From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Nelson '46

Date of birth: September 27, 1824

Date of death: September 29, 1862

Age: 38

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.


1846 Nelson 1.jpg

From Find A Grave:

Civil War Union Major General. Born in Mayville, Kentucky, for over twenty years he served as an officer in the US Navy. Just after the outbreak of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln authorized him to arm Kentucky loyalists with 5,000 muskets. This led to him being detached from the Navy to recruit 10,000 troops for a campaign into East Tennessee. He was appointed to Brigadier General of US Volunteers on September 16, 1861 and promoted to Major General in July 1862. During the defense of Louisville, Kentucky, in September 1862, his disdain lackadaisical behavior led Nelson to angrily dismiss Union Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis from his corps after a battle. On September 29, 1862, during an argument at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky, Nelson was shot and killed by Union Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis. Davis was never prosecuted for the murder and both generals became better noted for that affair rather than the commendable service they both gave to their country.

He was born in, and appointed to the Naval Academy from, Kentucky.

There is more on his life at Wikipedia.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 28 January, 1840. Passed Midshipman, 11 July, 1846. Master, 19 September, 1854. Lieutenant, 18 April, 1855. Lieutenant Commander, 16 July, 1862. Detailed for duty in United States Volunteer Army, and died as Major General, 29 September, 1862.

Class of 1846

William is one of 13 members of the Class of 1846 in Memorial Hall.