William Nelson


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(1824–62) career naval officer, born in Maysville, Kentucky. He fought with the Union army in the Civil War. At the request of President Abraham Lincoln, Nelson raised a Kentucky volunteer regiment. He later commanded a division at Shiloh (1862) and Corinth, Mississippi (1862), before his forces were nearly annihilated at Richmond, Kentucky (1862). Following the last battle, Nelson repaired to a Louisville hotel where he became engaged in an altercation with Union Gen. Jefferson Davis. Insults and challenges were exchanged, with the result that Davis shot Nelson, mortally wounding him. Davis was never brought to trial. During the Mexican War (1846–48) Nelson was with the fleet that supported Gen. Winfield Scott's landing at Veracruz (1847).

From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.

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