Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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NELSON, Thomas Henry, diplomatist, born in Mason county, Kentucky. 12 August, 1824. He studied law in Maysville, Kentucky, and removed to Rockville and subsequently to Terre Haute, Indiana, where he was a leader of the Whig party and afterward a founder of the Republican party. He served several times in state and national conventions and was a candidate for congress, but was defeated. In 1861-'6 he was United States minister to Chili, and won great personal popularity by his bravery in the rescue of numerous persons at the 'burning of the Santiago cathedral, 6 December, 1864. He also took an active part, as mediator in the war between Chili it and Spain in 1864-'6. He was United States minister to Mexico in 1869-'73. Since the expiration of his term of office he has practised law in Washington, D. C., and in Terre Haute, Indiana--His brother, William, soldier, born in Maysville, Kentucky, in 1825 ; died in Louisville, Kentucky, 29 September, 1862, entered the United States navy in 1840, commanded a battery at the siege of Vera Cruz, and afterward served in the Mediterranean. He became master in 1854, lieutenant in 1855, and in 1858 was ordered to the "Niagara, ," in which he carried back to Africa the negroes that were taken from the slaver "Echo." he was on ordnance duty in Washington, D. C., at the beginning of the civil war, was promoted lieutenant-commander in 1861, and was in charge of the gunboats on Ohio river, but soon exchanged the naval for military service, and in September became brigadier-general of volunteers. He organized Camp Dick Robinson, between Garrardsville and Danville, Kentucky, and another in Washington, Mason County, Kentucky, was successful in several engagements in eastern Kentucky, raised several regiments, commanded the 2d division of General Don Carlos Buell's army, which was the first to join General Grant at the battle of Shiloh, and was wounded at Richmond, Kentucky he was in command at Louisville when that city was threatened by General Braxton Bragg, and in July, 1862, was appointed major-general of volunteers, he was shot to death by General Jefferson C. Davis in an altercation with that officer at the Galt house, in Louisville, Kentucky
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