Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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NICHOLS, Francis, soldier, born in Crieve Hill, Enniskillen, Ireland, in 1737 ; died in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 13 February, 1812. He came to this country in 1769, enlisted in the patriot army in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, in June, 1775, became 2d lieutenant, and was captured at Quebec, 31 December, 1775. He refused to give his sword to several private soldiers, but finally delivered it to an officer, with the exaction of a promise that it should be returned on his release. This was done in August, 1776, in the presence of till the American officers, with the assurance that it was by the permission and command of Gem Sir Guy Carleton. This sword is still in the possession of General Nichols's great-grandson, Francis Nichols Whitney. Nichols subsequently rose to the rank of brigadier-general. He was the first United States marshal of the eastern district of Pennsylvania.--His brother, William, born in Enniskillen, Ireland, 28 November, 1754; died in Philadelphia, 19 October, 1804, also served in the Revolution, attaining the rank of captain and quartermaster in 1776.--His grandson, William Augustus, soldier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 12 May, 1818; died in St. Louis, Missouri, 8 April, 1869. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1838, became 1st lieutenant in 1844, served throughout the Mexican war as aide to General John A. Quitman, and assistant adjutant-general under Gem John Garland, and received the brevet of major for bravery at Molino del Rey. He became assistant adjutant-general, with the rank of captain, in 1852, and lieutenant-colonel in 1861. During the civil war he was adjutant-general of the Department of the East in June and November, 1861, and of the Department of New York in December, assistant in the office of the adjutant-general in Washington, D. C., in 1862-'4, became colonel and brevet brigadier-general in 1864, and brevet major-general in 1865 for meritorious service during the war. At the time of his death he was chief of staff and adjutant-general of the military department of Missouri.
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