areas. After the two wars with Sweden during the Napoleonic Wars, it seems only 16% of the army were enlisted/gevorbne. Former soldiers of higher age might also partake in armed service in the form of "landsvern" - militia units.  


Come 1814 and the union with Sweden, the idea of Norway having its own defense forces began to take root but the size of the armed forces was reduced. Ordinary conscription and mandatory service did not come to fruition until the second half of the century, from what I've gathered.

Endret av Alexander Glasø

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Paal Sørensen

Here is a link to biographies of Norwegian officers from 1628 to 1814 and which to an extent contradict some of the statement above that the officers were mainly German or Danish. Surprisingly many are Norwegian. This does not mean that there were no Prussian, Danish or German officers serving in the Norwegian Defence forces. One can mention Captain Jürgensen who commanded Lærdalske company in 1807. Pure German and could not speak properly Norwegian. But able to give orders in German/Norwegian that could not be misunderstood. However, you will find many Father-son-grandson-brother relations in the books (Military families)






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Ole P. Gamme

Tusen takk, Alexander og Paal. Jeg skal sende linken for dette spørsmålet og svarene til USA. Mvh. Ole.

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