Franklin Stillman Nickerson

Franklin Stillman Nickerson was born in Swanville, Maine, August 27, 1826. He was educated at the academy in East Corinth, Maine, and thereafter studied law. This led him into a career in the U. S. Customs Service of which he became an official prior to the Civil War. When the 4th Maine Infantry was organized at Rockland on June 15, 1861, he was elected its major and in September was made lieutenant colonel. Meanwhile, he had been cited for his conduct at First Manassas by Colonel (later General) O. O. Howard, his brigade commander. On November 25, 1861, Nickerson was appointed colonel of the 14th Maine, a regiment which was organized during the winter and which was at once sent to the Department of the Gulf under General Benjamin F. Butler. In August, 1862, he aided in repulsing John C. Breckinridge's attack on Baton Rouge and was commended in effusive terms by Butler. The following March 16 he was promoted to brigadier general to rank from November 29, 1862. During the balance of the war General Nickerson's service was entirely in Louisiana under a succession of commanders. In the Red River campaign his brigade of Grover's division was a part of Franklin's XIX Corps, but two of his regiments were on veteran furlough, and the brigade seems to have been used in support in the neighborhood of Alexandria, Louisiana. Next, N. P. Banks ordered him to report to General Edward R. S. Canby. A few days later on July 22, 1864, by order of Canby, Nickerson was relieved from duty in the Department of the Gulf and ordered to report to the adjutant general in Washington for duty. At this juncture General Nickerson's name disappears from the Official Records, and it must be assumed that he was either on leave awaiting orders until the end of the war or was performing desk duty in Washington. In 1865 he tendered his resignation which was accepted as of May 13, 1865. Afterwards he took up residence in Boston, where he was to live for another half-century. Until 1905 he engaged in active practice as a lawyer; after this he seems to have resided with a son, in whose home he died on January 23, 1917, at the age of ninety-one. He was entombed in Forest Hills Crematory in Jamaica Plain, a Boston suburb. Only nine general officers of full rank in the Union army survived him, yet General Nickerson's death notices were obscured in the press by the news of events leading up to the entry of the United States into World War I.

Previous Page

Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.