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Halls in the Civil War: Nelson Wesley Hall

By Kathryn Hall | May 26, 2013


Nelson Wesley Hall (b. 3 March 1835–d. 28 September 1903)

The photograph above is most likely of Nelson Wesley Hall. As the picture, found in family records, was not properly ID’d, there was some question as to whether this photo was of Nelson or his younger brothers Lafayette or Erastus. We must assume it is, in fact, of Nelson, as he is wearing the medal on civilian clothing, and, more importantly, medals were distributed after the war. Nelson’s brother Erastus did not return from the war. [See subsequent post.] Add to this that the picture was found among the belongings of direct descendants of Nelson. However, the identification of this photo was done only after consulting with a Civil War historian, with the Indiana Historical Society and with noted Civil War novelist Jeff Shaara, who writes:

Dear Ms. Hall,
My best guess is that, since he’s actually wearing a medal, he survived the war by a while. Medals were not at all common during the war- most of them having been awarded afterward. So yes, I agree with your logic.
Thank you for asking!
Jeff Shaara

[Footnote: Since posting this a researcher kindly provided me with a photograph of Erastus Hall. See his Civil War post to view. KH]

Nelson W. Hall – Civil War
Record Series: Military Records
Collection: Civil War
County: Statewide

Referencenumber: CIV076877
Accession Number: 1938001
Party: Name
Age: 26
Date Enrolled: 1861/10/08
Where Enrolled: Indianapolis, Indiana
Discharge Date: 1864/11/24
Cavalry/ Battery Unit: 5th Light Artillery
Name: Nelson W. Hall
Party Type: Name

Nelson Wesley Hall was part of the Indiana Light Artillery, 5th Battery which was under the leadership of Capt. Peter Simonson. Indeed, this artillery unit was originally referred to as Capt. Simonson’s Battery. The name was later changed. On June 15th, 1864 Captain Simonson ordered the artillery shot that killed Confederate General Leonidas Polk. Simonson himself was killed the next day by a rebel sharp shooter at Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Service: Duty at Camp Gilbert, Louisville, Ky., till December 20, 1861, and at Bacon Creek, Ky., till February, 1862. Advance on Bowling Green, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., February 10-25. Occupation of Bowling Green, Ky., February 15, and of Nashville February 25. Moved to Murfreesboro, Tenn., March 18. Reconnoissance to Shelbyville, Tullahoma and McMinnville March 25-28. Advance on Fayettesville and Huntsville, Ala., April 7-11. Capture of Huntsville April 11. Advance on and capture of Decatur April 11-14. Duty at Bridgeport, Ala. (Detachment), and along Nashville & Chattanooga R. R. till August. Moved to Stevenson, Ala., August 24. Moved to Nashville, Tenn.; thence to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg, August 31-September 26. Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-15. Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 20-November 9, and duty there till December 26. Advance on Murfreesboro, Tenn., December 26-30. Battle of Stone’s River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Duty at Murfreesboro till June. Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign June 22-July 7. Liberty Gap June 22-24. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Passage of the Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Battle of Chickamauga September 19-20. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-October 26. Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29. Outpost duty at Shellmound till February, 1864. Demonstrations on Dalton February 22-27. Tunnel Hill, Buzzard’s Roost Gap and Rocky Faced Ridge February 23-25. Stone Church, near Catoosa Platform, February 27. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1 to September 8. Tunnel Hill May 6-7. Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge Dalton May 8-13. Buzzard’s Roost Gap May 8-9. Near Dalton May 13. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Near Kingston May 18-19. Near Cassville May 19. Advance on Dallas May 22-25. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Hill June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff’s Station July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Ordered to Chattanooga, Tenn., September 20. Veterans and Recruits transferred to 7th Indiana Battery. Mustered out November 26, 1864.

This gun was used by the 5th Battery Indiana Light Artillery in which Nelson Wesley Hall fought.

Following is documentation of monthly mustering roles for Nelson W. Hall from the time he enrolls 8 October 1861, mustered the following day by Lt. Col. Thomas Wood, until he is mustered out, 25 November 1864. As was true with thousands of soldiers during the Civil War, much time was spent fighting disease in hospital, primarily in Nashville, Tennessee, where his younger brother Erastus falls to illness and dies at war’s end. If you were to read these rolls carefully you’d see that throughout 1863 there is a duplication of registers, some of which log Nelson’s presence in the theatre and some which log his being in hospital–for the same months. Most likely we will never know the extent to which his illnesses kept him out of actual battle, but it’s clear he spent a lot of 1863 in a hospital or “in barracks” in Nashville. In October and November 1864 he’s sent instead to a hospital in Chattanooga for the first time, and in November 1864 he’s mustered out.

Gravestone of Nelson Wesley Hall, Gaylord, Otsego, Michigan
Editor’s note: This gravesite is currently in the process of being registered with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. When registration is complete it will be here posted. KH

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