Nathan Kimball was born in the southern Indiana hamlet of Fredericksburg on November 22, 1822 . He attended what is now DePauw University from 1839 until 1841; then he taught school at Independence, Missouri. Shortly after, he took up the study of medicine under the tutelage of his wife's brother, practicing this profession until the beginning of the Mexican War in which he served as a captain of the 2nd Indiana Volunteers. This regiment behaved badly at Buena Vista, fleeing in disorder, but it is stated by Kimball's biographers that he "was able to rally his [own] company and continue fighting." After being mustered out, he continued to practice medicine at Loogootee, Indiana, where he was at the outbreak of the Civil War. Kimball became colonel of the 14th Indiana on June 7, 1861, and saw service at Cheat Mountain, western Virginia, in the fall of that year. The following March while commanding James Shields' division on the field at the battle of Kernstown (Shields having been wounded the previous evening), he inflicted upon Stonewall Jackson one of the few defeats suffered by the latter during his celebrated military career. Kimball was made a brigadier general on April 16, 1862, and led the 1st Brigade of French's division of the II Corps in the desperate fighting at Antietam Creek, where he lost over six hundred men either killed or wounded. At Fredericksburg he was himself badly wounded. The following summer he commanded a division of the XVI Corps at the siege of Vicksburg. After some detached duty he took part in the Atlanta campaign, first as a brigade—and after the battle of Peachtree Creek —as a division commander in the IV Corps. Before taking part in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, he was active in suppressing the activities of the disloyal Knights of the Golden Circle in southern Indiana. Kimball was brevetted major general in 1865 and soon after the end of the war became state commander of the newly organized Grand Army of the Republic, the American Legion of the day. He served two terms as state treasurer of Indiana and one term in the legislature. In 1873 President Grant appointed him surveyor general of the Utah Territory, where he thereafter made his home. President Hayes later appointed him postmaster of Ogden, Utah, an office which he held until his death there on January 21, 1898. He was buried in Weber, Utah.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.