Posted on Sep 18, 2012 in General Information | 14 comments

Charles F. Nelson – 12th Indiana Volunteers

One of my prized possessions is a replica of the diary that my great-great-grandfather Charles F. Nelson kept while in the army during the Civil War.  The diary was self-published by Franklin Vance Nelson, grandson to Charles and first cousin to my grandfather Franklin Jesse Nelson.    Pappy, as we called my grandfather, gave me this copy of the diary because of my life-long interest in the Civil War.

As we are now in the midst of the 150th anniversary observance of that great conflict, the idea occurred to me that I could share CFN’s experiences with a wider audience through this blog.    The unfortunate thing is that he didn’t really write in depth about his battle experiences.  His daily entries are terse, but they do give the reader an idea of the duties, illnesses and long marches that he and his comrades endured during their service.  Although he doesn’t write in great detail, Charles was witness to some of the most important events of the war, including the Siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, Sherman’s March to the Sea, and even the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington, DC.

This may be an uninteresting experiment, but I plan to transcribe CFN’s diary one month at a time as it was written 150 years ago.  If you’re a student of history, and the Civil War in particular, you may find an interesting tidbit or perspective as we go along.

For my part, I have a great respect of those who served our country throughout its long history, especially those members of my own family.  So, it is for their posterity that I do this.

The photo shown with this entry shows my great-great-grandfather Charles F. Nelson in the center with his fife.  He enlisted as a member of the 12th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment’s color guard.  A brief account of the regiment’s service can be found in this article on Wikipedia.

14 Responses to “Charles F. Nelson – 12th Indiana Volunteers”

  1. Marianna says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks to Billy Newton’s recent retweet I remembered you talked about this new blog on Catholic Weekend and that I wanted to follow it. Having a failing memory, I probably forgot about it soon after the recording was over.

    So I’m starting a bit late. But, here I am at the beginning. I want to catch up in chronological order of your postings. And, I have it on my “bookmark” bar so I will see it and remember to check it. Like I said, I have a very bad memory.

    I can already see that you are putting a lot of work into this blog. I look forward to following it.


    • esteban says:

      Thank you! I hope you find it interesting. Many of the months are pretty mundane stuff, but as the war moves on you do start to see how he manages the illnesses, the deaths, the loneliness, etc.

  2. Jan says:

    Hello Steve,
    My name is Jan Hagerman Richter and Charles Franklin Nelson is my Great Great Grandfather. My mother is Clara Nelson Hagerman, her father was Raymond Nelson, his father was Jesse Franklin Nelson (one of the identical twins) and his father was Charles Franklin. I also have a typed copy of the diary. I was so pleased to see this diary posted as I am able to share this with my family. I am also trying to trace the Nelson family but I am not having much success. Do you have much information on the Nelson family? I have information on Robert Jacob Nelson born in 1795, that I believe is C.F. Nelson’s father.
    Thanks Again for Posting the Diary

    • esteban says:

      Hello Jan!

      Thanks for emailing! Your grandfather Raymond was the brother of my grandfather Franklin Jesse Nelson, so we share Jesse Franklin Nelson as our great grandfather. I think that makes us cousins twice removed.

      My grandfather did quite a bit of genealogical research but I don’t have access to it at the moment. I’ve been living outside the country and most of my things are in storage. I do remember visiting a historical society with my grandfather which had a copy of the 1800 census, listing a relative in Riverside (?), New York and his family. This is probably the father of Robert Jacob Nelson, but I’m not sure.

      When I can, I’ll try to find and send you what we have.

      Did you happen to attend the family reunion that was held in Coffeyville, KS back in the mid 80’s? That was the only time I met any of my grandfather’s extended family.


      • Jan says:

        Thanks for your quick response. I did not attend the Coffeeville reunion but my Aunt and Uncle Savage attended and I am not sure but possibly my Grandmother Grace also attended. I may even have some pictures from that event. I met your grandmother and grandfather a few times. (Uncle Frank and Aunt Amy). I believe it was your grandfather who helped take care of my grandfather before he passed away. (My mother was only 4 years old). Thank you for any information you can share.

  3. James Groff says:

    Hey Steve,
    C. Vance Nelson is also my great-great grandfather! What does that make us? (My grandmother was Harriet Nelson).
    Also, do you have any of the abolitionist letters he wrote? I see they are kept in an Indiana museum.
    James Groff

  4. Eric Lowman says:

    This is a very nice site. Do you have any idea who any of the other men in the photograph are? I do lots of research on the 12th Indiana and live in Kosciusko County where most of the regiment was raised. Thanks,
    Eric Lowman

    • esteban says:

      Hello Eric!
      All I can tell you about the photo is what others have told me. I don’t know the names of any of the other men in the group, but I’m told that this is a fairly common type of photo taken of the unit’s NCO’s (based on the uniforms and the particular swords they have) and the unit’s musicians. I know that doesn’t help much. I received the photo from my grandfather and he didn’t know any of the other names.

  5. Gary Brown says:

    My great grandfather, William H. Weeks, was a corporal in this regiment. Is he mentioned anywhere in Nelson’s diary?

  6. Gary Brown says:

    Hi Eric, I am Gary Brown, raised in Kosciusko county but haven’t lived there for years. Do you know which post of GAR the 12th men joined? And, where are the records of the local GAR’s? Also, Have you run across John R. Brown of the 174th Indiana artillery?

    • esteban says:

      There were several GAR posts in the area around Warsaw. I don’t know if my gggfather was a part of any posts, but Indiana Post #306 was located in his area of Silver Lake, IN.

  7. Ashley Nelson Holle says:

    I live in Warsaw , I’m a Nelson I am Sherman Nelson’s granddaughter I’m VERY new to all this but I believe that cnelson was his grandfather . 😉

    • esteban says:

      I apologize for the late reply to this. I just saw your comment. If you’ll go to the county historical museum, located in the old jail, they have a pretty comprehensive “Nelson” file there that would help you figure out how you’re related to CFN. Thanks for writing Cousin!

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