b. 1867 Copenhagen, Denmark. d. 1950 Seattle, Washington.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 21/07/1905 San Diego, California.
Born in Copenhagen in 1867, Fredericksen immigrated to the United States at age 17. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1897 and served on more than 20 ships in roles such as boilermaker, fireman and quartermaster. He was stationed aboard the gunboat USS Bennington (PG-4) as a watertender, a position which required him to tend the fires and boilers in the ship’s engine room.
On July 21, 1905, Bennington was off San Diego, California, when a boiler exploded, killing 66 and seriously wounding 46 of the 179 men aboard. In the immediate aftermath, Fredericksen “[w]as prominent in the work of rescuing the injured from confined spaces below decks” despite those areas being “filled with blinding steam and the decks covered with scalding water; and while the ship was heavily listed, rapidly filling, and thought liable to sink at any moment.” Eleven sailors, including Fredericksen, were awarded the Medal of Honor on January 5, 1906, for their efforts to save their crewmates and the ship.
Fredericksen served on active duty in the U.S. Navy until 1925 and in the Naval Reserve until 1930, reaching the rank of chief watertender. After leaving active duty, he lived in Keyport, Washington, and worked for the Howard S. Wright & Co. construction company in nearby Bremerton. In 1944 he moved to Seattle and died of natural causes at the U.S. Marine Hospital in 1950.
Serving on board the U.S.S. Bennington, for extraordinary heroism displayed at the time of the explosion of a boiler of that vessel at San Diego, Cal., 21 July 1905.
BURIAL LOCATION: EVERGREEN WASHELLI CEMETERY, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.
SECTION R, LOT 0609, GRAVE 12
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.