Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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NICHOLA, or NICOLA, Lewis, soldier, born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1717; died in Alexandria, Virginia, 9 August, 1807. He was of Huguenot descent, and both his father and grandfather were officers in the British army. He also entered the army as ensign in 1740, was subsequently promoted major, and in 1766 given the command of Fort Charles, near Kinsale, Ireland. In this year he resigned his commission and emigrated to this country, settling in Philadelphia, where he engaged in civil engineering. In 1769 he established the "American Magazine," which he published and edited during that year, including the transactions of the American philosophical society, of which he became a member. Early in 1776 he was chosen barracks-master-general of Philadelphia, and he afterward was placed in command of the city guard. In December of that year he was commissioned town major, with that rank in the state service, holding this place till 1882. Shortly after the Declaration of Independence he published in Philadelphia " A Treatise of Military Exercise, Calculated for the Use of Americans, in which every thing that is supposed can be of Use to Them is retained, and such Manoeuvres as are only for Show and Parade omitted. To which is added some Directions on the Other Points of Discipline." He planned a calevat or boat for river defence, devised plans for magazines, and made maps of the injuries that were done by the British while they were in possession of the city. He formed and offered to congress the plan for raising a regiment of invalids, which was not only to be a retreat for those who suffered in the service, but also a recruiting corps and military school, and in 1777 was commissioned its colonel. He was made brevet brigadier-general in the United States army in November, 1783. His military knowledge and skill made his services of great value to the colonies, and the archives of Pennsylvania teem with his suggestions for the good of the public service. He was one of the original members of the Pennsylvania branch of the Society of the Cincinnati. Colonel Nichola was usually the medium of communicating to Gem Washington the complaints and wishes of his comrades in arms. In this capacity, in May, 1783, he addressed a letter to General Washington, in which he suggested that a mixed government, of which the head might bear the title of king, would be best able to extricate the United States from their embarrassments. He further hinted that Washington alone would be worthy of this place, since he had conducted the war to a successful issue. The letter caused General Washington pain, and he rebuked the writer severely.
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